Bad Girl, Good Girl (배드걸 굿걸) by Miss A (미쓰에이): Lyrics, Translation, and Explanation

(Source)

Having just written that I find new girl groups virtually indistinguishable from each other these days, then I’m very glad reader “abcfsk” persuaded me to take a closer look at Bad Girl, Good Girl (배드걸 굿걸) by Miss A (미쓰에이), as I grew to like it very quickly. And not just because of the eye-candy in the music video below either, which I actually deliberately avoided watching so as to better compare my own translation of the lyrics to the one there later.

But hell: taken from a zip-file available here, in hindsight the screenshots below didn’t really do justice to the eroticism of some of the dance moves. And which to be frank, made finally seeing the video itself almost feel like a reward for all my hard work.

No great surprise to learn that Park Jin-young (박진영) is their manager then, as he is notorious for that sort of thing. Granted, that is the way the whole Korean music industry is going these days, primarily as a means for new groups to stand out, but those groups under the JYP Entertainment label do seem to push the boundaries more than most.

Focusing on the lyrics for now though, here’s my own original translation of them, with explanations of those parts I found difficult:

Update – In case anyone’s confused, the original video with lyrics included has been deleted.

You don’t know me, you don’t know me

You don’t know me, you don’t know me

So shut up boy, so shut up boy

So shut up boy, so shut up, shut up

앞에선 한 마디도 못 하더니

뒤에선 내 얘길 안 좋게 해 어이가 없어

Hello, hello, hello

나같은 여잔 처음 으로 으로 으로

본 것 같은데 왜 나를 판단하니

내가 혹시 두려운거니

You don’t know me, you don’t know me

You don’t know me, you don’t know me

So shut up boy, so shut up boy

So shut up boy, so shut up, shut up

In front of me you can’t say a word

And I can’t believe the bad things you say about me behind my back

Hello, hello, hello

I think this is the first time you’ve ever met a woman like me…why do you judge me?

Am I a thing to be feared?

(Source, all screenshots: Red and Rosy)

Starting with Line 1 of the Korean after “shut up” etc., the “더니” in “하더니” has many usages according to page 277 of my reference guide, Korean Grammar for International Learners (KGIL), but I think the most appropriate is number 1, that which “allows the speaker to affirm that some fact which (s)he directly experienced or witnessed in the past about a third-person subject is the reason or source for the state of affairs in the follow clause…the subject is usually second or third person”.

That allows the fact that the unnamed man (her boyfriend?) is reticent in front of her to be linked to line 2, that he badmouths her behind her back. But which was actually much more difficult to translate than it looked, as “뒤에선 내 얘길 안 좋게 해 어이가 없어” is literally “[me] behind as for – my story – not well do – word – not have”, which sort of looks like what I ultimately wrote, but was ripe for misinterpretation. Once my long-suffering wife told me that “어이가 없어” actually means “I can’t believe” though, then I was able to muddle along.

In line 6, the “거니” in “두려운거니” isn’t in KGIL, but I think it’s shorthand for “두려운것이에요”, or “scary thing is”. Hence I used the noun form “am I a thing to be feared?” in my translation, but of course something like “are you scared of me?” would be fine too.

Now for the chorus:

겉으론 bad girl 속으론 good girl

나를 잘 알지도 못 하면서

내 겉모습만 보면서

한심한 여자로 보는 너의 시선이 난 너무나 웃겨

춤 출 땐 bad girl 사랑은 good girl

춤추는 내 모습을 볼 때는 넋을 놓고 보고서는

끝나니 손가락질 하는 그 위선이 난 너무나 웃겨

On the outside I’m a bad girl, on the inside I’m a good girl

While you don’t know me well

While only looking at my outward appearance

Thinking of me as a pathetic woman is so laughable

When I dance I’m a bad girl, but when it comes to love I’m a good girl

When you see me dance you lose your mind

Only then to scorn me when the dance is ended

I laugh at your hypocrisy

In line 1, I was surprised that “으로” was used instead of “에”, as I’d always thought the former was used mostly for directions and processes rather than physical locations, but my wife assures me that the latter can’t be used at all in this case (oh well). She also told me that in line 4, “pathetic” would be a much better translation of “한심하다” than the “pitiful; pitiable; wretched” and so on that my dictionary gave; that in the case of line 6 at least, “모습” really means just “me” rather than “outward appearance” or “figure”; and finally that “넋을 놓고 보다” means “to lose one’s mind”, which I would never have got figured out otherwise. I did realize that “보고서” at the end looked a bit weird though – “a written report” – and ultimately the “고서” in it turns out to be one more grammar pattern. Which according to p. 251 of KGIL, has the effect of:

…tightening the relationship between the preceding and following clause, and implying that the contents of the second clause are a natural and closely linked follow-on to those of the first. In other words, whereas “고” alone is appropriate when a long interval intervenes between the two clauses, “고서” is appropriate when the connection is more immediate”.

Finally in line 7, of course “끝나니” is short for “끝나니까”, or “because it finished”. Add “scorn” and “hypocrisy” in there as well, then whatever the particulars of the last 2 lines, I got the impression that the man is captivated by her dancing, but then scorns and thinks little of her as soon as she stops and the spell is broken. Hence laughing at his hypocrisy, although now I’m little confused about the narrative of the song as I type this, as by this stage at least I thought the whole point was that she shouldn’t be judged by her outward appearance and actions…whereas now it appears that they’re actually also her strong points.

이런 옷 이런 머리모양으로 이런 춤을 추는 여자는

뻔해 ha 네가 더 뻔해, 오~

Hello, hello, hello

자신 없으면 저 뒤로 뒤로 뒤로

물러서면 되지 왜 자꾸 떠드니

속이 훤히 보이는 건 아니

A woman with those clothes, that hairstyle, and doing that dance

is shameless? Ha! You’re even more shameless, oh~

Hello, hello, hello

If you have no confidence, you can step back back back there

Why do you frequently make so much noise complaining about me?

I can see right through you

In line 4, I was a little confused for a moment by “저”, which is short for “저기” or “there” rather than being the respectful form of “me”. And then by “자신 없으면 저 뒤로 뒤로 뒤로 물러서면 되지” in lines 4-5, which literally means “confidence – if not have – there – towards the back towards the back towards the back – if step back” and looks like an unnecessary and confusing repetition to me.

Finally, line 6 was a big stumbling block: first, I originally thought “아니” meant “no”, but it’s actually “know”, as in “알다”. Then, “훤하다” means “gray, dimly-lit”; “extensive, broad and wide, spacious”; “good-looking”; and finally “be familiar with” and I was plumping for the first meaning until my wife said the last would be better.

Speaking of whom, to anybody envious at my Korean ability evident in translations in numerous earlier posts, and surprised at (and tired of) how much I’ve needed my wife’s help this time(!), then, well, I’d be lying if I said she didn’t have a huge role in correcting my numerous mistakes and explaining things after I do the original translations (I probably wouldn’t be able to properly provide any at all without her). I just haven’t mentioned that before because I usually don’t talk about the translation process itself, and how much time and effort it takes us.

Which gives me a newfound respect for those studying Korean entirely by themselves! But getting back to the lyrics though, after the above there’s the chorus again, and then the final verse:

날 감당 할 수 있는 남잘 찾아요

진짜 남자를 찾아요

말로만 남자다운 척 할 남자 말고

날 불안 해 하지 않을 남잔 없나요

자신감이 넘쳐서 내가 나일 수 있게

자유롭게 두고 멀리서 바라보는

I’m looking for a man who can bear me

I’m looking for a real man

Not a man who only talks like a real man

Is there no man that I don’t make uneasy?

Who can’t give me the freedom to watch me become a woman overflowing with confidence?

Finally, an easy verse! Any fellow Korean learners, please feel free to ask me about any of it, but otherwise that’s the whole song already, but for the chorus and finally the English opening sequence again.

Reluctantly tearing my eyes away from the singers (especially Fei {페이}) to the translated lyrics in the video then, I’m happy to say that they appear to be very similar, although there do appear to be some differences between the subjects in the some cases (in other words, I’ve got some “he”s where TheKpopSubber has “she”s and so on).

I’d like to look at those in more detail, but unfortunately I’m about to go out on a big shopping trip with my wife and kids, so for now I’ll just have to leave the post for you to enjoy as it is I’m afraid (those of you also unnerved by mistaken recent reports that North Korea was shelling again, may be happy for the distraction!). But of course, do please feel free to discuss those differences and/or anything about the song, group, and/or MV yourselves, although still knowing so little about the group then I’m going to reserve my own analysis until I’ve at least translated their second hit Breathe (브리드) next week:

Enjoy!^^

Update: Wait…one of them’s only just turned 16? Another middle-school student in a girl band?

Update 2: Given Miss A’s Chinese angle mentioned in the comments (2 of singers are Chinese, and they’ve been promoting themselves extensively there), then I’d like to point interested readers to Rowan Pease’s chapter “Korean Pop Music in China: Nationalism, Authenticity, and Gender” in Cultural Studies and Cultural Industries in Northeast Asia: What a Difference a Region Makes, edited by Chris Berry, Nicola Liscutin, and Jonathan D. Mackintosh, (2009, pp. 151-167), in which (among many other interesting things) she explains that:

(Source: The Japan Foundation)

In 2003, the Korean National Tourism Office [a major investor in the Korean wave] conducted a Hanliu tourism survey in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong exploring attitudes to Korean culture, publishing the results online…

….It compared the impact of Korean culture with that of four “competitor” countries (the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong), and in the process revealed much about Korea’s own political and nationalist concerns, particularly in relation to Japan and America. Six of the eleven options for respondents to the category “reasons I like Korean culture” reflect this preoccupation: “less sexual than Japanese culture,” “less sexual than American culture,” “less violent than Japanese popular culture,” “less violent than American popular culture,” “decreased interest in American culture,” and “decreased interest in Japanese culture.” One other echoes Straubhaar’s notion of cultural proximity: “similar in culture.” Certainly, Korea’s own music media censorship laws (which even in 1997 prohibited the displaying of body piercings, navels, tattoos, “outfits which might harm the sound emotional development of youth,” and banned violent or political lyrics), meant that Chinese TV stations could buy in Korean music videos and music TV shows knowing that they were unlikely to upset local censors. However, these questions also reflected a perception that Korea acts as a defender against excessive Westernization and as a guardian of Confucian values within East Asia. (pp. 155-156)

I wonder if those perceptions still hold true for China today, and in particular just how safe and “less sexual” than American and Japanese culture music videos like this one are viewed by Chinese TV stations?

Girl Groups, VNT, and THAT Maxim Korea Cover

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Ever heard of VNT (브이엔티) before?

No, me neither, and frankly I find most new girl groups virtually indistinguishable from each other these days. But it turns out that VNT may actually be quite different, its 3 members explicitly wanting to “focus more on their music rather than their visuals.” Like rapper of the group Lil’J (릴제이) said in a recent interview:

“One thing that I’m confident about is, like our CEO stated, our music. We’ll become a team that wins because of our talents, not our looks. Tina and I dropped out of high school for this, and we will be sure to show everyone our passion for music.”

And later:

“We may be a girl group, but we dream of changing the Korean music industry with our music. Our first and foremost goal is to have our fans listen to high quality music. We want to become the top in every aspect, and later become seniors that lure others to dream of becoming like us. Of course, we also dream of an award at the year-end awards this year.”

Of course, that may well just be hype. And I’m not sure how a photoshoot in December’s Maxim Korea fits in with that sentiment exactly, with subsequent “news” reports on it overwhelmingly focusing on their hitherto hidden S-lines. But they do still need some publicity of course, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

As for their music, judge for yourself with their first single Sound (소리):

Personally it’s a little slow for my tastes, and despite their similar look to 2NE1 (투애니원), there’s definitely nothing about grrrl power in the lyrics. Indeed, quite the opposite really, as they’re all about passively waiting for a man…and which is precisely what Yumi (유미) appears to be doing on the magazine cover come to think of it.

Or is she?

If so, then I hope *cough* he comes soon, as she looks pretty uncomfortable really. But is that really just a sex position she’s in?

Granted, Maxim Korea isn’t exactly averse to placing women in ostensibly sexually attractive poses, but which just a few seconds’ thought demonstrates would be quite impractical and awkward in reality (especially for the woman). Take 18 year-old model Om Sang-mi (엄상미) in the same edition for instance, spreadeagled in a shopping trolley.

But with the top half of Yumi’s body sticking out unnaturally like that, and with those red pants, that hairstyle, and puffed-up frilly shirt to boot? In line with the Christmas theme, then I think the main point is actually to make her look like a turkey.

Prove me wrong!^^

(For a similar example of women’s bodies being compared to meat in the Korean media, see here)

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Sex and the University: Part 1

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Well, sex and Yonsei University to be precise, with 4 articles on that theme being published in the latest Yonsei Chunchu (연세춘추) campus newspaper, providing valuable insights into modern Korean students’ sexual experience and attitudes.

Unfortunately for the authors though, Yonsei happens to be a notoriously Christian university. And so according to my anonymous informer, they were actually punished for them in some way.

Details are sketchy at the moment, but the main problem appears to have been a sex survey sent to all students, with the first article below discussing the results. Perhaps the board of trustees was shocked and embarrassed that 1 in 3 Yonsei students are quite happy having one-night stands or something?

연세인, 당신의성의식은어떤가요? 대학생성의식은개방으로황새걸음, 사회적인식은아직도뱁새걸음

Yonsei students, how is your awareness of sexual issues? While university students’ awareness is progressing by leaps and bounds, Korean society is still only making baby steps

가장 기본적이고 보편적인 욕구인 동시에 가장 은밀하기도 한 것, 바로 ‘성(性)’이다. 아직 성적인 이야기를 스스럼 없이 털어 놓을 수 없는 한국 사회에서 연세인들은 성에 대해 어떠한 생각을 갖고 있는지 「연세춘추」에서 알아봤다. 설문조사는 이메일을 통해 지난 9월 13일에서 10월 4일까지 약 3주간 진행됐으며 1천287명의 학생들이 이에 답했다.

Sex is the most basic, universal desire, but at the same time it’s also the most private one. And in a society in which people still feel unable to speak frankly and openly about sexual matters, how to find out Yonsei students’ thoughts on them? So, the Yonsei Chunchu conducted an email survey for 3 weeks between the 13th of September and the 4th of October, and received 1,287 replies from students.

(Source)

연세인 2 1, “나는성경험이있다

1 in 2 Yonsei students have sexual experience

성경험의 유무를 묻는 질문에 거의 절반에 해당하는 49.5%의 학생들이 “있다”고 답했다. 또한 “있다”고 답한 응답자 중 72.5%가 08학번 이상이라고 답해 고학번이 높은 비중을 차지한 것을 볼 수 있었다. 이에 대해 ‘행복한 성문화센터’ 배정원 소장은 “사회적 분위기 자체가 달라져 성관계를 맺는다는 것이 쉽게 받아들여지고 있다”며 “예전에는 공개적으로 등장하지 않았던 혼전 성관계가 대중매체에서 자연스럽게 나오면서 사람들이 이에 대해 대수롭지 않게 생각하게 됐다”고 말했다.

또한 우리대학교 성희롱·성폭력 상담실 이정화 교수는 “실제로 성경험이 있는 학생들의 숫자도 늘어났지만 그 사실을 드러내놓고 이야기 할 수 있게 여건이 변한 탓도 있다”고 말했다. 이러한 사실은 “성경험이 있음에도 주변사람들에게 거짓말을 한 적이 있다면 그 이유는 무엇인가”라는 문항에서도 찾을 수 있다. “주변의 인식 때문에”라는 답변을 33.0%의 학생들이 선택한 반면 “사생활에 대해 말하기 싫어서”를 택한 학생은 40.8%로 가장 많았다. 이 교수는 이 결과에 대해 “성관계를 가졌다고 해서 안 좋은 낙인이 찍히거나 이상하게 보는 분위기가 아니기 때문에 주변의 인식의 문제보다 ‘이건 내 사생활’이라는 의식이 더 크게 작용한 것”이라고 분석했다.

On the question of it they had sexual experience, almost half of students (49.5%) replied that they had, of whom 72.5% entered Yonsei University in 2008 or earlier. About this, Bae Jeong-won, head of the Happy Sex Culture Center said “the social atmosphere is changing, and nowadays people are becoming much more accepting of [premarital] sexual relationships”, and that “in the past, you never saw premarital sexual relationships depicted in the mass media. But as they’ve naturally started appearing, people have come to think that they’re nothing to really get concerned about.”

(Source: Extreme Movie)

Also, Professor Lee Jeong-hwa of the university sexual harassment and sexual violence consultation center said “because society is changing, the number of people who openly admit to having sexual experience is increasing”. And about that, one of the questions in the survey was “have you ever lied about your sexual experience, and if so, what was the reason?” [James – I think “have you ever pretended you didn’t have sexual experience when you did?” is more accurate], and 33% of those that replied that they had did so because of what others would think of them, whereas 40.8% replied that they did because they didn’t want to talk about their private life. About those results, Professor Lee said “respondents were more concerned about keeping their private life private than being stigmatized and/or branded by those around them”.

사회는보수지만나는개방

Society is conservative, but I am liberal

이런 분위기에도 불구하고 학생들은 한국 사회를 보수적이라고 평가했다. 전체 응답자의 67.0%가 한국 사회의 성개방 정도에 대해 보수적이라고 답해 아직 사회 전체적으로는 개방적이지 않다고 생각하고 있었다. 이에 비해 자신의 성개방 정도에 대한 평가는 개방적이라는 답변이 41.1%로 보통이라고 답한 26.8%와 보수적이라고 답한 32.0%보다 많은 비중을 차지했다.

Despite this [changing] atmosphere, students think Korean society is still conservative, and on the question of sex in particular, 67% of the total replies that is was conservative and not yet liberal. Of themselves in contrast, 41.1% considered themselves to have liberal attitudes towards sex, 26.8% were middle of the road, and 32.0% considered themselves conservative.

(Source)

스킨십은성관계까지, 원나잇은애인이없을?

As for skinship [James – Basically, physical affection towards a boyfriend or girlfriend], does that go all the way to sex? Are one-night stands only for when you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend?

자신은 개방적이라는 연세인의 생각은 다른 문항에서도 나타났다. 스킨십의 허용 범위를 묻는 질문에서 “성관계”라고 답한 응답자가 55.9%로 가장 많았고 “키스까지 가능하다”는 응답이 20.6%로 그 뒤를 이었다. 지난 2004년 7월 「연세춘추」 연애에 관한 설문조사에서 스킨십의 허용범위를 묻는 질문에 “키스까지 가능하다”는 응답이 54.3%로 가장 많았던 것과도 달라진 결과다. 또한 연애를 함에 있어서 성관계의 중요도를 묻는 질문에는 “꼭 필요한 것”이라는 응답이 37.0%를 차지한 데 비해 “절대 안된다”고 답한 연세인은 13.2%에 불과했다.

연세인들은 이성친구가 과거 성경험이 있는 것에 대해서도 높은 관용도를 보였다. 이성친구의 성경험에 대한 관용도를 묻는 설문 문항에서 “괜찮다”는 응답이 49.4%로 “안된다”고 답한 26.8%보다 월등히 많았다.

모텔에 가는 것에 대한 수용 수준은 “괜찮다”는 응답이 45.9%를 차지해 “안된다”고 답한 32.1%보다 많았다. 또한 원나잇스탠드에 대해서도 애인이 있는 경우에는 “절대 안된다”는 응답이 65.1%, “괜찮다”는 응답이 5.8%에 불과했지만, 애인이 없는 경우에는 “절대 안된다”가 32.9%, “괜찮다”가 33.1%로 큰 차이를 보였다.

The fact that Yonsei students are now quite liberal about sex also emerged from a different question. To the question of how much physical affection they permitted, most (55.9%) said “all the way to sex”, while 20.6% only limited it to kissing. In a similar survey given by the Yonsei Chunchu in July 2004 though, as many 54.3% said they would limit it to kissing, and on the additional question of how important sex is for a relationship, 37.0% replied that it was essential, whereas 13.2% said they would absolutely not have sex [James – presumably before marriage that is]. (source, right)

On the question of how they would react if they discovered their boyfriend or girlfriend had sexual experience prior to meeting them, Yonsei students also showed a high level of acceptance: 49.4% saying it was okay, with 26.8% saying it wasn’t.

As for if they were happy to go to a love motel to have sex, 45.9% said that was fine, with 32.1% disagreeing. And if they had a partner already, 65.1% would never have a one-night stand with someone else, whereas 5.8% replied that it was okay. If they were single though, 32.9% would still never have a one night stand, but 33.1% were fine with it.

학생들 따라가지 못하는 성교육

Sex education is not keeping pace with students’ needs

이렇듯 젊은 대학생들은 점점 개방적으로 변화하고 있지만 성교육은 이를 쫓아가지 못하고 있다. “지금까지 받아온 공식적인 성교육이 충분했다고 생각한다”는 문항에 과반수를 훌쩍 넘는 85.6%의 연세인이 “아니다”라고 답했다. 또한 가장 실용적이고 도움이 되는 성지식의 출처를 묻는 질문에 “공식적인 성교육”이라고 답한 응답자는 13.4%로 대중매체와 관련 책 항목에 밀려 세 번째를 차지했다. 이에 도지연(생명공학·09)씨는 “문화가 개방적으로 빠르게 변하는데 비해 성교육은 제자리걸음인 것 같다”며 “성교육 자체가 보수적이라 실생활에서 활용이 불가능하다는 것이 문제”라고 결과에 동의했다.

이 같은 결과에 배 소장은 “상담을 받아 보면 학생들의 성지식이 턱없이 부족하다는 것을 느낀다”며 “학생들은 성에 관한 정보를 점점 더 많이 접하고 있는데 그에 비해 성교육은 충분하지 않아 잘못된 지식을 갖게 될 위험성이 매우 큰 것이 문제”라고 비판했다. 나아가 이 교수는 “사실 성관계를 맺는 과정에 대해서는 인터넷 같은 데에 충분히 개방돼 있고 접하기가 쉽지만 중요한 것은 의사소통인데 이것이 공식적인 성교육에서 매우 부족하다”고 말했다.

(Source)

In light of all this, as university students become more liberal about sex, then sex education is not really following suit. In response to the question of “has the sex education you have received up until now been satisfactory”, 85.6% replied that it hadn’t, and only 13.4% replied that it was the most practical and helpful source of information for them, well behind the mass media and sex-related books. Second-year biotechnology student Do Ji-hyeon agreed, and said that “even though culture is changing and rapidly liberalizing, sex education remains the same,” and that “as it is taught conservatively, it doesn’t really meet students’ practical needs”.

Similarly, Happy Sex Culture Center head Bae said “from consultations we’ve had with students, we get the feeling that their knowledge about sexual matters is woefully inadequate”, and that “because sex education is also  inadequate, and because students are getting information for themselves instead, then there is a danger that they will be misinformed.” Professor Lee Jeong-hwa of the university consultation center agrees, and says that “it’s easy enough to find information on the internet about the process of sex [James – does she mean the basic biology of it?]. But the important thing is communication, and in this sense public sex-education is severely lacking”. (end)

(Source)

To play Devil’s advocate for Yonsei punishing the authors for giving the survey to students, of course we don’t know how severe that punishment was as of yet; Yonsei’s religiosity is by no means uncommon for Korean universities (my own has similar requirements for Chapel attendance in order to graduate, regardless of one’s religion); the punishment probably pales in comparison to effectively expelling a student for being gay like this one is; it has the oldest LGBT group of any Korean university; and, as Part 3 will reveal (see here for a sneak peek), it even has mandatory sex education classes. Indeed, in the light of the last in particular, then the fact that there was any punishment at all is very surprising and confusing, and I’d be very grateful if any Seoul-based readers can send me any further information about that (and please feel free do so anonymously if you prefer).

Meanwhile, what did you think of the survey? Do you think the results are actually of any use, given that only 1,287 students out of nearly 30,000 replied? Has anyone heard of similar surveys and/or mandatory sex education classes at other Korean universities?

Regardless, thanks again to the person who sent me all the articles, and – writing this next week now – here is Part 2!

Korean Gender Reader

( Source )

1) Double-standards when marketing sex-themed movies?

Anybody else looking forward to seeing the comedy Pretty Romance (쩨쩨한 로맨스) next month?

I think it looks like fun myself. And with a very egalitarian first couple of promotional posters, featuring both “sexperts” in their underwear, then I’d hesitate to begin describing the promoters as sexist bigots.

But still, the above is the second poster now to have actress Choi Kang-hee (최강희) wearing a much more risqué costume and/or showing much more skin than actor Lee Seon-gyun (이선견). And this imbalance is repeated across most of the adults-only section of the movie website too:

( Source )

Sure, it’s hardly the most egregious case out there, and javabeans does give kudos to the movie for at least “letting the girl be the aggressor”. But it does raise the interesting issue of how sex-themed movies (presumably) aimed at both sexes seem to be marketed as if they were just for a male gaze, and not just in Korea.

Recall some of the posters for Ogamdo (오감도; see #8 here) last year for instance, which led some female commenters over at DramaBeans to worry that watching it would simply be a waste of time for them:

( Source )

But regardless of if that did turn out to be the case or not (I haven’t seen it myself), can anyone think of any promotional material for similar sex-themed films that fetishized the male form just as much as the female one? Or is only the latter effectively the default and almost universal choice?

2) Filipino student kicked out of Korean university for being gay

Read the details at KoreaBeat. To be precise, he is being kicked out of his dormitory, which effectively means he is being kicked out of the university because his scholarship is contingent upon his residence there.

3) “Life is Beautiful” broke barriers for gays

The JoongAng Daily interviews veteran television writer Kim Soo-hyun (김수현), whose drama Life is Beautiful (인생은 아름다워) was the first to portray a gay couple on Korean prime-time television.

Also see #3 here for more information about depictions of homosexual relationships on Korean television in general (or rather the lack thereof), and #1 here for a recent controversy surrounding the shooting of the drama in a church.

4) Korean schools’ rules on dating and physical contact between students of the opposite sex

I kid you not: not only did 81% of middle and high-schools surveyed have them, but they’re both very detailed and regularly enforced, recently “a male and female student of a high school in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, [receiving] a penalty of three-day service in school for their standing within 50 centimeters of each other at a bus stop” for instance.

See The Hankyoreh for further details. Naturally, there’s no mention of any rules for dating and physical contact between students of the same sex.

5) What socializes and sustains deferential behavior in Koreans?

Neo-Confucian deference to males is at the core of Korea’s poor gender relations, and to outside observers it is often both frustrating and confounding how it persists despite its fundamental conflict with most other ideologies that Koreans espouse to, such as democracy, liberalism, and feminism.

As Gord Sellar discusses here though, recent studies show that part of the answer may be because what one is socialized to at an early age literally becomes hardwired into the brain.

Take this quick quote from Tufts Magazine’s article on the studies, with Gord Sellar’s emphases. And at the very least, I am now intrigued by the implications for understanding Korean advertising:

… what accounts for strong differences in preferences, leading to very different actions in the real world?

Part of the answer might lie in a similar set of studies done by Freeman. He measured the brainwaves of American and Japanese subjects who were shown silhouettes of bodies in postures categorized as “dominant” and “subordinate” (for example, one of someone standing tall with arms crossed and another of someone with head bowed and arms hanging). “It’s been known for a long time that Western cultures encourage dominance and Japanese cultures more subordination in line with collectivist thinking,” Freeman says. “I was looking to see if these East Asians and Westerners perceive dominant and subservient bodies in a different way.”

The results, published in the journal Neuroimage in April 2009, indicate that here, too, people often travel the same route yet end up at destinations miles apart. The silhouettes matching cultural preferences activated another distinct area of the brain in both groups: the limbic reward system. This is the system that releases dopamine into the bloodstream in response to pleasurable stimuli such as drugs, sex, or food. But it’s also engaged whenever the brain wants to tell the body to go after something in the outside world—to pick up a desired cup of coffee or grab a favorite magazine off the rack.

( Source: Pink Tentacle )

7) Top 60 popular Japanese words/phrases of 2010

This selection from Pink Tentacle may seem like a strange choice here at first. But like our discussion of 2009 Korean buzzwords demonstrates, many do ulitmately make it over to Korea.

Here’s my vote for the first of those 60 to do so:

28. Yama girl [yama gaaru – 山ガール]: Yama girl (“mountain girl”) refers to a new breed of fashion-conscious outdoor women who wear cute yet functional mountain skirts, colorful leggings and stylish boots while hiking, camping and communing with nature.

7) The dashed dreams of a Gyopo woman

An interesting, if somewhat bitter-sounding take on dating in Korea from the perspective of a Gyopo woman. Anybody have an opinion on how representative her experiences are?

8) Divine proportions in male nipple re-positioning

Not strictly related to Korea sorry, but from what I can gather from the article at io9 says, this is a very underdeveloped field that is only set to grow as societies become more obese. And given existing Korean expertise in cosmetic surgery and its ambitions for medical tourism, then it wouldn’t surprise me if this was a procedure regularly offered in Korea within the next 5 years.

9) Jessica of Girls’ Generation most popular celebrity among Korean lesbians

That’s according to an article in Come Together, a magazine published by Yonsei University’s LGBT club which claims to be “Korea’s first campus association for gay college students.”

Yes, I think it’s an interesting name for a magazine too.

10) Midnight Sun (미드나잇 선) music video by F.CUZ (포커즈) released

But more notable for the way it was promoted, which was by the now standard practice of pre-releasing an overtly sexual teaser of it with the aim of gaining publicity for it by getting it banned and/or generating controversy:

I am unsure if it was actually banned sorry – I’ve been a little distracted the last few weeks – but the finished product is definitively much tamer:

Like Johnelle at SeoulBeats notes of it though, “it’s funny how in almost every Korean (and Japanese) MV that has a sexy concept they have only (or mostly) foreign girls/models tramping it up”. Do you think that’s true, or is it an exaggeration? I can say that it’s definitely the case for advertisements and the print media, but unfortunately I find it difficult to keep up with most K-pop these days.

Update: Gord Sellar saw Pretty Romance, and wishes he’d walked out after 20 minutes!

p.s. Good to be blogging again!^^

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See you in Boston!

To any readers that missed it, just a quick reminder that I’ll be giving a lecture at Wellesley College in Boston this Friday!

Tentatively titled Peeling Back the Veneer of Modernity: An introduction to Korean gender issues through advertising and popular culture, it will be held at 4:30pm in the Pendleton Atrium, on the 2nd floor of Pendleton Hall (see here or here for directions). All are welcome.

Meanwhile, apologies for the lack of posting, but, what with having an horrendous flu last weekend, my eldest daughter catching bronchitis (which meant 6 hours in hospital today), and a huge pile of editing work to get through, then not only am I still finishing the lecture, but I’m afraid my blogging plans went completely out the window!

But things will be back to normal next week, and should it not be possible to record the lecture itself – unfortunately the Pendleton Atrium is not really set up for it – then I’ll make sure to write a blog version of it shortly thereafter.

Until next week then!^^

p.s. Don’t worry, my daughter is fine now! And, apologies again, but there’ll be a small charge of $5 for non-campus guests.

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Korean Sociological Image #52: Are Celebrities Removing the Stigma of Lingerie Modelling?

After writing about double-standards in the objectification of men’s and women’s bodies in the Korean media last month, this month I was looking forward to wrapping that up. Finally, I thought, I’d be able to remove the prominent “Abs vs. Breasts” folder on my Firefox toolbar.

Alas, I’ve decided some more context is needed first. Which by coincidence, also allows me to get rid of the even more embarrassing “Lingerie” folder in the process.

But while the topic sounds facetious perhaps, having overwhelmingly Caucasian models in lingerie advertisements has definite effects on how Koreans perceive both Caucasians’ and their own bodies and sexuality. If you consider what Michael Hurt wrote in his blog Scribblings of the Metropolitician back in 2005 for instance:

…One thing that I also notice is that in underwear and other commercials that require people to be scantily-clad, only white people seem to be plastered up on walls in the near-buff. Now, it may be the sense that Korean folks – especially women – would be considered too reserved and above that sort of thing (what I call the “cult of Confucian domesticity”). Maybe that’s linked to the stereotyped expectation that white people always be running around all nasty and hanging out already, as is their “way.” Another possibility has to do with the reaction I hear from Korean people when I mention this, which is that white people just “look better” with less clothes, since Koreans have “short leg” syndrome and gams that look like “radishes.” The men are more “manly” and just look more “natural” with their shirts off…

Then I’m sure you’ll appreciate that while that artificial dichotomy between “naturally” nude, more sexual Caucasians (and by extension, all Westerners) and more modest, virginal, pure Koreans is neither new, solely confined to Korea, nor wholly a construct of the Korean media, at the very least this odd feature of Korean lingerie advertisements certainly helps sustain it. And that dichotomy has largely negative effects on all Westerners here, especially women.

( Caucasian models used for the first erect nipple ever featured in a Korean ad {see here also}. Source: Metro, July 8 2010, p. 7. )

Already having discussed the evidence for and consequences of the sexualization of Caucasian women in great depth last September however, then let me just quickly summarize relevant points from it here:

Empirical studies have shown that Korean women’s magazines have a disproportionate numbers of Caucasian female models in them, with some even have more Caucasian models than Korean ones overall. Unfortunately though, none of those studies made any distinction between lingerie and non-lingerie advertisements.

Before laws banning foreign models were lifted in 1994, many Korean female porn stars were also lingerie models, which discouraged female models from lingerie modeling. This fact only really became public in June 2008 however, which explains why those earlier studies didn’t take it into account (or Michael Hurt back in 2005).

Of course, there have always been exceptions, with the Yes’ company especially having no qualms about using Korean models. But for other companies, they are usually anonymous, with either their heads not being visible or them literally covering themselves up by whatever means available. See the examples below from Korean lingerie company StoryIS’s website for instance, or #3 here, where the Korean female models look simply absurd hiding under large hats and sunglasses.

Update: I forgot to mention lingerie infomercials, on which it’s common to see Caucasian models wearing the lingerie alongside fully-clothed Korean models carrying the lingerie on coathangers.

Moreover, when female celebrities are used, they are invariably fully-clothed. And so much so in fact, that it’s no exaggeration to say that they may not have been actually wearing the advertised lingerie at all considering that you couldn’t actually see it.

( Sources: left, right )

But that was over a year ago. At the end of that post though, I did note a (then) recent advertisement by Shin Min-a that you could see it in, and simply had no idea that it was just the beginning of a veritable flood of celebrity lingerie photoshoots thereafter. Finally noticing by the following summer though, by its end I had: Ivy (in the opening image); Shin Min-a (again); Park Han-byul; Seo-woo; Girls’ Day; Gong Hyo-jin; Song Ji-hyo; LPG; Min Hyo-rin; Lee Si-yeong; Shin Se-Kyeong; and Yoon Eun-hye in that infamous “Lingerie” folder.

Then I discovered a Korean blog on lingerie while researching this post, and from just one post there I learned that I had to add at least Baek Ji-young, Lee Hyori, Seo In-young, Hyuna, Hyo-min, and Yu-jin to that list also…by which point I frankly gave up keeping track. And belatedly realized that, of course, Korean celebrities have actually been modeling lingerie for far longer than just the past year (I’d completely forgotten about this example for instance).

But still, I think it’s no coincidence that I would notice so many photoshoots in such a short space of time. And for that reason, would argue that the most recent ones at least should definitely be seen in the wider context of Korean entertainment companies’ ever-increasing need for the greater exposure (no pun intended) and differentiation of their celebrities in order to maximize profits. Recall what I wrote of the ensuing objectification of male singers for instance:

…whereas it’s mostly young girl-groups that have sprung up in the past year or so (see here for a handy chart), likewise Korean male singers have to adapt to the Korean music industry’s overwhelming reliance on musicians’ product endorsements, appearances on variety shows, and casting in dramas to make profits (as opposed to actually selling music). This encourages their agencies to make them stand out and differentiate themselves from each other by coming up ever more sexual lyrics and/or performances and music videos: namely, more abs from the guys, let alone feigned fellatio, feigned sex on beds, or even virtual rapes of audience members on stage during performances.

Regardless of the motives however, on the positive side surely these photoshoots can not but help to remove the stigma associated with the industry in Korea? And, once that’s been achieved, then that will in turn begin to (at least slightly) challenge that hypersexual Caucasians vs. chaste Koreans dichotomy as mentioned earlier.

( Source )

But in reality, perhaps things will not be quite as quick or as simple as that. For while I merely bookmarked those photoshoots as they came up in K-pop blogs, in hindsight I should also have been making the following distinctions between them:

  1. Advertisements for lingerie companies in which just the lingerie is worn
  2. Advertisements for lingerie companies in which the lingerie is hidden partially or completely under clothing
  3. Photoshoots for men’s or women’s magazines like Maxim and Cosmopoltian
  4. Korean Gravia photoshoots

And from what I can tell now, most of the them seem to be #3, with Ivy’s opening newspaper cover probably being the most prominent exception (and what prompted this post). Hoping to find an authoritative Korean perspective on all that as I begin working on this post then, probably by no coincidence – I guess wasn’t the only person to notice this trend – Yahoo! Korea linked to what appeared to be precisely that the next day, and so I happily translated it that same night.

In the light of the next day though, I was simply stunned at its terrible quality, and after trying to edit it to some level of coherence but abjectly failing, gave up on the post in disgust; regularly complaining about Korean portal sites, then I should have known better really. But 3 weeks later, I realize that it would be a pity to waste all that time spent translating, and that at the very least fans of Hwang Jung-eum (황정음) and High Kick Through the Roof (지붕킥) may still like it. And who knows? You may be able to gain some insights from it that I missed.

But if not, then let me end this post here by apologizing in advance if I have possibly conflated Caucasians with Westerners too often and too readily in this post, but which is frankly difficult to avoid in a post focused on the former, but raising issues that still have large effects on the latter. And to better understand that, at the suggestion of a reader I now have Imperial Citizens: Koreans and Race from Seoul to LA by Nadia Kim (2008) sitting on my desk, which will be my reading for my flight to Boston next week!^^

황정음 속옷화보, 득보다 실이 많은 노출

Hwang Jung-eum Loses More than She Gains by Showing Her Body

황정음이 속옷 화보를 찍었네요. 그동안 깜찍하고 귀여운 얼굴만 보다가 섹시하고 볼륨감 있는 그녀의 노출 사진을 보고 조금 놀랐어요. 노출 정도가 생각보다 파격적이고 아찔하기 때문이에요. 황정음은 이번 노출이 처음이라고 하는데요. 처음치고는 너무 도발적이고 과감한 노출이에요. 그만큼 몸매에 자신 있었기 때문이겠죠. 요즘 속옷 화보는 신세경, 한예슬도 찍었고 TV광고에도 나오고 있는데, 노출이 심한 편이 아니죠. 몸매 노출보다 속옷에 더 비중을 뒀기 때문이에요.

Wow, Hwang Jung-eum has done a lingerie photoshoot. So far, we’ve only ever really seen her small, cute face, so I was a little surprised by her sexy, curvaceous body in these photos. Because she showed so much more than I thought, I’m really a little light-headed too. This is the first time she’s showed so much of her body like this, and it’s much more provocative than I would have expected for her first time; I guess she was confident about her body. These days, Shin Se-kyeong and Han Ye-seul have appeared in lingerie photoshoots and television advertisements, and [yet] in those the amount of exposure tends not to be so serious. In those, the focus is more on the lingerie than their bodies.

속옷 광고 화보는 잘 나가는 여자 톱스타들만 찍는다고 하죠? 고소영, 송혜교, 김남주, 김태희 등 당대 톱스타들도 유명 속옷 광고를 찍었어요. 그런데 이들의 속옷 광고는 S라인만 자랑할 뿐 노출이 거의 없습니다. 말 그대로 속옷을 광고한 화보였고 몸매 자랑을 한 것이 아니었어요. 보통 무명 연예인들이 속옷 광고를 찍을 때는 노출 수위가 높아집니다. 그런데 나중에 유명 배우가 된 뒤 이런 노출 화보로 굴욕을 당하기도 합니다. 모델 시절 속옷만 입고 해맑게 웃고 있는 홍수아의 속옷 화보도 한 때 인터넷에서 화제가 되기도 했어요. 그리고 수애, 오윤아도 데뷔 전 속옷 화보에 출연한 경험이 있고요.

Only women who are already well on the route to becoming top-stars do lingerie advertisement photoshoots, yes? Go So-young, Song Hye-gyo, Kim Nam-joo, Kim Tae-hee, and others [at] that age have all appeared in lingerie advertisements for famous brands. However, in those showing off and exposing their S-lines is almost completely absent. Indeed, there are virtually none that show off the model’s body. Take more common ones featuring unknown models however, and the level of exposure goes up markedly. And if that woman becomes famous later, then this might come back to haunt her. For instance, Hong Soo-ah appeared in one wearing just lingerie and a bright smile, and this become a hot internet topic later. And Soo-ae and Oh Yoon-ah also have the experience of modeling lingerie before becoming famous.

그런데 일부 스타의 경우 지나친 노출 속옷을 찍어 구설수에 오르기도 했죠. 가수 아이비도 얼마 전 속옷 화보를 찍었는데, 노출이 너무 파격적이라 네티즌들의 입방아에 오르내리기도 했어요. 속옷 모델이라 어느 정도의 노출은 당연하지만 플레이보이 잡지를 연상케 하는 놰쇄적인 느낌이 너무 강했기 때문이죠. 속옷보다 아이비의 몸매가 더 시선을 끌었으니 주객이 전도된 경우라 할 수 있어요.

( Source )

In some stars’ cases, showing far too much in lingerie photoshoots gave rise to them being the subjects of malicious gossip and rumors. For instance, a little while ago Ivy [above] was in one. Because she showed so much of her body, a lot of netizens were gossiping about her. And while of course lingerie models have to show at least little of their bodies, in her case it was so much that it reminded you of Playboy magazine. Even though the photoshoot was supposedly for  showing off the underwear, it seemed to be showing off Ivy’s body far far more.

그렇다면 황정음의 경우는 어떨까요? 황정음의 속옷화보도 아이비에 버금갈 정도에요. 한번도 노출을 하지 않다가 왜 이렇게 파격적인 노출을 했는지 모르겠네요. 가슴이 훤히 드러난 사진을 보면 깜찍함은 온데 간데 없고 섹시함이 풍기는데 그리 귀티나는 이미지는 아니에요. 섹시미가 보이긴 보이는데, 인위적인 느낌이 든다고 할까요? 그리고 가슴이 드러난 사진은 뽀샵 흔적이 너무 강하네요.

If so, what to make of the case of Hwang Jung-eum? It’s very similar to Ivy’s. She’s never done anything like this before, so I don’t know why she suddenly appeared in such a revealing photoshoot. Her breasts are very exposed, she’s lost her cuteness, and while she gives off some sexiness she’s not very elegant-looking. Moreover, don’t you feel her sexiness is a little artificial? And there are signs that her breasts have been heavily photoshopped too.

요즘 ‘자이언트’ 촬영하면서 체중이 6kg 늘었다고 하는데, 다리를 보니 ‘말라깽이’ 그 자체네요. 보정작업 흔적이 역력한데 소속사는 촬영 후 보정을 하지 않았다고 합니다. 눈에 빤히 보이는 거짓말이죠. 황정음만 하는 것이 아니라 모든 모델이 뽀샵을 하는데, 왜 굳이 하지 않았다고 하는지 모르겠네요.

These days, while shooting for the drama Giant she gained 6kg, but her legs remain extremely thin. There are obvious signs that this was compensated for in the photos then, but her agency says this didn’t happen. But you can tell this is a lie. And it’s not like Hwang Jung-eum is the only model that gets photoshopped, so I have no idea why her agency would so adamantly deny it.

황정음 속옷 화보는 신세경과 비교해 보면 알 수 있어요. 신세경의 속옷 화보는 드레스에 속옷이 보일듯 말듯한 신비주의 컨셉으로 찍었어요. 이는 신세경의 청순미와 신비주의 컨셉이 딱 맞아 떨어진 절묘한 사진에요. 사실 이런 화보가 여배우에게 좋은 이미지를 남길 수 있어요. 물론 노출이 무조건 나쁘다는 것은 아니지만 황정음의 노출 화보는 그동안 쌓아놓은 깜찍 이미지를 한꺼번에 날릴 수 있는 위험한 화보에요. 지금 황정음은 나름 톱스타기 때문에 굳이 노출 화보를 찍을 이유가 없어요.

If we compare Hwang Jung-eum’s photoshoot with Shin Se-kyeong’s then I think we can learn the reason. The concept of Shin Se-kyeung’s photoshoot is a mysterious and subtle one that has the lingerie under the dress, leaving us always guessing as to whether we can see it or not. This mysterious and innocent-beauty concept is well suited to her image, and in fact it does no harm to any female actor. In contrast, while of course showing off one’s body is not bad per se, Hwang Jung-eum has long cultivated a very cute image and there is a danger that she’s ruined it all at once with this photoshoot. And seeing as she’s sort of a top star already now, then I don’t know the reason why she did it.

황정음은 ‘지붕킥’ 이후 돈과 인기를 한번에 거머쥔 스타인데, 화보촬영으로 돈을 더 벌려한 것은 아니라고 봅니다. 그렇다면 배우로서 깜찍, 엉뚱 이미지를 벗기위한 노출이라고 볼 수 있는데요. 한 번에 너무 파격적인 노출을 하다보니 그녀의 속옷 화보를 보고 당황스러운 사람이 많을 겁니다. 같은 속옷 화보를 찍어도 배우에 따라 그 느낌이 다른데, 황정음은 신세경, 한예슬과는 달리 ‘싼티’가 좀 풍기네요. 소속사는 다양한 모습의 황정음이 있다고 봐달라며 절대 이미지 변신을 위한 파격적인 시도는 아니라고 강조했는데요. 사진은 아찔한데 어떻게 그냥 일반적인 화보로 봐달라는 건지 모르겠네요.

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Hwang Jung-eum suddenly gained a lot of money and popularity through appearing in High Kick Through the Roof, so she didn’t do this photoshoot for the sake of money. Perhaps then, it was in order to lose her cute image gained through acting, even though many people will be confused by it because it is so revealing? But different actresses can do the same kind of lingerie photoshoots [James: this contradicts all the above, as they are quite different] and give off quite different impressions, and unlike Shin Se-kyeung or Han Yae-sul, Hwang Jung-eum comes across as very cheap. However, her agency stress that this photoshoot was absolutely not done to change her image, just to show a different side of her. Yet how can anyone claim it is just your average, run-of-the-mill lingerie photoshoot?

‘ 자이언트’에서 황정음은 가수 이미주로 출연하고 있는데, 주상욱과의 키스신으로 얼마전 남친 김용준이 키스장면을 보며 담배를 물고 있는 사진이 화제가 되기도 했지요. 이번 속옷 화보 촬영에 김용준은 쿨하게 응원을 해주었다고 하는데, 황정음의 노출사진이 수많은 남자들에게 공개되는데 쿨한 반응을 보였다니 의외네요. 주상욱과의 키스신보다 속옷 화보가 낫다고 본 건가요?

In Giant, Hwang Jung-eum plays the singer Lee Mee-ju, and in reaction to one scene in which she kisses her partner (actor Ju Sang-wook) her real-life boyfriend (singer Kim Young-jun) posted a spoof picture of himself biting a cigarette in anger at seeing it on the internet. And in reaction to her photoshoot, he was very cool about it, which was surprising: who would be so cool about having his girlfriend exposed to so many other men? Did he really think that that was better than the kiss scene?

여자 연예인들에게 화보촬영은 자신의 가치를 드러낼 수 있는 아주 좋은 기회죠. 해마다 여름만 되면 너도 나도 비키니 몸매를 자랑하는 것도 자신의 상품성을 과시(?)하는 것이라고 볼 수 있어요. 황정음도 자신의 상품적 가치를 더 높이기 위해 이번 속옷 화보를 찍었을 겁니다. 그러나 이번 속옷화보 촬영은 황정음에겐 득보다 실이 많을 것 같네요. ‘지붕킥’으로 대박스타가 된 그녀는 정극 ‘자이언트’에서 연기력 논란을 빚기도 했는데, 배우로서 연기로 승부하는 것보다 노출로 승부한다는 느낌을 줄 수 있기 때문이에요. 그런데 그 노출이 인위적인 뽀샵으로 귀티보다 ‘싼티’가 나는게 더 문제가 아닐까요?

Photoshoots are a good opportunity for female entertainers to demonstrate their worth. Just like every summer we can see women showing off their bodies in bikinis, which also is like demonstrating their product value [James: that’s literally what it says]. But Hwang Jung-eum did the photoshoot to increase her worth. However, through doing so she actually lost more than she gained, because while she became a big star through High Kick Through the Roof, now she is appearing in the much more conventional drama Giant, in which her acting abilities have been questioned. In light of this, then at the very least the photoshoot seems very badly-timed, and surely not appearing elegant but instead literally overexposed and heavily photoshopped is in fact much more of a problem for her than a benefit?

‘지붕킥’에서 깜찍한 춤과 애교 연기로 하루 아침에 벼락스타가 된 것에 대해 황정음을 곱지 않은 시선으로 보는 사람들도 많습니다. ‘잘 나갈 때 조신하게 행동해라’는 말과 달리 황정음은 노출화보를 찍는 등 오히려 더 오버하고 있는 듯 합니다. 벤츠를 타면서도 노출 화보를 찍은 황정음을 곱게 보는 사람은 많지 않아요. ‘자이언트’를 통해 정극 연기 도전을 하는 황정음은 오직 연기력으로 배우 수명을 오래가게 할 수 있는 길을 찾아야 합니다. 노출 화보는 황정음에게 독이 될 수 있으니까요.

Through her cute dancing and aegyo in High Kick Through the Roof, Hwang Jung-eum became famous almost literally overnight, which many people seem to resent. Rather than following the old adage to behave well while one is in the spotlight however, rather this photoshoot of hers is just too much, and there are not many people who would have done while already rich enough to drive a Mercedes Benz. With Giant, Hwang Jung-eum was presented with a challenge that she could have used to increase her acting ability and sustain a long acting career. Unfortunately, she seems to have squandered it with this photoshoot. (end)

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p. s. Not related to Korea, but you may also enjoy the post Lingerie as liberating? from Sociological Images on a woman (in an advertisement) feeling “hot” as a result of wearing lingerie, only then to cover it up with a burqa

(For all posts in the Korean Sociological Images series, see here)

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Vintage Gender Socialization?

What was the first thing that went through your mind when you saw the above advertisement?

Me? Why Nazi-occupied Colorado of course.

No, really. Specifically, the end of the following segment from Chapter 6 of Philip K. Dick’s classic alternative-history book, The Man in the High Castle (1962):

…Her shift at the judo parlor did not begin until noon; this was her free time, today. Seating herself on a stool at the counter she put down her shopping bags and began to go over the different magazines.

The new Life, she saw, had a big article called: TELEVISION IN EUROPE: GLIMPSE OF TOMORROW. Turning to it, interested, she saw a picture of a German family watching television in their living room. Already, the article said, there was four hours of image broadcast during the day from Berlin. Someday there would be television stations in all the major European cities. And, by 1970, one would be built in New York.

The article showed Reich electronic engineers at the New York site, helping the local personnel with their problems. It was easy to tell which were the Germans. They had that healthy, clean, energetic, assured look. The Americans, on the other hand — they just looked like people. They could have been anybody.

One of the German technicians could be seen pointing off somewhere, and the Americans were trying to make out what he was pointing at. I guess their eyesight is better than ours, she decided. Better diet over the last twenty years. As we’ve been told; they can see things no one else can. Vitamin A, perhaps? (source, right)

Of course, regardless of hierarchy and relationship, people do need to point things out in the distance to each other sometimes. But in advertisements featuring both sexes in Phil K. Dick’s time however, somehow it always seemed to be the men that were pointing things out to then women, as noted by sociologist Erving Goffman in Gender Advertisements in 1979:

On the positive side though, the second thing the advertisement reminded me of was a social studies textbook that I read in my final year of high school (back in 1993), which noted how rife such imagery was in earlier editions of a science textbook that I also happened to be using. But which had long since been removed, and indeed subsequent studies based on Goffman’s work – Belknap, P., & Leonard, W. M. (1991), “A conceptual replication and extension of Erving Goffman’s study of gender advertisements,” Sex Roles, 25(3/4), 103-118  for instance – confirmed that examples in advertisements were (by then) also so rare that it was not even worth looking for them. And much more recent studies of Korean advertisements (listed here) have come to much the same conclusions of them too.

But still, they do occur occasionally. Anybody remember this commercial I analyzed last September for instance, of which even just the visuals alone convey the message that only men are serious and thoughtful enough to be put in charge of your finances?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

To which now can be added the ad I saw on the subway this morning, which feels like it’s at least 30 years out of date. Or is that just me?

p.s. Yes, I’m aware that, technically speaking, Colorado isn’t occupied by Nazis in the book, but is rather in a buffer zone between the Japanese “Pacific States of America” and the Nazi “United States of America.” Alas, that wouldn’t have had quite the same impact as an opening line however!

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