On the 8th of March 2017 Jung Chaeyeon from the KPOP (Korean Pop) girl group DIA revealed her worrying and severe weight loss. It is revealed that she had lost a lot of weight due to pressure from the KPOP industry and in South Korea in general. Chaeyeon has been starving herself to meet the beauty standards of the demanding KPOP world. This is due to consumer demands and beauty standards wanting KPOP idols to weigh around 45kg and no more than 65kg. The pressure is directed more at female idols like Chaeyeon. It has been discovered that idols have strict dietaries such as eating one sweet potato a day or only eating once a day and not eating anything after for the entire day.
Weight loss is a constant issue in Korean televison. There is a show called Hello Counselor where the guests who are not famous people came to seek help from the presenters of their show about everyday problems. One of the guests brought an issue about her being pressured to lose weight by her family and how it is stressful. One of the presenters who is a female and perceived as fat in Korea, commented on the guest’s weight and said that the guest was pretty when she was thin which had implied that she is ugly now that she is fat. It is a common statement that is given to overweight women in Korean. The problem here is that women, apart from media and entertainment companies, are also body shaming each other. Women, who are considered unattractive, work in the comedy section of entertainment industry to use their so-called flaws, like being overweight, to make jokes and get viewers laughing. They use themselves for people’s amusement.
Chaeyeon has reported to have eaten only soft tofu daily. She weighs, at the moment, 47kg. Chaeyeon has suffered from health issues such as blood pressures. It is important to note that KPOP idols on average attend 3 or 4 events per day and sometimes squeeze in a musical performance. This has resulted in idols fainting on stage and in need of medical assistance.
When one of KPOP’s biggest idols (Shindong from the boy group Super junior) was asked what he thought of fat women, he said that it is fine for men to be overweight but it is disgusting for women to be overweight.
Chaeyeon has shed some light on how demanding the KPOP industry is. She exposes the fact that these KPOP entertainment companies dictate what an idol is supposed to eat, wear, how they are supposed to talk and how to carry themselves. She and her entertainment company came to a solution. They will be monitoring her weight and making sure she eats enough food to sustain her and keep her healthy. However, this issue was over-looked by many people around the world. Body-image issues are very much alive in the KPOP industry causing idols such as Chaeyeon to fall into deep depression which could lead to suicides. Starving oneself is no taboo in Korea and it is much encouraged by people. Only time will tell if Chaeyeon will overcome her eating problems and body-image issues. It is surprising that her entertainment company is in favour of her gaining a bit of weight when most people know that idols are forced to lose. Time will tell if her entertainment company has the best interests for her.