Female body image has always been a policed issue in the K-pop industry. Many female idols are forced to conform to extremely strict standards of beauty, which has led to unhealthy dieting, excessive surgical modifications, and impacted mental health. Still, some idols are known for breaking free from those standards and empowered women in the industry as well as their fans. Here are five idols known for improving the female body image!
Hyolyn was a former member and leader of the girl group, SISTAR and their sub-unit SISTAR19. SISTAR from its beginning was a group that pioneered and promoted with the sexy concept. However, SISTAR was often the recipient of sexual objectification due to their suggestive lyrics, dancing, and stage costumes. Still, Hyolyn was able to rise above negative comments and continue pursuing what she loves most: being on stage. She proved to the public that she has both skills and looks when she placed second in the singing competition, “King of Mask Singer,” and finished third in “Unpretty Rapstar.”
When SISTAR disbanded in 2017, Hyolyn formed her own label where she gained more artistic freedom. Some of her greatest solo songs include See Sea and Dally. Though she received some hate for her sexy performance of Dally, netizens could not deny her amazing vocal stability and dancing skills.
Check out Hyolyn’s most recent release, Say My Name!
Jessi is a Korean-American rapper, singer, and songwriter who debuted in 2003. After a long hiatus, Jessi rose to great fame from her appearance on the first season of “Unpretty Rapstar.” Her famous quote, “We are not a team, this is a competition,” and her no-nonsense attitude made her an icon who shook up the industry standard for how celebrities should act.
Jessi has also been very open about her multiple plastic surgeries, including filler in her face and lips, and most notably her breast augmentation. However, on a recent episode of Radio Star, Jessi explained that she got her fillers dissolved and now loves her body for the way it looks now. She stated that she now realized that she could not be perfect, and is an advocate for people to love their bodies, whether they choose plastic surgery or not!
Hwasa is a singer, rapper, songwriter, and television personality as part of the girl group, MAMAMOO. When Hwasa first debuted in 2014, she received many negative comments from netizens, who maliciously claimed that her body type and skin tone were unfit for a female idol. Later on in her career, many people also criticized her for her revealing stage outfits, saying that she was taking her clothes off for the sake of fame, and expressed discomfort in seeing her appearances on stage.
In response to the criticism, Hwasa said that she was more confused rather than hurt by the comments. She felt like she had been the same person from before debut and up until now, so she didn’t understand why people were so disturbed. Hwasa once told the story that she was sent home from an audition once because the casting agents told her she was fat and not pretty. From then on, Hwasa was determined to create her own standard of beauty, and encouraged MooMoos to be themselves and love their bodies since extreme dieting is not good for the mind or body.
Jamie, formerly known as Park Jimin, is best known as the winner of the first season of “K-Pop Star,” and officially chose to sign with JYP Entertainment. She debuted in a duo with Baek Yerin called 15&, but the group disbanded after she left JYP. When she signed a contract with Warner Music Korea earlier in 2020, Jimin changed her stage name to Jamie, her English name since she was young, indicating her new direction in pursuing music.
When Jamie appeared on “Good Girl,” she expressed that she wanted to show more sides of her instead of being limited to her appearance singing “Rolling in the Deep” on “K-Pop Star.” According to Jaimie, she is no longer the same innocent girl from “K-Pop Star,” and she wanted to show her new image as Jamie, which she accomplished through a sexy introductory performance of “Gangsta” by Kehlani.
Jamie recently released a single titled, “Numbers” in collaboration with Changmo, expressing that her confidence is not derived from views or follower count, but rather her passion for music.