Why Jungkook’s lip piercing challenges Korean norms and has BTS fans whipped up into a frenzy

Jungkook lip piercing

BTS member Jungkook made waves on social media by performing with a lip ring on during The Fact Music Awards. 

Piercings: Singer Jungkook was seen performing with a lip piercing, which led to intense fan speculation on whether the piercing was real, according to AllKpop

  • Jungkook had BTS fans, also known as ARMY, previously speculating on whether his eyebrow piercing was real, which he recently confirmed was
  • He also has seven to nine piercings on his ears, but ARMYs are unsure how many the singer has due to his changing the number of earrings he wears at a time. 
  • BTS member J-Hope has said that he does not have any piercings and that he wears clip-ons, leading to questions about whether Jungkook was wearing a lip clip-on for his Fact Music performance. It’s a practice other idols often engage in to achieve an edgier look. 
  • Whether it’s real or fake, many ARMY members are over the moon about how Jungkook looks with the lip ring. 

Frowned upon?: South Koreans usually have piercings in their ears, sometimes even more than one, and it isn’t as frowned upon as facial piercings are in Korean society. 

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  • Korean attitudes towards piercings beyond the ear are generally negative. Many Koreans view those who have face and body piercings as trying to rebel or “deviate” from homogenous society. 
  • In a Korean-language video titled “Koreans Thoughts On Piercing,” one man responds to a question on whether he has thought about getting a piercing, “There was a rapid change in my thoughts recently. So I wanted to do something like deviation. So I wanna get a piercing if there’s any chance to get one.” 
  • Later on, the video asks the group of Korean men and women if Koreans have prejudices against people with piercings. One of the men brings up the fact that Koreans can’t wear piercings in the workplace, saying, “In the case for businessmen, there aren’t people with piercings on in suits. So there seems to be a little prejudice against piercings.” 
  • On one Korean work recruiter site, a section in the FAQ about interviews states, “South Korea is still conservative about all tattoos and any piercings beyond the earlobe…make sure your tattoos are not visible and all piercings (except ear piercings) have been removed.” 
  • Tattoos are also taboo in South Korea as getting a tattoo is illegal, although having one is not. Jungkook has around 16 tattoos on his body. 
  • Due to tattoos and piercings being associated with gang activity, many older South Koreans still have a prejudice against it, though this stance has faded in younger generations. 

Featured Image via @AsToldByNtina (left), @Eleeeeeeeena (right)

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