I’m Sorry, We Need To Talk About Wonho’s Thirst Traps

And why K-Pop girls aren’t allowed to do the same thing.

When it comes to people who have escaped the aggressive machine that is the K-Pop idol manufacturing industry, Wonho—of former Monsta X turned solo artist fame—is it.

The 28-year-old South Korean singer, real name Lee Ho-seok, left the band in October 2019 after allegedly false claims of substance abuse, but has come out of 2020 as one of K-Pop brightest and internet-breaking solo stars with tracks like Lose and Open Mind.

WATCH: Wonho’s Open Mind Official Music Video

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Wonho’s performances are nothing shy of sweat-inducing and his outfits are iconically spicy and *gulp* tasty: I’m talking pairs of skin-tight leather pants, crop-tops and sleeveless jackets with the zipper pulled up halfway to reveal his mid-drift set of abs.

When his music is sonically fiery and passionate, and his music videos feature subtly erotic symbolisms like chains breaking and him soaked dancing in the rain, you can’t help picture Wonho as a sex symbol. But, the thing that exists rent-free in my mind—and gives me an emotional heatwave—isn’t his music; it’s his Instagram. 

Sorry to your mans, but Wonho is the King of the Thirst Trap. Over on IG, my boy boasts nearly two million followers 😤, despite the fact his first post was published on the 23rd of May, 2020 😳.

And, while his music does indeed have a home on my go-to playlists, his posts on socials are more about his workouts, the times spent lounging about and napping in bed, and, um, moody black and white pics ft. a lot of cake. 

(Credit: Instagram.)

It’s no surprise that Wonho has become the poster boy for our loveable himbo when he’s built the way he is yet carries a soft and shy smile and persona.

In one throwback pic, Wonho adorably slips on a white and red striped pair of socks in front of a Christmas tree.

It’s a harmless and safe for work image, but it’s met with comments like “I AM NOT FUNCTIONING,” and, “I bet he could crush watermelons with those thighs.” 

(Credit: Instagram.)

In another pic that one commenter says “feels illegal,” Wonho lays face down on a black leather lounge with a Murakami black and white flower plushie—and an aggressively toned gluteus maximus that leaves many fans to admit that “he has more cake than me-😭💀.” 

(Credit: Instagram.)

Can you believe that this app is free? Homeboy has virtually no right posting this while I’m here casually scrolling through my Instafeed at 7am after drowning out the thoughts from the day till midnight the night before.

As RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Plastique Tiara commented in one of his latest posts, “R u kidding me.”

(Credit: Instagram.)

But, here’s the thing. While Wonho’s thirst traps leave me sweaty, sweety, they raise an important convo about the double standards of female bodies within K-Pop social media. While some K-Pop girl groups like BLACKPINK give us fashion inspo in every post, the many YouTube supercuts of their interviews and video essays claim that they’re controlled and shackled by their management? 

In February last year, a video of Mijoo, of girl group Lovelyz, made the rounds. In it, she read out a series of sexual and predatory comments made about her during a live-stream as another member quietly sweared about the comments off-camera. Shortly after, Lovelyz management, Woollim Entertainment, released a public apology. 

Weirdly however, it wasn’t about the comments made against them but the fact Mijoo swore. At the same time, a viral compilation clip of various male idols swearing was shared with no backlash, proving again the problem: why aren’t female idols in the K-Pop industry treated the same as their male counterparts?

As communication science professor at Chungnam National University, Kim Sujeong told South China Morning Post, “the public treats female celebrities more harshly because Korean society has a very male-dominated structure and a culture that discriminates against women. People demand that female K-pop idols are kind, submissive and mature. Then they get irked when idols do not fit the norm.”

When it comes to Wonho and his public Instagram, we can’t deny we love his posts. But, we have to wonder, could his fellow K-Pop idol girls be given the same freedom and agency to do the same?

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