On July 7, Hwasa, a member of a popular K-pop group called Mamamoo, shocked her fans in the airport by adopting the newest Korean fashion trend—going “no-bra.” However, she was not the first Korean celebrity to go braless in public. In 2016, Sulli, a former member of K-pop group f(x), posted a scandalous photo on Instagram that incited controversy regarding the appropriateness of her posts and whether going no-bra should be the celebrities’ freedom of choice. Despite the many hateful comments Sulli and Hwasa received, they continued to go no-bra, eventually gaining more support from the public.
“I understand that it is an individual’s freedom of choice to go no-bra,” said Jennifer Shin (10). “It is definitely not a quality other people should judge or criticize, since some people might consider wearing a bra to be unnecessary and uncomfortable. However, I still wonder if Sulli had to post her pictures of herself going no-bra on her public Instagram.”
Although some people are more convinced by the argument for the freedom of expression, others are maintaining their negative perspectives on the braless fashion. Despite such controversy, most people agree that the celebrities’ appearances are uncomfortable to view. Additionally, since celebrities are public figures admired by young fans, many people expect them to avoid wearing revealing clothes and be more “appropriate” with their clothing choices, as to positively influence the maturing audience. Directing criticism toward celebrities who advocate the no-bra fashion, some people simply consider them to be attention seekers, exploiting sensitive social issues in order to gain the spotlight.
“I think celebrities should do whatever they want,” Erin Choi (10) said. “We cannot force them to wear a bra since it is clearly their freedom of choice. Additionally, I think not wearing a bra in a public setting should be accepted as just another new fashion trend, as more and more people are influenced to go no-bra. Going braless is not an embarrassment or an attempt to gain attention but rather, a brave step against societal expectations and gender norms.”
Even though many have denounced the no-bra trend for its inappropriateness, a growing number of people have expressed support for these two female celebrities, praising their bravery in fighting against the norm of wearing a bra. From the perspective of those who support the trend, a bra is simply an accessory. Similar to the function of a necklace, bras may look good with some outfits, but not as good with others. These individuals argue that not wearing bra is now a new fashion trend and a method of self-expression, not a required garment for women. Supporters of the no-bra trend consider the movement to be empowering, granting female individuals more freedom in society along with a more comfortable alternative when wearing clothes.
“I can understand that from the public’s eye, celebrities going no-bra might not be appreciated, but at the same time, we wouldn’t be where we are now if other women or men had not broken these social expectations,” said Ms. Gregori, English teacher. “Although it can be inappropriate depending on the place and the time, there is definitely an importance to this trend. This movement might serve as a step for Korea and an instance of celebrities using the shock and publicity of their actions to make a powerful point.”