Kpop Music Video: Day 21
Bubble Pop by Hyuna (from 4minute) under Cube Entertainment
Kim Hyuna is the visual, dancer, rapper and sometimes singer from the band 4minute. She is mainly known in mainstream media for being the subway girl in PSY’s Gangnam Style video and the singer in the (awful) video “Oppa’s just my style”. When someone is a visual in a group it means that often they are put front and center in music videos because they are very pretty. Sometimes the perception of these types of idols are they lack talent in other areas because they get by on their looks. I’d have to disagree in Hyuna’s case, she is a pretty good dancer, a decent rapper (her older stuff is better than the newer stuff, she’s more nasally now) and despite what the “Oppa’s just my style” video would have you think, this video shows that she can actually sing, even if it has a small range and is very pop-y. I think that the unfortunate thing that happened to her because she is the visual for this band, is that Cube entertainment/ the directors for MVs that she is in have decided that her image is meant to cater directly to the young male audience. I am all for allowing people to express themselves in which ever way they seem fit, but unlike a video put out by artists like Brown Eyed Girls (for example), she seems to have no message other then “hey look at how I present myself as a sexual object”.
There’s a fine line between slut shaming and harping on something for being degrading to women and I really had to step back when watching her videos and ask myself, “Am I judging Hyuna for how she wants to express herself and am I putting her into a box based upon the way she looks and acts?” I feel that when this type of situation comes up, you have to look at how a star acts while not on stage, (aka in a more “natural” setting) and see in comparison how many heebly-jeeblies you get when you go back to the image that is walking that line. While her video “Ice Cream” sends me way over the line in terms of my heebly-jeebly level (which is a scientific term btw), this video perfectly straddles the line. The part of my brain that has become so accustom to the manner which people are portrayed in kpop is like a little ajumma yelling “put on some clothes young lady and maybe you should put your hands in other places than between your thighs.” However, the American part of my brain is like, “wow this is very American style. I bet she would put on a great MTV spring break concert.”
This American perception of Hyuna is very important, not only to people looking to get into Kpop, but in my own personal Kpop journey. This image is something that Americans are very familiar with and can be used to help Americans who might be interested in trying to listen to Kpop to get over the language barrier. The more it seems like something you might see on American TV, the easier it is to ignore the fact that you don’t know what they’re saying. And that’s what happened to me. While Gee was the song that made me click from video to video playing new Kpop songs, Bubble Pop was my very first Kpop song. I clicked on it when it was number 9 on the Youtube Music 100 and blasted the song around my house cause it was so catchy. I thought nothing of the way she was dressed or dancing, it was just fun. It’s just a reminder of how much media plays a part in how you perceive images and the world around you, because that moment was only two summers ago, and I view Hyuna very differently now.
PS. This dress. Do want.