Recently, there was an article written covering fans’ displeasure at BEAST member Hyunseung concerning his allegedly half-hearted attitude and his activity on the photo-sharing platform Instagram. For this editorial though, we will be focusing on the latter and exploring the question: Should K-Pop idols express their sexuality openly?
For those unfamiliar, the Instagram activity in question concerns that Hyunseung follows two accounts that often post sexualised imagery that usually involves a lot of nudity, especially concentrated on female bottoms and breasts. Many fans found it inappropriate of the idol to follow such pages as he is someone who is likely to have a lot of very young fans who may inadvertently be exposed to the content.
One stance to take on this argument could be the rather coldly scientific and factual one. Most humans (excluding those of us that are asexual, of course) have sexual urges. You will not need (nor want, presumably) me to go into detail here, I am not a sex education teacher – but it is often said that these needs push us on to procreate and, thus, survive as a species. In other words, it is a natural part of most of our lives. So it begs the questions: why should anyone hide it? And why should we act as if it is not there and be ashamed of it? It could be argued that idols like Hyunseung should not be criticised for expressing themselves in a way they wish to, idols are also human after all.
However, there is also the point that Hyunseung is a public figure and should, therefore, be careful about what he says and does. K-Pop idols are often held to a very high standard and have many strict rules to follow. As aforementioned, he is someone who will also likely have some very young fans that should not be exposed to adult content. It could also be suggested that sexual matters should always be kept private, especially by those who could be said to be setting an example for young people. When you are an idol in Korea, you have an image to uphold and are often expected to remain respectful and ‘proper’ at all times. It could be argued that Hyunseung’s following of adult content on a public social networking platform is going against that.
Yet another argument that could be offered on the opposing side is that idols are often sold as sexualised beings anyway. BEAST’s Hyunseung himself is the perfect example of this, as he is half of the duo Trouble Maker alongside 4Minute’s HyunA. The two are often sold on the fact that their concepts are loaded with sexuality and sexual tension and that their fairly hot and steamy videos will always cause a stir for their slightly controversial tones. How can you sell an idol as a sexual being, but berate them from showing it in social network activity? That might be called hypocrisy.
Trouble Maker – ‘Now’ MV
Another questions could be posed regarding whether or not a Korean celebrity who is not an idol would be held to the same standard. Would a Korean actor or actress be criticised if they publicly showed an interest in sexualised content? Would a Korean hip hop artist or television presenter?
In my personal opinion, I feel idols should be free to express their sexuality publicly in whatever way they choose, but I also understand that certain parts of it may best be kept private. If you are an adult, you can decide where you draw that line, and so can K-Pop idols.
What do you think about this situation?
Do you think an idol should be able to express their sexuality openly, or should they be pushed keep it private?
Perhaps you feel there are certain ways it could be expressed, but other ways are inappropriate?
Let us know!