Saturday, 1 February 2014

Sexualisation in the Korean Music Industry

Alright now this is something that I think needs to be discussed about, specifically amongst girl groups.

Recently I stumbled upon numerous articles talking about the Korean music scene and how it has become hyper-sexualised. Now, this isn't the cause of critique, rather naysayers have a gripe with sexualisation as it takes away from the quality of artistes' music, and brings misdirected focus to perverse actions. In other words, sexualisation (is claimed to) degrades the Korean music industry and makes it a contest in which groups seek to out 'pussy-pop' one another rather than relentlessly elevate their standards.

For one, I have indeed noticed the recent trends of hyper sexualisation in the Korean music market, as the past 4 major releases from girl groups this month (Girl's Day, Dal Shabet, Rainbow Blaxx, AOA) have been milking the 'sexy concept' dry, showcasing risqué choreography involving breast-rubbing, skirt unzipping, crotch caressing and dive-to-the-ground-as-if-lapping-up-a-pool-of-you-know-what-ing. These have really pushed the boundaries and I daresay broadcasting stations are hardpressed as to whether or not they should ban these groups from performing.

I understand where entertainment companies are coming from as sexy concepts have propelled previously struggling groups into stardom, and such occurances could happen again. However, I agree with the critics to a certain extent as some forms of 'sexy' do leave a lingering distaste in my mouth; trash for trashy's sake.

Let us take the previous 4 comebacks as an example.

AOA and Girl's Day are prime examples of what I would deem as 'classy sexy'. Their performances are sexual no doubt, yet they are pulled off with a sort of class and the lyrics of their songs have meanings which do not connote sexual undertones. Their outfits were rather appropriate as well, as even in AOA's case, they integrated their 'stripping' into the song which bringing too much attention to the action and away from their song. These are acceptable to me as they have meaning, these forms of sexy convey a certain emotion and invoke a reaction that is appropriate, rather than leave us in a state of confusion and slight disgust.

Dal Shabet and Rainbow Blaxx however are what the critics are truly criticising. They exemplified 'trashy trash', sex for sex's sake, meaningless provocativeness however you would call it. Their choreography was so painfully and obviously putting so much emphasis on their lady parts, groin rubbing, boob squeezing and whatnot. In a technical sense, the songs themselves did not convey the sort of emotional impact as the other two songs, and did not have the template which required such provocative moves to be executed. Let's put it this way, classy-sexy is appropriate and most importantly necessary for a song to be performed well, however Rainbow Blaxx and Dal Shabet seemed to have a speed test, trying to squeeze as many 'sexy' moves into their choreography as quickly as they could. I'm honestly not quite sure of their intentions, other than to appease to thirsty testosterone-brimming lads, but all they come off as is really really desperate.

In short, I do not see a problem with sexualisation. I see a problem with how it is executed, how it is portrayed and how it is received by the viewer. Image and meaning go hand in hand, and I hope entertainment companies can think about the image they are trying to put across and how they work WITH the artists or the songs in a complete united entity, instead of forcing distasteful sex down our throats.

- The Kpop Philosopher

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