She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Popular Music(Source)

Just a quick note to apologize for the slow posting everyone. Actually, I’m not taking a holiday (although Christmas was a little busy), it’s just that my next post is taking longer than expected. But rest assured that it’ll be up on Monday sometime next week (update: forgot that my kids were off next week sorry!).

In the meantime, my latest article for Busan Haps, “K-girl Power: The emerging trend of empowerment and sexuality in K-pop,” is available here, a condensed version of this post. And, as a Christmas present to myself, I’ve just ordered — squeee! — the third edition of She Bop above, just released this month; The Beauty Myth, by Naomi Wolf (my other copy is in my mother’s spare room, and my friend’s gift of a PDF just isn’t cutting it!); Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, by Richard Burger; and finally, belatedly, Tune by Derek Kim.

If anyone’s read any of them, I’d love to hear your thoughts. And Happy New Year everybody!

5 thoughts on “Update

  1. Have you seen the new Girls’ Generation video yet? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq7ftOZBy0E
    My Korean isn’t great but from what I’ve read of the lyrics… well they’re not great. Different from the standard aegyo fare but not better. They seem to be talking about how much prettier they are than everyone else, how handsome their boyfriend is etc. I think it could do with some proper analysis. Would love to read a translation/analysis from you.



    1. Actually I think I read these lyrics incorrectly, it’s very unclear who they are talking about and it changes point of view a couple of times. It’s a very bizarre song. It still seems to be pitting the girls up against each other women for the attention of one particular guy? An interesting one. A strange attempt to be ‘swag’ (as seems to be the in thing right now) without actually adopting any of the independent attitude that that is supposed to entail.


  2. First of all, thank you so much for maintaining this blog. I’m not Korean but I’ve taken quite a bit of interest in Korean culture via consumption of dramas/cinemas and I’ve seen a lot of interesting elements at play that are chronicled here. However, I’ve had one nagging question that I haven’t been able to negotiate even through discussion with Korean-American friends (an imperfect resource at best) and that is the question of age in relationships – specifically the notion that a woman being older than her partner is somehow deviant enough to merit scrutiny. What makes the situation even more confusing is the ‘noona’ craze in pop culture and many recent dramas and movies that fight to legitimize such relationships. I guess I’m wondering how female age and non-traditional power balance in relationships are perceived on the ground in Korea and whether media products are simply reflecting social trends or actively trying to influence them.


    1. Sorry to you also for the late reply, and for not really being able to answer your comment — honestly, being long married and having few single friends, I haven’t thought about the noona craze since My Name is Kim Sam-soon came out in 2005; and would have assumed that, even though the craze would have long since died down, it would surely have legitimized such relationships. So, I’m intrigued to learn that actually neither is the case, and — if you can forgive the irony of you asking for help, but ending up helping me instead — I’d be really grateful if you could tell me some of those recent dramas and movies. Watching them all sounds like it could be an interesting project for me this winter vacation! :)


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