So, for today’s edition I have 2 articles just released on allkpop.com that I will be referring to. The first is about SBS Drama “Life is Beautiful” and how it has recently come under fire from some mothers for showing a gay couple. This group of mothers has decided to take action and put out some ads in newspapers saying
“If my son becomes gay and dies from AIDs after watching ‘Life Is Beautiful’, SBS must take responsibility!”
Now I’m no activist, but I have to say that even I think this is going too far. I admit that I have no experience with Korean politics, however I know that some values are deeply entrenched in the society and heterosexuality seems to be one of them. What is difficult for me to grasp is how can a country who is so advanced and is a first-world country have a public with such closed-minded views? Like I said I’m no gay rights activist or advocate, but ads like these are simply creating a hostile environment for those young (and old) men who are gay and afraid to tell their families. I have to agree with the comments posted on Hong Seok Cheon’s (the gay Korean actor) twitter: just because boys see a gay couple or hang out with gay people does not increase their likeliness to be gay. And to me, it’s amazing that of all people, MOTHERS would create this type of advertisements, as mothers are typically the member of the family who will be most accepting of their children. It’s very sad to see this kind of anti-gay sentiments circulating, especially from citizens of such a prominent and dare I say democratic nation…
For more information, please go visit the allkpop article here: http://www.allkpop.com/2010/09/union-of-mothers-create-anti-gay-ad-because-of-drama-life-is-beautiful
On to the second & equally controversial topic: young women performers dancing and dressing sexually for their comebacks/debuts. For those following kpop, you know that this has been an ongoing issue and topic of debate for the industry. Well, now it seems like there may be some action being taken. It was recently announced that f(x)’s Sulli, Kara’s Kang Ji Young, and GP Basic (the girl group whose average age of 14 sparked much controversy before their debut) member Janey have been selected by the National Assembly & Committee on Culture, Sports, Tourism, Broadcasting & Communications to undergo inspection. The major debate is: should these girls be allowed to dress sexually and sing suggestive lyrics (ie. are they at an age that is appropriate for that?), should they even be allowed to work (or are they too young?), and are they being exploited by their companies to help meet a bottom line?
Personally, while I do think that teenagers are sexualized at too young of an age these days, I hope the Assembly does not rule against these girls and their agencies. I am all for placing perhaps some more restrictive rules on performance wear and dance choreography, but I am definitely not in support of these girls being cut off from their dreams. At the end of the day, any laws or policies changed should not be able to affect the aspirations of young people and should definitely not inhibit them from performing/showcasing their talents. They are people who have worked hard towards their dream and to stop them from performing would be a slap-in-the-face and a discredit to all the effort they have put in.
Going off on a tangent, though: investigating these kinds of issues, many other potential problems are brought up as well. From articles like these, it’s a short line to be drawn to slave contracts and labour violations. Particularly for the reason that individuals are willing to do anything in order to achieve their dreams of becoming artists means that any infringements on human rights will persist within agencies and throughout the industry. If there is a young woman who does not wish to be sexualized and marketed as a teenager, she will be pushed aside by the girl who is willing to do anything and everything to reach her goals - and like this, the cycle will continue. The truth is that entertainment is definitely a competitive industry, with more and more pre-teens and young people auditioning for the chance to become stars, and those who are more talented and more willing to listen to their agencies are the ones who ultimately succeed. What they do after they have succeeded may be a different story; however, it is the actions they take as trainees that determine whether the cycle continues.
The issue of age in general has also been previously brought up when talking about how artists who are in middle school/high school may be disadvantaged because they are taken away from school in order to attend their activities as idols. Understandably, this is a huge problem, but I feel that it is further exaggerated by the Korean culture, which places a great deal of value in education (and rightfully so, don’t get me wrong). It has been recently revealed that many young idols attend school only 2/5 days of the week, and some of them experience a highly unpleasant high-school life due to bullying and harassment from peers. I believe that the way to resolve this issue would simply be to have tutors/teachers be part of the agency’s services (if they aren’t already) in order to minimize the deleterious effects that a busy idol schedule can have on education.
(For more on the issue of bullying, please visit the article on Kbites about SHINee’s Taemin being bullied in school: http://sookyeong.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/shinee-taemin-is-being-bullied-in-school/)
Well folks, that’s it for now. I may edit this post and expand on my points a little later, but for the moment, I need to go and get my own education (i.e., study), get some sleep, and work at achieving my own goals. Please feel free to leave comments with your thoughts/opinions on these highly controversial subjects of the entertainment industry.
Signing off for today,