Lookism has been a consistent determinant of public image in Korean entertainment. On-line or on social media, celebrities are prone to receiving criticism on anything that can obtain intense scrutiny – from a slight weight achieve to a singular facial function. In return, responding towards the criticism is usually thought-about being a “rabid fan” on their half. With every event or efficiency onscreen, a star’s appearance is related to their professionalism and “worth” as a public determine.
This makes one’s reputation and appearance typically outweigh each other. Which means, if someone is in style “enough,” their outer look can definitely be an asset. Nevertheless, public approval could also be more durable to realize if one is considered gifted, however not engaging by “general standards.” Although, one other superstar could also be referred to as out for less than having their appearance to work with. In these ways, celebrities always wrestle with the public for a more humane impression.
The thought of lookism being perpetrated among celebrities is something new. Via a string of scandals this month, former Sechskies member Kang Sung-hoon has been in scorching waters for his previous remarks on junior idols’ appearances, together with a rumored beauty pageant and his use of an anonymous Naver ID online. All three of those scandals have involved lookism, both within and beyond the superstar business.
Back on Sunday, Might 12, a fan uploaded a video on YouTube that exhibits Kang comfortably conversing together with his followers. In it, he mentions that youthful idols are “horribly ugly,” notably when he sees them in the identical salon as him. He additional explains that idols have to be handsome and charismatic, although no one has managed to satisfy these requirements since TVXQ. If he have been to make an idol group, Kang would select based mostly on look – since that’s their “primary” objective. Although he has prevented naming anyone in specific, he didn’t say no when a fan mentioned BtoB.
Nevertheless, the higher points are his projection of lookism onto youthful idols as a senior determine and his open dialogue of a delicate matter together with his followers. Regardless of how snug a dialog can grow to be, exposing one’s personal thoughts as an older superstar determine is unwise.
On one hand, jokes on appearances have been widespread in public and idol-related selection exhibits. Forged members, MC’s, and even fellow group members have had situations once they would tease a star for this or that function. In these instances, seniority wouldn’t matter as a lot, because the goal of the scene is to entertain the viewers. Nevertheless, these are feedback made in regulated settings, probably with an unique script at hand and directors watching over the scene. Or, even if they are spontaneous remarks, the clips are solely released to the public upon editor approval.
Then again, making this commentary with shut followers is deviating from the skilled boundaries that come with being a star. This has to do with the viewers and context. It might be much less controversial for Kang Sung-hoon to have made these feedback to other comparable colleagues or household. But talking negatively about colleagues in the direction of their main audience compromises their image, as well as Kang’s skilled character. Finally, the superstar’s job is to entertain inside the boundaries of what they’re meant to point out. Something revealed past this function, particularly behind-the-scenes, calls for skepticism on whether it’s needed to say at all. On this case, projecting lookism onto condoning followers is to decide on an unreliable viewers who can hold him accountable in the longer term. Particularly if it entails the career success of younger, hardworking idols.
He additionally took to the Internet. In response to SBS funE, Kang as soon as left a comment beneath a Naver Blog submit to certify that it was him. Utilizing the ID “win8787,” netizens found that this consumer not only left degrading feedback on different celebrities (Kim Taewoo, G-Dragon, Rain, and so on) but in addition his personal members (Eun Jiwon, Jang Suwon, and Lee Jaejin). He hasn’t denied any of those claims up to now. Though, some netizens have argued that different feedback from this consumer, corresponding to “Kang Sung-hoon is so good-looking” or “There are thousands of fans waiting for Kang Sung-hoon” make it unattainable to be him. To be truthful, there’s all the time the potential of a fan feigning to be Kang Sung-hoon himself. Nonetheless, the consumer “win8787” referred to himself as “Hoony,” a nickname typically utilized by Kang together with his fans.
This concern also relates to the YouTube video in terms of context. Whereas Naver’s anonymity initially served as a justification to exert his freedom of speech, his cowl has been blown by way of the confirmation comment. Writing these thoughts on-line for anyone to see leaves behind a worse influence than personally partaking with a number of followers. It was not skilled of him to perpetrate lookism onto other celebrities in unregulated contexts the place the viewers has free access. Not only can the audience be swayed by Kang, however their reception of stated celebrities can change in itself – which is totally unwarranted from the view of those affected. Moreover, the act of degrading others while uplifting himself (on the same platform, no less) calls for an analysis on what his function is in spreading these feedback. Is it to actually be “transparent” together with his fans, or is it merely accomplished as a way to carry himself up?
Lastly, the rumored magnificence pageant. The same day the YouTube video was uploaded, a publish on group forum website “Kang Sung-hoon Minor Gallery” (platform: DC Inside) wrote a few fan café magnificence pageant that Kang himself held one summer time (the yr is unspecified). In line with Segye Ilbo, the submit described Kang’s strict commonplace to be a lady that was 165 cm, 50 kg on the most, and with lengthy straight hair (amongst other “rules”). Whoever didn’t match these necessities misplaced the round, although there supposedly was a victor. All this to say, though it hasn’t been confirmed, it hasn’t been denied by both followers or the alleged perpetrator himself.
In comparison with the previous controversies, this one may be extra subjective. In any case, one can simply view it as a fan event Kang has held upon everyone’s consent. The difficulty principally lies in the truth that even this activity supports the narrative of Kang absolutely prioritizing appearances off-screen. While this will not have been the only fan activity he ever held with fan café members, it’s value mentioning that he’d maintain a beauty pageant as a way to spend time with them. Which means, he ranked their seems to be in line with his requirements, with the individuals thought-about to be his supporters. Just the same, it was a personal event and perhaps it didn’t maintain a lot harm.
These controversies haven’t carried out a lot to raised his identify since his departure from Sechskies. Past controversies – the embezzlement of a fan club’s charity funds, and sustaining shut relations with a fan café administrator – prevented him from collaborating in an October live performance. Two months later, his contract with YG Entertainment was terminated. Following these events, fans and netizens have divulged these incidents that have further reflected on his character and professionalism.
Notably, all of those incidents have emphasised appearance. It remains questionable as to why it was such a standard apply for him. Notably as a senior figure, his fixation on lookism onto others have crossed boundaries between himself, colleagues, and followers. Though he is probably not solely answerable for his fans’ receptions, the position of artist versus fan does require professionalism and respect. Followers might be simply influenced to gloss over anything out of favor. In the video, the followers are heard laughing and agreeing with Kang as he brazenly puts down idols – which is disconcerting, yet not shocking.
Though lookism is an unavoidable a part of this business, Kang has taken it to the extremes by brazenly wanting down on those who don’t seem to “make the cut” based mostly on his requirements. The convenience and consistency in which he did so mirror on his priorities and normal of respect. His scandals are thus a double whammy – in his conduct as a senior in the business, and the way he has treated followers. As a public determine, he has perpetuated the ever-sensitive situation of lookism in the direction of the two crowds he ought to maintain duty in the direction of probably the most.
But, a dichotomy is shown here. Whereas most fans hold engaging celebrities up on a pedestal, Kang has been criticized for insinuating an analogous strategy inside the business. Perhaps this exhibits the general public’s underlying consciousness of the high competition in the business. It’s additional reflective of the aggressive environment – the need to stand out and be remembered, in any approach attainable. Because of the fast-paced circumstances of public interest, anything from seems to be to expertise, reputation to discography are used and probed to keep celebrities on the radar.
In doing so, there results a dehumanization of those public figures, whom one can easily overlook are the identical individuals as their shoppers. While this can be a widespread line of division between celebrities and the general public, the projection of lookism that Kang Sung-Hoon perpetrated inside the business itself is discouraging and slightly humiliating. The necessity to have gone this far to say himself only serves to point out that Kang Sung-hoon’s religion in his publicity solely lies in his appears – notably in comparison with others.
It is value questioning whether or not Kang’s string of scandals could have netizens look at the facility of lookism inside the business. Or, if it should tie in character and looks together, much more, to create the rising commonplace of requiring a “good impression” from all celebrities.
Sources: [Dictionary, MyDaily, OBS News, SBS FunE, Segye Ilbo, WikiTree; Images via YG Entertainment]