The year 2016 has so far been a roller-coaster ride for Stephanie Young Hwang, better known as Tiffany of Girls’ Generation. The K-pop idol of the popular SM Entertainment girl group started out the year strong working on her solo debut I Just Wanna Dance, an extended play (EP) or mini-album featuring her title track of the same name. It officially released in May, making its debut at number three on both the Billboard World Album Chart and South Korea’s Gaon Album Chart. Before that, Tiffany was finding success on Korean television too through variety show Unnies’ Slam Dunk. Let’s not forget Tiffany still has activities with Girls’ Generation on top of all her solo endeavors, too.
However, Tiffany’s high peak in her career was met with a low point. During an SM Entertainment music event in Japan, she made some posts using Japanese flag emoticons and images. Said use is not bad on its own, but because they were used right before South Korea’s National Liberation Day, it was just a matter of unfortunate happenstance. In one night, Tiffany’s solo career was hurt as she was blasted by Korean and forced off of Unnies’ Slam Dunk. Even two handwritten apologies would not be enough for Koreans to forgive her.
At this moment, Tiffany has been quiet as a means of reflecting on what she has done. This does extend to the use of her official social media accounts too. However, Tiffany had gone online a couple of times much to the chagrin of Koreans, even when one of those times was to wish fellow Girls’ Generation member Hyoyeon a happy birthday.
The post wishing Hyoyeon a happy birthday was technically not a regular Instagram update. According to Korean news outlet Naver translated through Soompi, Tiffany uploaded an image of sprinkles with the caption “#922” through Instagram Stories, the new feature on the popular image social media that allows users to post images and videos that appear on followers’ feeds for only 24 hours. In short, it is Instagram’s answer to Snapchat.
The upload was very significant because it is Tiffany’s first post outside of apologies on Instagram, or any of her other social media accounts, after her Japanese flag controversy debacle. It also seemed as if Koreans were willing to let Tiffany at least give birthday wishes to Hyoyeon, as there were very few confrontations for the Instagram Stories post. It is possible Koreans did not know about Instagram Stories and could not criticize her, but if that is the case, it is good, because the last thing Hyoyeon needs is negativity for her birthday wishes.
Tiffany would remain quiet on her account after that Instagram Stories post, but she (or possibly moderators who have access to her account) would eventually change her avatar or profile picture. According to AllKpop, Tiffany changed her profile picture (as shown above) to a glamor portrait of her in blue fur. Korean netizens took notice of the change and began to criticize her, going as far as to say such activity makes her sincere apologies seem fake.
User One: “Honestly why… It’s even more frustrating because I used to like her, she should really not.”
User Two: “Is quitting SNS really that hard… is it really that difficult to reflect just a little longer, it’s only been like a month.”
User Three: “Doing that just makes her sincere apology seem fake again… she should really be more careful.”
The actions of Korean netizens toward Tiffany for something as small as a profile image change shows just how serious they are when they want their K-pop idols to reflect, or at least it shows how sour they still are. If how K-pop idols reflect are any indication, K-pop fans — especially those who are Sone (official fan club of Girls’ Generation) and Fanytastic (official fan club of Tiffany) — Koreans may want Tiffany to reflect for years.
[Featured Image by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Burberry]