South Korea is known to be a patriarchal dominant country as it needed the global #MeToo movement to invigorate some feminist changes in the country, yet it was met with resistance from the men. In October 2018, a huge female population protested against the beauty standard by destroying their makeups which, again, stemmed from men as they claimed it is common courtesy to look presentable.
“Hot Summer” singer from the disbanded girl group F(X), Sulli, had been receiving harsh comments from the public ever since she started posting braless photos of herself as early as May 2017.
So much so that some media even censored her chest when reporting on her “indecency”, deeming the content to be too sexual, The Korea Herald reported.
On July 21, Sulli appeared on JTBC’s Night of Hate Comments variety show to talk about her braless stunt that caused unrest among some Koreans. She simply said, “Going braless is one’s freedom.”
“Bras have wires; they are not good for health. Not wearing one is comfortable. That is something beautiful and natural. For me, a bra is like an accessory. Some outfits go with it, and others do not. That’s why I sometimes do not wear a bra,” said the 25-year-old star.
“When I upload my photos without a bra, people talk about it a lot. I could have been scared. But I didn’t because I thought it would be nice if more people could discard their prejudices,” Sulli continued, “I want to step outside the box, tell people (not wearing a bra) is not a big thing.”
Earlier in April, Sulli went live on Instagram to broadcast herself drinking soju and dining in a restaurant with friends. Appearing braless again, one netizen asked Sulli how could she be so confident when she is not wearing a bra.
The usual confident Sulli suddenly went speechless and grabbed her chest while seemingly drunk.
“There is no specific reason,” she said in response, “Are you guys worried about me? You don’t have to worry about me. I am fine.”
As for Hwasa from K-pop band Mamamoo, she was spotted braless when she was at the airport after returning from a Hong Kong concert on July 7.
Prior to this, some netizens criticized Hwasa for wearing only a bra to the airport, Koreaboo reported.
It is speculated that Hwasa’s braless stunt was a response to the haters as the day, July 7, was once the “No Bra Day”, a day to commemorate and raise awareness about breast cancer, before the annual observance was moved to October 13.
While many societies around the world are unfazed by women going braless, it is clear that female nipples continue to be taboo in South Korea.
Some netizens supporting Sulli and Hwasa said when Song Min-ho of boy band Winner walked through the airport shirtless, there were no controversies surrounding him.
“Before talking about Hwasa, someone give Song a shirt,” read one comment.
“Women’s breasts are not porn. There is nothing sexual about breasts unless you think so. No one tells men to wear a bra, even though he may have larger-than-usual breasts. Why? Men’s breasts are not considered sexual,” a female student in her mid-20s said.
While a male office worker in his late 50s said, “I understand that going braless is related to the women’s rights movement. But still, if my daughter decides to go braless, I will worry that some men may have inappropriate thoughts, sometimes jeopardising her safety.”
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