Greetings to all my followers and anyone who happens upon my blog. I’ve been gone for a long time and you all deserve an explanation. I’ve been studying for graduate school and it takes a lot of dedication. It’s also a time consuming process, so I have not been able to keep creating entries here on a weekly basis (with “Song of the Week”) included. I’m sorry and I’ll try to get back into my regular posting routine again. I took a long break, so I guess I should come back with a big topic. I thank everyone who kept visiting my blog even when there were no new entries. I’ll reward everyone with a giveaway eventually. I’m not big-time, so it will just be a regular album. I’ll try to get a poster for it too. Anyway, the big topic for today is Kpop girl groups and the “new” sexy concept. Some people feel it has gone too far even with the classy appeal a sexy concept can bring to the stage. Just how far is too far? Let’s try to find out.
Rainbow Blaxx is composed of Rainbow members Jaekyung, Woori, Seungah and Hyunyoun. This sub-unit’s attempt at a sexy concept is definitely a success, but some people noted the sexiness was a little blunt in delivery.
[Photo Credit: Soompi.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/lgyjg5u
Every person is different, so even the definition of sexy can change from person to person. Some people believe “real” sexiness is classy, which generally involves some kind of elegance and not much skin exposure. The issue of skin exposure is the main point for a lot of critics for the new “sexy transition” a lot of girl groups seem to be involved in lately. Some people call the sexiness taken too far “selling skin”, which takes from the saying “Sex sells”. That brings me to an important point with this topic. It’s true and that’s just the way the world works (for better or worse). It is true that being sexy gets a lot of attention for music groups and Kpop is no exception. Blaming “Western influence” or American pop music is no excuse because Korean artists can think for themselves and make the decisions regardless of what other cultures have going on in their pop music. Sometimes influences from American music are present, but that is not the only reason and sometimes it’s not even a factor. Sex sells everywhere in the world, which means there are people all over the world that like/love anything that they consider sexy. Some things like showing a leg like in Girl’s Day’ “Something” is considered sexy in most parts of the world and those same parts of the world can call it scandalous (I just remembered “The Ashleys” Recess for some reason = 90s kid) at the same time. Sometimes the managers or label wants that to happen. Scandals generate interest and gather a lot of attention. A “no name” artist can suddenly become an “overnight star” from a scandal, which might have been generated by the label because it was manageable and not a “career-ruiner” in the long run. The potential issue can be seen with the recent abundance of “19+” videos from Kpop girl groups. Abundance does not mean every nine out of 10 groups have “19+” ratings on their MVs, but enough groups are doing it that it is being noticed. The issue of how far is too far is certainly rooted in opinion, but certainly there must be some common ground. If what is considered sexy has even a little common ground around the world, then shouldn’t going too far qualify as well? Let’s keep looking at this situation then.
Stellar recently came back with their new song “Marionette”, which got a “19+” rating with no real surprise for anyone. This new song is the perfect example of the “transitional sexiness” going on in Kpop for girl groups recently. I tend to feel “too far” may apply when I need to log in to see the video on YouTube.
[Photo Credit: okpopgirls.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/ln2uvu3
The reason I brought up the log in issue with the caption above is because I remember when Nine Muses’ “Glue” got a “19+” rating and I don’t need to log in to see that MV. The same can be said for Ga-in’s “Bloom” and even Rainbow Blaxx’s “Cha Cha”, so that makes me raise an eyebrow. The big issue with broadcasters seem to be suggestive movements and adult themes. This is generally because shows like “Inkigayo!” and “Show! Music Core” are called “family shows” due to the time of day they come on. Another reason could be that families actually do come together to watch their nation’s talent perform on stage. Issues like cursing or violence are valid reasons to ask for a change in choreography or ban a song from a show in my opinion, but some shows will ask for costume changes or something like that to avoid an outright ban. This is especially true if the group in question will bring in a lot of ratings because it’s all about the money in the end. This desire for money cannot overcome the public opinion because that would be trading long-term success for short-term success, but that’s getting into the mechanics of the business world. I will guess that you get the point already. Ga-in’s latest song “FxxK You” (Feat. Bumkey) was banned for the language in the song and I know I don’t need to speak any further about that for people to understand why. People say the song has a lot of meaning to it, but broadcasters aren’t concerned with artistic value for the most part. They have to please the public before the artist, so issues like that come up with such songs. Any group that comes out with a “19+” MV or very sexy dance can always come back with a less sexy song/dance to get people calm again, but they can go right back to that same “19+ sexiness” the next time.
AOA recently came back with “Miniskirt”, which put the group in the same category as Stellar and Rainbow Blaxx for this “too much sexy” debate. The miniskirt is a potentially controversial piece of clothing when it comes to sexiness already, so that is something interesting.
[Photo Credit: kpopstarz.com] Link: http://tinyurl.com/k5mdyuh
This issue of sexiness taken too far brings up the issue of the “double standard”. The Korean Communications Standards Commission (KCSC) recently decided to make this abundance of sexy concepts with girl groups an issue for them. Some people are asking there they were when guy groups were pushing the same concepts. So some more questions come up as a result.What about male groups with their ab exposure, pelvic thrusts and other means of sexual appeal? Are they ignored because it is more subtle/quicker or is it because not as many male groups use it? Not many people will deny male groups use sexiness to gather crowds and girl groups have been doing it for a while too, but the abundance of it recently is what is gathering attention for these girl groups. Crying out that there is a “double standard” is the classic defense of those who support sexy concepts, but one must be careful when using any term. Many people use a term without understanding it or seeing if it fits the situation. The fact is male groups are not ignored when they use sexiness in their performances. There was the incident a while back when TVXQ’s “Mirotic” was apparently almost banned for whatever reason a certain broadcast network came up with back then. Girl groups have many more options when it comes to sexually appealing movements, which are often attributed to the female gender. The “dip move” Sunmi does in her performance of “24 Hours” is generally seen as sexy when a female does it, but most people find it funny when a guy does it. Take out the slow-mo effect and sparkling scenery a K-drama would put in and it certainly looks funny. A female does it and suddenly you would hear that slow jazz music in the background that shows play when they feel a female is doing something sexy. I feel the issue here is that the some of the girl groups are transitioning to sexy from previous “non sexy” images and the transition is too big for some people to handle. The girl groups that were never really “cutesy” in the first place are getting caught in this debate as well and the overall sexiness that is coming out recently is certainly drastic for a lot of people. Most kpop fans would be able to predicte this debate would happen when seeing only a few of the recent MVs from groups like AOA or Stellar. The “double standard” is not a myth and it certainly is present in this situation, but the sexiness in recent girl group performances are certainly stronger than before. Some kpop fans will criticize them because they prefer “cutesy” concepts, but don’t admit it and others will admit it. Some fans just want to tear down these girl groups, while others live by the “double standard” and question why a broadcaster would want to alter or ban their “precious oppa’s” performance. Girls are not the only ones who live by this “double standard”, but most of the comments from my observations with it are by female kpop fans. My overall evaluation of the situation is that the abundance of girl groups pushing the sexy concept recently is bringing attention to the issue and some groups are making transitions from cute to sexy, which are coming across as drastic to some fans. It would probably be best to break up sexy concepts with cute ones to find a balance with fans or pull back the amount of sexiness that is present in a performance. Sexiness will never go out in the concepts of kpop groups for both male and females, but being fair in the judgement of both is also needed.
This is a big issue, so what do you think? Vote and comment below.
Here are some MVs for reference material:
Ga-in’s “Fxxk You” (Feat. Bumkey)
Stellar‘s “Study” (non-sexy) [Part 1]
Stellar‘s “Marionette” (sexy) [Part 2] *Take the “19+” label seriously for this MV.*
AOA‘s “Elvis” (non-sexy) Part 1]
AOA‘s “Miniskit” (sexy) [Part 2]
Rainbow Blaxx‘s “Cha Cha”
Dalshabet’s “B.B.B” (Big Baby Baby)
Girls’ Day’ “Something”
So, what’s your decision now?