Super long post, but hopefully its a good read for fellow concerned QUEEN'S.
I'm willing to give the girls the benefit of the doubt regarding this whole bullying Hwayoung issue (but things are seriously looking very, very bad). But if they really are, I would be extremely shocked and totally disappointed in the girls. Having known them since debut, watching them gain popularity day by day with their hilarious variety shows and catchy songs, T-ara have always been the group to be able to put a smile to my face, rain or shine.
It is so disheartening to see thousands of people coming to conclusions so easily about this bullying, calling JiEunMin and even Soyeon very foul names and calling QUEEN'S delusional for wanting to give T-ara a chance to explain. Years of hard work to gain fame and recognition all easily tarnished just by this situation. It's hard to see how T-ara will manage to recover from this, if they even can...
Looking at it from a realistic point of view, it's hard to not agree that Hwayoung is being bullied by the other members (minus Qri and maybe Boram). T-ara always had 2 'subunits'; the "Originals" (Jiyeon, Eunjung, Hyomin) and the "Unnis" (Soyeon, Qri, Boram) and then there was Hwayoung who didn't fit into either group (but was typically grouped with Qri and Boram as the "Underrated" group by fans).
Even I noticed from all of their variety shows that Hwayoung was always the outcast type; the members would talk to her and treat her normally but there were rarely ever any cute moments- or rather, any bonding- between Hwayoung and another member; at best it was Hwayoung having a derp moment like when she dropped the stack of cups in Pretty Boys and all the other members laugh at her for that. There was always a sort of invisible tension, a sort of coldness and neglect. Throughout Hello Baby Hwayoung was always just playing with Maden all alone by herself while the others were doing their own thing with Mason and Mavin. Also in the first episode of Star Life Theater, Hwayoung told the camera man that they were going to go practice for their concert and she said "right, Unnie?" to Soyeon who simply said "Mmm" and a second later gave Hwayoung a quick smile... this would have been okay, had Hwayoung not chuckle very, very awkwardly. That scene just felt totally off to me.
Many fans (including myself) HATED the announcement that T-ara was getting a new member back in '10, with many reasons being that T-ara was fine as they were and that the addition was completely unnecessary (it still kind of was, honestly. Her addition had no effect on the success of YaYaYa, Why Are You Being Like This, Roly Poly, Cry Cry, etc. All it did was force the current T-ara members to have to RELEARN the choreography for previous songs and the members themselves expressed how unhappy- or rather, the difficulties they had- about that).
Hwayoung essentially had a lot to prove to both the fans and the T-ara members themselves that she was a worthy member of T-ara. It was not until Lovey Dovey and Day by Day, nearly 2 years later, when 2 more members were added, did Hwayoung finally get to be recognized. Things were going so well for T-ara... No one had any idea that the members were potentially bullying Hwayoung. How can this be? And why would the girls publicly bash Hwayoung via Twitter?
Since we have quite some time until the 30th major announcement, let's piece together the information (this is all PURE SPECULATION).
1. Hwayoung's addition to T-ara makes no contribution whatsoever, and actually had a detrimental effect: the girls had to relearn choreographies for past songs and now had to split earnings even more, not to mention they now had the awkward atmosphere of having a new member- or rather, a nobody (everybody starts off as nobodies!)- being thrown into the group.
2. As a result, T-ara members never fully "accepted" Hwayoung. They have 'accepted' that she was a part of T-ara because obviously they could not do anything about it and had to be professional, but they have never 'accepted' her as a part of them. This is seen on variety shows, where Hwayoung is always the outcast- always left out. She always was there, but she wasn't a part of them. This becomes even more evident when you see how Hwayoung treats Areum- always hugging her and smiling with her... they almost seem inseparable. Already you see Hwayoung having cute bonding moments with a NEW member... Something that you rarely, if ever, see her having with the original members despite the 2 YEARS she was with them.
3. Regarding the fabled CEO KKS and his rather... interesting... reputation, his ranting about T-ara being "lazy" and "full of themselves" makes sense if you consider the current situation. As fans who only saw T-ara as angels with a hectic schedule and 2 hour sleeps we immediately dismissed KKS's crude remarks, but if Hwayoung was really bullied via Twitter, chances are she was bullied behind the scenes too. She could've told KKS about this, prompting him to be outraged at the behavior of these members who became "full of themselves" and think they were "irreplaceable" to the point of adding in more members and threatening that he can remove anyone who continues to stir problems. As Hwayoung was the victim here, KKS decides to let Hwayoung have the spotlight with her raps for the Day by Day album, while JiEunMin and even Soyeon seemed to have diminishing lines. This can be related to KKS's statement of "no singing talent = no lines", although it is impossible to tell. The sudden change in line distribution could also stir jealousy and competition among the members.
4. Due to stress, lack of sleep, and a hectic schedule coupled with KKS's threats of removing them if they were lazy or mistreating each other, a lot of fans saw T-ara as a ticking time bomb, wondering when they would finally explode and always commenting "I wish they'd just leave CCM for good" or to "pull a KARA and file a lawsuit". But T-ara somehow continued to pull through with a smile, telling fans to not worry about their health and that they even want to continue acting along with doing music despite the whole no-more-acting-in-2012 thing. The members were, in a sense, absolutely "determined" that they could manage everything. They even had a big-scale concert- the Budokan, coming up, and they were practicing furiously for it. Eunjung herself stated, "We just want to enjoy the stage, without the pressure of being #1".
5. Unfortunately, last minute, Hwayoung injured herself, and was ultimately unable to perform at the concert, causing all the members who had extremely high hopes for the concert to become extremely disappointed. Since it was last minute, there was no way T-ara could adjust their choreography and line distribution; in essence, their month(s) of practices and preparation for the concert went down the drain along with their hopes of just being able to "enjoy the stage". The damage a lack of Hwayoung causes is evidently seen in the 120727 Day by Day performance on Music Bank where Hwayoung was absent- Hyomin outright had to look at a staff member who wrote the lyrics on a board for her to be able to pull off the rap and her clueless expression was saddening to watch. If the damage for one performance was so bad without Hwayoung, imagine the damage it had on a full scale concert and the resulting disappointment the girls would have.
6. How do the members react? They don't live together anymore, so they didn't handle it privately. They used Twitter to express their frustrations. The new member that joined 2 years ago that didn't really offer anything to the group and was outcasted, costed T-ara the chance to enjoy their first big-scale concert in Japan. Having been brainwashed by KKS to be extremely competitive-otherwise-be-kicked, coupled with their frustrations, T-ara couldn't handle it anymore and had to outright (indirectly?) bash Hwayoung on Twitter. "It's all her fault. She was not determined enough" Is basically what this whole Twitter bullying thing is about. It's not like other members were mad about the injury but rather the timing of it; others have been injured and/or absent before- that happened all the time and they were fine. But this time it happened on a big-scale event with high expectations. Hwayoung- someone who was potentially not liked in the first place- cost them BIG time at the Budokan. Members could potentially be thinking, this would have never happened if she never joined our group. We would have been fine without her (and they would be right. Eunjung and Hyomin are wonderful at rapping and T.T.L. is living proof of that). But still... for them to publicly lash at her and questioning her about her determination is something that even I cannot forgive T-ara for IF it happens to be true.
7. How does Hwayoung feel? DEVASTATED. If she really was bullied all this time and was an outcast... I can't even imagine the pain she had to go through. The T-ara members constantly mentioned that through all the tough times, they at least always had each other; a sort of second family. What about Hwayoung? Her most recent twitter mentioned that she at least has the support of her "family" and fans... whether T-ara is a part of her "family" is unknown... but if they haven't been all this time, then my heart goes out to her. Hyoyoung, being revealed by Hwayoung in Star Life Theater as the one who told the CEO to put Hwayoung into T-ara, must be feeling extremely guilty. She was the one that allowed this to happen- to let her younger twin, her "better half", be bullied by T-ara. "What's the point of having a pretty face if your inside isn't pretty?" she says is basically calling out one or more of the T-ara members.
8. CCM claims that T-ara couldn't have made those tweets and that they were hacked- this essentially means that the girl's tweets are acknowledged as insults, NOT ENCOURAGEMENT despite what translations may imply. Hell they could of sincerely thought this would be the only case, because they didn't know that Hwayoung was actually being bullied. Many people are laughing at that hacked statement, as it is "obviously B.S." but who knows. Maybe they were hacked (doubt it), maybe CCM said that specifically because they know it will attract even more attention- especially since they have a "major announcement" coming up. The major announcement did shift some of the focus off the bullying scandal and has instead made people pondering about what the major announcement could be, but overall the damage this whole issue has on T-ara's popularity- dividing the fandom, making thousands call the other members very crude names, and overall making the image of T-ara not as Queens of K-Pop but Queens of Cat-Fights is a very depressing event that makes the future of T-ara look very bleak.
9. Hyomin ended this by changing her picture (she changed it shortly after) to something that mentioned, "Everything happens for a reason" on Twitter. We shall *hopefully* see what this reason is, and pray for the better, on the 30th.
Ergh really? It was mentioned that the plan was to be granted a 10 day vacation, but they only received pretty much only half a week? What is that? T-ara deserves more than what it's worth, they work hard so a couple of free days is going to compensate for the last 3 years?
Also so what happens to Jiyeon? "...it was was inevitable that she couldn't take a full vacation." Does that mean she gets a vacation or not? I'm so annoyed, but I can't complain because it's better than nothing.
For the first picture, the one with Eunjung; either the photographer had an amazing camera, he/she had amazing photography skills, Eunjung is seriously that photogenic, or all of the above.
I'd say all of the above lol.
But seriously, that is an amazing candid shot of Eunjung, it almost doesn't look candid.
I'm all for T-ara to slowing down and giving them rest more than anything. If the stopping of acting gives T-ara breathing room for rest, then I'll all for it. I just hope T-ara's agency doesn't utilizes this time to push them harder towards their music, ie endless stage performances.
A few people posted that they're happy about this because now they can see all seven members now since there is no acting clashes. But the start of 2012 saw Jiyeon and Eunjung miss certain performances, not because of their acting but for fatigue and injuries respectively. So the acting issue doesn't really apply much there.
I also notice the word "break" that T-ara's CEO used, this brings up the question about what does that mean in terms of the expectations of T-ara in 2013? Will they go back to how things were before? Will they expect the same or better level quality of music after 2012?