Acknowledge, address, help treat. Yes. But also prevent. And this needs a lot of change. Not only from entertainment companies, but also from those crazy fans and knetizens who have illogical demands from idols and actors.
First of all the artists have to look perfect and flawless in every way. Wild on stage but respectful and formal in interviews. This is more or less true for entertainers all over the world but in Korea it goes to extremes, reminding one of the Hollywood of the '30s, '40s and '50s - where artists routinely turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with the pressure. But we’re not in the '40s and '50s right now. We’re talking about today!
Any dating is frowned upon, it’s called a “scandal”,. Maybe not on the same level as drugs, rape, assault and so on, but surely with the same career-ruining potential. The moment they are in a relationship, their popularity drops, fans feel betrayed (as if he was their husband), are sad instead of happy and you read people commenting (these are from timed comments here at viki):
“When I see him in a drama, I feel no chemistry with the leading woman” (Bride of the Water God) - real life relationship was broken after this.
“Oh, look at this kiss: her boyfriend will be nervous” and later on “Oh, now I see why she broke up with her boyfriend” (While You Were Sleeping).- real life relationship was broken after this.
“Oh, what is her husband thinking of this?”(Legend of the Blue Sea)
Because fans, no matter how many times you tell them the loving gazes between co-stars are fake, are acting, still they don’t want to believe it!
Many celebrities have plainly stated that the would never reveal their relationship to protect their mate. This means a very stressful double life, where you are not free to do the simplest of things like take a walk together.
In other cases, it has been plainly stated that a relationship was broken because of public pressure from fans and netizens.
If it is revealed that they are dating or marrying, they have to write letters of excuses to the fans, pledging to make more of an effort to be a better actor to compensate for their crime.
In few words, fans expect their idols to stay virgins until the age of 35 when they will marry and their career will basically fizzle off. These girls are not interested in ajussis anyway, so they can marry if they want and play second lead roles in films every now and then. Yes, Ji Sung, Namgung Min and Lee Sun Gyun still get leading romantic roles, but that’s because they are so very great actors, and they are not the norm.
How incredibly crazy is that?
Is it then so strange that many turn to prostitutes, to one-night-stands with fans or strangers met in bars?
And then… sexual orientation:
Idols are expected to look sexually ambiguous with female makeup and extravagant clothing, and do, as “fanservice”, lewd homosexual gestures and even give deep kisses (with tongue and all) to their fellow band members on stage. This drives female fans wild (for some mysterious reason).
BUT if an entertainer is really gay and it becomes publicly known, lo and behold, his career will be over! How hypocritical is that? Force straight people to act as gay and deny gay people to be what they are?
Add to all this the pressure to succeed and to keep yourself on the top, when every year there are many new, fresh faces coming up, many of them talented, who potentially can steal your spot.
Entertainers in Korea live in a really crazy atmosphere, full of incredible pressure from all sides and they have to act all day long to preserve a certain image. They can be themselves only when they go back home to sleep.
How can you treat depression when the causes of this depression are still there? A psychologist would try to teach them ways to cope with the pressure, but the only way to escape it right now is to abandon this job altogether - which of course most of them won’t be willing to do, because fame and money and sometimes even artistic goals are the reason they went into it in the first place.
Thank you for your well thought out response. I agree with so many of your points.
Yes I wish that the singers find someone to love no matter who they are. I think it is very hard in kpop because straight men are suppose to act bi and bi and gay men aren’t suppose to let people know they aren’t straight. As a really old kpop fan 56 I feel sometimes that the fan service is a bit much. It messes with their minds. They aren’t suppose to date but they are suppose to dance sexy and have 1,000 of fans screaming when they do. Not many 20 something men are not going to react to that kind of attention. It is just being human.
Are you implying that the one who died recently was gay as well? There was no word about it wherever I searched. Not even those blogs and forums which are discussing expressly the “who is, who isn’t” matter about Korean entertainment. They just said he once showed support to a female trans student who was harrassed and got criticized by an ultra-conservative website, but his fans fought for him. That’s all. Being supportive of LGBT people doesn’t mean you necessarily are one too.
I’m not saying he surely wasn’t, of course, how could I know? -but I’m wondering where did you get the info.
There is actually another petition which is to stop the debuting of under age children which might be closer to what you are talking about. I agree that if teenagers were treated today in the U.S. like the trainees it would be considered child abuse. That is why so many grown adults are coming out now in the U.S. to say this happened to me. I don’t know if he was abused or not I mean sexually mentally and emotionally highly probable. I have several theories that might explain his depression but since I did not know him personally I won’t say. I do want to do a detailed petition but I did not want to be in conflict with the existing one and I see the existing petition as the first step. I think there will be many people addressing the work environment issue in the near future. I also would like to address the fans’ responsibilities to the singers not to add additional burdens by inflicting criticism upon them as well as crossing boundaries of appropriate behaviors and speech toward the singers. I think I am wording this weird but it’s late.
No way of knowing. I think that even if a kpop singer is straight he has to muzzle his beliefs, feelings and thoughts. They have to speak what they know they need to say. You could see how difficult it was starting to get for BTS in some of the interviews. In the U.S. artist can speak with relative ease maybe too much sometimes but it mostly blows over after a period of time. I think of course people in the creative fields like music are going to be more open to gay, bi, etc. people even if they are straight themselves. I think there is way too much time spent trying to figure out what different singers sexual preferences are and I am not so much a fan of the fan writing putting group members together as a couple.
This won’t work. You cannot begin dance or musical training at 18, it’s much too late! In fact even 14 or 15 is quite late for dance and for musical instruments, although it is the right age for singing because that’s when the voice is stabilized, especially for males.
Of course, one could and should improve the living and training conditions of trainees. But to become a musician or a dancer or an athlete is and has always been hard work even if you live with your parents at home.
I don’t know your age, but maybe you have heard of the Nadia Komaneci scandal, where she revealed how Olympic athletes were trained in the (then) USSR? And others have come out after her, telling similar stories. Being starved and overworked, deprived of even water before competitions because every gram of body weight counted. To the point of their trainer making them pregnant (and then of course forcing them to have abortions) because pregnancy increases flexibility.
Of course these are extreme examples, but for anyone wanting to become a professional performer, many many hours of training per day are a given. Even if it’s only one thing, like the piano or dance.
So if you have to become both a musician/singer and a dancer, plus learn languages plus also take acting lessons, it is a given that you’re signing up for even harder work.
You are right training has to start early but under decent conditions. I think the key is that there should not be over the top expectations like having to under go plastic surgery at a young age. I think that can play with the mind. It is like saying you are not good enough. I am not opposed to plastic surgery for maybe a jaw line that is off like coming out too far. Also, the emphasis should be more on healthy eating versus low caloric low grain but that is also somewhat a societal issue. Good mental health care by a professional who does not have ties or allegiance to the companies so the singers can speak openly about their issues without fear having repercussions. On the starving part I did hear of some kpop singers who were under a now defunct company only getting one meal a day. I don’t know if there is an easy fix but I think there should be some basic logical standards for their work environment.
Watch all the youtube videos of his shows mainly from the Philippines. They don’t have english subtitles but you see the names there.
I guess I’m assuming this, when I saw him in a video rolling the tongue, kissing another guy passionately in the mouth not once, but several times. I double, triple check to make sure it was him bc Siwon does that too.
Yes this disgusting fanservice thing. But I am pretty sure that if he was really gay he wouldn’t do it openly, for fear of being exposed.
Of course we can never know, we’re not in their minds and hearts.
Well, they are also attacked for dating girls, for dating generally.
Of course he was one of those who overdid the fanservice. It was really disgusting, for whatever reason it was done. But it does seem that many Asian fans like this stuff, for some mysterious reason. They even write web novels about the idols in boy bands having love and sex relationship among them. I think it’s called “yaoi” or something. It will remain a mystery to me.
If you go to youtube and search for BL (boy love) videos you will see most commenters are women. I watched excerpts of some of those on an idle day, to see what they are, and why would a woman like watching them. So they are like romantic comedies, very cliché, everything similar to k-drama only less well-made. Only the poor innocent girl who meets an arrogant and dashing chaebol is not a girl but a boy. Otherwise they are exactly the same, and just as cheesy. (I had to skip a lot, mostly the actors are horrific!) Some of them have a little more skinship and even a glint of sex compared to films with female heroines, but others don’t even have that, so I really can’t see why these female fans go crazy about such things. I’m more than certain that if they learned that their boyfriend has cheated on them with another guy they would get super pissed.