Can Male Idols Get Away with More Than Female Idols?


(This is an opinion editorial that focuses on a concept, an idea, not a fact. This does NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SOOMPI OR THE WRITER. This article is meant to be thought provoking, so view as such.)

It’s no surprise to those who know about the Korean culture that there is a strict separation in music and performance of what is acceptable. Songs will be banned from radio play for lyrics, and performances will have to be changed when some aspects of the dance are deemed unsuitable. But is this equal when it comes to gender?

Let’s make it clear first: women are not below men or discriminated by sex when it comes to how successful they can get. When we think about huge K-Pop groups or artists, we can name male and female: TVXQ, SNSD, Big Bang, Rain, Lee Hyori, etc. But there is a growing concern amongst fans regarding whether male idols can “get away with” more than female idols. But is this true?

To explore this thought, I am bringing to light three specific examples. I understand there are many more examples, but these seem to be the most prominent in comments about the subject amongst fans.  The examples are RaNia’s controversial dance, HyunA’s “Bubble Pop,” Super Junior’s Choi Siwon, and “hip thrusting” dances. This is why. (There are many more examples going further back but I don’t think you want me naming them all!)

First let’s address Hyuna’s music video for “Bubble Pop.” When I saw this music video I was blown away; I was not expecting such a sexy concept. I think that HyunA looked amazing and that the song was incredibly catchy. After all, there must be a reason why it had so many YouTube views. Despite this, there were comments on her music video such as people saying she was “slutty.” MBLAQ’s Lee Joon was in the music video, and some went as far to suggest that his image was “degraded.” Why do people think this performance was “slutty?” They believe it was because of the dancing and the execution of the whole video.

Let’s move on to RaNia. It’s safe to presume you know what I am going to say, but I will recap. RaNia had a “spread leg dance” in the song “Dr Feelgood” that was deemed very inappropriate, and people called for a change in the dance and the clothes they wore. I even saw a comment on a website saying that if the girls dressed like that in America they would be….I can’t even write the word. Yes, there were reactions that extreme.

What do you think of the dance?

It seems however, that when it comes to showing skin or provocative, the guys may not have as much criticism. Let’s look at their outfits and their dancing.

First the outfits and yes, every Super Junior fan has most likely already seen the comeback teaser photo from Siwon and what do you first notice?

I won’t be as crude to talk about something I see some fan girls talk about(!), but as you can see, a lot of his body is shown. Can a female star get away with this? Do you think that the bodies of males and females justify this?

Then we have the thrust dance that is so well used amongst the male groups. You may not think it’s controversial at all, but I think we all agree as dance moves go, it is pretty suggestive. Luckily there is a K-Pop fan on Youtube who has compiled a selection of groups doing this move so you can see it first hand, don’t watch if you have a nervous disposition when watching men hip thrust.

So, comparing it to the dance of RaNia’s dance, do you think they’re equally controversial? Do you think HyunA’s music video was inappropriate? Do you think Siwon showed too much skin considering a female idol couldn’t show anything that daring?

I am sure there will always be opposing views, but let’s focus on the main question again: can male idols get away with more than female idols can?

(This is an opinion editorial that focuses on a concept, an idea, not a fact. This does NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SOOMPI OR THE WRITER. This article is meant to be thought provoking, so view as such.)

Video Sources: See Youtube accounts of video.
Main article source: via Newsen
Choi Siwon picture courtesy of SM Entertainment