Suga Discusses Mental Health and Masculinity for BTS’ Esquire Cover

Hong Jang Hyun

BTS member Suga recently opened up with Esquire on his view of masculinity and mental health.

The term “world domination” is what many use to describe BTS and their groundbreaking achievements. The K-pop group is now on the cover of Esquire magazine, in which they express, “world domination wasn’t our plan.” Such words show that the band members stay humble and united despite their success being through the roof. 

Throughout the sestet’s main article on Esquire, the reader can observe their modesty and down-to-earth personalities as they speak of their journey and admiration for each other. Their relationship most resonated with writer Dave Holmes, especially with their fanbase, ARMY. 

Holmes mentions BTS is known for “their affection with one another, their vulnerability and emotional openness,” which is a trait American boys and men seem to regard as a lack of masculinity. This way of thinking is what member Suga, part of the rap-line, opened up for discussion. 

The rapper said, “There is this culture where masculinity is defined by certain emotions, characteristics. I’m not fond of these expressions.” Suga then followed this statement by questioning the definition of “masculinity,” which he believes changes day by day. 

The artist expressed the need for society to understand the instability of the human mind and body. He says, “Sometimes you’re in a good condition; sometimes you aren’t. Based on that, you get an idea of your physical health. And that same thing applies mentally.” Suga described how people tend to use the term “weakness” to undermine mental health issues, but not the physical state. The rapper believes society must stop relating mental health to weakness when everyone’s emotions fluctuate daily and should be understood. 

BTS has shed light on the concept of mental health since their first single, “No More Dream.” In the article, Suga explains how the lyrics to this song are to draw attention to the pressure and mental distress the youth of South Korea endures. According to Holmes, the rapper believed this issue was never present in Korean pop music. It was this lack of awareness that inspired the rapper to be part of the music industry. 

Suga and his bandmates RM, Jin, J-Hope, Jimin, V (Kim Taehyung), and Jungkook continue to shed light on mental health with singles like “Dynamite” and “Life Goes On.” The sestet released both singles to help those struggling through the pandemic and the challenges that it presented.

BTS is defying the cultural standards of what masculinity used to mean. Their unity and vulnerability are a glimpse of how society can redefine the term for the better. Similarly, mental health is another concept society should be more open to discussing. We applaud Suga and the rest of BTS for their openness and vulnerability to express their feelings.