SEOUL: The South Korean government has issued a revised set of guidelines for local broadcasters and TV show producers, in which one of the clauses suggests restricting the number of K-pop idols appearing on a TV show at any given time.
According to The Korea Times, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) released the guidelines on Saturday (Feb 16) to prevent lookism, and to raise awareness on the negative effects of this on public health.
Lookism is defined as prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person's appearance, according to the Oxford Dictionary.
"Are the singers on TV music shows twins? They seriously look identical. Most are idol group members," the guidelines are quoted as saying. "Most of them are skinny and have similar hairstyles and makeup with outfits exposing their bodies."
The Korea Times report says the concern is that the stars' similarity "suggests narrow beauty standards for young viewers who admire K-pop groups".
Ha Tae-keung, an opposition lawmaker, criticised the guidelines, stating that there was no objective standard for appearance and that it was a matter of individual taste, and should not be regulated by the government.
"The gender ministry says K-pop idols should not star together on television because they are all skinny and pretty with pale skin. What's the difference between this and the crackdowns on the length of hair and skirts during the military dictatorship of Chun Doo-hwan?" asked Mr Ha in a post on Facebook.
Chun Doo-hwan is a former army-general-turned-politician who was the president of South Korea from 1980 to 1988.
However, the guidelines are not mandatory. According to MOGEF, broadcasters and show producers can decide whether or not to align their programming with the government's recommendations.