Okay, for some reason it seems like all my editorials have something to do with sex appeal lately, haha… I’m sorry about that. I’m really not sure why this is happening. Just bear with me!
Anyway… this time it’s mostly about Hyuna, but somewhat about sex appeal in general.
I’ll start with talking about my opinion of Hyuna right away.
I like Hyuna. I think she has a fun and fairly sweet personality off-stage. I think she has a natural sexy aura. I think she can definitely pull off sexy dance moves. I don’t think she’s that great at rapping (she needs more vocal power and attitude), but Cube Entertainment pushes her to be “the rapper” because that’s what she was when she was in JYP Entertainment. I feel bad for her because since she was just 15, (maybe younger), they’ve been pushing their opinion of ”sexy” on her… when she’s just starting to learn what “sexy” means herself. But I really like her.
Kpop has a general guideline of what an acceptable level of sexiness is. Most idols wear sexy outfits and sometimes do sexy moves, like chest pops. Sometimes you get someone like Minzy of 2NE1 who goes crazy with the moves, but dresses conservatively so it balances out somehow, (in other words, it doesn’t come across as vulgar in my opinion).
But then once in awhile you get an idol or group that pushes the limits on what’s generally considered as acceptable by Kpop society. (Most of the time their dance is banned from being aired on TV and they’re forced to change the choreography, haha. But I suppose it’s a good way to get attention.)
I started thinking about this subject because of Hyuna and all the comments about her being “slutty” lately (as of December 2011). People are saying they want her “powerful sexy” image back instead of the supposedly “slutty sexy” image she’s had recently.
(Personally, I don’t really agree with that term for her, I mean look at these alternatives for it! Hyuna’s not that at all. However, that’s unfortunately one of the most common descriptions for her around the net.)
What got me, is the fact that when she had her so-called “powerful sexy” image, (ala “Change”), people were calling her a “slut” then too. Since then, I guess people have gotten used to it and have accepted it. Either that, or they realize the difference between her sexy image now and her sexy image then, and they now know what they prefer, haha.
As we mature we realize what real/healthy sexiness is. Back when I was 10, I thought being “sexy” was red lipstick and barely-there, tight clothing. I fantasized about looking like that when I was a grown-up, (probably influenced by my mom’s Vampirella magazines… haha), and that’s what I thought a powerful and sexy grown-up would be like.
When I was about 16 I realized that my concept of “being sexy” had gradually changed over the years since then. Sexy was more subtle… more of an attitude. If you’re trying too hard to be sexy, you might end up seeming trashy. In my opinion, sexy is something that naturally happens when you’re confident with yourself.
Where am I going with this? Well, I’m just saying there are different opinions on sexy and what’s generally acknowledged as the worst kind of sexiness is the trashy, cheap version of someone trying too hard.
Cube Entertainment keeps pushing Hyuna to be “sexier” because they rightly assume that sex sells. However, they’re starting to head towards trashy and it’s going to end up a train-wreck if they don’t stop. They need to sit down and discuss what real “sexy” is; powerful but natural, confident and strong, but can be subtle. Hyuna doesn’t need to shake her butt a billion times in a music video or have a camera film up her skirt to be sexy. She definitely doesn’t need to rub all over her male co-star.
Being sexy can empower a woman… it can be liberating and portray confidence. But you have to show the woman’s power. You have to demonstrate their skill. If there’s not really any skill it just seems… desperate.
Change was acceptable because there was a lot to the dance. Not only that, but she had power. It felt like she liked being sexy, but if you approached her, she’d be the one in charge. She uses sex appeal for herself, not for anybody else. When watching that video, my sister and I felt like; “Wow, I want to be her!” There was some kind of powerful sexy charisma there. The song is also about changing into who you want to be and not caring what others think about it. The MV set is kind of mysterious. It seems to be late at night and sometimes she’s dressed like she’s going to a high-class club of some kind. “Mysterious” and “high-class” are sexy adjectives, not “trashy” words.
Bubble Pop was a bit trashy because Hyuna wasn’t showing much skill. She was just hopping up and down most of the time instead of dancing. The highlight of the dance was her shaking her butt right at the camera… that was pretty much all there was to the dance. Watching that video, it just feels like she’s eye-candy, or trying to use sex to get her guy, (Lee Joon from MBLAQ, by the way), to pay attention to her.
My younger sister said she thought this video was “sluttier” than Change because Hyuna’s acting all ditsy here, (it’s the aegyo), instead of in-charge. Hyuna just didn’t seem to care as much about herself as she cared for the guy’s attention.
The bottom line is: If you want sexy done right, you have to make the girl strong and empowered.
If she doesn’t look strong and empowered she’s going to look desperate. Like someone trying too hard to get attention.
If she’s going overboard with the sexy it’ll be like some someone going a bit too far with make-up because they think that more is better… never mind the technique!
Entertainment industries also need to stop making kids do things they’re not ready for.
A 15-year-old isn’t going to fully understand the sexy concept, so they need to tone it down. Hyuna danced Change when she was just 17/18. In my opinion, they should have let her grow up and realize what “sexy” is on her own before pushing their own concept of it on her further. Girls Generation is being sexy for their age, and it’s working. Lee Hyori pulls it off with class because she matured before going with the sexy concept. Personally, when I view Hyori’s music videos, I can’t even picture Hyuna pulling the same thing off with as much class, and after thinking about it, I think being allowed to mature into sexuality is the reason why.
I’ll end this essay with a thought; when you watch a really sexy video and feel uncomfortable, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a “prude”. It might not actually mean you’re uncomfortable with sexuality, or that your morals aren’t letting you enjoy it. It could mean that you feel the person in the video isn’t showing enough self-respect, (you can be sexy and still exhibit self-respect) and/or is being exploited by others.
Here are some examples of other music videos. Some do it right, some don’t… some are borderline. I guess you can decide for yourself, though I put my opinion next to them:
Brown Eyed Girls – Sixth Sense:
Powerful Sexy (They’re confident and strong.)
Rania – Dr.Feelgood:
Sensual Sexy (Definitely purely sexual, but there’s a dominatrix-type feel which does have a powerful in-control vibe to it. Also, they’re not trying to veil anything. The song itself is about sex, so of course the dance is going to be hardcore sexy. However, I want to note that I don’t think it’s appropriate for a 16 and 17 year old to be in this video….)
Girls Generation – The Boys:
Classy Sexy (They use sexy moves and facial expressions, but they keep it classy with the camera angles and attitudes. They also balance it with other dance moves.)
Lee Hyori – Mr.Big
(Hyori pulls this off by not over-doing sexy. She dresses sexy and does the dance moves, but look at her facial expressions. Her expressions are mostly girl-next-door. When she makes a sexy expression, it’s more subtle and seductive.)
Ivy – Touch Me:
(Like Dr.Feelgood, this song is about sex, so of course the choreography has a right to be hardcore. She’s showing confidence in her sexuality here, and therefore empowered. It almost borderlines slutty with the floor thigh scene, but I think since the only people present in the video are either furniture-like or her partners, it’s not really outright trashy. It feels more like an insight into her mind at that particular moment. Ivy was about 26 years old in this video as well, so I see nothing wrong with it.)
Trouble Maker – Trouble Maker:
(I love this duo and this song, but Hyuna is being an accessory here. In my opinion, if this hadn’t been a co-ed duo, Hyuna’s role would be acceptable because there is some power here. However, when you add a guy that’s supposed to be her equal, and she’s the only one rubbing all over him… it just looks like she’s a piece of eye-candy. If they had toned down her sexiness a bit because of JS, it would’ve been perfect.)