Suicidal Industry?

Here’s something interesting: Park Jinhee: “40% of Actors Considered Suicide”

Four out of every 10 actors here have been suffering from depression and have had suicidal urges from time to time, according to a degree paper by actress Park Jinhee, Tuesday.

About 20 percent have actually purchased toxic agents or “devices” for suicide, she revealed, claiming that the extreme stress to stay attractive and to remain in the limelight drives them to mental instability and leads them to make drastic choices.

For her masters degree paper for Yonsei University, “Studies on Depression and Suicidal Urges Among Actors”, Park, who has played leading roles in numerous movies and TV dramas, interviewed 260 actors last year with incomes ranging from 10 million won-per-episode to less than 1 million won a month.

She found that 40 percent were suffering from depression.

Respondents were quoted as saying, “I am sick of being alive. I want to die” and “I want to commit suicide and have often thought about going through with it”. About 20 percent of them actually bought pills or other harmful devices to kill themselves and another 20 percent said that they have confessed to others about their urges.

Park said most of these symptoms derive from their “unstable status” in life. They thought their employment status was too rocky and that their talents weren’t received well enough by the public and industry insiders.

The gap between the general public’s perception that entertainers “live flamboyant and happy lives” and their actual life being “not so glamorous” also caused them mental anguish.

They were often forced to hide their real characters or feelings from others to remain “likable” and some of them thought “having to stay young and blissful” was self-consuming.

Their stress index marked 53.12 out 100, which is higher than that of self-employed men at 48.12 and salaried workers, at 48.18.

Park’s report is expected to create a whirlwind in the showbiz world recently reeling from many celebrities committing suicide and the possible copycat syndrome among their fans.

Actresses Lee Eunjoo , Jeong-Da-bin, Choi Jinshil ; actor Choi Jin-young and pop singer Yuni are just some of the well-known celebrities who have taken their own lives of late.

After the suicide by the late actress Choi Jinshil in October 2008, the number of suicides jumped by 60 percent compared to the previous year, according to Statistics Korea.

“The numbers show that people, who seem to be in the middle of amiability, love and glamour, are some of the most lonesome and troubled”, Park said in the paper.

Although we have seen a number of celebrity suicides, I can’t help but still feel pretty disturbed from reading this article. Almost half of Korean actors are or have been, at some point in their life, so depressed that suicide seems like a viable alternative. And among those, some have even thought of it as far as actually buying the tool to kill themselves.

I’m sure the show biz everywhere is stressful, but there seems to be an added pressure of being a Korean celebrity?

Korea seems to be a highly appearance-oriented nation. I’ve read somewhere that Korean women, in average, applies 17-18 (cosmetic) products before going out. It is also a nation whose collective body weight is among the lowest yet Korea is among the highest consumer of diet pills. There’s a certain standard of beauty that most people follow. From V line face, big eyes, glowing fair skin, etc.

The struggle to be good looking, even among regular people, is higher than any culture I’ve seen and experienced before. I was talking to a friend in the age range of 18-19 and she was talking about plastic surgery like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Friends her age spent thousands of dollars to fix themselves up to get ready for the university life. Some only went for double lid surgery, some went to get the full package. Double lid eyes, higher nose, shaved cheek bones, fuller forehead, and of course shots of botox. Plastic surgeries apply to the male population as well, tho perhaps not as prevalent as in the female population. Of course, there can be no generalization here. NOT everyone in this Republic does surgeries, but it is undeniable that the statistics is higher in Korea.

If regular people apply to themselves a certain beauty standard, then I can only imagine what kind of pedestal do they put celebrities in.

One thing I’ve observed about Korea is that it’s a very “IN” society. Few celebrities seem to hold a lasting impact on the people. Others have to just count their luck that their projects are constantly a success, otherwise, public would soon forget about them. A simple example: shops would blare out a few distinctive songs OVER AND OVER AND OVER again for a few weeks. Then that’s it, you can’t hear those songs anymore. CNBlue’s I’m A Loner and Chuno’s OST were the shops favourite. If I roam the neighbourhood all day, I can probably hear those songs playing respectively at least 7 times. I guess that reflects the flaky interests of Korean public? And one of the main goals of celebrities is trying to catch these flaky interests and manage to keep them.

But anyways, I just wanted to share this. It was really interesting to read. I guess now Korea should have more institutions to help with mental depressions.

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One response to “Suicidal Industry?

  1. ditdut, thanks for sharing. i read somewhere that 25% of korean mums encourage their daughters to actually get plastic surgery *jaw drop* i really hope i misread. what has the world come to? this is both intriguing and disturbing. i didnt know korea is that bad, plus that innate asian tendency to conform, safe face etc… they really need to encourage good body image, we dont want any more cases like park yong ha.

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