Idols promote themselves as attractive just as much as they claim to be talented. Completely unsurprisingly, sometimes their work to maintain their figure goes that extra mile, ending in a less-than-thrilling outcome for the idol in question. Another celebrity’s diet went wrong and G.NA dropped a bit more than normal, or 10 kg to be more specific. A nutritionist warned her she is dangerously thin and hinted she suffers from malnutrition, to which she hurried and responded to the merciful, understanding and worrying netizens that she’ll take better care of herself. Now the pop diva claims this happened because she used to eat a lot of junk food so, by trying to adopt a healthier attitude, she finished by eating too little. While I’m still doubtful there’s any possible way through which this could have conducted to such a dramatic weight loss, it’s her problem after all.
What I’ve found as questionable though was how people commenting on this issue seemed gullible. Most netizens’ response to body image issues lacked consistency. Aren’t these the same people who accuse celebrities for gaining weight in the first place? Those who complain more than often when someone is fat, though I don’t remember ever seeing on the K-pop scene anybody actually fat? Those that make a case out of bullying Song Hye Gyo for her weight although the girl was never fat?
Don’t get me wrong now. I don’t dislike the fact that in G.NA’s case, a nutritionist and her fans gave her a piece of good advice. But I think they’re heading a bit farther than that. A little earlier, my fellow-writer Dana mentioned also the dichotomy in discussing weight: on one hand, extreme diets, on the other, the fast metabolism excuse and how they offer too little of an insight about body issues in the K-pop realm. Fans advocate for thinness and fall for various ‘healthy’ excuses, while usually discouraging extreme measures, though the latter is most likely the real cause for weight loss.
These attitudes have shaped a preference for an effortless beauty. They don’t want their biases to work for perfection: they ask them to just be like that. They forget idols are still human. On the contrary, they should have a good figure and flawless silhouette without extra-work. The fuss around make-up-free photos, un-photoshopped material and before-and-after pictures proves how fans search for their authentic aspect and are thrilled when they find out that yes, their star really looks good. But a question naturally comes into the discussion: if beauty is a legitimate value and idols should receive praise for their looks, why aren’t they allowed to do anything about it? Why bashing plastic surgery and diets when it leads to acquiring the aspect you want a star to have?
Maybe because it isn’t beauty itself that is a value, but a unique type of beauty: the natural one. When an idol gets famous, the consensus is that by birth they are superior to the average human, including (or most of all) the exterior aspect. They indulge in believing they have mysterious ways in getting double eye-lids, staying thin and having an incredibly harmonious figure. Sure, maybe there is someone out there, lurking in the entertainment industry, who was born with double eye-lids, who indeed has a fast metabolism, whose nose has a perfect shape and possesses a V-line, beautiful lips, an outrageously healthy skin, a silhouette, long legs, symmetrical features for the face and body, silky and healthy hair and nicely shaped curves. But just how many people do you think they’ll fit this description? K-pop stars are rated based on their looks to the point where fans implicitly ask for idols to do something to look better, while overtly discouraging them from doing so. After confessing she went under the knife, Goo Hara revealed her feelings on the topic:
To say the truth if you are a female celebrity, you want to be called as beautiful by others. That was what I felt when I was young and I just made myself a little prettier.
There’s indeed a side in us that is attracted to physical beauty: there’s no shame in idols or in us for possessing a grain of vanity and shallowness. In other words, it’s great you find idols to be beautiful, but it’s less than OK to ask for it. It’s abnormal to pit one member of the group against another by asking them to rate themselves. It’s not necessarily the fact people find eye-candy appealing that is harmful, but the proportions the demand has reached. Furthermore, it’s incredibly hypocritical to cheer for them as they prettify your TV, just so you shame them right after for the means to achieve it. G.NA’s methods might have been unorthodox, but her diet was the result of the increasing public pressure.
Whether it’s about weight or appearance in general, the obsession with born-in features seems to be defied by some of the more outspoken celebrities. Brown Eyed Girls (excepting JeA), ZeA‘s Kwang-hee, UEE and Solbi confessed undergoing plastic surgery. Lee Hyori‘s happy to have a photoshopping crew, admitting that’s the cause for her stunning body in some photos. ‘Natural’ and ‘beautiful’ don’t always come together and it’s pointless searching for this goal. What would be a lot more helpful is reducing all these requirements from idols in terms of looks and maybe a better attempt at discussing body issues. So what do you think of favoring ‘natural’ beauties?