Friday the 13th and Edward Avila

There’s a stigma around Friday the 13th concerning evil happenings. What started out as a popular chain of Halloween movies soon grew to become a worldwide superstition of terror occurring on these dreaded Fridays. But on this particular date, something awful did happen. Something happened that nobody asked for and nobody needed. Edward Avila decided to post a video about his “thoughts on the whole Kyla situation.” That’s what he calls it: the Kyla situation. And if you’re not familiar with what is happening with Kyla, here’s a short debriefing:

Kyla is a 15-year-old female idol and a member of the girl group, PRISTIN. PRISTIN, managed by Pledis Entertainment, debuted with their hit song “WEE WOO”  on March 21, 2017.

Every single girl in PRISTIN is gorgeous, as is expected with female trainees and idols. But that’s exactly where the “controversy” surrounding Kyla begins. Compared to a typical idol, Kyla appeared to be a tad bit on the thicker side. She is not, in any way, unhealthy or ugly. She only weighs a little bit more than the next idol in line. For Pledis Entertainment, debuting Kyla is a gigantic step forward. The decision sings of progress toward body inclusiveness in Korean entertainment. Kyla’s appearance did not seem to please everyone though.

That’s where Edward comes in.

In his video titled “My Thoughts on the Kyla Situation — Edward Avila” Edward decided it was his place to describe why Kyla’s debut is so shocking to him. Instead of looking at Kyla as a beautiful, healthy idol, Edward thought “she was slightly pushing more towards the edge of being overweight.” But don’t worry. To him the only reason Kyla’s appearance is causing a stir is because “this whole situation is being blown out of proportion based on feelings.”

So please, if you are a human being and you have feelings, go ahead and turn those off now. Unless you’re Edward Avila, in which case you can feel free to plaster your feelings and opinions all over a YouTube video.

The position he took toward Kyla’s debut was one of shock and disapproval. In Edward’s eyes, if Pledis Entertainment wanted Kyla to succeed “they would have put her on a fitness plan to help her gain a more ideal body.” Apparently, Edward’s position as a K-beauty vlogger now allows him to speak for everybody on what an ideal body looks like. Aside from gaining this new power to determine what is an acceptable body and what is not, he also is “pretty sure a girl at Kyla’s age can do the work to help shed a few pounds.” In reality, watching a man who is of a thin build explain to the world why a 15-year-old Korean girl should be able to lose some weight is not shocking. The actual part that shocks is his idea that everyone watching would seem to agree with him.

Everyone did not agree with him though. In fact, many people became irate after the release of Edward’s video. One girl who was having none of it was Yurim Chung, who took to Twitter to show her unhappiness. In an effort to learn more about Yurim and her views on the video, I requested an interview, and she was more than happy to oblige.

Yurim, who knows Kyla personally, described Kyla’s role in the K-Pop industry as a means of “breaking the toxic motion in Korea to allow healthier weighted women around her body type to be accepted.” And — as discussed in “Health and K-Pop Part 6 – Self Esteem” — this is something that the Hallyu community desperately needs to see. After hearing horror stories of diet plans and extreme weight-loss programs, Kyla’s debut is a breath of fresh air for many fans, regardless of what Edward said. When asked about the video, Yurim responded, “Edward is not the spokesperson for the Korean people or the Korean culture either.” Ironically enough, the people who do have a say in Kyla’s career are the same people who decided she needed to debut. “Those adults are the ones that chose Kyla,” Yurim continued. “I hope one day she will be the voice for the entire Korean industry to become, progressively, a body-positive nation.”

While at first it did look like Kyla was going to stay quiet throughout this whole ordeal, eventually she did voice her opinion through a letter. The letter, which her brother posted on Twitter, showed nothing but Kyla’s gratefulness at the love and support she was receiving. She did mention that there were times when she felt like giving up; however, the kind words and aid her fans showed her allowed her to keep pushing through the hard times.

This is what K-Pop needs: a sense of value and appreciation toward idols. They are already under an immense amount of pressure to look and act a certain way. They do not need the external views from “fans” that convince them they aren’t good enough to be an idol. If the entertainment companies feel confident enough to debut idols who weigh a little more than others, then it should be common sense that that idol gets treated the same way any other idol would. It should not be an excuse for a member of the community, regardless of their follower count on a social platform, to hurl insults.

The world needs more idols like Kyla. Idols who are fearless in their passion and who keep their heads held high in times of distress. Kyla is a role model and a beacon of hope for all of the fans who have ever doubted themselves because of weight issues. Hopefully one day everybody can begin to see this, even Edward Avila.

 

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