So the latest scandal to rock the K-pop world is VIXX Ken writing swear words on the VIXX anniversary broadcast.
A while back I was a huge stan of this cult TV show called Veronica Mars. I praised the show to high heavens, eagerly jumped into online discussions after each episode, and pimped it to anyone who would listen. After a stellar first season, the show returned for a markedly less-stellar second season, but I kept watching anyway, rationalizing, “Eh, it’s just a sophomore slump. It’ll get back to form eventually.” But then season three happened and you know, or if not can surely guess, how that ended up. Yet I still kept watching, because I’d stanned the show for two years and wasn’t ready to let go yet, and I was still invested enough to complain about it every week on livejournal.
This is kind of where I am with VIXX right now.
This post is inspired by a convo I had with a friend on twitter about a song that sounded like its only lyrics were “yeah boy” over and over.
WARNING: a shitload of youtube embeds under the cut
ETA: This post was written before the release of the “Sting” music video, but having viewed the video, my impressions here remain largely unchanged.
Few K-pop groups—particularly rookie groups—have received as polarized of a fandom reaction as Stellar. The group has courted scandal since “Marionette,” which featured “click to reveal more” teasers and a music video with a sexy concept exaggerated almost to the point of farce. Many ifans saw it as a company’s desperate bid for attention for their sinking group, and if it was, it worked. The video gained 2 million views in a week, and the group received more media coverage than they ever had. Their company, Entertainment Pascal, tried riding the wave of controversy by framing Stellar’s next comeback, the comparatively tame “Fool,” as a clapback to the slut-shaming they endured from fans over “Marionette.” “Fool” tanked, and with “Vibrato” and now “Sting” (previously reported as “Stabbed”; make of that what you will) it seems the company is back to their old tricks.
One of the challenges of being an international K-pop fan is dealing with the rampant racism, colorism, and cultural appropriation within the industry. This is not to say that Korean fans don’t deal with it, either, but due to cultural context, ifen interpret and engage the issues differently. But I am not here to discuss the cultural nuances of kfen vs ifen; I’m here to discuss the particular way that ifandom goes about social justice issues. Read: not well.
A few days ago, I recapped U-KISS’s latest music video for “Quit Playing.” At the time the recap was written, the video had just been released and there wasn’t much time to gauge fan reaction (the iFan spaces I haunt generally responded positively, although, as I mentioned in the recap, some were bothered by the sexist implications of the narrative, a concern that is not unfounded). Apparently, there’s been a bit of blowback among Kissmes (since I heard this information secondhand via a post on omonatheydidnt, I am uncertain if it is from kFans or iFans). Apparently, some fans expressed discomfort with the adult nature of the video. Presumably as a result, Kevin posted a tweet apologizing to the fans who were offended and going to great lengths to distance himself from the concept and make it known that he disagrees with it and would not have chosen it personally. And this was my general response to the tweet:
I haven’t yet spoken about this topic here, but have in other places, and am taking a lot of heat for my stance. So I’m writing out this post in an attempt to clarify my reasoning and elucidate my meaning.
It seems everyone has something to say about Exocalypse ’14 (if you’ve been living under a rock, you will see what I’m referring to soon enough). So it’s time for me to add my 2 cents, I suppose.