Hey there Seoulmates!

It’s been another busy week here at Seoulbeats! This week, you guys engaged in heated discussions over a wide range of topics, including but not limited to: being biracial in Korean entertainment, our disappointments with Dream High 2, our WTF reactions to SHINee‘s Sherlock teasers, an examination of the Selca phenomenon, Pixie Lott and GD&T.O.P‘s pending collaboration in Japan, revisiting an unsettling Korean thriller, revisiting a classic Korean teen film, underage sexualization in fashion photo spreads, a writer’s love for Taeyang, the structure of boy groups, K-pop crossing national borders, good and bad K-drama kisses, a CN Blue and FT Island concert recap, a look at the indie rock trio Mate, and in what ways K-pop has changed our perceptions.

Here are five of our favorite comments selected from articles this week:

Bstar5 on Why Kim Yoo-jung’s March Photo Spreads Are Not Age Appropriate:

I find it offensive but it’s not just a Korean thing.  This happens in the fashion industry in Europe and the U.S. much too often.  Believe it or not, I think Kim Yoo-jung is still in elementary school.  There was an article about IU looking smaller than an elementary school student that featured KYJ and other child actors.  It truly makes me wonder if the parents of these children really know what their kids signed up for.  All this talk about agencies taking away idols’ cell phones, can these kids even call their parents to protect their rights if they’re subject to something that makes them feel extremely uncomfortable or violates them?  I’ve seen one too many variety shows with older celebrities getting a little too touchy feely with underaged idols and getting all excited about them appearing on their shows as if they were adults instead of minors.  That’s why when Kara had their split and their parents went for the attack, when many were bashing the parents, I was in their corner 1000%.  People have no idea what these girls have to go through only for their agencies to just sweep it under the rug as if nothing happened.  Someone’s got to have their back.  When you take a girl as young as Kim Yoo Jung and put her in photoshoots that sexualize her, it’s just opening up the door for her to receive the same kind of inappropriate attention that many of the idols in their teens are already getting.  I loved Lee Minho in TMTES [The Moon That Embraces the Sun] but I was looking at him sideways when he said he had a crush on KYJ who was only 10 when they filmed Gumiho while he was 17.  Really don’t want to see more of this coming her way.

Rachel Wong on Same Old, Same Old: Why the Structure of Boy Groups Needs a Makeover:

As much as I would love to see something as outrageous as this in K-Pop, I know it’s never going to happen. But I think that pop group formula is an advantage for the musical economy.

Let’s say you’re someone who is constantly exposed to American musical culture. You grew up with the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, girls who started out innocent with a spice of sexy. Suddenly these girls are no longer the sweet, innocent girls. They’ve come out of their shell as fully-grown women who aren’t afraid to get into confrontations or wear skimpy outfits. At this point you could turn to the Korean music industry. A place where the artists will change as well, but not so drastically. A scene where BoA starts out cute and innocent and becomes sexy and sophisticated, but never to the point where she bumps and grinds all of the guys on stage.

The vice versa could be said for someone who only listens to K-Pop. You may get tired of the classic noona-bait or bad boy, and you want a bit of a shocking change. You want the Taemin-type to be grabbing women and turn into a bad boy. You want what Aaron Carter was and has become (poor example of a main stream pop star, but I can’t think of anything else).

If K-Pop artists started acting like American artists, they would lose their shock value. The same can be said the other way around. Koreans loved it when Britney went to Korea because she was something they hadn’t seen back then. Americans love it when SM Town visits because we want a change of pace from Ke$ha, Katy Perry and Chris Brown.

CAL_Guest on JYJ, Sasaeng Fans, and Reconstructing the K-pop Industry:

… There were three important points to take from this article which are that 1) Idols and their management shouldn’t settle for violence as a resolution to the sasaeng problem, 2) all fans should check their own behaviors, and 3) this sasaeng issue is not going to go away if “sane” fans and the industry doesn’t acknowledge and draw lines to protect their idols.

… It is obvious that the sasaeng fandom is and always has been out of hands, but that as fans, international or at-home alike, we need to recognize that resorting to violence is NOT a resolution. We can’t ignore the fact that they were caught on tape cussing at and assaulting people, whether or not those said people were sasaeng fans. Unless you were there to witness JYJ’s “self defense”, you cannot accuse SB writers and other SB readers as anti-JYJ or fault them for how they passionately feel about seeing and hearing very damning evidence of possibly [a] favorite idol(s) of theirs assault anyone. Once we as a society or fandom choose to take in one side and not the other, we in turn become enablers to a vicious, never-ending cycle of crazy fans and violent idols/idol managements. It is not okay to stalk a person. It is not okay to steal from a person. It is not okay to send bloodied letters to a person. It is not okay to grope a person. You get the point, but it is also not okay to hit a person. We don’t condone sasaeng activities, but we also need to take a stand against violence. What’s that saying, “an eye for an eye will make the world go blind”?

I’m no expert, but to me, the problem with this sasaeng phenomenon is rooted deeper than just crazy fans and their idols. It is rooted within the whole Kpop fandom/industry which in turn is rooted within the whole S. Korea society and with this whole Hallyu wave, has branched out into the international Kpop fandom. Companies want $$$ so they choose to ignore these fans. They fail to press charges and make arrests when their idols are harassed and assaulted. It’s no wonder that the pent up frustration turns into violence. I don’t condone it, but I can understand why it comes about. These entertainment companies need to stop viewing their idols as cash cows and start view them as human beings. Then and only then will they start taking measures to insure the safety and well being of these idols. I’m probably putting my foot in my mouth here, but the broader Korean society seems to also not take the stalking and groping of entertainers seriously either. It’s like, if they are celebrities, then they simply got the attention that they wanted, so why do anything about it in the first place. Basically, as a society, we need to see that even if the line is thin, don’t cross over that line. When someone does cross the line, we need to draw attention to it, no matter which side it was crossed from.

The whole Kpop society, if I may call it that, in itself has brewed an unhealthy relationship between entertainers and their fans. And, I’m talking all fans, sasaeng, international, or otherwise. With the world wide web getting even wider every day, fans are so used to getting instantaneous news about when and what their idols are doing every second, every day. The idols themselves are constantly claiming fans to be their eternal girlfriends or that their samchon fans are the greatests. It is simply unhealthy and attributes to fans becoming possessive over their idols. There is always that need to know what an idol group is up to or what “my bias” is eating or what “my hubby” is thinking, or when “my oppa” will be landing at **** airport. Even if you don’t take a dump on your idols front porch or hire sasaeng taxis, I’d say it is still stalker-ish to obtain flight schedules, be at the airports when they arrive, coincidentally be at the hotels they are booked at, be at the airports when they leave, or a combination of all those. When you fail to acknowledge that these actions are the gateway to becoming sasaeng, you are not helping idols distance themselves from the crazies…because, they can no longer distinguish one from the other just as you can no longer distinguish the difference, just as sasaeng no longer tell the difference. To them, to you, they are just fans with a lot of passion.

One last thing, Patricia touched on American celebrities being poked at about their violent acts against paparazzis and stuff. I just want to say, that the difference there is that these American celebrities have every right to speak for themselves and their actions. They have the choice of pressing charges against the people who actually break into their homes, take their things, and assault them. There is a smaller chance that these celebrities would get sexually assaulted by stalkers. Idols do not have such choice, which is really, really sad. The only security that surrounds the idols when they go out to public venues or airports are their management. Rarely do I see actually trained security gaurds surrounding them. Of course, I don’t know, but I don’t think these managers are equipped with the knowledge or training on how to handle sasaeng fans let alone the authority to do anything about them.

As much as I’d like to say that it’s only a group’s music that matters in getting them a good debut or a bad debut I don’t feel like that’s the case.  I feel like the way acts are judged nowadays is more about the people they’re associated with and how much we are exposed to them pre-debut and immediately after debut.

For instance, IU is on the list of having one of the better debuts, but at the time she fell flat.  Once she was exposed to the non-music side of the idol business she took off and people looked back at her debut and thought it was great.

With 2NE1, although I love them and look forward to their new stuff, when they debuted I feel like if they hadn’t done Lollipop with Big Bang previously a lot of people would have disregarded Fire.  I know my first thoughts were that their style was questionable and although the song was catchy I didn’t know if it was necessarily better than what I’d been listening to by others.

And then there’s all these new kids.  Take B.A.P.  They had a lot of exposure before they debuted.  Bang Yong Guk had his solo, then he did a duet with Zelo, then we were told that they were going to be a part of a bigger group which then they had a show where we got to meet all the members.  And in the midst of all this they released Warrior, which I admit I am fond of but had they not had so much exposure I would have probably listened to it once thought good song and that would be it.

I guess my point is, that unless we judge the debuts as they happen our views on said debuts can change with how much we like the bands.  Also that our views on a new debut can be swayed by how much we’re exposed to the bands around their time of debut.

tootsie yummy on K-drama Kisses: the Good, the Bad, and the WTF?:

Yoon Eun Hye is a great kisser that’s why!  She isn’t like those other actress who’ll just make the guys do all the work or stand there like a corpse.  Watching those girls puckering their lips without movement is so uncomfortable.  Not being able to do a kiss scene the properly, in my opinion, makes you a bad actor, cause as an actress you have to be able to get into character and abandon any inhibitions.

When I watched a video that was uploaded on twitter of Yoon Eun Hye and Kang Ji Hwan during the behind the scenes footage of them kissing, my mouth just dropped at how good they both were.

I also remember in one of the BTS for My Fair Lady when Yoon Eun Hye told Yoon Sang Hyun to kiss her properly, cause he kept on messing up.  I like that she isn’t afraid to speak her mind… like when she told him to kiss her softly and instructed him exactly how. If you are truly a professional actor/actress, you should be able to discuss and give your suggestions and opinions just like what Yoon Eun Hye did even if it has to do with uncomfortable and embarrassing scenes.

It helps the male stars performance if their female co-star is very professional, doesn’t act aloof or act like a dead fish.  After all, there’s only so much a guy can do.  It takes two to tango. I feel sorry for those actors who want to do the kiss properly, but their partner refuse to cooperate.

That’s it for this week’s Comments of the Week! As always, if you feel that there was a particularly great comment that didn’t make it onto this week’s segment, feel free to share with everyone in the comments section below!