19 South Korean Women Get Real About Body Positivity

Photographed by Sunmin Lee.
Earlier this summer, photographer Sunmin Lee visited two major destinations for vacationers and surfers in South Korea, Haeundae Beach and Songjeong Beach, in order to get a better idea of how local women view their bodies. During her conversations with nearly 20 beachgoers, she found that more and more South Korean women are starting to push back against the country's narrow standards of beauty.
The women Lee spoke with could easily recall specific remarks people made about their appearance. But an overwhelming number of them were quick to add that, regardless of how others judge their looks, what matters most to them is their health.
Lee tells us these women are part of a larger nationwide trend. Being "fit" and able to exercise is simply a greater priority than being skinny for Korean women these days. And Lee agrees: "A woman's body should not be for show," she says.
Ahead, meet the women Lee interviewed and learn more about how body image is changing in South Korea.
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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