Star is a Korean pop singer who represents the ideal image of an idol for the nation’s standards. She excels at dancing, singing, and acting; she’s the visual focal point of her group, and her goal is to lure listeners in with her looks and personality.
It’s been almost a decade since I started listening to K-pop—and the genre has exploded in popularity in that same amount of time. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned a lot about what takes place behind the scenes. It’s such a demanding industry—artists are trained in dancing, singing, rapping, and performance for years with no actual promise of being debuted; in the process, they’re ranked and compared to other trainees. Upon their debut, stars are bound to venture into other industries like dramas, musicals, modeling, and songwriting. Days off are only allowed when you’ve made enough money. Idols are perennially objectified, too, as their physical appearance and personal relationships are publicly scrutinized.
I’ve started asking myself—to what extent do I support this industry and its values? These idols are dreamy, innocent, and talented, sure; but there are far darker factors playing into the industry beneath the surface.
By Clara Benecia