H is for Hongbin (and Perfectionism)
Okay, I lied. Two of my posts for this month are about VIXX members. This time it’s about Hongbin, “The Visual.”
What I say here could actually apply to the “visual” member of any group, but Hongbin is the one who really made me realize something:
I really don’t like the whole concept of a member of a group being dedicated as the “visual”, especially if that is said member’s only position.
To me, it just sounds like code for “untalented.” When I hear a member of a new group introduce him/herself as “the visual,” my mind always goes to the conversation I imagine that happened leading up to that member’s position assignment. Take VIXX for example: it’s like the producers at Jellyfish Entertainment sat around a table, going down the list of members and assigning the roles, and when they got to Hongbin, one of them goes “Well, he’s not really good at anything, but we have to give him a position, so let’s just make him the visual.”
Honestly, if I was told that my position was going to be the “visual” of the group, I would feel offended, and more importantly, undervalued. To have the sole position in a musical group that isn’t at all related to music just doesn’t seem right.
Of course, visuals like Hongbin are good-looking, as well as talented, but part of the recruitment method at these companies is looks; everyone who debuts is going to be pretty or handsome to begin with, so being labeled as the one visual member doesn’t really mean anything, especially considering how subjective beauty is.
The reason why I bring up Hongbin in particular is that I have noticed that he doesn’t appear to be too comfortable with the concept either, and I see it affecting his behavior. He has said more than once in interviews that he wants to be known as more than a pretty face. Whenever I read interviews in which VIXX talk about their hopes for the future, Hongbin’s always involves something like “I want to be known as a good singer.”
He knows that he is attractive. I mean, how could he not when everyone is constantly commenting on it. What breaks my heart is that he consciously wants to be more than that. The moment that really made me ache is in MyDol, the reality show that the members were on before they debuted, when one of the Jellyfish trainers commented that Hongbin “is handsome, but he can’t sing” (Ep.1).
Even the other members only seem to acknowledge his looks. When describing the good qualities in the other members, while others get comments like being hard-working or dependable, he seems to always get “handsome.” It’s nice to be told that you’re good-looking, but it is such a superficial comment. Looks are so temporary, and I wouldn’t really consider that a talent or quality that a person can control all that much.
I’ve seen how this affects the self-esteem of people first-hand. Always being told that you’re beautiful or handsome puts this constant thought in your mind that people are always looking at you and that you should always look perfect. I have seen it happen to people around me and I see it happening to Hongbin.
Whenever there is a camera around, Hongbin always appears to be posing. That can get tiring. If he hasn’t already, he is eventually going to develop this complex that he always has to look perfect and live up to his “artwork” reputation or else he won’t be worth anything. Since his beauty seems to be all that people comment about, how is he supposed to know that he is extremely likable and valued in so many other ways?
In no way am I saying that Hongbin isn’t talented. I just think that by exclusively commenting on his appearance as his best quality, it implies that his other good qualities are not really worth commenting on.
Question of the Day:
What are your thoughts on having a “visual” member?
#NowPlaying: In the Cold Night by VIXX. Even though this song was originally written for Leo and Ken, I have always thought Hongbin’s voice sounded especially beautiful in this.