Unfortunately, certain double standards for female K-Pop idols still exist no matter how hard we all fight against them. Sometimes, ladies in the K-Pop world have it a lot harder than do boys.
1. When HyunA Grazed Her Hand Over Her Own Body
HyunA has always been Korea’s top sexy icon. So while most of her fans are comfortable with her going on stage in risqué outfits and showing off racy dance moves, haters still lose their minds over it. When HyunA performed at an event held by the Seoul National University of Science and Technology, she sizzled the audience by wearing a simple, sexy bralette and caressing herself throughout the performance. Just the outfit itself received a tremendous amount of criticism, and when she playfully grabbed her breast, things blew up.
The truth is there is minimal to no hate when it comes to male idols taking off their shirts and grabbing wherever they would like. There are abs being flashed all over the place and crotches being grabbed like no big deal — and most importantly, there is no “hot debate” or shame about such performances.
2. When Irene Read A Bestseller
Red Velvet‘s Irene was heavily criticized and bullied after pointing out she read “Kim Ji Young, Born 1982”, a book that well describes Korea’s current progress in feminism. She had to see her so-called-fans destroy her pictures by cutting them up or even setting them on fire, all because she read a feminist book. In fact, when it comes to “voicing”, Irene isn’t the only one shamed for even hinting at the idea of having her own opinion. Suzy, AOA‘s Seolhyun, and Apink‘s Naeun all had to publicly apologize for speaking about feminism or what they believe to be good and right.
Of course, when BTS‘s RM said he read “Kim Ji Young, Born 1982”, he was praised for staying aware and interested in current issues. Fans commented RM is a smart idol for reading a lot of books from various authors.
3. When Krystal Looked Slightly Bigger
Weight gain is perhaps one of the most frequent shame factor for a lot of female K-Pop idols. When Krystal was spotted at the airport, looking “fatter” than usual, haters ran wild with extreme criticism about her appearance.
Again, being seen with a few pounds added isn’t only Krystal’s problem. Red Velvet’s Seulgi was criticized when she grew mildly chubbier around her cheeks. DIA‘s Chaeyeon endured severe mockery and criticism when she debuted for her “un-girl group-like figure”. It is no surprise for girl group members to be called “pigs”, “elephants” or “cows” when they gain some pounds. Weight gain could ruin these girls’ careers, no matter how talented. Apink’s Eunji, Ailee, former After School‘s Uee, and most of the girl group population went through weight loss and stressed over remaining extremely slim.
No male idol has been fat-shamed so outrageously though. In fact, some male idols have been able to promote without much criticism, even without the “perfect physique”. Most are able to portray their weight-gain as “cute” and move on.
4. When Hyejeong Held A Spoon Like A Cigarette
Haters had a blast mocking AOA‘s Hyejeong when she (possibly habitually) held a spoon as she would a cigarette. Especially because female smoking is still frowned upon in Korea, she was widely criticized for smoking, though unverified. Since then, Hyejeong has been involved in all kinds of rumors accusing her of being a heavy smoker since high school days and heard some extreme malicious comments calling her “kkolcho (꼴초, a derogative way of calling someone a heavy smoker)”. This, inevitably, brought some negative affect to her girl group career, as K-Pop girl groups are often expected to be flawless.
There are several male K-Pop idols who smoke. While fans worry about their health, none shame them for the actual behavior. Most comments ask the male idols to take care of their health, while almost none of them are called out for being a “kkolcho” or impacted reputation-wise.
5. When Gyuri Used to Call Herself A Goddess
Remember back in the days when KARA‘s Gyuri shocked the nation with her unprecedented concept of “beautiful & confident”? Haters were not ready to handle her. When Gyuri went on different TV programs, calling herself a gorgeous princess, she received an unexpected amount of hatred from people who found her confidence shame-worthy. She was soon titled Korea’s top “Gongju-byeong (공주병, a princess disease)” patient, a term made up to mock female confidence as being self-conceited and obnoxious. Even though she had all the right to be as confident and in love with herself as she was, Gyuri was thought be a “patient” and her character was not well received for a long time.
While the pressure for female K-Pop stars to remain modest about their looks still remain somewhat present in the industry, things went quite differently for male idols who tried out the “extremely confident” concept. Super Junior‘s Heechul has always regarded himself as the “Universe’s Biggest Star” and not once got shamed about it. BTS’s Jin is the new “Worldwide Handsome” and fans appreciate his level of self-love. Male K-Pop idols can always call themselves “princes” and receive nothing but agreement.