Eating Disorders in Asia

By Kelly Cao ’24 for Fall 2020 Issue

I love watching Korean dramas, Chinese dramas, and anime, but seeing their beautiful yet eerily similar faces, stick-thin legs, and tall physique often results in a cycle of self-deprecating thoughts about my body. As an Asian female living in Hong Kong, the lack of representation and variation of different body types in East Asian media often promotes younger audiences to adopt unhealthy habits in order to achieve a body that they deem beautiful.

Most notably, South Korean K-pop stars’ diets have been a topic of controversy, concern, and intrigue for many years due to its intensive caloric deficits with restrictive rules that have caused many stars to develop anorexia and other eating disorders. Although many actresses discourage these eating habits, the cutthroat industry forces them to adhere to the harsh, unrealistic beauty standards.

Layout by Mulan Mu ’23

IU, a popular K-pop singer from South Korea has one of the most restrictive diets, consisting of an apple for breakfast, a sweet potato for lunch, and a protein shake for dinner on top of the hours of dancing and singing she did during the day. Youtube videos of people attempting to follow through with this diet have resulted in emotional breakdowns, and a unanimous realization of how dangerous such publicized diet plans are — especially to younger audiences who look up to these influencers. 

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