K-Pop star Sulli dies at age 25

K-Pop star Sulli dies at age 25 | Random J Pop

In news that's shocked the whole of K-Pop, and the world - former f(x) member has died at age 25.

It was reported that Sulli battled with depression, something which is corroborated by comments that Sulli had made herself, revealing that she'd always suffered from anxiety. And whilst there's been no confirmation of how she passed at time of writing, it's highly suspected that this was a suicide.

It's unfortunate that this has become too much of a regular thing. Undoubtedly people are going to connect dots between Sulli's passing and Jonghyun's, given that she is the second SM entertainment affiliated act to commit suicide within a 2 year period. But this is bigger than SM entertainment and bigger than K-Pop. But that's not to say that K-Pop as a whole and agencies with large stakes in it such as SM entertainment shouldn't seek to find ways in which they can prevent this sort of thing from happening. As hard as that may be.

K-Pop star Sulli dies at age 25 | Random J Pop

Sulli had experienced online bullying and trolling during her time in f(x), which got so bad that she went on a temporary hiatus from the group in 2014; with her leaving the group indefinitely in 2015.

Sulli left the group because she was unhappy and had other things that she wanted to pursue, that she felt she was unable to do as part of f(x). But the cyber-bulling and constant trolling was most certainly a factor in her decision to leave. And it can't have been a decision that she took lightly, given the opportunity she'd been given to land a role in f(x) with one of K-Pop biggest agencies and live out a dream.

But whilst it may have seemed that Sulli was living the dream, it doesn't appear to have been the case. Sulli was fighting demons behind closed doors. Demons that she may have thought she'd no longer have to fight quite as often once she left f(x), only to find that they hounded her until her final days.

Once Sulli left f(x) she went back to acting, which is where she had started out before ever becoming a part of f(x). But she did not go full force with her solo career endeavours and it became clear that stardom wasn't what Sulli really sought. And given what she'd experienced during her time as an idol, it's really no surprise. She just wanted to live her life as authentically as she could, and to be herself. But people online had things to say about everything Sulli did and did not do. They were there to let a bitch know at every turn. Some just being completely heinous, and other veiling their attacks as advice or critiques.

People had their own perceptions of the kind of woman they felt Sulli should be, and because she wasn't that, she got shitted on. For stupid things like not wearing a bra, because God forbid a woman claims her own body and wants her titties free without wire digging into her rib cage.

Sulli left f(x) to pursue her dreams, live life at her own pace and step down from a platform that had many feel that they had ownership of her. Only to find herself backed into a corner.

It's a bit of a paradox. f(x) were seen as the odd-ball girl group with free reign. They were still as produced as Girls' generation, but were marketed in a way that showed them as being a little bit more eccentric than Girls' generation were ever allowed to be, with a margin for a fair amount of wiggle room. But even with this, Sulli still caught flak for being herself and not always being the picture of what the general public expected her to be. Despite debuted in a group that seemingly advocated freedom of expression.

A large part of it is the standard of femininity and womanhood, which K-Pop advocates. A reflection of South Korea as a whole. This is why most South Korean celebrities all fall into specific pockets in terms of their looks, style and the way in which they carry themselves. Even with all of the crazy fashions and 'concepts' that we see girl groups adorn when they have a new song out, they all exist in a very specific space. There are rules which they all follow in order to maintain a standard which is deemed acceptable. One of which Sulli stepped outside of when she was in f(x) and then cartwheeled out of once she left.

We see it everyday. Billy Porter being shamed for wearing a dress on the red carpet because he's a black man. Britney being slut shamed because people failed to grasp that being sexy and being a virgin are not mutually exclusive. Christina Aguilera being called a slut because of a look in a music video. These aren't even wildy extreme things nor cases. But people don't have to be wildly evocative or that different to be ostracised and hated. But we live in an age where it's far easier for like minded people with shit opinions to congregate and attack with a few keystrokes, a couple of swipes and a tap. And as a result we end up with casualties and victims.

K-Pop star Sulli dies at age 25 | Random J Pop

Something that we need to become better at is allowing artists to unproblematically live their own truth, because at the end of the day they are still people like you and I and that's all any of us are trying or striving to do. That's literally all Sulli wanted to do and was doing. And yet, at every turn she took she was met with hatred and negativity to such a point where she only saw one path left to take.

Suicide prevention & support hotlines
☎️ UK, Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland
  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • Lifeline: 0808 808 8000

☎️ US
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (for the deaf & hard of hearing): 1-800-799-4889
  • The Trevor project (geared towards the LGBTQIA+): 1-866-488-7386

A full list of suicide prevention and support numbers by country can be found here.