The Reality of K-pop: The Supposedly New Dream Job for Adolescents

A guest blog entry by Amy P (student, world citizen)

As an avid K-pop fan for the past few years, I was fortunate enough to have been able to witness the growth of K-pop from a once unknown music genre to eventually becoming a global sensation. So much has changed over time for K-pop and it has shown to play a particular role for adolescents.

From within South Korea’s society, the social trend of adolescents leaning towards pursuing a career within the entertainment industry has risen due to the rise in global popularity of K-pop. It has not just been the adolescents from South Korea but adolescents from across the globe have also shown a desire to pursue the goal towards becoming the next K-pop idol. Throughout the past few years, K-pop has been gaining a huge global audience, recognition, and name for itself due to the factors of K-pop taking a global hit worldwide after the popularity of South Korean artist PSY’s song, “Gangnam Style” in 2012 and also along with other factors and trends contributing to the global introduction of K-pop.

Prior to the popularity and sensation of K-pop, a career within the entertainment industry was once perceived by parents and others within the South Korean society as an unacceptable and inferior career path for children and adolescents. However, as the global popularity and sensation of K-pop continues to gain millions of dollars in revenue, some have changed their perceptions of it and found it to be a socially acceptable career while some on the other hand still do not agree with it. While some are allowing for their children to follow pursuit of the career path of an idol, parents are even ridiculously willing to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for their children to attend schools that prepare them for this specific career path.

The entertainment industry has really shown proof in becoming a form of power that shows to have control in influencing numerous individuals. Their influence through portraying these images of fame and fortune are misconceptions that young people fail to realize. These adolescents are showing to be blind to even notice that there is more than just fame and fortune that comes along with it.

Mills (1959) would argue that the entertainment industry has made a significant impact on society through driving adolescents away from the actual expectations of society. Moreover, adolescents are being influenced to reach for something that is unreal causing for them to break away from the true aspects of reality.

This brings children and adolescents to fall for these misconceptions by being influenced to chase after an unattainable goal where each one in reality, have barely a chance in becoming an idol star. Therefore, the entertainment industry plays such a negative role by delivering these certain messages aimed towards adolescents that are resulting in putting them to believe that they have the same chances and capabilities towards becoming an idol and living this perceptional life of fame and fortune.  The popularity of K-pop really has created a social change in society, on in which a career as a K-pop idol could become the new dream job for adolescents currently and in the future.

Mills, C. Wright.  2000 (1959).  The Sociological Imagination: 40th Anniversary Edition. Oxford University Press.


12 thoughts on “The Reality of K-pop: The Supposedly New Dream Job for Adolescents

  1. I’m not too sure about K-pop because I don’t know much about it but we can see these effects on American children as well. They see reality tv shows that influence them on how to act and how to look. Take a look at Keeping up with the Kardashians. I’m surprised how so many people still watch this. The show is only them arguing with themselves, if we want to see that we could look at neighbors. But the bigger problem is the way people perceive them. Many of the pictures they take are photo shopped which means young teens try to look like something that can’t physically happen making them more self conscious than ever. We have to learn to stay away from those type of shows, or at least teach them to learn to love who they are and pursuit a career where they can keep their families happy and fed.

  2. I agree with Amy that the entertainment industry has a lot of influence on people. People see celebrities in this light where they are perfect, have everything, and they want to be like them. There are a variety of different scam businesses that claim they will fix you up and prepare you for Hollywood, when in reality they just look for your money. I think with any new trend that gets popular, there is a swarm of people who want to have that job. For example, YouTube. When YouTube really blew up on the internet and it was discovered that YouTubers were making money off their videos, everyone started making videos hoping to become famous. I think that if you go into any career just wanting fame, you are not going to succeed, but if you truly love acting or anything that has to do with the entertainment business, you can succeed.

  3. I agree because it really cannot be denied that the media has such an impact on a person’s mind, especially with children, who are not as capable of recognizing these distorted portrayals as unrealistic. K-pop is definitely more well-known and has risen in its popularity. I think that this, as well as the rise of the internet and other social media have all contributed to this widespread incline in the value of fame, fortune and social success. We see people becoming well-known and famous everyday, whether it be from a silly video, a strange story or from years of hard work. It’s no wonder why so many people see fame as obtainable after watching a low-quality viral video such as Rebecca Black’s Friday song. But the problem is that so many people seem to buy into this and believe that fame is easier than it really is, that fame is the pinnacle of happiness and carries little to no problems. Personally I think it is sort of an unhealthy mindset to seek fame just for the sake of being famous- there should at least be a committed passion to whatever the person is doing to obtain fame in the first place. However, it is clear why fame has become more accepted within many societies today. But I think people who aim to become famous shouldn’t rely on unrealistic expectations and should carry a realistic backup plan.

  4. I agree, people will try anything they can to a get a small taste of fame. Everyone these days dreams of becoming a celebrity and being rich but don’t realize that even these people they want to become aren’t truely happy. Also people will all try to get involved once they realize what is working for someone else and making money, just like with k pop how the parents later ended up supporting their children trying to make a career in the buisness. People think the fame and money will make them happy because of the way media shows celebrities and want to have the same profession as them not really caring if they like it or not. People who have simple life’s that don’t make as much money as someone else are usually happier if they are doing something they love on a daily basis.

    1. You made some interesting points in this comment and there are parts of it that I agree with and ones that I disagree with. Most people do believe that becoming a celebrity and making a lot of money is the key to happiness. it’s because of this that a lot of people that were never interested in popular music would start to produce songs within that genre. I believe that’s the wrong reason to get into the business. If they were actually passionate about the kind of music of course I think they should pursue it. I personally think everyone should do things they love and know they would be able to do for the rest of their life. I don’t believe that being famous or not is the key to happiness either, I think it’s just following your dreams and getting yourself in a career that you can truly be proud of.

  5. I also agree because nowadays, the entertainment and social media is the reason why there are so many killings and people getting hurt because they’re trying to pursue something that they are not to fit in. With the music industry , our youth are being brainwashed to believing that the things that are on television are things that happen in reality. The social media source called worldstarhiphop and vine are the reason why so many teenagers and young adults go around saying and acting in ways that they shouldn’t. I recall a time when my little cousin told me that he wanted to sell drugs and be a gang banger because he ideals a music group who go by the name of “Migos”. He later said that since they do bad things and get away with it, why couldn’t he? Entertainment and Social Media negatively impacts our societies and it the stepping stones to the crime and violence that is taking place in our country.

  6. Back when I was in high school I actually remember the explosion of K-Pop. People that would otherwise never listen to any kind of pop music are doing the famous dance from gangnam style. It was honestly kind of a surprise to me seeing even metal heads were just absolutely hooked. I never knew though that it got so popular that it many people wanted to pursue it as a career. It’s a huge concern that people pursue this career or any career for that matter just for money. I think a career should be chosen based on what you love and what you are passionate about. It’s this kind of mentality that leaves many dissatisfied with their career and leaves them miserable. This just shows the impact of the entertainment industry. When one person gets successful all of a sudden everyone jumps on the bandwagon in an attempt to be successful.

  7. The whole industry of K-pop is a little strange for me. These young adults will spend years at these so called ‘camps’ to train to be a K-pop star, with no guarantee to succeed. There are so many groups that make songs and dances just to live their dreams. Unfortunately, there’s no many that there’s only a small chance of a group succeeding and living their dream. It costs them time, money, and energy with no guarantee whatsoever. In my opinion, all of these young adults should go find and pursue another dream to make their life better. Simply, they get sucked in by looking at those who succeeded, not knowing that it’s very hard and only a few actually succeed. This is simply false hope for the young generation

  8. The fact that the media has a tremendous influence on children and adolescents is irrefutable, of course, in almost any modern culture and society. I feel like this article focuses too much on the fact that becoming a K-pop star is now a growing, desirable career for teenagers. Korean pop culture hasn’t produced any results that was unheard of. Take a look at Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, for example. These two companies produced the leading pop singers in charts today, like Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, and more. I’d like to argue that obtaining success fame and success as a k-pop star is more achievable than the author portrays. Big korean music companies holds auditions globally every year, in search for new potential singers and dancers. Many members of k-pop girl and boy groups were scouted through these auditions and earned their fame being a trainee at the company for years. Any person who actively indulges in kpop knows that becoming a k-popstar isn’t an easy task. It’s definitely achievable with integrity and hard work, just like any other dream career path.

  9. This is a lot like what is happening with YouTube recently. Many young people look up to Youtubers, like Pewdiepie and Markiplier, and want to do what they are doing. So now there are tons of tiny YouTube channels, all hoping desperately to go viral, but in reality, only a very small percentage will grow, and the rest will not achieve their dreams of becoming respectable Youtubers. Unfortunately, though YouTube is not necessarily a competitive place, viewers only have so much time to spend watching YouTube, and only a few channels will be considered by the viewer to be worth their time. This may just be something that has always been the case, with youth wanting to be rock stars, actors, etc. I just wonder how much the internet changes the severity of this problem. Does this free flow of information cause more kids to have unrealistic dreams?

  10. My response is probably going to be a bit biased on this one, considering I’m a diehard metalhead, and K-pop is about as opposite of my music tastes as possible, but I’ll do my best. Personally, in my opinion, K-Pop is really quite a twist when it comes to mainstream music. It tends to incorporate aspects from multiple other genres of music, and I think this is a large reason as to why its gained such a following in recent years. K-Pop in and of itself tends to focus more on individuals rather than groups, so you find there are many more individual K-Pop artists rather than bands/groups, much like what is seen within rap and pop. Since the actual music is often computer generated, the emphasis tends to hover more on the sampling and vocals, so because of this, I can definitely agree that many young people see it as a potential career or opportunity, since it is not as demanding as being a dedicated musician within a select group. Ultimately, not many of us end up growing up to become rock stars, but the opportunity, like everything else, is still there for us all.

    1. I agree Eric Skupien, K-pop is meant to focus on individuals. Many teens now a day don’t just want to be grouped up in a category and judged all the same. Everyone strives to be individual. Which is why K-pop music has gained so many followers. It really has concepts from so many different genres. It is easy for people to think it’s gonna be an easy job, I don’t need any actual “talent”, but I bet many of this teens will be surprised when they learn just how hard making K-pop is.

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