K-Pop doesn't exactly have the most "feminist" reputation. The groups are comprised of incredibly manufactured groups of 4-12 or so members of either girls or guys, each with very gendered themes in their songs. Much of the work can be described as conservatively trendy at best, misogynistic at worst.
However — and yes, there is a however — there are many K-Pop groups out there, especially comprised of women, striking back at the generalized passive nature of their tunes. Breaking out of songs begging for a man's attention after a break-up and feminine coyness, these tunes are serious pump-up jams, even though you might not understand the lyrics.
Check out a handful of these empowering K-Pop songs that aren't sticking to the genre's generalizations (close captioning for lyrics available on some of the music videos):
1. miss A – “Bad Girl Good Girl”
Ugh, I love this one. It's an anti-slut shaming anthem, demanding that guys who are criticizing women for being "too good" or "too promiscuous" need to stop judging, especially on appearances, and get on with their day.
2. Girl’s Day – “Female President”
Girl's Day gives us a tune all about not caring about making the first move with a guy, basically on the grounds that women can lead themselves. The chorus addresses the fact that South Korea has a woman as president currently, so what's the big deal with one being the one to ask someone out?
3. miss A – “I Don’t Need A Man”
The title kind of says it all. Miss A strikes again with another reminder that independence is more than acceptable; it's to be cherished.
4. Lee Hyori – “U-Go-Girl”
Lee Hyori is all about women making sure they live in the moment, despite ridiculous standards set for them to please the male gaze. She sings about not focusing on whether so-and-so will call to give more energy to self-confidence and happiness for one's self.
5. Ga In – “Truth or Dare”
This one is a response to nasty rumors spread by Ga In's ex and is characterized by its lyric, "the important thing is you're talking about me." Basically, this girl doesn't care what kind of lies you spread because she knows her self-worth and trusts herself. Yeah, I agree, it's pretty rad.
6. Amber – “Borders”
I love Amber Liu, oh my goodness. She is a member of the power K-Pop group, f(x) (see below), and has broken boundaries in the world of popular music in Korea with her androgynous expression, which is really what "Borders" is all about. Liu sings her heart out about expressing the way you feel is right and to fight for that, not for what others want you to look like. I am fangirling behind my computer screen over here.
7. f(x) – “Toy”
Yep, more Amber, this time in group setting with f(x). Toy is about men who manipulate and how the f(x) ladies would rather steer clear and have their autonomy then get treated like an object by a pursuer.
Image via Facebook
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Let's talk about queerness, comics, and shutting down systems of oppression. Carbs enthusiast with a lot to say about living femme in this world and staying positive. Contributor to the zine Clitorally and founder of Static zine. Catch me looking for dogs to pet around town.