5 K-pop idols slammed by fans for body shaming group members

Kep1er's Yeseo teasing Hikaru about her weight (Image via YouTube)

K-pop idols wishing to debut in the Korean music industry must always expect unsaid strict rules from their agencies. Since fans idolize K-pop stars, they are not only considered to be paragons of virtue and everything good but also maintain an idealized body throughout their careers.

Body shaming is an inherent part of many Asian cultures, specifically industries that market unrealistic physical beauty standards. Even top idols such as Yoona and Wonyoung have faced criticism for their bodies, despite having slim figures.

To achieve such a feat, many K-pop idols have resorted to extreme diets to lose weight. By doing this, they ensure that they are not on the receiving end of criticism from their companies or hateful vitriol from trolls and netizens.

Although things are changing rapidly and fans are becoming more aware of issues related to body shaming, many K-pop idols continue to joke about weight, mostly without malice. They do this because the stars feel comfortable with their members and are habituated to using that language among each other.

However, this can be triggering for fans who might see it as an attack on themselves, which is why many K-pop idols have been asked not to make unsavory jokes about their weight in public. Here are a few K-pop idols who faced the wrath of fans for their comments about a group member’s weight.

Stray Kids, Sunghoon, and 3 other K-pop idols who were called out by fans for body shaming fellow group members

1) Lucas

NCT, WayV, and SuperM member Lucas has been embroiled in multiple controversies ever since his debut as a K-pop idol. However, his allegedly fatphobic comments towards WayV member Kun have landed him in hot waters with fans.

Lucas’ constant referral of Kun as “fat Kun” and making jokes about his physique being “on the heavier side” have upset fans about his personality off camera. Fans were disappointed in him because, despite Kun being slim, he was subjected to fatphobic comments from Lucas. They were scared to imagine what other names he could be calling overweight fans behind closed doors.

2) Sunghoon

ENHYPEN has been repeatedly called out by ENGENES for poking fun at Sunoo’s weight. Despite the K-pop idol having a well-built body, most members refer to him as an "elephant" or even try to get him to stop eating and encourage his diet.

During a V LIVE broadcast, Sunoo shared a story as to how teammate Sunghoon would exclaim he’d been hit by a boar whenever Sunoo would bump against him. These comments can be taken as light jokes among people who are close to each other. However, the constant weight jokes targeting one member became displeasing for fans, and they even trended the hashtag #apologisetosunoo for this incident.

3) Jisung

NCT DREAM’s Jisung is a repeat offender when it comes to making comments about fellow member Haechan’s body. In the past, he has been slammed by fans for making colorist remarks about the K-pop idol. However, Jisung continued to make those jokes.

He’s also openly joked about Haechan’s weight. When Renjun praised the latter’s weight loss on a V LIVE broadcast, Jisung was quick to joke, saying that he doesn’t think that is the case. Although some fans believe bickering among members who are close to each other is normal, the constant comments about Haechan’s skin color and weight upset a lot of fans who relate to him.

4) Stray Kids

Stray Kids members came under fire from Stays for being fatphobic towards Changbin. The K-pop idol has recently gained a lot of muscle and has showcased a new buff side, which is being praised by most fans.

However, his fellow members keep poking fun at his eating habits and weight as a joke that is triggering to fans. Bang Chan has been seen jokingly telling Changbin to stop eating a lot. Even Felix was under fire for jokingly calling Changbin big in an overweight sense rather than muscular, which is what Seungmin meant.

Jokes like these are common among members, and they have specified that they don’t make jokes that make the other person uncomfortable. However, fat jokes also affect their fans, who start questioning their bodies and how their favorite idols would view them.

5) Yeseo

Kep1er member Yeseo was seen body shaming Hikaru in one of the Kep1us episodes. She stated that as soon as Hikaru entered the elevator, it made a beep sound which could only mean that the K-pop idol was heavy.

Hikaru looked flabbergasted and instantly denied it. Although both members laughed about it, fans found Yeseo’s joke about Hikaru’s weight unnecessary and distasteful, as the latter has been under constant criticism for her weight since her Girls Planet 999 days.

A few K-pop idols have tried to go against the bubble of a perfect image that surrounds most idols, but they were met with intense hate and criticism from the public. Sulli was one such idol who did not uphold the strict norms asked of idols and dressed the way she wanted to. However, throughout her life, she was constantly picked on by trolls and the Korean public.

More awareness should be spread about the harm that fatphobic jokes can cause to both idols and fans within the K-pop industry and the general public as well.

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Edited by Priya Majumdar