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I enjoy being a girl: Females in Kpop

September 6, 2009

Women all over have to struggle with their standing or level of importance in a world where men generally take precedence. I’m a fan of both women’s rights and Korean pop, so I can’t help but think about the how the two relate. I have a long standing debate with myself: Does Kpop celebrate or exploit women?


Right now, it’s more than common to see a girl group marketed in a way that will appeal first and foremost to males. A group like So Nyuh Shi Dae/Girls Generation is a prime example of this. If there was a recipe for what most men want (at a base level) from women, SNSD would be just the group to bottle it up and sell it. And who’s to say they don’t already? Every concept they’ve had up to this point is extremely sexual, yet masked by a thin veil of innocence. Don’t kid yourself and believe that everyone behind their styles was purely innocent in picking out lollipop props or tiny military costumes. It’s a well established fact that sex sells.

The part of me that wants to be respected for who I am as a person and not as member of my sex despises the objectification of women that goes on in Kpop. However, after the initial feelings of repulsion that follow a viewing of “Genie” fade, I can’t help but feel pleased about how fantastic these girls are and how they represent women well. It’s so great to be female! We have charms that guys just dream about. Why shouldn’t you use “it” if you have “it”?

It seems contradictory, right?

I honestly can’t decide what I truly believe. Am I being more brainwashed by gung-ho American society or by shiny, well-produced Korean music videos? I guess when it comes down to it, I’m all for women’s rights. And to be honest, I don’t know if flaunting your assets on stage violates any sort of right. In fact, I think it’s exercising a right to do so. Where it gets tricky is when you start asking whether or not a female can be respected in this field if she doesn’t “shake her booty.” Sadly, I think women struggle if they don’t market their femininity perfectly. Even Amber of f(x) fits into this standard; the idea that she’s “anti”-girl makes you think all the more about her qualities as a member of the female sex.

It’s such a slippery topic and everyone is sure to have their own side. I’m not here to say one is right or wrong. I just want to find out what your stance is on women in Kpop. Is the importance of sexuality on stage a good or bad thing? Are there any groups that you think successfully works outside of this box? Let me know!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ale permalink
    September 11, 2009 4:53 pm

    I love your take on this, and yeah I’m confused on what to feel about the sexualization (is that a word?) of women as a whole.

  2. Mary permalink
    September 11, 2009 8:16 pm

    Don’t you want to put the word ‘sexuality’ in your comment?

    I don’t know about this, sometimes I get confused. Some man treats woman as object. Maybe some girls groups are seeing as object by some fanboys, but it shows at the same time the power that woman has. And there are many woman that uses your sexuality to gets what she wants.

    Well, fangirls can drool over boy groups, why can’t fanboys drool over girls groups too?

  3. Ami permalink
    September 15, 2009 7:45 pm

    SNSD represents women well? They were marketed to be submissive sex objects. Their song Genie portrays that blatantly. Girls’ Generation? Certainly they wouldn’t be talking about mine.

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