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Why Today’s Girl Group Idols Are So Tall


There are two key explanations, and one might surprise you.

Today’s K-Pop girl groups are reaching new heights — both figuratively and literally! If you’re a fourth-gen fan, you’ve probably noticed that female idols seem to be taller than ever, even when they’re off stage and out of heels. Wondering why? There are actually two key explanations, and one of them might surprise you.

You don’t need to break out a measuring tape to notice just how tall some of today’s rookie girl group stars are. Take IVE, for instance; their lineup boasts an average height of 170cm, with the tallest members (Wonyoung and Yujin) both reaching a staggering 173cm. Some fans even think Wonyoung may be taller than she lets on officially.

IVE’s Wonyoung | @for_everyoung10/Instagram

Likewise, NMIXX‘s tallest member is Bae, who’s 171cm tall, while NewJeansHyein and Minji reach 170cm and 169cm respectively.

NewJeans’ Hyein | newjeans_official/Instagram

When you compare their heights to many of the most popular third-generation groups, the rise is clear as day. Red Velvet, for example, have 167cm Joy as their tallest member, but the group’s overall average height is just 160cm. TWICE‘s average height, meanwhile, is 163cm, and MAMAMOO‘s average height is 161cm.

Red Velvet’s Irene, 158cm tall, with BLACKPINK’s Jennie | @kimjennie116/Twitter

But why are girl group idols suddenly so tall? One of the biggest reasons actually affects South Korea as a whole.

In a recent run-down of South Korean history, Vox explained that around 100 years ago, the average Korean woman was just 142cm. The average American woman at the same time, meanwhile, was 159cm.

A comparison of average heights 100 years ago |HeightComparison.com

Naturally, humans have grown other time. But, while Asian countries haven’t generally seen as much growth as European and North American countries, South Korea is an outlier. In just one century, the average height of Korean women has risen by nearly 20cm!

Vox explained that the biggest reason for South Korea’s out-of-the-ordinary growth is economics. 100 years ago, the national was struggling financially. Food supply was relatively low, and the country didn’t have many high-value exports. Today, however, Korea is known as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Brands like Samsung have helped propel Korea’s national wealth. | Samsung

Ever since the country switched to exporting tech and vehicles, wealth has grown exponentially. In turn, so have food supply, living conditions, and childhood health, all of which have an impact on height. Vox’s own Korean expert explained that his generation is noticeably taller than his mother’s, and his mother is taller than his grandmother. So, it’s almost no surprise that fourth-generation idols are towering over the rest of us.

STAYC’s Yoon, 170cm | OSEN

Of course, that’s not the only reason. Unsurprisingly, beauty standards play a key role. The ideal look is always evolving, and many of the biggest beauty standards in the second generation have almost disappeared. More than ever, tall women with long proportions are now seen as the most gorgeous.

EVERGLOW’s Aisha, 174cm | @0721Yellowrose/Twitter

A former audition manager even revealed that companies look for height when they’re casting trainees. Younger auditionees, who are seen as “high-risk” because companies can’t tell how tall they’ll be, are actually encouraged to disclose any older siblings they have in the entertainment industry so agencies can visualise their own future proportions.

All this considered, it makes sense that the biggest “it girls” of today are so much taller than their sunbaenims. That said, the change isn’t stopping shorter stars like Kep1er‘s 157cm Yeseo or aespa‘s 161cm Ningning from making their mark.


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