I didn’t know how I felt about Mamma Mia. I really liked the song, but was it really worthy of a post about it when I am equally obsessed with Taylor Swift’s new single right now? Last night I accidentally stayed up until 4am watching live stages, dance versions and MR removed videos of this single, and I might be in love with it. I know many Kamilia’s and even casual fans are mad about Jiyoung and Nicole being gone, but I think its a blessing in disguise since now Nicole gets to go solo and Jiyoung is going to start up acting, which is what I believe she always wanted to do. Plus old members get more screen time, and the new Kara member Youngji has a surprisingly strong voice. I can’t wait until she gets more comfortable with being on stage so she can get some more time belting out lines.
That title comes from the lyrics of Spica’s English debut song “I did it” which was just released today. I felt a feminism segment coming for a long time, and it can’t be easier when I have lyrics to analyze along with the presentation for the video. If you wanna follow along, click here for a link to color coded lyrics.
Spica’s English debut single is one where it says one thing and shows the other. Now I know that as a woman I have the agency to wear whatever the fuck I want to to make me feel sexy, confident, etc. I also know that kpop stars surrender their agency to their literal agency. For Spica this is B2M entertainment, who also manages Lee Hyori. Now in the past, Hyori and Spica have been portrayed (whether it be by their own request or by the agency’s desires) as strong, independent women in videos such as “Bad Girls” and “You don’t love me”, but the English translations for the lyrics don’t quite make that same mark. “Bad girls” is a guide book on how to be a bad girl in order to be more attractive to men with lines like “Look a bit far ahead, walk a bit fast/Show just a little skin to be sexy” and “The heroine of a movie may be like an angel/But the bad girl next to her is more attractive”. You don’t love me is a distraught woman getting rid of a relationship; the lyrics would have been much more empowering without the breakdown where they repeat “I need you, love love.” This new single fixes the lack of agency in the lyrics, where the whole anthem in the song is that “I did it for me”. Can’t get much more empowering than ‘the only thing in my life that effects my decisions is my own damn opinion.’
But after you get past the lyrics, you watch the video. Now I’m ok with the outfits, I’m ok with the dance. The problem is in the editing, where the video literally embodies what feminism calls “the male gaze”. Juhyun, you ask me where I’m looking, and tell me that your eyes are up here. Let me inform you that the video is cut in such a way that the only way I can watch it is to look at your legs, or to watch every part of you dance but where your eyes are located. I never object to a shot of someone’s legs when the lyrics point to shoes, but this whole video was a series of disjointed body parts. The lyrics state that “I don’t care what you want me to be” but this whole video turned your image into one of an object, a faceless idol that could be replaced by any band anywhere.
B2M has shown through their lyrics and their idol’s images that they want to make the the strong independent women the sexy woman, and I am more than happy to support that line of thinking. I just hope that next video can be one where the lyrics are more like “I did it” and the video is more like “You don’t know me”. Spica certainly has the talent to rise above pandering and I hope they do so.