Welcome to another Comments of the Week!

This week in idol and music news, we talked about Boyfriend, Zion T, Roh Ji-hoon‘s debut MV and album, Jerry.K, Byul, Son Dam-bi, and B1A4.

In terms of film, fashion and tv, we looked at the best of last week’s music shows, a closer look at Hello Baby, a case made against Iris 2, Shin Min-ah, We Got Married Season 4, and Architecture 101.

As for socio-cultural topics, we covered the IU/Eunhyuk scandal and netizen backlash, trouble on the block again, lyricist Kim Eana, more on K-pop lyrics, K-pop names, black oceans, Sohee suing for slander, Nicholas’ ideas on how to keep spinning the K-pop wheel, sex in Korea, and cosmetics and K-pop idolatry.

Here are five comments from our readers that I found to be particularly insightful from this week:

CJux on Korean Culture Through K-pop 102: Let’s Talk About Sex:

Editor’s note: We have been notified that this comment actually contains some faulty information. Please refer to CJux’s corrections posted in the comments section of this week’s Comments of the Week. Thanks!

Age of consent =/= legal sex with adults.

In Korea, an adult having sex with a minor (under 19 I suppose) can still be charged of sexual assault of a minor (statutory rape?). The age of consent only draws a line between an act of pedophilia and an act of having sex with a minor, which is also illegal.

It’s not just Asian countries that have laws like these. Many countries in South America also have low legal age of consent, but still a lot of restrictions that ban sex with minors. That means, sexual acts between minors (between 13-15 years old and under 18 years old, depending on the legislation) are not punishable by law – though in some situations, the parents can still file a charge of “seduction of minors” if they feel the 17 year old coerced their young daughter/son into sex. But it’s definitely illegal for adults to have sex with a minor.

I know this will probably shock some people, but can I actually I agree with a low age of consent, although I would raise de limit to 14 years old. But only in if: a) the government offers an efficient sex education program, implemented before you reach the age of consent; b) legislation includes sex with minors prevention laws; c) “seduction of minors” is also contemplated under the law.

Of course, I’m basing this on my experience. Most of the people I know lost their virginity when they were between 14-17 years old, and it doesn’t make sense to me why in some countries a 17 year old can be charged of pedophilia for having sex with a 14 year old. That’s just my opinion.

yuki kokoro on Korean Culture Through K-pop 102: Let’s Talk About Sex:

To everyone that freaks out with the age of consent of 13. You need to put it in perspective. First, it’s because historically, age of consent were low and a government usually just puts it higher. I don’t know at all, but the idea that the SK gov. “lowered” it to 13 is unlikely. For example, the age of consent in my country past from 14 to 16 in 2006 and from 12 to 14 in 1890.

Also, the higher the age of consent is, not necessarily better the society is. A society that puts a 17 year old in jail because he had consensual sex with a 17 years old is sick in my opinion.

(By the way, the age of consent is 13 in Spain)

Mrs_KimSungGyu on Trouble on the Block, Again:

Sometimes netizens drive me crazy. Some people in the kpop fandom tend to develop a disliking for a certain group of people (certain fan groups mainly) but I’ve developed a distaste for everyone in general. How does that make me sound? I’m no misanthrope, I assure you, but the fact that people can comfortably sit behind a screen and spew insults like it’s their job to do so only infuriates me. Firstly, I don’t care if you hate so-and-so or think they are a slut or a misbehaved “nugu”, but there is no need to go on and on about it, especially knowing that there are people who may take your comments the wrong way. People are sensitive, and I’ve met my fair share of sensitive fans online. Why bother provoking someone?

From my point of view, Block B did nothing shame worthy (perhaps inconsiderate, but not more) and the people who continue to demean them are the ones doing worse. Some are angry at Taeil for being rude, fine, but others are condemning the entire group for supposedly talking behind someone’s back, and that’s not even how it went down. He was speaking of a woman whom he personally knew to her FACE. That’s where the distinction lies. How does anonymously speaking through a computer justify a netizen’s behavior when the behavior is the same one they are condemning? If the woman had had a problem with what he said she would have taken it up with him and he wouldn’t do it again. It’d be their problem, they’d resolve it, the end.

People are just looking for an excuse to further tarnish the group’s reputation. People find it entertaining, they delude themselves into thinking that what they are doing will bring some sort of sick justice, but no one gave netizens the right to condemn someone they don’t even know. If it were our duty to do this, Tablo‘d be in jail for “lying about his degrees”. T-ara would have disbanded for bullying their team mate. IU would have have been shamed out of the industry and branded a deceitful *insert cuss word*.

How much do we know about these people to make judgement? How much of the truth do we have to determine who’s right and who’s wrong? We are not a jury and the internet is not a court room.

Nate Broadus on Sohee Sues for Slander:

Making bullying — cyber or otherwise — a crime punishable by law would depend on a the severity, intent and length of the abuse. Sohee‘s case would appear to be in the realm of prolonged abuse, so I agree with the decision to pursue legal action — though I won’t be surprised if it gets tossed out at some point. A lawyer only has to prove the damage is less severe than the charge, so unless he did send very inappropriate material to Sohee (It would not shock me if he did), most likely they will point to the fact that Sohee has not “appeared” to suffer from this and it is merely a nuisance. A very large nuisance, but unless Sohee can show signs of serious mental, physical or emotional turmoil, expect the attorney to pounce. It is just one of the ways that a lawyer can utterly mindf*ck you into a corner with small details. They make manipulation into an art form.

In the greater scheme of things, I do think bullying should carry harsher penalties. Again, mental and/or physical distress would have to be proven before legal action is warranted, but it should be a punishable offense — if for no other reason than to prevent vigilante justice, which is often blind, misguided and far too indiscriminate in its attack patterns. That said, getting the legal system more involved can easily turn into the proverbial double edged sword. A legal system is not designed to record emotional stress unless it manifests in a physical form (self mutilation, anxiety related health concerns, etc.). This is only (unfortunately) logical because you can’t really just take someone at their word that they are in distress over harassment, otherwise you might have an influx of false claims, or people looking for a quick payday on damages for “emotional distress” to deal with.

Assuming there is evidence that this ongoing harassment has effected Sohee more than we know, I do not think JYP overreacted. I also believe that taking it to the courts is the proper move, because it cuts out the cancer in this situation: overzealous netizens who take these things far more seriously than is healthy to do. If left to netizens, no doubt some people would be wrongfully targeted, accusations would be flung about, and a situation that very much needs to be handled tactfully and with insularity would quickly turn into a fiasco.

On a personal note, I hope Sohee holds up well. “Bully” is just another word for coward. I’ve never met one that actually stood behind their words when confronted face-to-face. However, the ugliest aspect of the internet is that it, mostly, shields a person from all responsibility if they hide their true selves cleverly enough. Still that does not decrease the damaging effect that long term, ongoing and unrelenting abuse, whether emotional or physical, can inflict upon a person, so I send good thoughts that way through this process..

If this case does not get tossed out, I hope JYP hires a shark of a lawyer with a tendency to go for the balls.

Jolly Roger on IU, Eunhyuk, and the Imaginary Korean Netizen Backlash:

It all comes down to one equation, and it applies to any celebrity anywhere…

Celebrities have the same rights as anyone else, they are free to do whatever they want with their personal lives. But they also have to accept the fact that the public and their fans have an equal right to punish them financially for any possibly offensive or undesirable words, actions, or behaviors that go public. If a segment of IU‘s fanbase decides to jump-ship, it is their right to do so.

Loen, like all the other kpop companies, has created and actively promoted a “character” whose identity is dependent upon a certain image. That is the risk they take and have to accept when creating such confining and unrealistic characters for their entertainers. If someone screws up and the facade is shattered, intentionally or not, it is gone. Too bad.

The lily-white pristine “Little Sister” character could never be sustained indefinitely anyway. Loen’s pathetic attempt to try to salvage what is probably not salvageable is just making things worse for IU.

Sure, she will probably lose some of her fans who were drawn to her innocent character, but IU is a talented singer and musician, and people who love her for her voice will likely not abandon her over this episode.

It was time for her to grow up and move on anyway.

That’s a wrap for this week! Thanks for being such great readers and commenters, and as always, feel free to leave additional comments below.

(Images via 11st, Vogue Magazine, MBC, Brand New Stardom, Nylon Magazine, wonderholic, LOEN Entertainment)