Move over， humans， it seems animals need makeovers too。 It’s all the
rage in South Korea right now as pet owners are actually paying for
cosmetic surgery for their furry companions！
South Korean women are destroying cosmetics and cutting their hair short
to fight back against unrealistic beauty ideals in what is being dubbed
the “escape corset” movement.
Have you heard of the “makeup tax”? It refers to the time and money
women spend on their appearances in the hopes of doing well at work.
Many career women fear that if they don’t live up to society’s
expectations, they will lose out on promotions and pay raises.
Some of the popular procedures include tail shortening and ear trimming
for dogs， to make them ‘cute’ with pointy ears。 Fat reduction is
another popular surgery， along with stretch marks removal， wrinkle
smoothing， double eyelid removal and even botox injections。 These
procedures start from $60 and ostensibly run into the thousands。
In posts across Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms,
women have been denouncing the use of cosmetics and a culture that
pressures as many as one in three women to undergo some form of plastic
The “makeup tax” affects a lot of women. US presidential candidate and
former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is no exception. Last month,
in an online Q&A session on Facebook, Clinton was asked about her
morning grooming routine by Libby Brittain, a female Facebook staffer.
Brittain complained that she has to spend more than 30 minutes getting
ready for work while her boyfriend “zip[s] out the door”.
It’s not entirely surprising， given that South Korea is the plastic
surgery capital of the world。 This is the place where tourists become
unrecognisable to the extent that they need special doctor certificates
to return to their native lands after having work done on their faces。
So it was only a matter of time before people started thinking of
botoxing their pets as well。
One post on Instagram by user 6_feminist_9 confessed that she had low
self-esteem and felt she had to use makeup as a mask just to leave the
“I wonder about how the ‘hair and makeup tax’ affects other
women–especially ones I admire in high-pressure, public-facing jobs,”
wrote Brittain, who added that as a “young professional woman” she’d
like to know how Clinton handles it while “staying focused on the ‘real’
The dog in the before and after photos above apparently had plastic
surgery done because his inner eyelids were pointing towards the eyes。
After the procedure， his eyes look bigger， a feature that many pet
“I liked pretty things. I wanted to be pretty. I hated my ugly face,”
Clinton acknowledged that the “makeup tax” is a problem. “Amen, sister,”
she wrote in her answer. “It’s a daily challenge. I do the best I can
–and as you may have noticed, some days are better than others!”
According to one anonymous veterinarian， “Plastic surgery for pets in
the past were for medical reasons but the result also brought better
looking dogs， so there is a growing customer base getting a plastic
surgery for cosmetic reasons on their dogs。” Apparently， a few doctors
believe that these surgeries are “medically safe” and ethical。 They say
it’s the “owner’s right” to make their pets look beautiful。
“Self-esteem came and went. I was always putting on makeup. I did not go
to school on days when I did not have good makeup.
Olga Khazan, writing in The Atlantic, thinks Clinton shouldn’t have
treated the question so lightheartedly. The “makeup tax” is very real,
Khazan says. Women invest time and money into makeup because it impacts
their relationships and their careers. Men also use grooming products,
but they never have to worry about the price of makeup.