It’s no secret that there is a negative side to the K-Pop industry. Unrealistic expectations and toxic beauty standards plague artists and can often be incredibly detrimental to both their own lives and to society as a whole. These 5 idols have spoken out against these harsh standards to remind others that it’s okay to not conform.
1. Hwasa (MAMAMOO)
Hwasa revealed she used to be overweight and receive backlash for trying to be a singer with a thicker figure.
My feelings were very hurt. I remember bawling my eyes out and running home.
Hwasa would turn to Beyoncé for inspiration and watch her video clips whenever she felt down.
[I told myself] I believe in myself and I am confident.
To this day, Hwasa encourages fans to not go to unhealthy lengths to lose weight.
Moomoo: How do I lose weight?
Hwasa: JUST EAT!!!!
— 𝚖𝚊𝚐𝚐𝚒𝚎 (@hunhyejin) February 22, 2020
Her confidence is so apparent and contagious, press headlines praise her curvy figure and tan skin: Two things that are not the normal standard of beauty in K-Pop.
If I don’t fit into this generation’s standards then I will become my own standard.
"Hwasa, Showing off a tanned Apple hip with a white swimsuit…'sexiness' "
"#Hwasa's perfect body line stood out. In particular, her glowing healthy bronze skin, caught the eye.
Hwasa standing alone in the clear sea. It was like a photo shoot"@RBW_MAMAMOO #Mamamoo pic.twitter.com/99bUzNkeq7
— Mamoomoo (@MaHwasaja) March 31, 2020
2. Amber (f(X))
Amber went in-depth about the negative effects that being in a visually-focused industry like K-Pop can have on one’s physical and mental health.
You’re going to go through the checklist of ‘Okay, is your hair on point? Is your face on point? Is what you’re wearing good?
She revealed the extreme and unhealthy lengths idols go to so they can reach a certain weight.
Everybody’s just like ‘You didn’t eat today, right? I didn’t eat today, either’ or ‘I’m doing this thing where I only drink water.’
Amber has also received criticism for her tomboy appearance.
After receiving a comment about her flat chest, Amber created a hilariously trolling YouTube video “looking” for her chest.
Dealing with hate in a positive way, she reminds people that you have the choice to not conform and can portray yourself in a way that makes you comfortable.
Sunmi discussed hate comments from people online that will choose to attack her from any angle, even if it’s contradictory.
‘Hey, lose some weight.’ ‘You’re so skinny.’
She reminds viewers that being a celebrity is just a title and that at the end of the day, we are all human. The negative comments still hurt just the same.
After being criticized for being too thin, she was still criticized for her looks. It seems regardless of what idols do, there is always something to be criticized.
Sunmi discussed with SNSD’s Hyoyeon the dangers of reading backlash online.
I often wonder, ‘What was this person doing before writing this comment?’ If someone else judged this person like this, they wouldn’t feel good either.
Ailee discussed her own lengths she went to for dieting that jeopardized both her singing ability and her health.
I ate almost nothing and I was starving thinking back on it … I might have looked good but I was very depressed.
[Not having the ideal body type], there’s no choice if we want to stand on stage.
Despite having an incredible singing voice, the toxic beauty standards take a toll on her self-esteem.
5. Tiffany (SNSD)
Tiffany reveals how it took moving back home to America for her to recover from the negativity.
Being in a girl band for 10 years, I wasn’t able to be super expressive and say, like “I’ve had issues.”
She has since opened up about her struggles to bring awareness to others dealing with the same issues.
Mental health is such an important thing and today we’re expected to have these unrealistic expectations and pressures and I’m here to say it’s okay to not feel okay.
She reveals taking care of herself and going to therapy has helped improve her situation.
By refraining from posting negativity online, we can help to create a more positive space surrounding K-Pop. If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health issues, the first step is to reach out for help.