3 months ago
kpopandkimchi
in English · 1,100 Views
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Dark Side of Kpop: Idol Weight Obsessions
I've written before about the K-Ent's view of skinny vs fat, and I'm sure every Kpop fans know what an issue weight is, but I wanted to round up some evidence to see if this industry is any worse than the general international entertainment industry.

Because I know American celebrities the best, I will be comparing Korean entertainers to American entertainers.


1. Talking About Diets

As far as I know, American celebs don't openly talk about their diets unless they're being sponsored by a diet company to mention it on social media OR if they're being interviewed in a magazine about their lifestyle. In Korea, it seems like its almost something to be proud of to be dieting. Like, dieting is part of the job or it shows that they're being responsible and hard working when dieting (often unhealthily) for a comeback.
Luna being praised online for her drastic weight loss journey

2. Public Display of Weight/Size

One of the first things I do when I get into a new group is look up the member profiles to see birthdays, real names, fun facts, etc. But without fail, those profiles will include their height and weight as well. I have nothing wrong with posting height, since that is something you can find pretty easily too in America, but is weight necessary?
www.youtube.com
There have also been plenty of TV shows that measure female celebs' waists to talk about their meansurements constantly. In America people might be interested in that and think about it, but its pretty rare for a celeb to come out and say "I have a 20 inch waist" or something like that.

3. Public Company Pressure

I recently saw that IOI/DIA member Jung Chae Yeon explained that her company has a rule that her weight cannot "start with a 5" meaning she has to be in the 40kg range. That means her company, which publically stands by her statement, want her to be between 88 and 110lbs. Its very different in America just because we dont have entertainment companies, and a celeb's individual agent wouldnt come out and say something like this. I'm sure American celebs also have these rules (though the weight might not be as low) but to publically annouce it? I dont think so...

Now, my use of the word PUBLIC is important:

I think that the pressure and the dieting and the measuring happens to everyone in every country in every aspect of entertainment. But in Korea, I personally feel like it is so much more public. That the general audience sees the pressure they're put under constantly so that it almost becomes normal and acceptable.

Now, what does this mean for Korean society?

Girls (and boys) and growing up seeing harsh dieting be celebrated as a necessary evil, as admirable. They're seeing public critique of body image be accepted as "just part of the job." They're being given exact measurements that are "ideal."

Just like in America where we see models all the time and are definitely brainwashed into thinking certain things are beautiful and ideal, we arent given the EXACT meansurements, we aren't told its only ONE kind of pretty (for example, we celebrate curves a lot more!) and since we dont talk about it too much in public, we aren't constantly being told dieting is the best thing to do - even if its a lie and celebs say they got their bodies just from exercise and eating healthy, that sends the message that that is the healthy thing to do which is good!

Plus, I don't think everyone is affected by this. Just like in America we know the industry has ridiculous standards, I think there are plenty of people in Korea who know its not realistic. But, it still affects us all a little bit, even if we dont want it to.


I think the entertainment industry as a whole has a lot to work on, but I just wish Korea kept somethings a little more secret and behind the scenes, just for the sake of younger people growing up with these super high (and often unhealthy) standards :/

What do you think? Do you have more insight on American celebs? Tbh I'm out of the loop with them :)

kpopandkimchi clipped in 1 collections
3 comments
I feel like American media is much more "accepting" of different body types, like each type is more celebrated. I do think high fashion (runway models) still has the "near anorexic" body image but even on america's next top Model they have all kinds of body types.
3 months ago·Reply
52
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Yeah like if you look up the 90s supermodels like Janice Dickenson and Naomi Campbell even on Wikipedia they have their measurements and they are super skinny.
3 months ago
Hey guys, I think I can give you a certain special outlook on American body expectations because (not to brag/show off) I'm a model here in the USA. I do mainly freeze modeling and runway modeling since I was in 4th grade. Just to give you an idea of what I look like and what my sizes are, Im 6ft tall (180cm), 153 pounds, 29" pant size. Medium in everything. Dress size 8.I have a couple pounds of obvious fat on my tummy, no thigh gap, and I rarely diet (if so out of health reasons). In America people always call me skinny, stick, slender, that they want my body, & if I mention I have a few unhealthy pounds I wanna lose, I'm immediately shut down. In August last year, I went to the Philippines and stayed there for a month, and let's just say.... Asia has COMPLETELY different standards. People called me fat over there all the time, if I said I need to lose weight, they agreed. At one point I was shopping for a weighing scale for my luggage, and the 3 or 4 staffs helping me insisted that I "try out" the scale in front of them. I didn't want to because I knew I was probably the heaviest person they'd ever met. Eventually I just stepped on the scale to get it over with, and when they saw the number, they all screamed in laughter, mouths open in shock. It made me realize how different the standards can be. A model in the USA is a pig in the Philippines. The Philippines has similar standards as South Korea, so it was very disheartening. I feel bad for all the youngsters in the Philippines and in South Korea that grow up thinking they're ugly or fat when in reality they're just normal and healthy. //disclaimer// I do not think I'm any better, more worthy, cooler, or prettier than anyone just because I model. I'm just trying to show something for the discussion. Please don't bash me or anything.
3 months ago·Reply
21
thats so true!! i've also seen people holding themselves and people of their race to a certain standard but not holding others to it (which is also maddening!?) Like, if a Chinese person had Beyonces curves they'd be considered obese, but beyonce isnt because she's chinese. The double standards are just as crazy :( i feel bad for people growing up under that pressure too
3 months ago
I agree with this, but I also think that a big part of the reason people in America are more accepting of different body types is because we're generally exposed to so many other differences (culturally, physically, religiously, etc.) that it would almost seem illogical to try and lump everyone into one image. in Korea, isn't the percentage of ethnicities other than korean in like, the single digits?
3 months ago·Reply
21
yeah i think non-koreans now make up 3%?
3 months ago