Aeygo: The art of being cute!
In certain Kpop music videos, you might see fans commenting “OMG Oppa’s face, I love the aegyo” or “She’s so Aegyo in that pose ^.^” or even sometimes “I hate all this fake aegyo -.-“, which leads you to say, “What the heck is aegyo?” Aeygo (애교) is often translated into winsome (Attractive or appealing in appearance or character), however this word only describes a portion of aegyo. Aegyo is winsome via (sometimes sickly sweet) cuteness. Popularly, it’s used by Korean girls into beguiling their male companion into buying things for them, often by over using the word “Oppa”. In music videos, aegyo concepts are used in order to pull fan’s heartstrings while they watch.
A band can make an aegyo video, while not being aegyo themselves. This is seen in Shinee’s “Hello” video, where all of Shinee’s members are nervous about asking a girl to go on a date with them. Compare this to the “Lucifer” video I showed you in Kpop MV Day 6 (https://kpopfornoobcakes.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/kpop-mv-day-6/), and you can see how by trying to get the members to look bashful, they’re attempting to appeal to their female fans.
On the flip side, Girl’s Generation (SNSD) is marketed as more of an aegyo type band, but they have several songs (Run Devil Run and The Boys) that are meant to show a cooler or more mature style. Some bands, like F(x), have specific members that are considered to be aegyo, and serve to create a balance between cool and cute in their group dynamic. The way that a girl would “act” aegyo (as in overact aegyo, which is what tends to happen in most music videos to get the point across) is to make cute gestures. Many of these gesures involve the hands being close to the face, like putting victory signs next to ones chin or puffing up their cheeks and poking them with their fingers. Fiddling with hair is also a sign of aegyo, and some body language such as crossing ones legs, is aegyo.
Men still use some of these poses, but it’s much more cheesy on a guy. Some of the more benign poses ones are used, like making a heart out of ones arms. Instead, a man may rely much more on facial expression alone, like smiling to one side or sticking out their tongue. Acting preoccupied with the thing they are doing, like looking at a girl to the point of tripping over something, or closing their eyes and singing to an empty room is also aegyo.
In real life, aegyo is much more toned down, especially because Kpop stars have to exaggerate their expressions for emotion to come across in the music video. Real aegyo also has this aspect of revealing the inner self, basically taking off a mask and letting your true personality slip out in front of other people. It’s this vulnerability that is so cute; it makes men more approachable and brings out this protective side in men when they see a woman this way. One of the best real life examples was caught in a gif by sunieekiss on Tumblr. Ukiss, a kpop band was talking with Simon and Martina about their upcoming music video. They were talking about one of their other members when they broached the subject of fears. Take a look at Kevin’s hand motions:
And then look at Eli’s facial expressions in this gif:
They aren’t overreacting for the camera, and therefore their reaction is so much more believable. This to me is what aegyo should be, and not all of the over dramatic hand gestures. Sometimes, a good smile is all you need.