sexualization in kpop

Sexualization in K-Pop: The Bare Truth

When asked about why they prefer K-Pop over Western music, many fans say that the former is less sexualized than the latter. But is that really true? For newer fans, they may be pulled in by bubble-gum pop groups; however, they don’t realize that there are many idols that show off their bodies and croon about sex in their songs.

Am I saying that it’s wrong? Absolutely not! This just goes to show that sex sells, and it’s not just limited to Western music. Furthermore, it’s not like our favorite idols are an eyesore to look at!

Some people feel as though female idols are more sexualized than their male counterparts, to which I respond:

I’ve always had the unfortunate opportunity of coming across hostile comments towards girl groups about their skirts being too small, their cleavage being too exposed, or their dances being too risqué. But very few times have I seen a complaint about a guy taking off his shirt too many times, humping the ground too many times, or thrusting in their hands instead of keeping their legs closed. Are you getting what I mean? Like I said before, being sexy is not a crime. Sexualization in K-Pop should not be a crime, either, unless minors are involved (and I’ll talk about this in a bit).

For a few large examples, let’s start off with Rain‘s Love Song. A classic, and the perfect beginning to this article.

Okay, so everything looks fine for the first half of the music video, right? He’s got his fancy eyelashes on, trying to touch the memories of his ex-girlfriend. It’s actually pretty innocent and kind of touches your heart, as you can see how torn up he is about the failed relationship. And then, all of a sudden, BAM!

There they are, shiny studded shoes (shiny studded everything, to be more precise), and whoa, look at those body rolls! Just when you think it’s going to stay at that level… Nope! The jacket gets off, the shirt gets off (most of it), and now he’s flaunting his refined pecs and abs.

Let’s take a step back, shall we? What’s this song exactly about? He’s basically calling upon a deaf ear, as he tries to ask his former lover to come back to him. He believes that this song would convince her to return, so that they could be together again.

Hm… Is there any reason why he should be stripping? Any reason for the seemingly suggestive body rolls? Of course, there’s always going to be people like me trying to find meaning in everything, but when you get down to the dirty business… You can’t really argue that his body is a large selling point of this, can you?

Just to remind everyone: I find no issue with that. What. So. Ever. Just look at him!

bi rain

But moving on: the highly popular duo of HyunA and Hyunseung in Trouble Maker, formed in 2011, has been quite a spicy pair. With their sexually suggestive choreography for their debut, Trouble Maker, they are not shy in the field of sexiness. Their latest hit, Now (There Is No Tomorrow), showcases both of these idols’ looks and vocals.

A personal favorite of mine, this music video hits you immediately with the act of love (or is it really love?), as Hyunseung wakes up with women strewn about him. Meanwhile, HyunA is avoiding unwanted attention at a club, gyrating by a wall, seemingly in deep thought and longing. From the closeups of their bodies to an intense lovemaking scene, it’s pretty obvious what their relationship is about. But there’s more, as fights break out, and Hyunseung seems to have issues with his own deranged sociopath. I ended up thinking, “Well… I’m glad I’m not a people person.”

In addition to the video’s plotline, the choreography reflects the chemistry between the two. But, more importantly, let’s look closer at the meaning of the song.

This couple have problems that they can only deal with together, so, despite a caustic, bipolar relationship, their only way of surviving is to stay with each other. Does the video represent that? Yes. Is the sexualization of the pair necessary? I’d like to think it sticks to the truth of many relationships in real life, so yeah, having them actually dealing with sexual needs, drug use, alcohol use, and physical abuse does help remind the viewers that life isn’t just bubble-gum pop.

Last but definitely not least, I present you with Rania‘s Dr. Feel Good.

Do I really need to say much about this? I’m actually a fan of this song and the intense choreography, albeit the lyrics being a bit cheesy at some points. Now, you might criticize me and say, “I don’t think it’s that hard to wiggle your butt around and hump the air, Thuc!”

In a normal situation, I’d agree. What makes this different is that the movements go along with the beat of the song, and they are synchronized. I don’t know if many of you have tried learning this choreography, but it is difficult. Being sexy takes a LOT of practice. Should I also add that the opening sequence looks like the awakening of sirens from the depths of… badness? In other words, it looks really cool.

There’s not really much of a plot, as the music video focuses on their visual appeal. This is a song that reminds me of some kinky roleplay sequence that people usually try to keep behind closed doors. The meaning? Well, all that I get from this is that these “patients” would really like some pleasurable, alone time with their doctors. Once again, nothing wrong with that.

Rania recieved some criticism for their racy attire and choreography, forcing them to change some aspects to be able to promote on music shows. I think it’s a bit unfair, considering that they’re showing just as much skin as many boy groups, and thrusting into their hands in a similar manner.

Hey, if the guy groups can get away with singing about sex, why can’t the ladies? It’s a natural act, and, even if I may not be into the practice, it doesn’t mean that I should shun any type of sexiness in the media. Even U-KISS recently dropped quite the music video for Quit Playing, bringing up the topic of threesomes and showing off the members’ sculpted bodies.

All in all, what I’m trying to say is that sexualization in K-Pop shouldn’t be seen as a rare occurrence or a sin. Why? Simply because it is not. As you can see, male and female groups, and even groups with both, use their bodies to the best of their abilities to provide a little boost to promotions.

Sometimes it’s not very necessary, sometimes it helps develop a view on the world, or sometimes it’s just a straightforward message of “Hey, I’m into this kink, and I’m not ashamed of it.”

Of course, putting minors into a sexualized role of being an idol does create issues not only for that minor, but for the public in general. Personally, I believe in giving the choice to people who are supposed to be mature enough to understand the workings of the industry, not forcing a role onto someone who may be too young to truly comprehend why they have to grind against their microphone stand.

Do you have a different opinion on this matter? Should sexualization in K-Pop just not exist, or should it still remain in use? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.