Stop Letting Your Body Get in Your Way

Odessa Denby
6 min readNov 17, 2022

Why is it that we don’t think we can live our dream life until we have our dream physique?

Photo by Hannah Xu on Unsplash

“I was considered fat in South Korea!” a slim young Korean woman relates in a TikTok.

Her point was, no doubt, that beauty standards in Korea (particularly for entertainers) is very extreme. And she’s right. Diet culture in Korea (and other countries) often puts thinness above health and excuses dangerous eating disorders as normal dieting. But many of her viewers interpreted her commentary a little differently.

Comment after comment was from other women lamenting that they can simply never travel to Korea because of the beauty standards. Women were comparing themselves to the vlogger, talking about how much fatter they are compared to her.

Travel is Only for the Thin and Pretty?

Many plus-size women (and women who aren’t plus-size, but have a negative body image) I meet say things similar to those comments. “I could never travel to (insert country) because I’m not thin enough.” Whether it be Korea, Japan, or even European countries like France.

As a plus-size woman who has traveled extensively and even lived for 4 years in Korea, these comments infuriate me, whether in person or online. They are based on some pretty ignorant assumptions when you get down to it.

The first assumption is that there is no diversity within these countries. While countries like Japan and Korea are fairly ethnically homogenous, tourism and foreign workers are not an uncommon sight in larger cities. There are also people from these countries who aren’t a perfect match to the beauty standard. There are plump Koreans who look nothing like K-pop idols, there are French women who do get fat.

The second assumption is that not being thin and gorgeous is somehow a disability. While it’s true that pretty privilege is a thing, you don’t have to be a Kardashian (or whatever the current trend is) to live a life you love.

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Odessa Denby

Professional writer and editor, former expat. Conscientious lifestyle and relationships, mental health, and the arts.