I’ve wanted to write a post about this for a while, but this article finally gave me the push to finally do it.
The Korean music scene is extremely over saturated. In a place where groups are constantly debating, promoting on music shows, and competing for prizes, the importance of standing out is even more crucial than in America. In 2012, 33 male groups and 38 female groups debuted. I can’t even list them and honestly, the majority probably disbanded by now. The Kpop scene is ruthless and you need to be worthy of attention, to be frank.
For girl groups, there is one surefire way to get attention, and that is showing some (or, a LOT) of skin. A prime example is the group AOA who started out with the unique concept of a girl group who played instruments. Their concept was that they were angels and had one angel who was half, because she was the drummer and didn’t participate in the dances. They even had a subgroup, AOA Black, that was a standard rock group with an electric guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums. But this wasn’t enough, even though it was novel. They needed something to really get the eyes of the fans, in particular the male fans.
So they changed courses and released ‘Confused’. Now the girls were dressed in tight clothes and their dance moves were more suggestive. I was disturbed in knowing that some members were my age and doing such things, all for the sake of getting more attention. ‘Confused’ actually didn’t change the mind of the public, but it set the tone for their next bit hit ‘Short Skirt’.
‘Short Skirt’ was the girls’ big breakthrough, and for fair reason. This song took sexy to a whole new level. I didn’t even finish watching the music video. I mean, seriously, the dance incorporates unzipping the side of the skirt. How is that not explicit. And now, everyone was paying attention. Big name celebrities started to drool over the girls, and now everyone knew AOA. So, they kept going. After ‘Short Skirt’ was ‘Short Hair’ featuring more butt shaking, then ‘Like a Cat’, and just recently, ‘Heart Attack’. At least ‘Heart Attack’ had a storyline…
AOA was successful in pulling off the sexy concept without the vicious backlash of the Korean public, but Stellar, the group mentioned in the article above, was not so lucky. To be fair, their venture to the sexy side was a lot more desperate. They seriously pulled out all the stops. I never finished watching any of their vulgar music videos. I never heard of them until all of a sudden, everyone was ripping them apart. Fair enough, good job Stellar now everyone knows your name like you hoped, but not for a good reason.
The girls stated that they did it so people would know their name and also so their circumstances would get better.Kpop groups start out with very little and it takes a while for them to live comfortably in the celebrity life we usually associate with them. The concept didn’t sit comfortably with them, but their drive for success was greater than their conscience. But was this need to get attention worth losing all dignity and slandering your own name? And it’s more than just ruining your own name, it propagates the objectification of women. No wonder girls dress with shorter skirts and spend so much money on looking pretty, be it through makeup or plastic surgery.
It’s honestly so frustrating. Why are all the famous girl groups like this? I mean, even Girls Generation is guilty of this. They didn’t do a sexy concept, but their outfits are also sometimes clearly made for the male audience. I mean, seriously, you want guys to drool after you, after your body or your face? Is that all you want to be watered down to? What about your significant other, how will they feel when they see you dancing suggestively to the crowds? What about yourself?
And even more than this, Korean girl groups are all super sweet off stage, which yes is a relief but at the same time, it doesn’t change what you’re doing on stage. Isn’t it better to just make better music? Why settle for only entertaining people’s eyes? Why not make meaningful music, or at least improve on your singing? What will happen when you can’t dance, or when you get wrinkles on your face? Will you just keep getting plastic surgery until you can’t move your face or your body?
(wow, sorry, I’m seriously ranting haha…)
I don’t even know how to finish this. It’s just…frustrating. I wonder if HyunA, AOA, SISTAR, Girl’s Day, or Stellar even know the effect they’re having on girls and boys. It’s amazing that the super strict Korean society has adapted to let this little bubble of guilty pleasure survive amongst their Puritan values. But of course, it’s seeped past the boundary lines and censorship set around it. After all, this type of concept is more than just entertaining, it’s fuelling lust.
But there is hope. Not everyone has dropped to this level. There are still some artists who focus on their music. They’re not as common in popular music, but they exist. There are still some who make music because their soul compels them too, rather than because they just want to get famous. Music still exists for the sake of music, and I believe it always will, even if it gets drowned out by the louder cacophony of cheap, manufactured music.
*UPDATE: Please take a look at the comment section, because Meepers makes a really good point that I didn’t discuss in the post (most likely because I was getting really worked up, whoops…). *