In recent years the K-Pop (Korean Pop) has begun to have more and more popularity and influence in the West.Groups such as BTS or Blackpink have millions of views in their video clips, with numbers that have even broken large world records, surpassing artists such as Ariana Grande or Taylor Swift.
One of the characteristics of the K-Pop that has caught the attention of the international public is its level of perfectionism.Both in their musical videos, where we can observe an extreme level of cure with the details giving us true audiovisual works (with stages, choreographies, changing rooms, etc., so spectacular that they do not seem real) as in the same singers.
Sometimes you can even question whether they are truly human or they are robots, because of the inhuman perfection they can have.But what many do not know is that reaching these levels of perfection is not easy and that they pay a very high price.
How does the K-Pop industry work?
The K-Pop works through companies.These companies have several groups and soloists, and not only produce their artists, but they have total control of their career.This includes planning and distributing discs.Control the publication of music, licenses, provide agents and managers, organize events or control their social networks.This means that the entire musical production process is done from the same seal, composers, song writers, engineers, managers, agents, choreographers, designs coordinators, image consultants, vocal instructors, dance and acting, marketing executives ... everyone works for the same company.YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment are two examples of K-Pop companies.
Audiences and trainees
To become a K-Pop star, which is known as an idol of the K-Pop, these artists have to submit to very demanding and hard practices before debuting as singers and becoming with what they are.In the West, if a person begins to become famous for his online skills, for example, it is possible that at some time some record company contact him and offer him a contract because he joins it, and that is how some of the greats are bornstars to the West.
In Korea, on the other hand, it is completely in reverse.K-pop companies organize auditions every week, and in Japan and in the United States every month.Young people who are interested in becoming idols have to participate.If the company considers that they are good enough to join it, they are selected to start a hard training that can last months (very few occasions), years or even decades.
In these training the chosen ones have to improve their way of dance, sing, act and even change their physical appearance to adjust to the Korean beauty stereotypes required by the public.
People who are doing training are called Trainees.Some companies such as Bighit Entertainment or Pleedis Entertainment also offer online auditions, although the possibilities that contact you through these auditions are very low.
What is the life of a Trainee?
The life of a trainee is not easy.The trainees live in small apartments, are subjected daily to almost military training and are constantly controlled with factors such as height, weight and figure.They have to totally sacrifice their freedom, in addition to being prohibited a lot of things, for example, many times they are not allowed to use social networks or have love relationships.During this period they are not only qualified by their level of dance and song, but they are also put under psychological pressures and are injured and discouraged for the purpose of "knowing their emotional strength".
The artist Jay Park commented through the media that during the training sessions in his Trainee period, they were punished by hitting them if they made an inappropriate movement or if they sang the letters badly.A few years ago there was a scandal for the statement of an ex-trainee of the company SM Entertainment, where it exposed the hard treatment they received.The statement was the following:
I missed school, eat and spend time with my friends, so I cried a lot.If you say you want to do other things that they don't tell you to do, they tell you that if you want to do this, you can go and not come back.I used to think that becoming a singer was my only way and that I would die if it could not be an idol, but now that I have left it, I feel better.It has been a while, but I still can't forget those days.X-TRAINEE DE LA EMPRESA SM ENTERTAINMENT
The contracts signed by the trainees when they are only about 12 or 13 years old, have long -term consequences.Some contracts say they will have to return all the money that the company has invested in them with dance, song or clothing classes, when they become idols.And it is clear, the children, blinded by the dream of becoming great celebrities, signed without thinking twice.These types of contracts are called in Korea Slave Contract (slave contracts) and consist of unfair long -term agreements between IDOLs candidates and companies.These working conditions have as a consequence that IDOLs do not have great profits, since almost all the money they earn through their effort are carried by the company.
The life of a K-Pop idol
Once the training period ends and the trainees manage to debut in groups or as soloists (only some, because many do not even debut), the difficulties do not end.You could say that K-Pop idols are literally products of their companies, which treat them as puppets and only care and sell more and more, without worrying anything about health-both physical as mental-of their artists.
Obviously that all recordings, both western and oriental, will have the purpose of selling and generating money, since they are still companies that sell a product, but the difference between the two is that Western recordings, currently and mostly, they let the artist be himself: they let him do the one who wants his life, his appearance, his music and his career, on the other hand, in the K-Pop companies, the idols are totally controlled and cannot do one thingas simple as cutting their hair or leaving the beard without the company approve: they have to ask for permission for almost everything they do.They also have the total control of their career, mostly the idols can decide things like when to get new music and when not.On many occasions they don't even let them write the songs.
The K-Pop industry trains the idols to be and behave as robots, they are assigned a personality that they have to follow, they tell them how they have to be physically, what they have to do and what not ...
For example, speaking within the scope of the physical aspect (theme that is very important for Korean society) in general in the K-Pop the girls are required to weigh 50kg or less, a weight that is extremely low, especially havingin account that many are fully developed adult women.To get to this weight, the idols have to submit to long periods without almost eating and have to perform extreme and extremely dangerous diets.
An example of this would be the case of the current idol of K-Op Hirai Momo, of the Twice Group, who explained that in his training period his company asked him to go down 7kg in a week without excuses, for which Momo, during those days during those days, he ate absolutely anything, just an ice cube, he also constantly went to the gym.During those days she suffered for her life, she says.And speaker of prohibitions, some things that are prohibited from making one of the most famous K-Pop groups of today, the BlackPink, are: driving, drinking alcohol, having a partner, making tattoos or traveling on their own without the authorization of the authorization of thecompany, among many more things.
The prohibitions vary depending on the company and the group.IDOLS are required to be as totally perfect machines without practically inhuman errors, when, obviously, they are not, they are human like all of us.In a way it seems that K-Pop companies do not sell music, but to the person.In addition IDOLS also have to make extensive working days where they strive too much, to the point that several fainting have already been recorded on stage due to exhaustion.
You also have to mention how the Korean audience is taken with the K-Pop stars, which the idolatra (in fact the same word idol comes from idolatr) very much and wants them to be perfect and do not make any mistakes.In the case that any of these singers perform an action that is not considered correct by fans, or that it is not seen in the way they want to be seen, it will be filled with insults and will be harshly judged and rejected.The situation is so serious that there have been cases of suicide for this reason, an example would be that of the late Choi Jin Ri, better known as Sulli, which committed suicide on October 14, 2019 after being years enduring unfair criticism and comments ofI hate for practically everything he did.
The consequences of all the pressure that Idols receive, by both from both the public and the company, can be reflected in themselves, since most end up developing mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders.It is time for the K-Pop industry to change its way of doing things and that you begin to treat idols as they deserve and like what they are, human people.REVISTA ESCOLAR DIGITAL (RED)
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