GD & TOP: Sudden foreign woman obsession.

Yes! Someone wrote about it! Mixtapes and Liner Notes puts a bit of consideration into what I also found to be a strange development in the recent GD & TOP music videos, which I briefly mentioned before, as it can also be seen in the new "뻑이가요" video.

Re-post of the videos in question, for those who haven't seen them:

I don't know what to make of it, really, so I'm glad someone else is trying. It's definitely been a trend with this album, as there are also foreign women featured in TOP's "Turn It Up":

Now. Unlike what happened earlier with UKISS's horrific "시끄러" video, my interest with GD & TOP has been piqued. UKISS did exactly what you would expect an immature, underdeveloped group to do with the image of a foreign woman, which was place her in a position that no decent Korean woman would be seen in. The title of the song translates as, basically, one of the rudest forms of "shut up" -- it doesn't just mean 'be quiet'. Literally, it implies that you are making an annoying noise. It's also dealing with a "나쁜 여자" -- a bad girl. Her job is to stand outside in dark alleys, leaning on cars looking sexual and objectified, while kissing the band members full on the mouth seemingly at random. Nothing much new to see there. I mean, pretty faced young Korean guy rolls up to a foreign girl on the street and shouts, "Hello.... hello!" Anyone ever been to Hongdae on a Saturday night? Predictable.


But.... I don't know. Maybe it's because Big Bang, and in particular G-Dragon and TOP, are some of the only Kpop artists I put genuine value on. I expect them to be more global. And I don't, at the moment, have too much objection to how they've handled the foreign women in their videos thus far. The one video where the foreign female presence is overwhelmingly dominant is just girls dancing in a club and having a good time. Which is what music videos are designed to showcase. It's interesting to note that in the other two video, when it comes time for the boys to actually be feeling up on the girls, it is the foreign women who are selected for the job, however.

I dunno, I dunno. I want to have faith in these boys, and believe that they're just trying to open Kpop up to the world a bit. But I am keeping my eye on it. It's a fine line in the music industry, which is chock-full of objectification -- particularly of the female form -- as it is.

One thing I will say.... in male Korean company this weekend, the subject did come up of naivete, and Korean women, foreign men; Korean men, foreign women. When I divulged a few telling stories about foreign women who had been taken for some pretty severe rides by Korean men, the reaction was this: "Wow. I cannot imagine a naive foreign woman." It wouldn't hurt to push the boundaries on the expectations people have, based on stereotypes, a little... if you are going to go there. Ahem. Boys.


Anonymous said...

'mensonge' 'comme si de rien n'etait' That the latter is the title of Carla Bruni's 3rd album is not coincidental! It must be some socio-political statement about the French!!! bwahahaha

i'll shut up now. :P

Anonymous said...

I never thought I would see foreign women in Korean music videos ... is this new??

Unknown said...

Honestly, I think Koreans are just sick of each other... Myself included... P.S. I think your writing is hilarious.

Melissa said...

I noticed in the high high video though its not just white girls, there are white boys in the club and also Korean girls as well. Also I heard that Big Bang bumped into some Canadian girls (I know someone who knows them, isn't that always the case lol) and they said they love Canadians, and then gave autographs, but these particular people didn't really know who they were so ~ Lucky jerks~
Love your blog <3

brittany said...

my favorite part about the ukiss video is at 2:45. are they seriously backhanding "someone"? awesome.

Sidney said...

i know that at least in the high high video, they acutally threw a party in the bar/club in order to shoot the video. i.e., those people you see were guests and were acutally having a good time.

noonablog.com was one of the white girls in the video and talks about it a bit (http://noonablog.com/?p=2443, http://noonablog.com/?p=2463, http://noonablog.com/?p=2704)

Sidney said...

oh, posted that comment before i read the article~ seems they linked her at the end of it.

아만다 said...

Caitlin in Korea is a blogger who's currently studying in Korea and she's also in the video. As far as her post goes, she didn't really know what was going on, she was just wanted to see them at the club.


mellowyel said...

Hello! You mentioned my blog! I'm honored! I've been here a few times and I really enjoy your writing. I'm happy someone else weighed in on this.

Also, i had no idea the message in UKISS's song was so harsh! I guess there's just no country for foreign women in k-pop.

KG Jung said...

Hmm, why wouldn't there be white women in a Korean music video? Some of you white girls are hot! ^_^

But seriously, how is this any different than the constant portrayals in Western media, particularly US media, in which the only time you ever see an Asian on TV or movies is an Asian woman and typically as the white man's sex toy? Asian guys are rarely ever shown and when they are it's as an asexual nerd and most likely not shown at all. The reason is most probably because the Western media is focused on marketing to white males and stroking their egos to sell them junk. It's not as if Western media does a good job portraying white women in a positive, non-sexual way. Women in the US ,and even Europe, still make less than a man doing the exact same job. Women in the Western media are valued for their looks and not really their skills. It's a worn out, tired story. You really expect the Korean media to be better?

Similarly, Korean media is focused on selling Korean males junk and stroking their egos in the process. Hence the only time you'll likely see any foreigners in Korean media are good looking (white) women looking and acting "sexy". Why would there ever be any showing of white males in Korean media/advertising other than to sell Korean women English classes?

"The Grand Narrative" does a lot of bitching and moaning about how sexist the Korean media is and how white women are hyper-sexualized. That's probably true, but US/Western media is just as bad and guilty of the same hyper-sexualization of white women and Asian women and in pretty much the same ways. Pot calling the kettle black over and over and over again.

Anyway, the lesson is: Men suck no matter where you go. ^_^

I'm no Picasso said...

KG Jung -- I assume you're a new reader around here. Otherwise, you would know that I'm already aware of all of that and do plenty of posts covering those same issues. I call it out on all sides when I see it. I think everyone should be held accountable. Maybe this post and series would be of interest to you, given the points that you've made:


I'll keep calling both the pot and the kettle black, until they decide, on both sides, to do something to change it.

KG Jung said...

Well, I'm not totally new to your blog although I haven't read every single one of your entries. Anyway, my comments were not aimed at you as it was to some other expat opinions I've seen around. It just gets rather dull seeing some expats exercising their neo-colonial moral superiority that has nothing to do about trying to make something better as it is to make themselves feel superior to a whole race or country because they're feeling woefully insecure about their own inadequacy. That is certainly something you've touched upon in a few of your entries. The criticism would be more effective if they didn't come from countries/cultures that suffer from the same exact faults as well.

Seeing a lot of foreign women in a Korean video is unexpected though. That's probably why they did it other than the usual "grab as many hot girls you can and stick them in the video" motive.

Part of the problem is that most Koreans have had no contact or knowledge of foreign (white) women other than what they've seen from western movies and TV programs. That by itself is going to create all sorts of problems.

I'm no Picasso said...

KG Jung -- I think I'm confused about why it is exactly that you're commenting, then. Do you think that I'm being culturally elitist? If your problem is with other bloggers, why don't you talk to them about it? I find it a little insulting that you would feel the need to explain to me that sexism happens everywhere, especially given that I am a woman, and you are not.

Furthermore, re: your comments on the Grand Narrative..... I think he's probably aware of gender issues in many different cultures all over the world, considering he's made it his entire focus of study. He lives in Korea, however. So he writes about Korea. I don't know why you, as a Korean, would be so sensitive to reading the critical thoughts someone has applied to your culture coming from such an educated background as he does, considering I always find it quite interesting to gain insight about my own culture as viewed by an outsider. They definitely catch things that I cannot see. But if you are one of those people who can't really handle hearing anything negative about your country of origin, it would maybe be best not to read a blog based around critical thinking about gender issues in Korean society? I'm sure you can find a load of blogs with deal with social issues in Western countries if the criticism not being connected to you directly in any way would make you feel more comfortable.

Either way, I am a foreign woman living in Korea. You are not. You don't really get to have more of a say on this actual subject than I do. It has, actually, nothing to do with you and no actual effect on you. I get to talk about the very real, and sometimes very dangerous sexism and racism that I experience in Korea as a white woman without having you tell me that I basically need to just get over it because it's no big deal. Just like Korean women in the US are allowed to talk about the issues that they experience without having white men tell them that it's 'just a music video' or that they are being culturally elitist. How would you like it if every time you mentioned anything about *your own personal experience* of racism against Asians in Western society, someone pointed out that Korean society has issues with racism as well, therefore you couldn't talk about it? Does that make loads of sense to you?

Men all over the internet telling women to calm down and endless circles of childish finger-pointing. It never gets old.