Noona’s Nuances

Safeguarding the Mental Health of Future K-Pop Artists

Groundbreaking news in the K-Pop industry! South Korea has just enacted a historic legislation titled, ‘Seoul City Ordinance on the Protection and Support of the Rights of Youth Culture and Art Performers ,’ which aims to protect the physical and mental well-being of future K-Pop artists. This legislation will help the country protect idol trainees facing situations such as forced weight loss and plastic surgery in the wake of unrealistic beauty standards rampant in the industry.

Many idol trainees begin their journey when they’re young teens where they must face many stressors from countless auditions, sleepless nights, and the pressure to debut in a highly competitive industry which can take quite a toll on their physical and mental health. For instance, TWICE’s Momo  revealed her excruciating weight loss story, eating nothing but an ice cube a day because she was told to lose 15 pounds in one week in order to debut. EXO’s Xiumin has revealed how he ate one meal every other day and only drank coffee all the time.  These are just two examples among what can be assumed are many other heart wrenching experiences that idols have faced in the world of K-Pop.

Given the heavy competition, many idol trainees often do not succeed in debuting as part of a group despite putting in all that effort. For trainees that do debut, there are some who are unable to produce the expected results. Thankfully, this new revolutionary legislation will include offering mental health resources such as counseling for idol trainees who are unable to debut or continue in the industry

It’s no secret that the K-Pop industry, let alone the entertainment industry in South Korea, is facing a mental health crisis. More idol trainees, as well as celebrities and well-known K-Pop artists, are coming forward about their mental health struggles. This new legislation is an important step forward in addressing mental health and mental illness in South Korea.