So recently I’ve seen a lot of kpop idols leave their companies and leave their idol image behind. It’s been interesting.
I know that there is a lot they can’t say and do when they’re an ‘idol’ however the way some people truly blossom in that freedom has been fascinating, wildly exceeding my expectations.
For example Jamie formerly from JYP. JYP is not even one of the worst companies, they can be pretty free in that company and once the probation period is up they can date as long as it’s in secret (my theory). That is not ideal but it is much better than some companies I could mention.
So Jamie, she went by Jimin Park when she was in JYP so perhaps you know her by that name. (However her name is very common in kpop so I can understand why she’s going by Jamie now.) So she was pretty free in JYP anyway, she never seemed like she was censoring herself. However, since she’s left JYP she’s blossomed! It’s like she’s finally able to be herself.
There are more ‘idols’ like her too and it made me think.
First it made me think about what their actual personalities are.
Now the thing is Jamie is the same person but now it’s like we’re seeing her in HD. So ‘idols’ like her who are still upholding the image the company wants them to and that the public demands but are very honest people we’re seeing in like 720p or 1080p depending on the person.
Then there are those who can hide their personalities and are not open books. With them you never know what they’re like off camera unless you meet them in person.
So that was my first thought, what are their actual personalities like.
My second thought was what’s it like to wear a mask? It must be frustrating.
Going back to Jamie I would say she wore a half mask. She didn’t rock the boat with JYP too much but she also showed bits of her true self.
There are those who don’t though and I just wonder if that is exhausting.
Then that lead to thoughts about self-expression. I’ve noticed some idols, whilst in the company, use different methods of self-expression whether it be through art, song covers or clothing.
These days they do more YouTube content than back in the second generation days so they also can express themselves more on their channels. Sure, the company still controls the final output, but they’ve been given a little more leeway, especially groups like WayV.
So seeing them express themselves in various ways got me thinking about my own modes of self-expression particularly dress. I’ve seen idols really express themselves through clothing.
I used to think they just wore what they were told to wear especially on stage however with groups like NCT I’m learning there are members who don’t like to show skin at all, and so they don’t. Then there are those who do and so they do.
For a while I was worried thinking, “Why are they being forced to dress like that?” But then I was watching Ten and Yangyang vlog and my man Ten sought out the sexy clothing! He’s truly comfortable in it.
Then it made me think of myself and how I actually do like sexy clothing too. My version of sexy may be different from yours so I’ll explain.
I like figure hugging clothes. I like lace, omd! I love lace!! Anything black is great, but also vibrant and deep colours I like. If I show cleavage then I don’t show leg and if I show my legs for days then I don’t show cleavage but that’s a rule left over from my teenage-hood when I would work around my mom’s rules and it’s stuck since then.
I also really like clothes that are punk or hippy. Those are like two opposite sides of the spectrum but I like them equally, it depends on my mood.
Dressing how I like to dress actually gives me joy. I didn’t think it was that important until I had a hard year and I didn’t care how I looked. Then my mom would complain about me not dressing up like I used to and I was like, “Why do clothes matter? I’m fine.”
I was not fine.
When I started to get better, I started dressing up how I like. At home, with my parents, I tend to lean in to the hippy side and with my friends I can let loose a little more. So in that moment when I was feeling cute in my dresses I was like, “…Oh this is what my mom meant. Wow I was going through it!”
We all have ways of dressing that makes us comfortable and they’re important to who we are as it’s our way of expressing ourselves. That’s what I think anyway.
And you may not agree with how someone else dresses but you shouldn’t judge because honestly what right do we have to judge?
Another kpop example, Bang Chan from Stray Kids was shirtless for a performance recently by his own choice and fans were mad at other fans for calling him sexy. Then I think they sent messages to his bubble (long to explain but it’s a subscription service where it’s like they’re texting you and you can text back… they’re not. It’s especially like twitter but you have to pay for it to see their tweets) telling him how to dress.
And it’s like, he’s a fully grown man… he can make his own choices on how to dress or not dress. The way fans baby grown men and women is so annoying.
So yeah, there are many ways in which we express ourselves through clothing and getting to do that can be a joy. I honestly can’t wait till I can do that fully. And knowing the joy that I feel it’s made me think about the joy others feel, not just kpop idols.