"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Monday, October 22, 2012

Music Monday: this is why I don't like gangnam style.

I hate Gangnam Style.

You know why I hate Gangnam Style? Because I get it. It's such a perfect parody. I've been to Korea - I am Korean. Only a Korean who's spent time in Korea recognises how flawless Psy's mimicry is of the nouveau riche that are emerging in Korea's gadget-happy long boom - Psy himself said that only 'losers and wannabees' say that they have 'gangnam' style. I recognize every single one of the larger-than-life characters in the music video - even Psy himself. There are actually people like that in Korea.

The problem is that nobody else gets Gangnam Style. Everyone thinks it's funny to laugh at the fat guy making a fool of the entire Asian continent. That's what I don't like. Gangnam Style went viral because at the heart of Western society is a desperate need to outlet xenophobia. Psy's parody is wasted on a WASP audience - he's making a mockery, but only a mockery of himself. And that's what I don't like.

I mean, seriously, it would be like taking this video as a literal representation for contemporary American society. Admittedly, it's not much of a stretch, but if it wasn't so evidently a parody it would have been rather offensive. Nobody seems to understand that whilst they laugh at Psy's horse dance.

And then there is, of course, the objectification of women. When I went back to Korea I was about eight or nine kilos heavier than I am now - mildly chubby, but not an extreme cause for concern. I swear most of the hype about my weight and how I looked was purely because I was a girl - because I wasn't 'pretty' and couldn't fit into the 'pretty' clothes (read: the biggest size is about a size 8). If I was a boy it would be brushed off as a 'growing boy's appetite'. I saw this in how some of my other cousins was treated and I was like yeah, okay, I'm fat, but SO IS HE!

Psy is not exactly the contemporary Western definition of 'the hot guy' - and he's not the Korean ideal, either, if you look at how the more mainstream K-Pop stars are like. But he gets away with it. I did not see a single girl who could be his equal in girth in the entire music video. And the remix of Gangnam Style, Dakneh Style, featured some pretty full on dancing from Hyuna, who can't sing but that seems to be besides the point. I'm a sex positive feminist, I have no problem with sex in the media, but there's a difference between 'portraying sexy women' and 'objectifying women'. That video did not walk the right side of the line.

Do you know what else didn't walk the right side of the line?


The sad thing is, this is how the world sees Korean girls - I don't know whether Korea's uber-patriarchal and highly commercialized society realizes this, but this is how the world sees Korean girls. People don't believe I'm half Korean because I'm not anorexic and I don't dance like a pole dancer and pretend I don't enjoy it (I mean, I wouldn't enjoy it therefore I don't). People probably think I'm half Korean, half Jabba the Hutt, just to explain my distinct lack of Korean sex appeal. This is not a healthy image to broadcast to girls, and this is not a healthy image for Korean girls. Not all Korean girls like creeps on the internet talking about how much they jerk off thinking about them.Seriously, all the comments about this video has something to do with fucking Korean girls or wanking or getting hard ons etc etc etc. It's disgusting. The reason why I hate K-Pop is that it is so blatantly sexist - just look at the difference between the boy bands and the girl groups - and nobody gives a damn, because all this Americanized shit is so new and patriarchy (which is still a big thing over there) turns a blind eye. It's the boy bands who get the expensive Michael Jackson choreographers and the girl groups who are told their only appeal is sex appeal.

So this is why I hate Gangnam Style.

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