“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Exploitation!” or the problem of Stellar

ETA: This post was written before the release of the “Sting” music video, but having viewed the video, my impressions here remain largely unchanged.

73357_600Few 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.

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Male gaze is the new black

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It’s summertime in K-pop land which means a slew of girl group music videos featuring suggestive choreography and minimal clothing. There are a few possible reasons for this. One, it’s hot outside and they’d probably faint if they tried dancing in parkas; two, they’re probably appealing to a presumed straight male fan base. Yet each time a video drops, it’s met with a chorus of comments from straight female ifans complaining about all the “male gaze.”

halfinthebageaux

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