20160329_seoulbeats_amberboardersNo life is perfect.

There will be times where parents, adults, media, strangers, and all in between will cause periods of self-doubt. There will be times where all you can do is hopelessly compare yourself to someone or some sort of standard.

Amber first reminded everyone to love themselves with “Beautiful”. Now, it is time to turn the odds, stand strong, and fight back against stereotypes and unrealistic expectations which can, and will be… “Borders.”

“Borders” is a raw and emotional song, digging deep into issues many turn a blind eye to and the video expresses as such right from the beginning. A child is a clean slate. Taking in information and listening to others is how they learn and begin to shape who they are.

As they grow and come to an understanding of the world around them, adults, peers, and media are the ones who set up “Borders” or better known as ethics and stereotypes, with or without realizing it. It creates a cookie-cutter role which not only women, but men, try to fit into. Weeds of self-hatred occur when they’re unable to reach “goals” or “perfection” when such standards shouldn’t exist in the first place.

20160329_seoulbeats_amber_borders01This is where Amber comes in and this isn’t the first time she’s tackled such an issue. Her song, “Beautiful”, was a message to be happy to be yourself and to love every blemish and scar. “Borders” brings the same message to the table but with a simple difference: “Beautiful” is more of an internal struggle and “Borders” is dealing with the ideals and thoughts of people around and who they think you should be.

Tapping back to the blank slate child, a parent may tell a child to change the way they look or have a type of style because they won’t fit in or will be shunned for being different. Instead of telling a child they need to be a certain weight or look a certain way to be considered beautiful, other and truer words are said:

Cause mom said I’d be crossing borders
Never be afraid even when you’re cornered
Stand up straight
Fight your way
Fight your way, fight your way
Through the borders

20160329_seoulbeats_amber_borders05In the video, a solid explanation of this is the female. She has an easier storyline to follow and has the most relatable, realistic, and universal understanding.

In different forms of media across the world, there is a push for women to achieve absolute beauty. Sometimes, pretty is considered underweight, a size 4 or less waist, and a thigh gap. These are things that can be changed through extreme dieting and exercise (not to mention can possibly lead to disorders).

But what about the things that can’t be changed through sheer will power? Double eyelids, nose type, or V shaped jaw? Makeup may help achieve that, but at the end of the day, it washes away. So now the door of surgery has been opened. And let’s not talk about those who can’t afford said procedures.

Men are normally portrayed as strong figures and are not supposed to have anything wrong with them. Powerful, dominating, and can’t show emotions – heaven forbid if anyone sees you crying. These are just some of the stereotypes that males find themselves needing to fit into.

20160329_seoulbeats_amber_borders10The male’s situation in the video is a bit harder to grasp since it is unknown as to the information he’s looking over, but it’s safe to assume it is some sort of life changing test results. Perhaps being positive for a disease or mental illness. Receiving said results for a medical test may cause him to question his masculinity or worth to his family.

Comparable to the stages of denial, there’s also a series of steps that many go through when struggling with issues:

“There must be something wrong with me.” At first, most people question what’s wrong with themselves before questioning outside ideals. It is that questioning and pressure that causes negative thoughts to creep into the mind.

20160329_seoulbeats_amber_borders03“What can I do to change?” Humans naturally seek being with others and fear being alone. So in order to fit in and be well liked by others, some are willing to go through changes, perhaps some too dramatic, to be a part of the in crowd.

“What I’m doing isn’t working,” or “there’s nothing I can do to change it.” And because of this, “They won’t ever like me,” or “I’ll never be accepted”, leads to “if that’s the case, then what’s the point of being here?” For some, in this stage, it’s too late to turn back and the action of taking their own life falls into their hands. Some people are strong enough to fight this stage, others, not so much.

And for those in the video, the demons almost win.

Both are able to fight past the stipulations that were set up against them. The willingness to accept yourself and not feel the need to fit into a perfect shape keeps uniqueness. It is not the end of the world if you’re not thin like everyone else or have problems and issues. All it takes is faith in yourself to move past these conditions in order to keep going.

20160329_seoulbeats_amber_borders08The point that brings the video together with the song is the scenes between the mother and the child. Instead of telling the child what to do and who to be, giving them a means of encouragement that they are okay the way they are and some people may not like it, and what to change you. But do not falter to them, break free of the stereotypes they’ll force on you.

Because of the reinforcement at the young age, the decision to take their life because they remembered what their mother told them diminished .

20160329_seoulbeats_f(x)concertThis song simply wouldn’t work if it were the members of Wonder Girls or IU sang the song.

Amber, on looks alone, doesn’t fit into the “female standard”. Mainly, she looks like a tomboy that many believe girls early on will grow out of the phase. But sometimes, some girls aren’t comfortable in frilly dresses, into plastering pounds of makeup on their faces, and always have the mentality of “dress to impress” at all times.

The great thing about Amber is that she’s different, doesn’t fit into the female idol stereotype, and lets no one force her into it. Even next to the members of f(x), when they’re wearing short skirts or shorts, or high heels, she’s wearing sneakers, boots, pants, or long shorts.

In an industry where looks are everything, some females looking to go into the field may think, “if I’m to be popular in the K-pop world, I’ll have to throw away my tomboyish traits and looks”, and many might wind up doing so. But Amber has made an exception and she made that exception crack the stereotype. Despite her looks, Amber is popular. Part of it stems from her being brave to be different in a very difficult industry.

20160329_seoulbeats_amber_borders02The only fault I find with this video, outside of the male’s story being abstract, is that while the actor and actress are able to move on and/or cope with their differences, Amber stays within the light square she’s been sitting in. Her either breaking it or removing herself from it would have been more empowering and really would have driven the point home. It could be that she also has some borders to still across, leading to a reason why she never leaves it.

What do you think of Amber’s new song? Does it resonate with you? Are there any borders in your life you’ve had to overcome?

Song Rating: 3.75/5
MV Rating: 3/5

(SM Entertainment)