Body Image In Korea

Growing up surrounded by singers, it was inevitable that my career would also head in that direction. Over the years, I have seen how amazing the showbiz lifestyle is, but I’ve also witnessed all of the hardships that go hand in hand with it.

One of the main focuses in K-Pop is image. I’ve read too many articles where journalists have nothing better to do than to critising a singer for putting on a pound or for eating something other than a lettuce leaf. It wasn’t too long ago where Wonder Girls were snapped on stage in America, with the words ‘Chubby Girls’ captioned underneath the photograph, despite the girls looking beautifully healthy. Not only did the article stick in my mind because of how shocked I was at the comments by the editor and their so called fans, but by how the article affected my best friend.

Before I delve further into the subject, I feel that it is important that I mention why a guy who hasn’t had any weight issues is writing about such a sensitive topic. Well, 마이랭크 one of the reasons is I’ve seen first hand of how celebrities are pressured to feel the need to look a certain way and are ripped to shreds over a tiny ‘flaw’. I’ve witnessed people being rejected from auditions for the way they look or for not ‘fitting the mold’. But the main reason I’m writing this article is because I’ve seen how their comments and remarks can affect other people, not only in the media but their fans too. My best friend in particular whose story I feel compelled to tell to show the importance of why wanting to look like a Korean celebrity is very unhealthy and unrealistic.

I’ve known my best friend for almost 19 years. We grew up together and we’ve been through everything – including being rejected by Korean entertainment companies and being criticized for our appearances. Even though she was born in Korea, she has never felt as if she fit in. She has blue eyes, brown hair and white skin, meaning that Koreans would often mistake her for a tourist and be amazed when she would speak fluently in Korean, even though unbeknownst to them, it was her first language. From as long as I can remember, she always felt like an outsider, and it was me who persuaded her to go for her dream and audition at a very famous Korean entertainment company. Despite all of her insecurities, she gained a third place in a girl group and this is where I noticed some worrying changes.

The two other members of the girl group were Korean born with Korean parents. Stereo-typically short and slim with dark hair and eyes. It was no wonder that my friend didn’t feel like she belonged alongside them. She was a UK size 8, yet she would constantly moan about being a ‘giant’ compared to them as she poked her flat tummy.

It’s no secret that training is very hard work, you often hear of idols fainting or being hospitalized due to exhaustion and being over worked and it was the same for the girl group in training. They would train everyday, having little time to eat, which worryingly resulted in my friend collapsing on a weekly basis. Eventually she became too ill to debut with them and the members went their separate ways. This was 5 years ago and since then, very little has changed.

It was only last year that trio singers ‘Piggy Dolls’ made their very controversial debut into KPOP. I’d read more than one article about their weight before I’d even heard a note of their music. I watched for myself the disgusting comments and watched their debut music video ‘Trend’. It featured a fake news report with a student claiming she was being bullied for being overweight (even though she was slim) and had contemplated suicide. They seemed to be taking it light-heartily, as the first shot of the girls was of them sat watching the news reports and eating pizza. Their name ‘Piggy Dolls’ itself suggest they aren’t to be taken seriously.

The vocals of the girl were mind blowing yet all the comments displayed below the music video were directed at them being ‘over weight’ even though they were perfectly healthy. I was intrigued by this new girl group and manged to work with them on their first full length album.

When I first met them I was amazed at their new look. All three members had dropped at least 2 dress sizes – whether it was due to an over working schedule or the fact they were told to lose weight, I don’t know and I wasn’t about to ask them. What I did know for sure was that were all stunning just as they were before they lost weight. It baffled me and still does at to why the way the singer looks is more important than how they sound. After all, Hyunah isn’t exactly the greatest singer in the world but apparently she has the ‘perfect’ body, which is why she is so popular.

In my mind, it should be all about the singing and if someone looks great, than that’s just a bonus. One of my favourite bands is Big Mama – again, a band whose name is taking the mick out of their own appearance.

The facts don’t lie, it is sadly proven that what classes as ‘better looking’ groups and singers are more popular than artist who are wrongly classed as ‘big’ or ‘ugly.’ It’s just the same with male artists, it is becoming more and more common to see guys flaunting their very muscly bodies but with worryingly tiny waists. It is known that Korean’s are naturally slim and smaller than western people, but there must be a time where being that thin is too thin.


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