We can “Talk About Secrets” ’til the cows come home, but can we talk about Sex? Or how the media treats female idols? Or how now nobody wants to talk about it at all? IU can keep singing ’til she’s blue in the face about how she’s hit her “Spring of a Twenty Year Old,” but then why is it that Ga-In is the one who actually looks like she’s…blossoming? Darlings, if you didn’t know, Ga-In’s “Bloom” MV is most definitely a satirical commentary on female sexuality, even being called by some netizens as “a female manifesto.” It does so by deliberately juxtaposing Ga-In and IU, making an art form out of it like chiaroscuro (playing off darkness and light in artistic piece). As I’ve been told repeatedly since I made this statement the first time, the two are under the same company–LOEN Entertainment–and, as Ga-In herself has mentioned, they use the same crews, back-up dancers, producers, etc. In other words, of course some things will look similar. But I’ve been arguing since the get-go that everything looks too similar, especially given Ga-In’s previous solo project: “Irreversible.”
Now surely, an artist capable of creating that is obviously trying to say something by doing a complete 180 on her concept and sound, no? Ga-In’s “cutesy” image is smothered in tongue-in-cheek humor, which is more than probable since the lyricists for Sunny Hill worked on this song. Again, it’s satirical but not in the way that it usually connotes humor because satire can be sincere as well. In fact, I would argue that it comes from a very deep emphatic place. It’s usually called upon because no one is paying attention to something really important,and my god, if the only way to give voice to these problems and not be burned alive at the stake is by being satirical… So I definitely argue that this piece is laden with a not-so-hidden-at-all message that’s wrapped around innuendo after innuendo after double entendre. And I think the message is more or less focused on, “Well, when IS a girl allowed to be a woman? To talk about subjects like sex and losing her virginity, like men do?”
I’m making such a huge fuss over the IU/Ga-In comparison because let’s think about this: When can IU finally talk about gettin’ some? Just being real. When can she talk frankly about her maturing sexual tastes, needs, desires? Meanwhile, her fans, as well as everyone who knows her as “Korea’s Little Sister,” usually think, “Ugh, that’s so terrible and nasty and perverted to even THINK that IU could do that.” But…well…IU’s a human being. She’s a woman. She has a sex drive (which may or may not have been proven in her latest scandal). She’s 20 (Korean legal age). Hello! It seems like she’s been cursed with a Peter Pan syndrome, as are most “innocent” girl artists. This is the same globally, not just in K-Pop, so let’s go to America for a second and talk about Selena Gomez or Miranda Cosgrove. Compare their careers with Justin Bieber, who transitioned oh-so-loudly from tween heartthrob to this teenager with hormones, blatantly dishing out details on how much he wants to f$%#! Pure and simple (emotions/heartfelt lyrics optional).
THEN consider singers like Miley Cyrus. Same Pollyanna-esque beginnings, but her career quickly derailed when she A) stopped the Hannah Montana madness and B) tried to grow up. Remember “Can’t Be Tamed?” Despite it being a poorly made song, the whole message behind that debacle should be truly haunting, the idea that “SHE WAS NOT ALLOWED TO GROW UP!” and that she was suddenly labeled things like “slut” by the majority of her former fan base and the populace at large because of it. How sad is that? That she only had to SUGGEST that she wanted to be treated like a mature woman with mature needs, and BAM! Dead in the water. Another parallel would easily be Britney Spears and Justin (the other one) Timberlake. Get my point? Is that white horse coming?
For a girl, it seems like your career is based around the idea that you’ve either always been “pure” or you’ve always been sexy, but never can you go from one to the other. I mean damn look at SNSD‘s “The Boys.” Forget the song. Focus on the message behind it. While we told these girls who were trying to grow up TO GO BACK AND STAY CUTE FOREVER, 2PM can start out as lovable girl-crushing, street dorks, then move on to become these dark, brooding, sex gods. I don’t think I’m too far off when I say that for Korean society, cute = sexy, but never does sexy = appeal. Now, some singers like Christina Aguilera were capable of escaping the Neverland trap, but damned if it didn’t take years of being called a slut, having a child, winning awards, and work/blood/sweat/tears to get the point across that she is and has been a woman for quite some time now.
I know I sound like I’m rambling, but I feel a lot more thought needs to be given to the “casting choice,” more or less, for a song of this nature, especially since Ga-In herself has said, “I think they unleashed all the [ambition] they held back while working with IU on me.” Well damn, what do you think that means, not just to female artists, but to their creative department? We often only feel the plight of our idols as the victims stuck in a horrendous concept limbo (ahem, Secret), but let’s not forget the forces behind them. The dancers, lyricists, stylists, etc. are all forced to oblige to these unfair and unchanging artistic demands as well. Never can they do anything different until a higher up says so, which means that, for example, “Hey Sunny, you know that great new blonde wig that’ll totally change how people see you? That thing that instantly garnered you a whole new kind of popularity and respect after years of being considered the “ugly” one/aegyo in SNSD? That”ll have to wait.”
So most definitely I think Ga-In kind of acted as a cathartic release for everyone involved, and most evidently for women of all kinds. Women who got to see their fellow woman in control of her sex life, who orgasmed for all the other women who couldn’t! *raises fist in the air, summons ultimate Mother Earth inner Goddess core* Women who just want to be treated like women! WOMEN WHO – …well I think we all get it. But my last note is this. Maybe if we actually could call Ga-In’s album “Talk About Sex” INSTEAD OF “Secrets,” a lot more would get talked about in general. Even HyunA had to say it. “Won’t it become more natural if we continue seeing it?”