Seoul to protect K-pop trainees from forced weight loss, plastic surgery

Seoul to protect K-pop trainees from forced weight loss, plastic surgery
via 서울시의회, 1theK
Ryan General
By Ryan General
January 15, 2024
The city council of Seoul has enacted groundbreaking legislation that protects young K-pop trainees from forced weight loss and plastic surgery.
About the ordinance: Proposed by Councilman Kim Kyu-nam, the “Seoul City Ordinance on the Protection and Support of the Rights of Youth Culture and Art Performers” aims to safeguard the physical and mental well-being of teenage idol trainees.
While specific details are yet to be disclosed, reports have highlighted that the ordinance provides a legal basis for psychological assessments, counseling and early intervention in cases of similar risks. It is set to take effect in Seoul, where 82.3% of the 4,774 entertainment agencies in South Korea are registered.

Why it matters: The move responds to countless reports of alleged stringent weight management practices imposed within the industry. Seolhyun (Kim Seol-hyun), a former member of girl group AOA, reportedly shared in 2015 that she was told by her agency, FNC Entertainment, to maintain a weight of 48 kilograms (105.8 pounds) despite her height of 5 feet and 6 inches (167 meters). Twice member Momo also expressed challenges in weight loss before her debut.
The legislation recognizes the toll the industry can take on young talents and emphasizes the need for support beyond debut success. In instances of failed debuts or contract expirations, the ordinance outlines plans for career counseling to assist former idol trainees in exploring new paths.
What it seeks to achieve: Acknowledging the global prominence of K-pop as a cultural export, Councilman Kim emphasized the need to create a protective framework for the growth of young idol trainees. He further pledged that the Seoul City Council would continue diverse support initiatives to ensure stable growth for the trainees.
“While K-pop gains global recognition, the risks and uncertainties faced by young trainees until they mature into idols are the personal responsibility of these young individuals,” he said.
 
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