Extra! Korea

October 14, 2010

Girl group Nine Muses adds unnecessary member, must change name

Filed under: eye candy, gender equality, music — extrakorea @ 1:05 pm

You might have heard of the girl group Nine Muses. As their name suggests, there are nine members, and they have pretty legs, which makes them completely different from Girls’ Generation.

Girls’ Generation

Nine Muses

Girls’ Generation

Nine Muses

You see? Completely different. Anyway, they will be adding a new member (which would make them Ten Muses, no? I guess they’re trying to prove that in girl groups, the number of members is inversely proportional to the amount of talent per member.) And why would they do so?

Because some of the members who performed the song ‘No Playboy’ are currently working as models, we decided to add Hyuna to Nine Muses to provide a new energy to the group.

In other words, some of these so-called “singers” are so busy with non-singing activities that they can’t, well, sing.

October 8, 2010

Are “Korean style” hot pants causing a rise in dengue fever?

Filed under: eye candy, gender equality, health, rapid cultural change, youth — extrakorea @ 1:37 am

This year, 90,000 cases of dengue fever, which is spread by mosquitoes, have been reported in Thailand, and 100 people have died of the disease.
In an effort to stem the disease, the Thai government has advised people to wear long pants, as opposed to the hot pants that have become popular in Thailand because of the popularity of K-pop (South Korean pop music) girl groups like Girls’ Generation and Kara.

“Teenagers that wear the ‘Korean style’ short pants are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes,” said the Thai Deputy Minister of Public Health Anutarasak.

I was unaware that Koreans invented hot pants. I suppose they invented blue jeans and hoodies, too.

(Sources: Chosun Ilbo, Korea Times, AllKPop)

Another look at those dangerous garments.

September 12, 2010

New (inconsistent) regulations planned for K-pop girl groups

Filed under: censorship, eye candy, gender equality, legal issues, music, youth — extrakorea @ 4:20 am

It looks like TV station SBS is planning some new regulations for K-pop girl groups. Read the following quote and see if you find anything that doesn’t quite make perfect sense:

SBS’s “Inkigayo” set three bans on outfits: shirts that reveal too much cleavage, shirts that expose the belly button, and wearing white shorts under miniskirts. Starting from the 4th, the producers of “Inkigayo” asked singers to make the appropriate changes, keeping the three bans in mind.

So, cleavage is bad, but showing lots of leg by wearing hot pants is OK. As they stated, miniskirts are acceptable, but white shorts underneath them are not. Girls showing their belly button is inappropriate, but guys can rip off their shirts and go topless. And thrusting your buttocks towards the camera/audience, and doing some bump-and-grind, gets a green light.

Evidently, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the “ab dance” or “belly dance” by Rainbow. You can take a look at the video below and judge for yourself if it’s so bad. (By that, I mean, compared to what some other groups have done.)

Rainbow’s company has promised to take the gesture out of the choreography. In the meantime, their bellybuttons are being censored out by flashing the letter A (the name of the song) over them. No, I’m not making this up.

Furthermore …

Although Rainbow was forced to change their choreography on the “Inkigayo” episode broadcast on the 4th, Chaeyeon, Narsha, and An Jinkyung were allowed to wear short hot pants without any changes and their performances were broadcast with no edits.

While I appreciate that somebody feels that ever-increasing sexuality in girl group performances needs to be slowed down, the inconsistencies are problematic.

I would have also liked to have seen some dialogue about this, instead of the usual ham-fisted methods that are typically employed. There are, unfortunately, some obstacles to this. One is the lack of teaching of critical thinking skills, in favor of rote-memorization of exam material. Without these skills, it’s difficult to debate. Another is the tendency to go into denial until a situation has deteriorated significantly (and then to over-react). Also, there is the real need to teach conflict resolution here. People in this country have a real inability to resolve things peacefully (witness the regular brawls in the parliament). Lastly, South Korea isn’t really that far removed from its dictatorships of the past, which may explain the tendency to resort to dictator-like solutions a little too quickly.

June 17, 2010

A Chosun Ilbo-style World Cup pictorial compilation

Filed under: eye candy — extrakorea @ 9:03 am

You may be aware of the impeccable ethics of Chosun Ilbo photographers. In tribute to them, I present this pictorial compilation which I humbly entitle: World Cup … what World Cup?

(Sources: one, two, three, and four)

March 9, 2010

The Brown Eyed Girls’ Ga-in wearing a bikini

Filed under: eye candy — extrakorea @ 9:49 am

Oh man oh man oh man, when I saw the Brown Eyed Girls’ Ga-in wearing a bikini, I knew I had to share it with my dear readers. Follow the link for more photos.

January 29, 2010

So who started all this “sexy dancing”?

Filed under: celebrities, eye candy, gender equality, music, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 3:22 pm

(This began as a comment on this post by the Grand Narrative blog.)

Nowadays, so-called “sexy dancing” (the quotation marks are to show that they aren’t really that sexy) is ubiquitous, but how did it all start?

In the mid-1990s, Jeon Ji-hyeon starred in a commercial in which she was dancing to music. I think that it was an ad for some kind of sound system, headphones, or walkman. Things were being bounced up into the air by the beat of the music. This was the commercial that got Ms. Jeon noticed. I’ve looked for the commercial on YouTube, but haven’t been able to find it.

Soon afterward, Ms. Jeon appeared in commercials for Samsung printers, a first one in which she wore a white t-shirt and slacks, and a second one in which wore some kind of leopard- or tiger-print clothing. (Incidentally, it was rumored that her bust had been enhanced through video manipulation.)

The commercials were a big success, but this kind of dancing was yet to find its way into Korean pop music and pop culture. The big girl groups at the time were S.E.S. and Fin.K.L, and you can see how moderately dressed they are in these videos, from 1997 and 1998, respectively.

Around the mid-1990s a singer named Park Jin-young (who now calls himself JYP) was pushing the envelope in terms of sexual imagery in his videos. Look at this video for “Elevator” from his second album, Tantara.

This is tame by today’s standards, but in 1995, this was definitely risque. Later, Park started his own management company, and one of his protegees was a young female singer named Park Ji-yoon.

She was on the top of the game in 2000, arguably the most popular female singer in Kpop at the time. In 2003, uncomfortable with the way her image and career was being used as one of the frontrunners in pushing sexual boundaries (JYP’s goal/tactic at the time) with songs like “Adult ceremony” and “Do you know how to…?”, the singer left Kpop and basically fell into obscurity.

[ snip ]

2009 is a very different climate than the ironically, more boundary pushing/shocking atmosphere of the early 2000’s. Can you imagine the Wonder Girls or SNSD (who are the same age that Park Ji Yoon was at the time) headlining such sexually provocative songs (not just as remake performances) today?

I have to disagree with the author here when she says, “Can you imagine …?” I, for one, can. Does the writer forget that when the Wonder Girls debuted, three of them, Sun-mi, So-hee, and Hyun-ah (who was later replaced by Yu-bin) were 15 years old at the time, and that it was those three who wore shorts and mini-skirts in promotional pictures?

Park Ji-yoon’s song “Adult Ceremony” (“Sung-in-shik” in Korean) was about a young woman who had just reached legal age, and she’s singing to her boyfriend about how, now that she’s a woman, she’s ready to “do it” (to “do it” is a euphemism that has the same meaning as in English). Look at the video. Her abdomen is visible, as are the strings of her thong underwear. That was pushing limits back in 2000. Young Korean women had been wearing miniskirts for years, but they never showed their midriff (sort of like how they are still very conscious to not show any cleavage, even if they have little cleavage to show). So-called “granny panties” were (still are?) the preferred type of underwear. If you did wear thong panties, you would certainly try to keep it a secret! Also, notice how, at one point in the choreography (4:25), she squats down, quickly opens and closes her legs a few times, and then stands up again.

And yes, its the same song and choreography that Jae Kyung of Rainbow performed when JYP drooled over her.

However, the person who really put “sexy dancing” on the map was Lee Hyo-ri. Fin.K.L broke up in 2002. Oak Joo-hyun was the only really good singer in the group. The other members were just different flavors of eye candy. (S.E.S. followed the same formula. Bada did the heavy lifting, vocally, in that group.) So how could she ensure the success of her solo career? The answer came in the video of her first solo single, 10 Minutes.

Today, it may not look like much compared to, say, the Brown Eyed Girls’ “Abracadabra” but back then, in 2003, trust me, it scorched your retinas. The fact that she showed off her midriff made a big impression. Of course, as I mentioned above, that had already been done three years earlier in Park Ji-yoon’s video for “Adult Ceremony.” I think that Park Ji-yoon’s video may have gone a little too far, too soon. Lee Hyo-ri’s video was the right one at the right time. It wasn’t too far ahead of the curve. Also, let’s be honest about this: Hyo-ri has a more voluptuous figure than Ji-yoon, and the clothing that she wore showed it off. That had an influence. Thus, Hyori’s video was the one that made it into the common consciousness. It made so much of an impact that the phrase “Hyo-ri Syndrome” was coined to describe her ubiquity. Ever since, everyone has tried to be “sexy” like her, though not many have succeeded.

And now you know.

January 25, 2010

Meet K-1’s Lim Su-jeong, who has a pretty face and fists of stone

Filed under: eye candy, sports — extrakorea @ 7:39 am

I stumbled upon this profile while searching for what Choi Hong-man is doing these days. First Choi Hyun-mi, and now this girl. I’m wondering two things: a. Is there something about the Korean gene pool that produces girls with pretty faces and fists of stone? And b. How can I meet girls like this?

I found her Wikipedia page, but you have to be careful not to confuse her with another South Korean kickboxer who has the same name (임수정, but who practices tae-kwon-do, not muay thai). In the picture below, the girl I’m talking about is the one on the left.

Lim started to train Muay thai for dieting when she was a high school student, and in November 2007 at the age of 22, she went to Thailand and stayed there for 3 months to practice Muay thai.

I did some Muay thai back in Canada, and it is tough.

After fighting for several years in South Korea and Thailand, Lim became the bronze medalist of the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur Tournament held in Bangkok in 2007 and the Muay thai bantamweight champion in South Korea.

[ snip ]

Before competing in K-1, Lim’s professional Muay thai record stood at 17-0-4.

To be competing at that level in Muay thai, she must be carved out of wood. Her current record in K-1 (a comprehensive kickboxing league based in Japan) is two wins and no losses. Below is a video of her bout against Chen Qing.

Apparently, she is known as “K-1 얼짱” which could be translated as “the K-1 fighter with the prettiest face.” Look below and judge for yourself.

December 24, 2009

Tap that ass, Park Jin-young!

Filed under: eye candy, music — extrakorea @ 10:48 pm

The-Artist-Formerly-Known-as-Korea-Beat points us towards this gallery of photos. This one was my “favorite.”

I can’t for the life of me understand why his wife divorced him.

December 18, 2009

Jessica Gomes thinks Rain is sexy

Filed under: celebrities, eye candy, hard to categorize — extrakorea @ 12:47 pm

Jessica Gomes (pics via Grand Narrative) thinks that Rain is sexy.

“Rain’s body looks very healthy and overflows with sexiness. From what I heard, Rain is a work-out mania. I believe his well-sculpted figure is a charming feature of his.”

She might have to fight for him against Megan Fox, who wants Rain to find her and to sing to her.

July 7, 2009

Miniskirts are an eyesore?! Stop being a killjoy

Filed under: eye candy, gender equality, rapid cultural change — extrakorea @ 12:02 am

According to a recent poll, miniskirts were cited as being the workplace’s biggest eyesore.

In the survey of 1,254 workers, about 74 percent said they felt upset with their co-workers’ attire. Around 56 percent of them cited micro-miniskirts, or a skirt eight to 10 inches above the knee, as their chief complaint.

Shirts showing cleavage, low-rise pants that reveal underwear when bending over, “killer heels” that exceed 10 centimeters, or outfits that are too flashy were others offered in reference to females.

And here’s more evidence that the Times needs to proofread their translations better.

Wearing colorful underwear underneath a white shirt, slippers or sandals and sleeveless clothes to work all raised the frowns of co-workers, the survey said.

I’m pretty sure they mean “undershirts” instead of “underwear.”

But few dare to mention their qualms those who commit a work apparel faux pas.

Yes!

About 58.2 percent said they just tolerate it, while 18.5 percent said they talk about it behind the person’s back. Only 12.5 percent shared their feelings with the individuals concerned, the survey added.

That 12.5 percent need to stop pooping all over our party.

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