We’re already over halfway through 2014 (how?!) and well into summer – maybe not so much in the UK. Of course, this means stage costumes in K-pop are becoming smaller and so are magazine editorial, music video and clothing campaign outfits… Are there any limits to this clothing offloading?
Steering away from a feminist rant, and more onto lines of concern for these celebrities, let’s take a look at the actual issue – if there even is one. Not just K-pop idols but also many actresses, models and celebrity personalities in South Korea – well respected women – can be found modelling skimpy swimwear and these racy photos are taken with a pinch of salt. It almost feels like selling sex, in that no matter what image the star carries with them, at the end of the day they are publicizing themselves with their bodies and reverting to stripping off in front of the cameras to gain attention. It feels disappointing that we are still living in a global society where the easiest and quickest way to publicize is to use sex. It’s also disheartening when we think of the stars that this is where their career has taken them… probably not what they had in mind when they trained to be an actress or a singer or any sort of entertainer.
Having said that, by no means is it the fault of the celebrities. It is hard to place the blame though; managers, publicity teams, magazine editors, stylists… Who is at fault, if anyone? It is easy to turn to the team behind the star and blame them for ‘forcing’ the women to wear tiny bikinis and pose in sexual manners. Yes, they might take some blame at some point in the process but if we really try to pin the blame on one person, we will never stop going in circles for sure. Who is wearing the outfit? Who chose the outfit? Who decided on the concept? Who designed the outfit in the first place? Who decided this star would wear it?
Perhaps the stars have no problem with getting undressed. And fair enough; it is their body, and if they see no problem then why should we? And if that is the case, then there really is no blame to be placed anywhere. So then… is there any issue at all? Well, perhaps. There is a certain corruption delivered through the message that these respected women are giving off, albeit unintentionally. Younger fans may be particularly affected. This sounds a little far-fetched, just like when we hear about the ‘wrong messages’ being given off to young girls etc in the media. Yet while the stars aren’t exactly shouting through a megaphone, “UNDRESS YOURSELVES, KIDS,” there are problems with the idea that skimpy-clad pictures give off, ie) wearing almost nothing will get people to like you. A message like this is powerfully dangerous when facing the population; we are all human and all affected by marketing ploys, whether we accept it or not.
And even when we choose to ignore that aspect of it all, corrupting the younger generations and so on, then there is even a little concern with the protection of the idols. Thankfully, even with the ever-growing number of minors performing in K-pop groups, their management are keeping them fully clothed and protected. But even when a person is 18 or just above, is it okay to start exposing them in the public eye? For instance, Rania sported colourful bikinis in the music video for their digital download ‘Up’ last summer, and danced and played around for the entirety of the video in these tiny swimsuits. The members were all 18 and above, but there’s still something a little dodgy about making five young girls expose themselves in such a way in front of not only the staff filming the video, but the entire global audience that have access to this video. The members may well have had no problem with it, and at the end of the day, that’s just the pop industry. But it’s hard to argue that they could not possibly have worn any more clothing, or anything a teeny bit less revealing.
We see more and more of this around summertime, and it isn’t just K-pop. There are certain issues with this type of styling that crop up all over the place when we think about it, but we’re so used to it that we don’t bat an eyelid if we see another bikini pictorial. Should we? Or should we just accept it? Share your thoughts on these revealing concepts and what you make of them in the comment section below!