This week we talked about topics such as Jay Park‘s Singapore showcase, the sexualization of Caucasian women in K-pop, Smells‘ debut, the return of Block B, cringe-worthy YouTube comments, ZE:A‘s series of unfortunate events, K-pop in-fighting, K-pop breaking stereotypes and creating fetishes, anticipating IU‘s return, Europe in K-dramas, Kaya Scodelario and Kim Soo-hyun for J.ESTINA, Shinhwa‘s The Return, reality singing competitions after the spotlight fades, lip-syncing on Music Bank, idols living in their group members’ shadows, Big Bang on World Star Hip Hop, E.Via‘s “Crazy Fate,” Hallyu and medical tourism, U-KISS‘ Doradora, feeling cold on Chilling Romance, JYP‘s “You’re The One,” whether Korean racism is homemade or imported, saying hello to Hello Venus, Google and K-pop, magic numbers in K-pop, whether K-pop is entering the American consciousness, jobs K-pop fans would willingly do, A Pink‘s UNE ANNEE, government regulation of the idol industry, Big Bang and North Face, becoming the voice in idoldom, and indie gem House Rulez.
Whew, that was quite a mouthful! Here are five of our favorite comments from this week:
Felicia Addison on “Thumbs Up If You’re Listening In 2012” And Other Cringe-Worthy Comments:
All of these comments annoy me to death and to be honest I think this also has the potential to hurt groups chances of making it in the west.
When you see an article from a music website talking about Kpop. In the comments below it isn’t very likely that you’ll see someone say “Oh I think I might take a look at this group now, they seem pretty good.” Its usually flooded with “OPPA IS THE BEST” “OMG 2NE1 <3 <3 <3 <3″ “KPOP IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN AMERICAN CRAP KPOP FTW” because they heard about the article from Allkpop or something and feel the need to express how awesome their bias is with absolutely no relevance to what the article was talking about beside the fact that Big Bang or SNSD was mentioned in it.
This can be such an off putting thing to someone who is new to kpop. Why would you want to get into a genre of music where all the fans seem like immature 12 year olds that cant form a sentence properly or without adding a thousand hearts or emoticons. It makes me so frustrated when these comments seem to represent us in a totally false way because I know we aren’t all like that.
Similarly when I got into Kpop I tended to not bother with SHINee because the crazy fans kinda put me off. Thankfully I realised that they’re actually pretty good after I got passed that but I don’t see it happening with the western audience as a whole when Kpop tries to break into the west.
Your last paragraph was spot on. I remember reading a youtube comment that said “I wish I knew how hot Koreans were before I married my white husband”, I’m not even white and I was taken a back by it… and it got the highest rating comment and I was like seriously…wtf? Another example was a youtube comment I read under an SNSD video saying “Asian girls are prettier than other races because of there small frame, other races have too much.” I was thinking not all Asian girls are as petite as SNSD. It’s kinda like how when people say I like black girls because they have curves and then bring up examples like Beyonce, when I’m not like that all, I’m 5’4 and weigh 105 pounds I definitely don’t have that type of body.
I mean I think its good to recognize the beauty of other races, because we are all different and we all have something that is unique about us that makes us attractive, but it shouldn’t be fetishsized or thought of as better than another race. One race does not all look the same or have the same type of features or frame… To me your race does not make you who you are and doesn’t make you more attractive but because of the media rather its Korean or American, people start to think in that way. The one thing I hate more than anything about some of these fans of kpop is the constant comparing of Asia to the West, or Asians to Westerners. I just wish it would stop.
I dont think its just kpop changing it, I think youtube and dance shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew” is helping too, Asians seem to be the most famous on youtube, well at least it seems that way to me and a lot of the popular contestants on dance shows are Asian as well. Watching videos from NigaHiga and TenchiJk has helped change my perception of Asian males as well. I personally love D-trix and Nathan Trasoras from SYTYCD even before kpop. I’ve never had that much of a stereotypical view of Asian males, I always thought they can be attractive as any other race, but I’ll admit personality wise, I use to think of Asians as people who were quite, I never saw Asian males or females as outspoken before that and that was ignorant on my part, but I also never developed a fetish for Asians either, as much as I like G-dragon I don’t expect every Korean to look like him, or want to go to Korea to get a Korean boyfriend lol.
Mishka Moncrieffe on Big Bang’s Toughest Critics: World Star Hip Hop
Kpop fans are one of the most important reasons why Kpop might not be able to cross over. They need to understand the non-kpop fans are mostly casual listeners. No one has a relationship that even comes close to the blind affection that kpop fans have. This is why I am considered weird to most Kpop fans because I have the same relationship with Kpop as I do with other music. Nobody’s personality/ looks/etc is going to make me make me like a song. Is you prettily winking at the camera every 10 seconds going to make me want to continue listening to a song I don’t like? No, it’s not. Also most international music listeners buy music by the song they like. If your lead single is not interesting enough, you are forgotten. Kpop fans like to defend their bais by saying “but the other songs on the album were really good”. No one cares if the one being promoted sucks.
Companies are also going to have to learn that international fans are not going to bulk order, order repackaged albums for 1/2 new songs (looking at you SM) or even order minis.
You want interest in a song promote by airplay. No one cares about teasers but many a person will look up the lyrics/ video and even download a song that they have heard and like.
Sorry to ramble on but I just get so upset with the way Kpop promotes in the West. It is easy to see that they currently promote as a novelty item. It is also easy to see that to become the long-standing presence that they want to, they are going to have to promote differently but things that someone from the West can easily see. I actually believe that interest in Kpop music is already fading in the West and more attention is being focused on the weird ongoing practices such as the approval of the existence of uncle fans, approved pedo-fetishism, blatant sexual inequality, weird presence of companies, and the lack of artistic talent and involvement of the idols in their music.
Alexis Testman on Korean Racism: Homemade or Imported?
Thank the heavens this article is so well written, executed and well discussed. The fact you mention a Japanese movie Suicide Club is also very good. I have this movie and it has become one of my favorites. This is the perfect example of how media propaganda even in music can distort what we see as a culture and push a more dangerous perspective of soceity.
This movie was the perfect satire of what is going all over the world with the rise of YouTube, video and file sharing and networking sites. Despite the world becoming more connected by the day we still hold prejudice that a far much more older than written history. How is the possible?
For example (the one you used in this article) people of dark/tan skin are consider to be ‘poor’ and those of white/lighter/pale skin or ‘wealthy’ in Asian society. Much of the major countries of the world and even smaller are well aware that education determines a person not race. That skin tone does not define one’s personal class since it can be alter. So an African person can earn a degree just like a German person and be payed the same salary. Even though they are of different skin color both can obtain the same wealth in life despite the deceptions of their ethnic appearance.
To say that a person outward ethnic appearance will effect their income ability is become less of a factor. Even in nations like South Africa and American were affirmative action is the case for the rise of Blacks, Latinos and yes even Asians to earn grants, scholarships and admissions base on their ethnic claim and/or background. Many whites have claim this is hurting them but yet the numbers are not significant high. Prestigious colleges will only have 1-3% of students of attendance that are consider ethnic. The school is still at least 97% white. For a population that is 12% African-American, 20% Hispanic and vastly growing. That leaves at least 78% of America still white. Even affirmative action is not in favor of those it helps. It would seem the majority still has a better chance of entering these schools than a minority despite score. Right wing republicans would say these affirmative action applicants take away from poor whites but this is also false. Using this propaganda tool is to create a divided and develop a grunge against those of ethnic minorities who earn attendance in prestigious colleges base on affirmative action or not didn’t deserve. The catcher the U.S government will not remove affirmative action policies from these school and nor will the schools themselves. So who is really to blame and made a mockery?
South African is highest with 20% and they must be racial identified as ‘African non-white’ in order to receive. Both schools and jobs use affirmative action in order to have admission or be allow to work. Regardless of skill and Right wing white base political parties disagree. There is a level of understanding why since affirmative action in South Africa does not educate those who qualified.But in a nation 75% of African descent they should be in favor of receiving the same level of education of someone who is European descent. The problem when Apartheid period end the government did not sanction education in training. So for 5 decades of disfranchised and poorly educated blacks were still not properly taught to live in a vastly growing modernized world. The Left wing government misused affirmative action thus continuing the racial divided between those Africans and Europeans. So who is the blame here? A government who did not care for its people or nation.
Government and how it perceived race relations in everyday life and survival also play a huge role in prejudice. That what makes this article so good. Not only does it focus the social media and entertainment that continue to confuse the next generation but the governments who regulate, teach it and continue to use ‘race’ or ‘foreign’ to install fear and keep the lines of segregation consciously.
Yuri‘s behavior shouldn’t be a shock of “look at her ignorance, doesn’t she know NOT ALL black people act like this” but more of how even the most liberal of entities (music) can feed racial hatred. Despite to Yuri’s knowledge many Blacks disagree with the violent image of hip hop. That the image of the ‘anger black man’ comes from slavery that was hundred of years ago.
You can get rid of prejudice unless humans start to behave…well like humans. Some say it is human to fear the unknown we also suffer from curiosity, problem solving and the ability to create and communicate to one another. So yes prejudice is created by our government, recycle and society. But what its boils down to is a choice. We are taught many of things and pick and chose what knowledge will help us live better and what is unnecessary. That is the key to ending or continuing prejudice, racial discrimination and other things that evolve around that.
Black_Plague on Government Regulation of the Idol Industry: Is It Enough?:
For me, increased regulations aren’t enough. I’d rather see more heavy police action within the entertainment industry – and by that, more undercover police, surveillance, informants, severely tougher laws, broader tolerance in use of force, specialized task forces, indefinite detainment, forced searches without warrants and the like. Now, it might seem like I’m advocating for a more totalitarian-like scenario similar to North Korea or the military authoritarian regimes South Korea had gone through during the 50s to late 80s but clearly, there are times when you need to use some real action to deal with a particular plague of a mess — in this case, the dark belly of Kpop and the entertainment industry overall. It may open up the issue of police brutality and corruption but as far as I see it, I’d pick that over rampant people in power that commit sexual crimes and get very laughable punishments if caught.
South Korea may be a democracy for the most part but then again, criminal scum don’t deserve any sort of space to breathe. ANY law that protects them when they’ve clearly done wrong with all credible evidence backing it up should be abolished or at the least, significantly reformed.
The government may have acted late, but to say the least, it’s better than sitting down and be quiet about it like a bunch of mute numbskulls. However, at this rate, exactly how successful is the police going to be in taking out the numbskulls in the entertainment industry in the long run? With the ridiculous legal system South Korea has, probably not very far.
I don’t think I’m overexaggerating the fact that a lot of females — whether it be trainees, idols, actresses or singers — are vulnerable to such crimes and at worse, are already victims of it to various degrees either. I’ve heard somewhere that as many as 40% of female idols (not sure if it includes trainees either) are victims of such atrocities – and frankly speaking, 40% is beyond acceptable and as far as I’m concerned, definitely begs major action to be taken. I might as well say Open World Ent‘s poor excuse of a CEO is hardly any different to the former Soviet NKVD chief Beria in terms of sexual crimes.
Such dirty acts of crime are also heavily thanks to gender inequality (that’s right, I’m happy to give a huge ‘F*CK YOU!’ to patriarchy, and this is coming from a guy) – something South Korea really needs to get fixed with. Not only are CEOs are the problem but I’d also cast my suspicions down to the managers and these shadowy so-called ‘sponsors’ – the latter in particular need to be weeded out systematically for their abuse of power for sexual gain. Is it against human rights? Probably so. But as said, scum don’t deserve to have their human rights when they’ve clearly committed an atrocious crime for their own gain.
As a Korean, it’s cases like Open World Ent. and the ‘sponsors’ that really make my blood boil and even not want the Hallyu wave to expand any further unless the current issues are drastically taken action against.
That’s it for this week’s comments!
Thanks for being such great readers, and as always, feel free to submit your own picks below!
(High Cut Magazine, Allure Magazine, SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, News1, SBS)