You would think everyone would agree that it’s an insensitive thing to do, but some people can’t grasp the notion that we really shouldn’t comment on anyone’s weight—celebrity, idol, or otherwise.
Trigger warning: this article talks about weight, weight loss, fatshaming, and touches on topics such as eating disorders.
In a world ever-so-fixated on physical appearances, one of the most prevalent kinds of bullying involve weight one way or the other—and we’re not just talking about incidents at school. Online, people can say the nastiest things to or about others—strangers, even—thinking their distance and anonymity are viable excuses to act like someone exists for them to control the appearance of.
So many K-pop idols have been the subject of discourse about their weight and appearance, as if those are the most important things about them. Such discourse more, often than not, starts off negatively as idols are shamed for gaining weight or losing too much weight. Even news outlets and forums publish headlines such as “X idol shows noticeable weight gain.”
when will fans and reporters and interviewers stop asking idols about their weight, and bringing up their weight into the conversation, an idols weight has nothing to do with you and it’s none of your business, stop commenting on idols weight and not even just idols, stop…— /ᐠ – ˕ -マshifa (@idksvt_zb1) January 4, 2024
And it’s not just fat-shaming, too. People have also made plenty of negative comments towards idols who are “too thin,”—less because they’re worried about their health and more because they just want to shame someone for looking a certain way. The beauty standards of today and the media we consume have imbibed in us a perspective that views only one or few body types as ideal—when that’s certainly not the case. People get far too comfortable commenting on public figures’ weights and bodies, acting like they—as an Internet stranger or self-proclaimed “caring” fan—should have a say in how someone should look.
@prttysxna0 Momo only eating ice cubes for a week. I honestly feel so bad for her and if I was her I would be sick. #momo#twice#icecube#diet#fyp#copylink#viral ♬ original sound – prttysxna_
Several idols have come forward to reveal just how brutal and strict K-pop companies are when it comes to weight (as well as when it comes to other things), and there’s no denying that the entertainment industry in general is harsh towards celebrities as public figures. Do you know about the fat memo in Philippine showbiz? In effect, they perpetuate bodily standards that are not only unattainable to most of the population, but are achieved through unhealthy means. Starving yourself, as many idol trainees revealed they did, is definitely not a healthy way to lose weight.
It's sad to think that all the pressure comes from standards, there shouldn't be a right way to look or act, there shouldn't be pressure about the weight, idols shouldn't be forced to diet as they do while the work so hard, it's unhealthy. Society shouldn't preach those looks.— 사이코⁷🐰🖤ᴮᴱ (@chocochipJK) December 19, 2017
Idols like Wonho have also shared that they were told by their company to lose weight that they willingly gained (to build muscles for any reason they want, for instance), because they’d be “too big.”
Such perspective and decisions come from a place of thinking that they know what an audience likes or dislikes—and they’re often not wrong, if the response of “fans” to idols who gained weight are any indication. A vast majority of people don’t care at all about how their idol looks, but still, plenty take to commenting about their weights and bodies, saying they looked better before, or that they should exercise, even hurling hurling vile insults at them through forums and social media.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT SOMEONE’S GOING THROUGH
idk i think we should stop commenting on idols' weight unprovoked especially to them where they can see it https://t.co/HYvBfSyMmF— ☁️ (@yongshuji) May 16, 2022
It’s basic decency to try and have some tact when talking to or about people, given that you never know what they’re going through that could affect their physical appearance.
This is not just in reference to having enough respect for your idol to not comment on things that could negatively affect their perspective about themselves or lead them towards unhealthy habits, but also taking into consideration how it would affect other people. If you fatshame an idol, you may think it’s “fine” because “they’ll never see it anyway” (which is still ignorant and insensitive), but what about people in your circles that look similar to the idol you’re so keen on insulting? When you make negative comments about someone else’s body or weight, celebrity or not, you’re showing everybody else what kind of person you truly are.
THEIR BODY, THEIR CHOICE
and when fans stop commenting on idols weight and appearance we will all finally know peace https://t.co/JmqpJfhmHq— ☆ (@5iIentcry) May 14, 2021
For the most part, wouldn’t it just be better for everyone if we didn’t talk about someone’s weight at all? We care about other people’s health, sure, but ultimately, it’s their body, and it’s their choice. Their choices, and ours for that matter, may be influenced by harmful societal ideals, but we can’t force anyone to do anything, because it’s not our body to control.
It’s great to provide others with the knowledge and opportunities to practice healthy habits, but we shouldn’t encourage people to do things just to look a certain way just because there’s an “ideal” way of looking.
ON THE INSIDE AND OUT
i wish idols would just stop talking about each other’s bodies and weight in general like imagine how your fans feel who go through fatphobia and body shaming everyday watching y’all— jaem bot 🎀 (@sanrionjm) July 1, 2023
Idols are not absolved of the harm they can possibly do with their mindset that they should do anything to look “good” for the public, but it’s unfortunately literally how they were trained and what’s been ingrained into our minds as a people. On livestreams, idols sometimes say they’re getting fat or that they need to go on a diet. They even sometimes comment on how much weight they or their member has gained, catching heat for making frequent insensitive or unnecessary remarks about it.
More often than not, fans are quick to reassure their idols that there’s nothing wrong with how they look, especially when they feel like the idol only feels like they have to change for someone else—whether for the company or the public. Most idols, thankfully, encourage their fans not to emulate anything they’re doing as idols and to be healthy themselves.
In any case, why are we so fixated on perpetuating standard, ideal body types? Shouldn’t we be celebrating diverse body types and letting idols and public figures look however they want, valuing their talent and character more than anything else? It’s always a good thing to stay healthy and practice healthy habits, but don’t fixate too much on appearances—yours or anyone else’s.