Toxic Beauty Standards Of The K-pop Community


Recently the k-pop community has been under blow for their unrealistic standards for their idols. Many international fans have noticed the pressure that is being placed on idols, specifically female idols, to fit into these strict beauty standards in order for them to be more appealing to Korean fans. Despite this just recently becoming relevant the issue of idols being forced to fit into a standard has been going on for years, Idols such as Jihyo of Twice and Hwasa of Mamamoo to be specific have been the victim of this.

In k- pop companies like to give people the idea that these idols are available, relatable, and dateable, to draw in more fans which leads to more money for the company. Because of this companies like their idols to be attractive. In Korea, women who fit the beauty standard often have a slim figure, small face, a v-shape jawline, pale skin, double eyelids, fair skin, and larger eyes. Idols like Irene and Sulgi from Red velvet and Jisoo from Blackpink fit this standard and are known as some of the most beautiful idols in the industry but there are other idols that don’t exactly fit this standard.

Before debuting in Twice Jihyo participated in a show called Sixteen where the lineup for Twice was being chosen. During her time on the show, her weight was constantly under fire, she was told by a staff member that she looked fat and she had to lose weight or she could lose her spot in the competition. Despite her weight seemingly holding her back she still managed to debut as the leader of Twice but the hate didn’t stop there. After the new group debuted critics started looking for reasons to hate on the members and they saw Jihyo’s weight as an easy target. She was bashed for her weight and visual appearance so much that she eventually went on a workout plan to help her lose weight and now she is known for having one of the best bodies in Twice along with main dancer Momo. But unlike Jihyo, Momo had to take a different route to lose weight.

In a V-live with her other members, main dancer Momo of Twice came forward about something she had experienced while at JYP, the company that manages Twice. Momo was told by staff that she had to lose 7kg (15.4 pounds) in a week or she wouldn’t be able to participate in their showcase. In that week Momo stated that she only ate one ice cube afraid she might get fat and said, “when I lay down on bed and try to sleep, I was scared that I might not wake up again. So I cried all of a sudden.” When the week was up Momo still had not reached her weight loss goal and was given three more days, after she had finally lost enough weight Momo said she ate like crazy but her appetite had decreased.

Idols should not have to deal with this sort of pressure to lose weight and they shouldn’t be fearing for their life because their companies made them go on harsh diets. There have been multiple instances where idols have had harsh restrictions in order for them to be seen as beautiful in the public eye. Some groups said they were weighed every day to make sure they maintained a certain weight, Moonbyul of Mamamoo was told to cover her face when she smiled or laughed because she smiled with her nose and her company found that unattractive, Jooe of Momoland was deemed the ugliest idol, a video clip shows Wendy of Red Velvet hesitating to eat because her manager is watching, and idols like Hwasa and CL were called overweight by many. Hwasa was even told by a teacher “you’re unique and sing very well but you’re fat and not pretty. ”

These idols go through years of training, have to constantly go on diets, get restrictions from their companies and they still get criticism from the people who claim to be their fans. In 2020 many idols such as Jeongyeon (Twice) and S. coups(Seventeen) came out and revealed that they were struggling with anxiety likely from the pressure being put on them all the time to be perfect.

The saddest part is that there are little girls and boys out there who look up to these idols wishing they could be as beautiful as them and as slim as them when this is a hard thing to achieve. Having a normal body type should be normalized in k-pop not only for the sake of the idols but for the sake of the kids and fans who are watching their favorite idols hoping they will one day look or be like them.