This week in terms of idol and music news, we talked about Suju‘s new MV, Younha‘s new album and MV, The Koxx, why Zhang Li-yin‘s career is AWOL, JYP, Wonder Girls‘ “Like Money,” Music Matters 2012, Wooyoung‘s 23, Male, Single, 2NE1‘s journey to love, Yoo Young-jin, up and rising vocalists, and our favorite K-pop dances and choreographers.
Here are five of my favorite comments from articles this week:
Haibara Christie on The Dark Side: Skin Colour and K-pop:
In India, white skin is an obsession that did not start out as an element of “beauty,” but as a element of class structure. (A lot like the Slavery, and oppression thing, but not quite) When the Aryans (Not the Nazi kind) moved into India, the religions of the two cultures, Aryan and Dravidian blended into one, but not without the lighter skinned Aryans taking the top positions in the social order system (like any royal system) as well as the very highest caste, the priest class. This association continues in a lot of Indian families today, as some “higher order families” (who are from higher castes, not necessarily of more money) become upset with brides for not being fair enough–for looking lower than their caste. Though this doesn’t happen as much anymore, the social associations of the white skin=better still continues in Indian culture, but oddly enough, for girls more so than boys. I can see it in movies: super dark main actor, super fair main actress.
Now, it has really become a beauty thing, just as it is the rest of the world. In India, some beauty product ads are really terrible: (I speak Tamil and don’t know an ounce of Hindi, so the ad I chose isn’t really known outside of Tamil Nadu)
Even if you don’t understand the language, you can probably get the meaning just from the Video. Basically at a Medical School (seriously?), there are a bunch of college students hanging out before class, and the group of guys make fun of an overweight girl (calling her plump by comparing her to a fruit) and a darker skinned girl saying that she (“will continue to be dull” aka, ugly–notice that her clothes are traditional and darker as well.) A pretty girl (fair and modern) walks by and the guys are head over heels. The pretty girl goes to the ugly girl and says that “our beauty is in our own hands” and hands the other girl the soap. She uses it the soap and returns to class, with the boys still making fun of the uglier ones. However, when she walks in, donned in her new, “fashionable,” bright, western clothes to match her new skin, everyone is in awe and thinks she’s beautiful. in other words, instant popularity.
There’s all sorts of things wrong with the messages in that ad, but it goes to show that even the countries that have a lot of darker skinned people (here I highlight South India) have an obsession with fairness.
Maaiisstarr on Ten Possible Reasons Why Zhang Li-yin’s Career is AWOL:
Take the most recent fan-cam of her performance and compare it with the first time she debuted with Junsu six years ago. Yes, Liyin’s performance during the Timeless era was awful. But you can’t honestly tell me that she hasn’t improved over the years. As a fan that has been following her since her I Will album, the girl did improved; she has a lot more control of her voice now and her lives are more stable. And it sucks that people still label her as the girl who couldn’t sing at debut when you see that a lot of idols who HAVE debuted (past and recently) started out not having a stable live performance at the beginning of their career also. I feel like people always look at that first performance to define what and how good of a singer she is.
Despite her unstable live performances, Liyin’s debut was, in my opinion a great time to debut as a singer. You didn’t have a whole bunch of groups debuting at the same time so there was a possibility that if SM kept on promoting her then maybe her career would have gone a lot farther. How do you expect to see her proved herself if her company never lets her out of the closet? It’s like SM just got lazy and completely gave up on Liyin’s promotions and started focusing on -other groups. And then SM shipped her off to China with all the hype and expectations of Liyin having success only then to debut Super Junior M and had Liyin tag along for promotions. She was so perfect for the Chinese market. She could have done so well in China if SM didn’t screw her over.
SM either needs to start paying more attention to her or let her go. Truthfully, SM doesn’t need her to make money. They have SNSD, Super Junior, f(x), SHINee, and recently EXO to bring in all the money. You know how you mom or dad tells you to throw out old textbooks and you go “but what if I need it later on,” but you clearly know that it’s useless and you won’t use or need it but you still want it just for the sake of it in case you might just need to take a quick look and throw it back into wherever it came from. That’s what Liyin is to SM, not saying that Liyin is useless. They like keeping her around making all these special guest appearances at her sunbae’s and hoobae’s concert when there’s no one else to do it.
Zhang Liyin along with CSJH the Grace always gets the short end of the stick within the company. Sometimes, I wonder how Liyin feels. Imagine how it feels to see your hoobaes’ success exceed yours and watch them hold their own concerts while you are the opening act. It’s sad that within six years, Liyin still only has one album and two singles. As much as I would love Liyin to promote in Korea, the Chinese market is what could probably take her to the top (that is if SM does things correctly this time) and probably the best option for her. With the K-pop industry being thrown into a place where it’s all about idols groups, Liyin would only be push back further. She wouldn’t be able to stand out unless SM promotes her like crazy, which is unlikely to happen since they’re main focus for now is Super Junior and SNSD. All we can do now is wait and pray that SM stop giving us half-a**ed promotions and songs. Honestly, sometimes I just wanna rip those horrible outfits that her coordinator makes her wear and put them in the shredder and bury it.
Chocho268 on Defending K-pop: Why Pleasure Is Never Guilty:
Whatever music,musician or band you like, there will always be people who might judge you and think you are stupid/uneducated/silly/childish/snobbish solely because of your music choices… so I say whatever. I might as well just enjoy what I enjoy and screw others.
A lot of k-pop music might be terribly superficial, yes but who says everyone absolutely HAS to listen to meaningful music? Some people always try to punch you in the face with their superiority and say “You should listen to real music”, lol. There is no real music as such, it is a construct, a concept. Besides, not everyone is a fan of deep lyrics and not everyone sees music as a way to uncover universal truths about human existence, lol.
I think that a lot of people use their music choices to compete with others, thinking they are somehow better than those who listen to that “manufactured pop crap” which is really sad (and I’m not saying this in a condescending manner). Music means different things to different people and if people enjoy lighthearted pop songs because they make them happy, I see absolutely no harm in it.
straighttohelvetica on Harisu, More Beatiful Than A Woman: LGBT In The Entertainment Industry:
I think Harisu was more accepted BECAUSE of Korea’s patriarchy, not despite it. She’s not a threat to the system. Look at her; she’s very, very pretty, but doesn’t express her sexuality in an overt or intimidating way. As you mentioned, the majority of her time in the entertainment industry has been as a woman, and so for the most part, that’s how audiences know her. She’s married and strives for the Confucian ideal of “good wife, wise mother.” Yes, she may have been born biologically male, but as a woman, she has submitted to what Korean society expects of women.
Hong Seok-cheon, however, goes against that. There are numerous connections between homophobia and misogyny. Seok-cheon’s sexuality goes against generations of tradition that expects a male to marry, become the head of his household and “rule” over his wife and children. By willingly entering relationships with other men, gay men are viewed as putting themselves in the role of women. And for a society built on the emulation of the dominant and powerful male versus a weak and submissive female, the idea of a man “lowering” himself by allowing himself to be romanced or taken by another man is disgusting. Because no man should want to be put in the position of a woman because women are less than men. (I’d just like to clarify those are NOT my views.) There’s also the fear of being viewed with sexual interest by gay men. One of the most commonly used arguments by proponents of hate crimes against gay men is the “gay panic defense,” or basically that the perpetrator reacted in rage and violence after allegedly being hit on by another man. Yet, women commonly have to deal with unwanted sexual advances from cat-calls to rape and are not allowed the same defense (for example, domestic abuse survivors in jail after assaulting their usually male abusers.) Clearly, being sexually objectified is expected of women because that’s how a predominately heterosexual male society views them.
Seok-cheon bucks all that. What’s worse for him, is that he strives for equality for LGBT. The more he and his sexuality is accepted, the more he accomplishes for LGBT in Korea, the more the patriarchal system gets worn away. He’s a threat, and conservative forces in Korea will react to him with much more hostility and aggression than Harisu.
CCella on Concert Etiquette 101:
The last one is the thing that I find the most annoying. Big Bang came to my country to perform before and it was a joint concert with many other artists from other countries. Since there is an American artists, along with the VIPs, there are a lot of other non-kpop fans. And let me tell you, after the concert, the hate towards VIPs and Big Bang was horrendous. When BB performed, VIPs screamed and jumped and pushed and totally disregard other non-kpop fans who are also there at the concert. After BB finished, VIPs just didn’t care anymore and left. Needless to say, others’ impression about VIPs was really bad and of course, to the non-fans, the impression about the fans can also affect their views about the artists.
After the concert, when I went on FB, I saw so many comments like, “thank god, all those freaking Big bang fans left. Thanks to that, we got to enjoy a real concert”, “wow, is that how Kpop fans behave? so rude!”, “this is why I never like Kpop”, etc… I know about Kpop and I like Big Bang. I understand that Kpop isnt just about the idols and the fans. I know that there are many other talented idols and singers and well-behaved fans out there in Kpop. I know that among those crazy and rude VIPs at that concert, there are also polite VIPs, who didn’t left the concert after that. But it is because I’m a fan of Kpop. To those non-kpop fans who know nothing, of course, this will make them hate it and that, I can’t blame them.
Sometimes, fans can become the image of their idols. I hope that some crazy and immature fans will learn that and behave better so that they can also become a good image for their own idols.
Thanks for tuning in to this week’s Comments of the Week, and as always, feel free to leave additional comments below.
(1st Look Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment)