(G)I-dle continues to cement themselves as concept queens in their latest comeback “Nxde.” This time around, the girls endeavor in a more glitz and glamour concept, drawing inspiration from both Marilyn Monroe and Banksy. Despite the change from the punk rock image crafted in “Tomboy,” the message of empowering women is still ingrained in their songs.
“Nxde” specifically tries to empower women by breaking stereotypes of being a sex symbol, and they do so with multiple references to Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn Monroe was an American actress that became the original blonde bombshell. Known for her talent as an entertainer and her amazing looks, Monroe was also given a dumb blonde image. Contradictory to this common conception bestowed upon her, Monroe loved to read and was a very intelligent person. This false narrative set the foundation for “Nxde’’s concept. (G)I-dle’s goal was to break past the stereotypes and go beyond the label of sexy; a label that overshadowed Monroe’s true personality her entire career.
Throughout the MV, the girls dress as showgirls wearing various outfits that take inspiration from iconic Marilyn Monroe looks. The blonde hair each member has is one of the most prominent looks reminiscent of Monroe’s title as a blonde bombshell. Each member also gets their own Monroe moment to shine. Minnie sports the iconic pink dress from the film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Soyeon is shown looking through the pages of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, who was Monroe’s favorite poet; Miyeon exudes elegance and beauty in front of reporters in the same manner as Monroe did during her press conferences; Yuqi is seen in the white dress from The Seven Year Itch; Shuhua in a flapper outfit similar in appearance to a dress the actress had worn before. The abundance of scenes that show the girls channeling their inner Marilyn Monroe makes it clear that Monroe’s image is a key part of the MV storyline.
Monroe was one of the biggest sex symbols of her generation and was constantly sexualized. When the girls are not on stage or in front of the public eye, they are shown grappling with what the audience wants on stage versus who they really are. They do this to show what lies beyond being deemed a sex symbol. The transformation from showgirl to their true selves touches on society’s misogynistic expectation of female idols and the overt sexualization of women’s bodies. But (G)I-dle don’t stop there. They also acknowledge an anonymous painter.
This is where Banksy comes into play. Banksy is famous for shredding their own artwork. The artist posted a video installing a shredder into the frame of their work, captioning it with a Picasso quote, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” The unexpected act was done as a critique of the excess of the art market. (G)I-dle offers their spin on Banksy’s actions towards the end of the MV. A sketch with the word “nude” across the page is shredded in front of a bunch of spectators. The destruction of the sketch ties to the goal of going beyond prejudices to be your true self.
Even the song’s title is a way to push past stereotypes. “Nude” can be perceived as an explicit word that has a very provocative connotation. However, the way the group uses nude in this context is to be their true self regardless of whether people like it or not. There is a specific scene in the MV where hateful comments are being geared towards (G)I-dle and Soyeon. However, they continue on their path to embracing themselves. The MV eventually gets to the group dance where they have fully embraced their nudity with lyrics like,
“I’m born nude, you’ve got a dirty mind.”
The empowering message shown throughout the MV and through the song’s lyrics is not the only impact the song has on its listeners. The group is also impacting internet searches in South Korea. (G)I-dle in Korean is (여자)아이들 and Nude is 누드. Therefore if a person looks up “girl nude” (여자 누드), the first article to show up is the group’s new song along with the lyrics,
“Why do you think about nude.”
“Nxde” is filled with meaningful references that aid in the song’s empowering lyrics. (G)I-dle has perfected the art of being able to look stunning while breaking boundaries with music and concepts that have an impact. Despite previous scandals, the five-member girl group is cementing its place in K-pop and showing no signs of slowing down.