f(x)'s Amber And AleXa Talk About The Pressures On K-Pop Idols, Stigma Against Mental Health And More

In a recent segment conducted by CBS This Morning, the network visited the dark side of K-Pop, and all the problems within it.

They started out by highlighting the impact of K-Pop brought along by groups such as BTS and BLACKPINK, and said that while K-Pop is extremely loved, the public often only sees one side of it, and not the other.

2019 Variety's Hitmakers Brunch

 

They spoke about the passing of two K-Pop stars in less than 2 months, Sulli and Goo Hara, and how even though they were both part of very popular and loved groups, they were still targeted by extreme hate and negative comments that ultimately had a detrimental effect on their mental health. They also mention how perfection is a must in K-Pop; whether it be discipline, performance, or looks.

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f(x)‘s Amber, Sulli’s former member and friend, supplements these views about the downsides of the industry. She talks about the standard of perfection expected, such as being told what to do, what to say, and what to think by the company in order for them to create the perfect idol. She also reveals that as an idol trainee, you can get cut for the simplest of reasons such as not being up to a certain weight ideal, and that mental health stigma is a very difficult battle to fight.

 

If you aren’t under a certain weight, then you can definitely get cut [from being an idol]. You’re told what to do, what to say, what to think.

When they [society] hear that you’re getting help, they’re like, “What? Why’re you getting help? That’s weird.” And that stigma against mental health is just so strong.

—Amber

 

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The network then focuses on South Korea’s mental health taboo, where people are still afraid to talk about it, which results in limited resources to get help. Newly debuted K-Pop artist AleXa, talks about how K-Pop artists are called “idols” because they’re held to a high standard, and also talks about struggling to find self-love amidst all the criticism.

 

They’re called “idols” because they’re put on this pedestal of kind of untouchable perfection, I guess, in the public’s eyes, in the consumer’s eyes.

I myself have struggled with self-confidence for years and finding the capability to love myself, but I have recently stumbled upon that.

—AleXa

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AleXa then gives an example of the pressure K-pop idols face almost daily, by detailing the shooting process for the MV filming of her debut song “Bomb”.

 

The music video took two days to film, 24 hours each day, almost. With like, six costume changes. Also, six or seven set changes.

—AleXa

 

The video ends on a slightly hopeful tone, by talking about how cyberbullying is finally being taken seriously in South Korea.

After Sulli’s passing, the Korea Entertainment Management Association sought to weed out malicious commenters and aim to have them punished. Sites like Naver have also removed their comments section in order to help aid in the fight against malicious comments.

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Amber reveals that sometimes she wonders why she’s still in the industry despite the horrors within it. But she still keeps going forward, for the friends that she has lost.

 

I feel that the easiest thing that we all can do; that everyone can do, is to try to be kind to one another.

—Amber

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You can watch the video here:


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