Feminism remains a taboo subject in Korea, but that hasn’t stopped some idols from expressing their support for gender equality in different ways.
Being associated with feminism can often be detrimental to one’s career, if not an outright life-threatening risk. The sexism debate has seen many people in the public sphere be accused of being ‘anti-male,’ which is the meaning that many people infer from the word ‘feminism.’ It has also led female K-Pop idols to be unfairly shamed for things that male idols often do without consequence.
As a result, it is not often that public figures openly embrace feminist views, even if they do so in private. Yet, despite the risks, here are 10 K-Pop idols who have publicly shown their support for feminism!
1. All the members of MAMAMOO
MAMAMOO have proven several times over that they are a group that means to change things for the better. Whether it’s by fearlessly embracing body hair…
Wheein proudly embracing her body hair is so empowering and beautiful pic.twitter.com/m3QHX5NSdC
— Naya (@queens_mmm) November 8, 2020
…or actively disregarding gender norms, MAMAMOO have proven they are unapologetically feminist!
MAMAMOO Moonbyul wearing traditional male clothings pic.twitter.com/KtuMmw8BSI
— ❖Cruzabeth Yong (@mmm4plus) September 12, 2020
2. ATEEZ’s San
San gained praise from ATINYs when he showed support for Olympic archer An San, who received backlash from male extremists as they alleged that she had used a misandrist term. San not only expressed support for her but also went on to use the term himself, seemingly using his platform to call attention to the issue.
san used the same word that an san is being attacked by misogynists: 오조오억
it looks like he is using his platform to speak up about this issue. that's why they said 산돕산 (san helping ansan)
so take this as you would like
BUT I AM IN LOVE WITH CHOI SAN❤ pic.twitter.com/JjYHnQswQA
— ⛈ (@sansikcheo) July 30, 2021
Jessi is easily one of the main game-changers in the industry. From being open about her plastic surgery and her body to expressing loving support for all her female idol friends, Jessi is paving the way in K-Pop!
4. Red Velvet’s Irene
Irene famously got into hot water with her male fans after she read a ‘feminist’ book. The book in question, Kim Ji Young, Born 1982, explores the patriarchal nature of South Korean society, which elicited severely negative reactions from South Korean men when it was published. Yet, despite the fact that Irene was so heavily criticized for reading it, the fact that she was open about it led the book to become a bestseller!
5. BTS’s RM
Like Irene (and a few other celebrities), RM also read Kim Ji Young, Born 1982. In fact, he found it so thought-provoking that it has been a mainstay in his list of book recommendations ever since. Interestingly enough, reading this book caused RM, Irene, and other celebrities to be labeled as ‘verified feminists’ on an anti-feminist website (which was eventually taken down)!
6. ATEEZ’s Hongjoong
Hongjoong has always made it his mission to be an empathetic and inclusive artist, which many ATINYs greatly appreciate. From being a strong supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community to challenging gender norms, Hongjoong makes everyone feel safe and seen.
hongjoong i LOVE YOU SO MUCH pic.twitter.com/qpsFYFOdmy
— utopia (@mingihs) July 16, 2022
7. Red Velvet’s Joy
Joy once came under fire for showing her feminist leanings by wearing a shirt that said “We should all be feminists.” Despite that, it wasn’t the only time she expressed feminist views!
8. NCT 127’s Yuta
Yuta once gained praise for hilariously calling out his fellow guests on the variety show Abnormal Summit when they began listing the countries with the most beautiful women.
On 'Abnormal Summit' they were arguing about which country has the most “beautiful women” and Yuta asked them if they only care about lookspic.twitter.com/NKgs6nkpJK
— ⭐️ (@wayvtaeil) March 3, 2020
Not only that, but he also spoke on the issues that can arise from raising children to adhere to strict gender roles.
Yuta talking about gender roles 💌 pic.twitter.com/M7OzhLnMfb
— yuta loops (@loopsyuta) September 22, 2017
9. All the members of (G)I-DLE
(G)I-DLE’s latest comeback album, I Never Die, is arguably a feminist album. After all, the ‘G’ was removed from the group’s name in the album cover, which leader Soyeon explained represents the group’s choice to do away with constricting gender roles.
What we want to convey is that we don’t attribute our actions to gender or age. Because I’m me is why I am, and why I act the way I do.
Moreover, Shuhua recently gained praise after she fearlessly expressed her anger at the male perpetrators of an assault in China that went viral.
Her comments had such conviction that netizens wondered if it was okay for her to say such things as an idol. Yet, according to Shuhua, she has no intention of holding back her honesty.
10. THE BOYZ’s Kevin
Kevin has openly been an LGBTQIA+ ally for years. Not only that but has also been known to make many ‘feminist’ comments and jokes that fans have continually praised him for.
— kevin letting us know that is okay to wear makeup if we want to, even when we don't need to bc it's our form of expression pic.twitter.com/aRVXPYyu9P
— 𝒌𝒂𝒐𝒓𝒊 ֶָ֢֪ 🦇 sector 17 (@SVTDlNO) June 19, 2020
— a short compilation of kevin hyping up woman and loving how empowered a woman can be
kevin moon feminist pic.twitter.com/Bi7QrL084d
— 𝒌𝒂𝒐𝒓𝒊 ֶָ֢֪ 🦇 sector 17 (@SVTDlNO) June 19, 2020