SEOUL • CL? Her professional stage name should be XL instead, suggested a critic.
K-pop singer CL was bombarded with headlines and comments on her appearance after pictures emerged in which she appeared to have gained weight.
The 27-year-old was photographed at Incheon Airport where she caught a plane to Singapore to perform at the recent Hyperplay event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The singer from defunct girlband 2NE1 was labelled as XL by a local media outlet, an abbreviation of the extra-large size, which was intended to rhyme with her stage name, reported The Korea Herald.
Another Korean media outlet even used abusive language to run down CL's appearance.
As fans jumped to the defence of the singer, rumours spread over her health as well as her allegedly "shaky" relationship with her former agency YG Entertainment.
But even as the media has been slammed over body-shaming reports, Korean female artists seem unable, or unwilling, to fight for change, a researcher noted.
They deem the strict diets a "ritual" that cannot be dropped in the quest for fame, said Centre for Culture & Society's Lee Jong-im.
Lee, who recently wrote a book on the hardships faced by idol trainees, said: "It's not K-pop itself that is the problem, but agencies, the media and the public that expect their idols to look like they do in music videos all the time."