The BabyMonster Controversy, Explained

The K-pop girl group has released some controversial teasers ahead of their debut.

How young is too young in K-pop? The highly anticipated debut of Korean music company YG Entertainment's girl group BABYMONSTER is just around the corner. The age of one member of the girl group has, however, raised concerns.

YG released a series of teasers this week to promote the upcoming debut of BABYMONSTER, beginning with a photo and video of Chiquita, a 14-year-old Thai member of the group. She wears tiny cut-off shorts displaying her legs, a torn top, dark makeup, and bright orange hair in these images.

It is no secret that K-pop fans have praised BABYMONSTER's teasers on social media, but some commentators have expressed concerns about Chiquita's more mature styling and claimed that she is too young to be in the group. "Seriously, she's too young to debut, and I'm not saying that she doesn't deserve to debut, but she's just… too young," wrote one concerned fan. 

Chiquita's style is perceived as mature, and some fans are concerned about what they consider to be YG Entertainment's attempt to portray her as older than she actually is. There was a lot of controversy surrounding Chiquita's dressing style, resulting in many debates among fans about her appropriateness as a young idol in light of these choices as conversations progressed online. 

In this debate, it is demonstrated that there appears to be a contradiction between the style of the idol on display and what can be expected for the debut of a young idol in the industry. 

"Are people forgetting that she's 14 because of the styling? Or do they just not care?" wrote a poster on the r/kpop subreddit. "they're definitely trying to age her up with this styling…" remarked another.

"How are 14 year olds looking like 24 year olds! I mean I'm 24 and she's a baby but the styling ages her up so much it's crazy," commented one user, while another wrote, "I don't get why they debut a 14 y.o. and make her look 20+ when the company could just ... debut a 20+ y.o. idol."

One commenter said, "I'm just mad at the amount of photoshop on this poor child. Oh yeah, she won't be made to do 'sexy' dance moves, that makes it all ok. Please don't support this."

The company had planned to debut BABYMONSTER in September but postponed its launch. YG Entertainment teased the group's debut last month, scheduling it for Nov. 27. The postponement was due to considerations related to the debut track, according to a statement from YG Entertainment in October. 

'We paid careful attention in selecting the title track in order to repay with the best result. Consequently, the [girl group's] debut was slightly delayed from September as we originally informed, and we ask for [fans'] understanding,' the representative said.

The other members of BABYMONSTER include Haram, Rora, Pharita, Ruka, and Asa, originating from countries such as South Korea, Japan, and Thailand. Within 52 days of their YouTube channel's creation on Dec. 28, 2022, BabyMonster's YouTube channel surpassed one million subscribers, and within 129 days, they reached two million subscribers, becoming the fastest girl group ever to achieve this feat.

In May, BABYMONSTER released their pre-debut track "Dream," which subsequently topped the Billboard Hot Trending Songs chart. They are the third girl group to debut under YG Entertainment, following BLACKPINK in 2016 and 2NE1 in 2009.