The desire to make one's appearance look better is a basic human want. As the world changes, this phenomenon is appearing in various new forms, such as showing off images of physical appearances through social media.
Exercise is a big trend among teenagers, with many of the high school students at Korea International School Jeju Campus (which I attend), challenging themselves to make their bodies fit and healthy through weight training. 11th grader Bless Shin is having fun exercising for two hours every day to build a nice body, many students buying each other dumbbells and push-up bars as gifts.
These days body profile shots—a term that refers to taking pictures of themselves—is gaining popularity among those in their 20s and 30s. Body profile shooting was not popular until a few years ago because it was considered to be “embarrassing” to be photographed only wearing a minimal amount of clothing.
According to Naver Data Lab, compared to the same period three years ago, we can see that the search rate of “body profile” has increased by about 10-fold.
|[Graph provided by Naver Datalab. The graph shows the search frequency of the keyword “body profile.”]|
Until just a few years ago, body profiling was largely the territory of celebrities: the public mostly accessed news of famous individuals losing weight and exercising to take body profiles through the media. Recently, however, more and more people are posting photos of themselves working out and building up their bodies through social media accounts. In other words, a phenomenon that began through influencers is spreading to the general public.
I interviewed Kim Jung-geun, CEO of Cereal Monster (a male-only body profile studio) to see the demands for body profile shots and learn more about the preparation processes people go through. According to Kim, a few years ago, body profiles were limited to trainers and bodybuilding competitors. Nowadays, however, more young men and women care not only about how their faces look to others but also about their bodies, which is leading to increased demand for body profile pictures. Kim also mentioned that—of course—the most important aspect in a body profile is the overall body image. Kim recommended that people have to build their body by paying attention to the muscle volume and shape when exercising and that it is good to keep the skin moist from the day before the photo shoot because that helps the skin to get thinner and muscles look bulkier, which in turn produces better photos.
|[Screenshot of interview with CEO Jung-geun Kim. Photo Credit: Shinyong Park]|
There are many television shows in Korea that portray the daily lives of celebrities who live alone, and there are also a lot of celebrities who are preparing to take body profile pictures. Another phenomenon is that celebrities who enjoy exercising at home (so-called home-trainers) are appearing more frequently on television.
According to Yoon Dae-hyun, manager of Bansuk Sports (a fitness device manufacturer), sales of muscular exercise equipment among young people have been increasing in recent years. Yoon noted that male customers tend to buy products for a toned upper body while female customers tend to buy products for lower body-building.
One noteworthy aspect of the body profile phenomenon is that young people are exercising literally for “appearances’ sake” than actual physical health.
With the development of SNS and IT technology seems to accelerate this phenomenon further. Also, as more celebrities who are exercising are shown more frequently on television, it seems that the trend of exercising for improved physical appearance is here to stay for at least the near future.
Korea International School Jeju
Shinyong Park firstname.lastname@example.org
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