HYBE’s New Girl Group Audition Is Breaking Korean Gender Norms, Here’s What Fans Think

The company made a change to the auditions’ eligibility.

This week, HYBE held their corporate briefing 2021 Briefing With The Community as many of the company’s plans for the future were announced.


Several new original stories inspired by current groups BTS, TXT, and ENHYPEN were announced, including releases for Naver Webtoon and even Wattpad, sparking concerns among fans.

BTS’s new webtoon concept. | HYBE LABELS

This was not fans’ only concern, however. Bang Si Hyuk (also known as Bang PD and Hitman Bang) revealed that HYBE would be partnering with Dunamu to develop an NFT (non-fungible token) business to allow artists’ IP-based content to become digital assets for fans. This would include photocards, among other things, such as GIFs and videos. Still, fans couldn’t overlook the average NFTs’ environmental impact.

Bang Si Hyuk (left) and Song Chi Hyung (right) | HYBE LABELS/YouTube

Despite everything, we cannot ignore all of the good that HYBE is doing. In addition to original stories, we’re getting a new BTS game that the members have been actively involved in the creative process.

Additionally, the company announced that there would be both a new boy group and a girl group. Out of all the announcements, the girl group has sparked quite a lot of excitement among fans.

We plan to debut new artists through local training systems, after assembling the business ‘know-hows’ from HYBE’s DNA, the United States, and Japan. Simultaneously, the content that shows the growth and selection process [of the groups] will be broadcast in media programs, which plan to be released globally.


CEO of HYBE America Lenzo Yoon announced that HYBE, HYBE America, and Universal Music Group (UMG) have been working closely on this new project in Los Angeles, California. The new girl group will be a global, active around the world. So, naturally, fans are excited about the potential opportunity of having diversity in K-Pop.

With our local training system in the United States, organized by HYBE and UMG, we will discover the best global female artists and go beyond the boundaries of location, culture, and genre.

— HYBE America

Fans can expect to witness the groups’ story from the start. And, it’s open for anyone to try out themselves for the girl group as HYBE has partnered with Geffen for global auditions.

This is an exciting moment in K-Pop history because it will be the first US-based K-Pop girl group. It’s an opportunity to show the world just how diverse K-Pop is!

HYBE also revealed that there would be local training, including professional vocal trainers, choreographers, music producers, and more. Not only that, but they guaranteed that there would also be health specialists and psychologists for the group members.

What has really made fans proud to see is that HYBE is already proving just how inclusive they are with the auditions. On the official audition submissions’ website, the eligibility requirements include “15 to 19 (16 to 19 for EU residents)” for age and “She/Her/Them”  for gender. Fans were pleasantly surprised to see that the company included gender-neutral pronouns for the girl group auditions.

But it wasn’t always like that. When first announced, “Them” had yet to be included.

| @P1won2_/Twitter

Nevertheless, the fact that they quickly changed it and added it is commendable. Considering that South Korea still has lots of room for improvement concerning equality, this is certainly a step in the right direction, and HYBE is doing its part.

HYBE and its artists have actually been outspoken LGBTQIA+ advocates and allies2AM‘s Jo Kwon, who is non-binary, once revealed that Bang Si Hyuk even gifted them heels once, showing his support.

Producer Bang Si Hyuk gifted them to me when he produced my first solo album, Animal. One day, he sent me a photo. They’re 19.5-centimeter high heels with no heels. He told me he thought it’d be cool if I vogued in them, so I remember performing in them.

— Jo Kown

Bang Si Hyuk (left) and Jo Kwon (right)

We can look forward to the potential debut of a diverse and inclusive K-Pop group from HYBE!

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