In Korea, there is no denying that there are strict and sometimes unrealistic expectations for beauty. In particular, the lengths and measures K-Pop agencies will go to ensure that idols have this specific look can be extreme. From diets, skin lightening, and plastic surgery, it seems as if anything but the “Korean Standard” is often looked down on.
However, aside from a small face, pale skin, and larger eyes, one vital criterion that is expected in Korean society is being slim. Regardless of your build or height, it is an expectation, and it is not unusual for those who don’t fit these requirements to struggle when buying clothing. It is only recently where certain brands have started to accommodate all sizes.
Recently, a TikTok video went viral after a user shared a video of his outings in Korea. User “ThizisDan” shared a video with the caption, “tbh I hate this side of my country #korea #lifeinkorea #weneedtochange #korealife #bodypositivity.”
There is wooden equipment in the video with writing on the top saying, “How is your belly fat doing?” The different ages on the top have gaps of different sizes that correspond to each category.
According to the words on the equipment, the user explained that it seemed to imply that the younger you were, no matter your circumstances, the thinner you had to be.
Unsurprisingly, he then went on the place his hand in the smallest gap and explained, “How are you even supposed to go through this?”
He then pointed out that it was extremely common on jogging routes in Korea, despite the shock many passersby might have. If the sizes of the gaps weren’t enough, as the ages and gaps got bigger, the final two had the words “Need to work out more” and “Need to work out hard” written on them.
When the video was shared, many left comments in shock at what they had just seen. In particular, those from Western countries couldn’t believe that items like that with those words would be on show for even young children to see.
However, others seemed less surprised and put it down to a more widespread issue in Korea in regard to the issue of body confidence and image.
It isn’t the first time that TikTok has shown the differences in beauty standards, as the differences in the platform in Korea and the US also showcase this.
With news of idols being made to lose weight through strict diets and being shamed if they are over a certain size, it seems as if this issue is more than just related to K-Pop. It is also extremely worrying that these are views that are also being publicized so openly, with people of all ages subject to seeing these expectations.
You can read more about the strict expectations of beauty in Korea below.