(Boston = Boston Korea) Written by Jin Kyoung Choi (최진경)
From the early 90’s to 2017, the ideal female figure has been evolving. Although the “pure” and naïve image of women has still been a popular choice for men, today in 2017, we see that women in music industry who are strong and aren’t afraid to voice their thoughts have been gaining popularity among girls.
Taking a trip back to the past, the first generation of idol girl groups such as, S.E.S. and Finkl, portrayed the clean-cut image often wearing the color white to emphasize purity, always talking about sweet love stories and heartbreak. There was a slight introduction to a sexy concept when groups such as Baby V.O.X and Jewelry came out, with bolder and sexier appearance and dance moves.
In September of 2007, Wonder Girls opened the door to the second generation of girl group by releasing their legendary song “Tell Me”. Groups such as Girls’ Generation and Kara made an appearance along with Wonder Girls. They brought Retro style back on the stage in music and fashion with a hint of individuality of women as human being, rather than an image of a good girlfriend or a wife.
2NE1 and Brown Eyed Girls were refreshing introductions to individualism of girl group. They were few girl groups in the market that debuted promoting a strong, bold girl power image, hence describing their debut song, “Fire” and “다가와서”. Not only how they carried themselves on stage, but also the lyrical point of view set them apart from other groups.
The internet raged when a TV show called Unpretty Rapstar, which is a South Korean music competition program known as a female counterpart of Show Me the Money, first aired in January of 2015. As the name suggests, it built a foundation for the rappers to only compete with their talent, not being rated by their outer appearance.
This program made artists such as Jessie, Cheetah, Nada, and Yeji get the appropriate attention that their talent well deserved. They were rated based on their talent of rapping and their strong, confident image as women. This is the new era of girl power in K-Pop and the opportunities for women to speak up rather than being bottled up in a pure, innocent image is not required.
Written by Jin Kyoung Choi
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