With all the sexy videos released this year and the much longer list of banned songs and dance moves out there… is KPOP finally getting out of its once sheltered little shell?
Everyone who knows KPOP knows that the sexy concept of Korean Pop is none other than the queen of sex appeal herself Lee Hyori with “U-Go-Girl”, “Chittychitty Bangbang” and many more, she provided that provocative “Yes, I’m a hot lady and I’m proud of it” image that many tried to follow soon after.
Maybe if we were to talk about a real breakthrough in the world of “provocation”, it would be controversial singer named Ivy who embolishes promiscuity in every single move she makes. It is no doubt about it that her talent shines as well. With her breakthrough of “Sonata of Tempation”, everyone started to take notice. And then soon after her release of the hit “A-Ha” which delivered enough controversy as is, she got herself involved with a very public scandal of a sex tape with her ex-boyfriend. Though she disappeared for a while, nothing could stop her from showing her true self by releasing another provocative MV and song that was enough to get her banned from two of the biggest music shows in Korean TV “Music Core” and “Music Bank”. In the end, she had to leave her company because of an issue about her leaked social security number.
It was then that the rules in the KPOP industry became harder to follow and idols would find themselves constantly being criticized by the public for things like a much too revealing outfit or lyrics that were considered “harmful” for the underage children. And just when the Hallyu wave has come into full force, more rookies are joining the party and some are trying to bring a new voice to the once “innocent” image of KPOP. Where bubbly songs breed in torrents, a group like Rania suddenly pops up and the controversy seems to be a lot more magnified, especially with international fans who are left wondering “Why is it that Koreans are too conservative? It isn’t even that bad.” Until today, the debate of Rania’s debut song “Dr Feel Good” is still being talked about and some are putting the blame on American producer Teddy Riley. What I think about this issue is that it is purely the producer’s fault. The girls obviously showed a lot of talent and potential, but these were overshadowed by a debut that was not very well-thought of. First, he should’ve done his research and if he did he would’ve seen that the whole concept and song just wasn’t approved by the public at all– one would’ve seen the obvious. Second, he should’ve taken in account that there are underage members in the group and that age played a big role in determining the standards of a person in Korean society. Honestly though, I have many high hopes for Rania. But right now I cannot fully say that I support them. They have a long way to go to strip off their over-sexed image and I can only wait and see if they can.
It isn’t only the rookies who are being criticized, but also semi-senior idol leaders of the 3rd generation idols like HyunA who recently released “Bubble Pop”, an infectiously catchy song with an MV and dance that seemed to be too sexy for many. Many would say, you’d either hate it or love it. Would you believe the video already hit the 10 million mark (and it’s still getting thousands of views per hour)? It just goes to show that maybe it’s true that sex really does sell. HyunA herself is very womanly and sexy in her own right. When she released “Change” over a year and a half ago, many took notice and even praised her for her image. But then with “Bubble Pop”, suddenly looks like Cube is making her do too much and too much isn’t good at all. You can only look onto a girl who squeezes her boobs together, pops her butt out simultaniously and moans with a beat with as much respect as a half-cup of rice. If you look at her comments in the MV carefully, you can see that most of them are grown or teenage men who continuously jack off to her video and I doubt that’s something she wants for herself. Again, this is the company’s fault for thinking that she would be famous for shaking her booty like a slut (which she isn’t) and I feel sorry for her. Oh yeah, she’s famous alright. Famous for being the most accesible thing to high quality pornography.
Other familiar controversies these past few years involves Rainbow’s “Sexy belly button dance” which is a motion of raising their shirts to reveal their firm abs while dancing. This was easily bashed by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family because it was too revealing and suggestive for the eyes of the youngsters.
Another is 4Minute’s “Spread Leg dance” was also an open issue.
Foxy’s “Why Are You Doing This To Me” was banned almost immediately because it promoted sexual relations between a man and a woman.
The Brown Eyed Girls were also under controversy for their biggest song ever “Abracadabra” for making an explicit music video that involved lesbian kissing and boob touching… also if I may add, their “Arrogant dance” is probably the sexiest thing ever.
Now don’t just think that it’s only the women who get the crap, even the most popular boygroups like TVXQ are under eagle eyes. When they released the song “Mirotic” it was explosive that many people joined Cassieopea. But with explicit and suggestive in lyrics like “You know how much it turns me on to turn you on” and much more very, very suggestive talk, it was banned soon after.
I am not Korean nor do I think myself completely knowledgable about their culture. At any rate, I will only express my opinion in the mind of an international KPOP fan. What I think is that obviously Koreans are very conservative. When it comes to things like “kissing” or “touching” between two people, it is already a very big thing for them so imagine if something is provocative enough that “sex” already comes into play in their minds…
Music after all, speaks in volumes. What people listen to reflects their personality. What people listen to affects the way they think. That is why even if the child is only a mere fetus, mothers let them listen to as much classical music as they can. It is a fact indeed that classical music helps in the growth and development of a baby and that factor applies the same to grown children and adults. Not only in music but also in dancing. Visual learners and every single testosterone (0r estrogen) riden teenager out there are mostly the types who look more into what they see first than what they hear. True enough, the more sexual it is, the more popular it becomes in the younger crowd.
I understand why the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family would chose to take in consideration every aspect of what the people listen to. In truth, it is a very good thing and I applaud their reason for doing so. Unfortunately, they sometimes fail to take in account the many songs that are being released. Rather, they need to set their priorities straight. They look mostly into the smaller pictures rather than big ones like when they banned “Fantasy” of X-5 because it applied to clubs, they didn’t even bother to look into songs that already spoke of clubs in an obvious manner like “High High” of Big Bang and “Hands Up” of 2Pm. It is all well and good, but really, they do need to sort out their priorities and I’m saying this as a fan of Big Bang and 2PM. It’s just unfair sometimes– especially since it feels like they’re turning a blind eye to the older KPOP groups and focusing on the hoobaes and rookies.
What’s worse about The Sexy Side of KPOP is that there seems to be gender discrimination and double standards everywhere. People are very open to men flashing their abs, ripping their shirts (ehem, Taecyeon) and kissing each other (ehem, Heechul). But when it comes to women making the mistake, it’s like the sky is falling or something. I have nothing against men showing their sexiness (since I’m a fangirl and I love fanservice), but I wish people would stop bashing girl groups about it because in the end it’s not really their fault they have to act sexy. I should stress that it’s mostly the company’s fault for making them do it and giving them a concept that we know or we don’t know that they approve of for themselves. The sexy concept is fine, in fact I applaud it in some cases. It’s just that… For me, I moved into KPOP because I was tired of the American music that mostly spoke about sex and promiscuity (I’m not saying all of them are like that) and having that factor move straight into the genre I learned to love is not something that I’m liking at all.
In the end, it’s not the sex we’re after, but the music, right?