In the world of K-pop, alcohol hides behind a closed door, waiting to strike an idol to her knees in controversy. The bizarre part is that scandals that arise out of alcohol are seemingly random: drinking solo is gradually becoming more socially accepted, while celebrity Instagram posts with alcohol regularly incite controversy. This inconsistent vitriol demonstrates the complexity of the relationship between female idols and alcohol.
Internationally, South Korea has developed a notorious relationship with alcohol. In fact, they drink twice as much liquor as Russians and have the most alcoholics. According to Chosun Ilbo, almost 6 million Koreans drink alcohol every day to the tune of 9.52 million bottles of beer and 8.96 million bottles of soju per day. Drinking is a cultural thing: its something you do with coworkers and friends a bonding exercise and social activity that can act as a way for people to get ahead in the workforce. Coworkers often go out for BBQ every month, and sometimes more frequently in gatherings known as hoesik. While a chance for coworkers to bond, there is also regularly intense peer pressure from elders to drink and saying no is rarely an option.