For many years, we’ve seen our most favorite artists come on the radio, TV, internet, and more. We adore some while abhor some; most of the times based on reasons we never know to be true. We consider these people to be beings above the normal human being and hold them to higher standards. We peek into their personal lives through tabloids and internet gossip. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be one of them?
When we think of being famous, we only think of the good things that could come out of them. We dream that we’d be able to voice our own opinions and make millions of dollars producing songs that sound like garbage. We dream of the extravagant life style that embodies many celebrities around us, but we hardly ever see the dark, gloomy side that may follow.
We expect them to be perfect in every way and criticize them to death when we see a minor slip. I’m not sure how severe this is in the US, but the KPOP industry is something I consider to be extreme. Growing up in the Korean community has brought much of this to light, and yet I continue to do the same thing everyone else does. If there is one thing that I do consider to be a disgusting practice in the Korean community today is the gigantic influence of internet users who have been labeled as netizens. In Korea, criticism to death is literal and Kpop stars are gods; any kind of defamation of these stars from non-fans results in what could be a demolished car or physical as well as internet harassment. It’s deplorable and I think it needs to be confronted.
Going back a few years, I remember there was this celebrity that I used to follow on dramas and TV shows only to find out that she suddenly dropped off the face of the earth. A few months later, it’s in the news that she had hung herself in her own room due to the constant criticism she faced on internet blogs as well as clubs. There was physical harassment as well as cyber harassment and ultimately, it led to her taking her own life.
KPOP idols are on constant schedules with lack of sleep and a constant need to be on camera. Showing any kind of exhaustion or complaint results in being cut from a program leading to less money and something similar to a blacklist around the networks. As happy as they may seem on camera, I would imagine some resent the fact that they’re where they are now. Singing to pursue a dream probably became tedious work while letting go of a passion. Money comes and goes like the seasons. These people make a fraction of what American celebrities make. The constant need to please their fans on stage as well as off probably becomes a great stress. Having entered the market at an early age, they’ve probably been robbed of what could be a decent education as well as a childhood.
We look at these so-called perfect people on TV and expect what is perfect. We no longer see them as human beings any more and expect the work of gods to be produced. A slip up here and there is considered catastrophic while we normal people fall over too many times for us to even count. It’s great to appreciate their work and love what they produce but in the end they are people too. They are people who make mistakes, who like hanging out with friends, who like to go on dates, and so on. Being famous is great, but the price to pay for it in Korea is just too big. You’d believe that Miley is getting a lot of heat for the performance she had, but if one of the KPOP stars had done something like that, their career would be over. It wouldn’t end there; they’d also probably be ostracized by the community.
Why have they turned to plastic surgery? I guarantee you it’s not purely based on the fact that they’re unhappy with themselves. An ugly person can go viral in seconds on the internet in Korea just because of the fact that he/she is ugly. As a person or a star, you don’t want such things. The fact that they had surgery will pass by and be nothing but noise later, but being ugly is like committing a sin over there. If you’re fat, you’ve committed some sort of blasphemy. Image control has stopped being for health reasons, rather it is a way to avoid the wrath of those who like to sit behind computers and rant about stuff they don’t have while desiring or doing exactly the same things they criticize.
It’s a despicable practice. As much pride I have in being Korean, this is one of the things about the society that drives me insane. Granted your opinions are your opinions and you have very much the right to express them, but when they become the cause of suicide or self-hate you’re no longer entitled to that right. The moment your words have pushed someone to the limit and caused them to jump, you’re committing murder. Does that seem extreme? Maybe so but that’s how much of an impact your words may have. It’s no longer a laughing matter because this has happened more than once in Korea. Has it changed anything? No. It’s still rampant and they believe its right. Fans rally around their favorite groups and will willingly attack those who may even voice the slightest criticism. There’s only so many places these people can run to; people report every single moment of their lives and deprive them of having what could be a fulfilling life.
I’m sure I’ll have much criticism for what I’ve written here as well but my opinion is my opinion and I feel safe writing it here. Seeing the Korean community as it is now disappoints me as a Korean native and can only hope that it will change in the years to come.