When I first got into K-pop many actions were incredibly strange and foreign to me. Sometimes I couldn’t understand why they did the things they did and that was understandable considering the cultural difference. As I continue to immerse myself into the world that brings me K-pop, I begin to understand the thinking a little more. Of course it’s not possible for me to gain the absolute understanding that I would if I lived in Korea, but as a person who has been interested in the genre for the past few years it began to skew my thinking. By skew I don’t mean negatively, just differently.
One thing that has changed is the way I view people who wear short outfits. Before I almost always connected it to wanting attention or promiscuity, but after seeing it being worn all the time amongst women young and old(er) in Korean society my views have somewhat changed. I live in a society in which everyone is free to be themselves, but that doesn’t mean associations aren’t made. When I was really young The Spice Girls were all the rage and the member that had the sexy/slightly promiscuous image was Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham). Why? Because she was always the one with the smallest outfits. Even on TV when shows are trying to portray a sexy or promiscuous character they almost always put them in short hot pants and small slinky skirts or dresses. Now that I have a slight understanding of Korean culture the lines have been blurred.
Something else that has changed is the way I take care of my skin. Before I used to not care too much about how I washed my face. It was typically just the basic soap and water, but now I monitor what goes on it. Since K-pop is so youth oriented, I focus on making my skin look young for as long as possible. Now I catch myself subconsciously worrying about aging. I understand that everyone ages and it’s a fact of life, but I definitely take more steps to make sure the process is as slow as possible.
Another thing I never realized as much is how often the society in America stays away from bathroom humor. I mean you see it, but it’s not close to as common as in Korean culture. Here (maybe just my understanding) girls don’t use the restroom or at least they want you to think so. It always leaves me confused when I hear guys say girls don’t use the restroom unless they’re putting on makeup. Not that they truly believe this, but they just don’t want to know it. The thing is girls have the same bodily functions as guys (of course with a few exceptions). I appreciate that Korean culture doesn’t seem to stray away from that idea.
The way I view guys crying has also changed. Where I live I rarely see it. In fact the only time I’ve seen it in my family was when an immediate relative passed away. Maybe the guys in my family are a bit on the extreme side, but it seems to be something I commonly see among other non-family related guys I’m around. It’s just not that common to see guys cry, period. But all of that changed once I got into K-pop. It’s something that I didn’t fully understand. I knew it was because these people bottled up their emotion whether good or bad, but it’s something that’s kept under wraps for the most part in the U.S. I also didn’t understand why guys wore guyliner outside of rockers or why girls liked flower boys. This is somethings that took some time getting used to, but now I find a lot of flower boys attractive. I still overwhelmingly prefer the “masculine” looking guys, but I now appreciate both.
These are just a few things I’ve come across that made me think differently. Have you come across any, and if so, how has it changed your thinking?