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Miss A – I Don’t Need a Man: Kpop Music Mondays

October 30, 2012

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A GIRL BAND ON KPOP MUSIC MONDAY! It has finally happened! After 13 weeks of pure Kpop Sausage festivities, Miss A finally breaks the streak to be a girl band on Kpop Music Mondays! If you haven’t seen this record-breaking video, check it out here:

So I’ve noticed that as of late we are saving our deeper thoughts for our blog posts. We had a bit to say about this Miss A video, or more so, what it stirred up inside of us regarding implications about Korean culture, but we feel like Music Monday should remain at least a bit entertaining rather than a heavy lecture about what we think about stuff. But the fact that we have to hold ourselves back a bit for Music Mondays doesn’t make us upset because we feel like there are different communities of people existing on YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and on the EYK blog itself that have different kinds of conversations and enjoy commenting in different ways. While a lot of viewers overlap into all of these communities (the Nastiest of the Nasties!), we must confess that this blog here has our favourite group of individuals, who all seem to promote conversation and to discuss things in a level-headed fashion. YAY! So onto our thoughts about the video:

While Miss A’s message seems simple enough, truthfully, it’s difficult to fully grasp the context of the video if you don’t live (or if you have lived) in Korea. Even thought we really love Korean culture, there are some parts we don’t love, one of which being the rampant materialism. I’ll give you an upsetting example: when I was still teaching at my all girls high school, dating was a hot topic, so I tried to incorporate interesting concepts like opinions on dating into my lessons to foster class participation. One of my classes was an open class survey where I asked questions in English, and the students would vote, and then we’d discuss why they voted for what, and then they’d present their findings to the class.

One of the most appalling discoveries I made was during a survey about dating and marriage. Out of my 14 classes of over 40 students, around 80% of them would choose A) a good looking, tall, rich person that treated them like garbage over B) a short but good looking average paid person that treated them like gold. I was SO shocked and I wanted to know why they would make such a poor choice, to which they’d respond that appearance to other people was more important. And somehow, they thought their personal happiness would increase if other people were envious of what they had, even if what they had didn’t result in their own personal happiness. And there was also the added bonus they could buy things to make themselves happy.

Now, I’m glad that there was a small percentage of students that wanted to meet someone that wasn’t a jerk, but even when I adjusted the survey more in favour of the shorter guy regarding happiness, it seemed like shortness in itself was such a HUGE problem. A huge shallow problem. When I told my students I dated a guy who was a foot shorter than me (true) they were shocked and even responded with “ewww”. I really REALLY tried to impress upon my students the importance of a person liking someone for their personality, rather than for just money and looks, but it was hard to convince them when they’d say, “but you married Simon and he’s really tall.” I didn’t marry Simon because he was tall!!!! O____o

Now as I got to know more Korean adults, I discovered that, in my personal opinion, some of their priorities were out of order. When my friends started dating a new guy, I asked them what they were like and every single person started to tell me about their job, how much money they make, and if they were good looking. I even had one friend tell me in advance, “he’s not good looking and he doesn’t make a lot of money”. And I was like… “Um. I don’t care about that. Does he treat you well? Does he make you laugh?” I really had to needle my friends to find out WHAT their boyfriend were like outside of their jobs, so I feel like something is going wrong with priorities if people are more concerned about impressing their friends about their boyfriends’ job. Now obviously, not everyone in Korea is like this, but I experienced it enough to feel worried about my friends.

Now what does this have to do with Miss A’s song? Well, it seems that the idea of dating or marrying rich is a very big goal in Korea (and other parts of the world), but it’s more weighed towards a woman snagging a rich man, rather than a man snagging a rich woman.

Even if you look at Korean dramas, the concept of wealthy women seem to fall into three basic categories: a really old grandma CEO, a heinous b*tch of a crazy CEO, or the heinous b*tch daughter of a rich CEO trying to hook up with the rich guy that is interested in the poor girl. Why aren’t there any talented F4 flower girls that are sought after by all the boys? Super rich woman driving hot cars and saving a poor guy from his rough life of not-richness? I want to see a Korean girl forcefully grab a guy by his wrist and drag him somewhere against his will. I really think that this is a small reflection of how gender roles are seen in Korea.

Now I know, we could look at North American TV shows and be appalled by what they say about North America, but yeah, I do think that a lot of the trashy reality TV shows out there are a reflection of what needs to change. How is Toddlers in Tiara’s still allowed to be on TV?! What is with this HoneyBooBoo crap?! But since I live in Korea, I’m out of the loop with North American TV and I just read random articles that appall me from time to time.

Altogether, I wasn’t necessarily trying to make a point in this blog post or form a hypothesis or anything. I just wanted to talk a bit about my experiences of gender roles in Korea and how those experiences relate to Miss A’s song and video, which might not be as relatable to people living outside of Korea. Living in Korea, though, this video makes a lot of sense to us. Alright, I need input people, input! Anyone else have similar experiences while living in Korea? Outside of Korea? Inside of a hamburger bun? What….

And, on another super serious note, JYP yells out his name whenever he pulls something out of his pants, and more in the bloopers!

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Miss A – I Don’t Need a Man: Kpop Music Mondays

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  1. “YAH DIS IS JYP WHO DIS!?!?!!!!!”
    I died guise… I died….

    3 years ago
  2. VB

    Just noticed the lack of sunglasses! Cheers for getting over your conjunctivitis!

    3 years ago
  3. You can see ‘Take care of the young lady’ – a rich girl with really bad temper and a poor guy. It’s not perfect but it kinda swith the roles at some point.

    I’m little disapointed that B.A.P didn’t win this week. Not because I like their song better (oh God, no I don’t) but it would have been more interesting and funny to watch it being reviewed. And finally learning what was that freaking tail all about -_-.
    Miss A’s song is better and have a better point and all but… Well it’s kind of boring to listen about it.
    I loved the JYP’s gag by the way ^^^
    I really really hope Hyuna or B.A.P will win next week. I wan’t to fall off the chair from laugher.

    3 years ago
  4. Loves miss A..my fav ..and this song is catchy enough to draw my attention. But I hope their next album will be of more dances and probably hip hop..or urban style. The girls are awesome to me¡

    3 years ago
  5. Yaaaay for those subtitles!! I’ve noticed LoenENT (BlockB, Rania, T-ARA, Nu’est — probably more, but those come to my head right away) have been adding subtitles pretty consistently (and I’d swear even to older videos, but mebbe I just never noticed them before) I reaaaally hope that more labels pick up that habit. ^_^

    As for the showdown — mah vote goes to MissA. :)

    3 years ago
  6. Meemers loves the camera. He even hides beside the plant pot in the bloopers, he’s always in the shot! He definitely wants to be a idol. Ah Meemers…

    3 years ago
  7. wow, Im shocked by that survey.
    and it bothers me that dramas starts off with a guy treating a girl badly and then they end up happy togheter in the end. Is that the point? that if you find a mean rich guy you will be happy in the future?
    and the shortness issue, me and my kpop friends joke around that we couldnt be seen togheter with some of our fav idols because the height would be embarrasing, but ACTUALLY rejecting/accepting someone for their height alone, that is ridiculous. is that why shoelifts are such a big deal?

    3 years ago
  8. my vote goes for Miss A :p (n’empêche, Simon a quand même un peu une tête de citrouille tout en longueur, avec une tige rouge XD)

    3 years ago
  9. I love this song! I haven’t been in Korea like ever xD but I do agree with your thoughts about what the song implies for Korean society. I’ve realized how unfair it is for women to think happiness can only be found in a tall rich man! In this same line is sunny hill’s song prince charming, also I’ve seen it a lot in dramas. In my country (Venezuela) there’s a similar feeling on tv but not in reality all the soaps are about finding a rich man to take care of you and yet these are not the expectations on Venezuelan women. Anyway just wanted to let you know what I thought =) I don’t need my pants what?! XD I lost my pants? Oh Simon you’ve done it again. =3

    3 years ago
  10. Your videos were awesome (as always) and I got a good chuckle out of the bloopers, but as you said in the blog, there is more to the video than what is really seen. From what I’ve seen of most cultures, the idea that the women need to snag a rich guy no matter what is a very popular sentiment. This makes me sad and frustrated, especially in dramas like Boys over Flowers and, one I’ve just recently finished, Playful Kiss have the men treat them horribly time and again, or let other people hurt the ones they are supposed to care about, but the girl still follows them! This could be because I’m American and a very matriarchal household but I was always told I needed to be able to take care of myself first. /I/ needed to make money to support myself, not depend on a man to make enough for two.

    It’s normal to be attracted to beauty but I feel beauty disappears if the personality isn’t there, if there is personality and ‘little beauty’ on first glance, people become beautiful when you enjoy being around them. This has been my experience, anyways. I hope the girls you taught somehow learn that it’s better to struggle but be treated nicely/lovingly than it is to have everything in the world but someone who really cares. =/

    Alright, I should stop rambling and whatnot, thank you for the video, guise! It makes my Mondays AWESOME.

    3 years ago
    • I find I am far more attracted to personality than actual looks. I once dated a guy who was extremely overweight, and probably not all that good looking by other people’s opinions, but to me he looked like a giant, huggable teddy bear because he treated me like gold, and I really liked him. But it doesn’t matter how good-looking a jerk is, I still want nothing to do with them.

      3 years ago
      • Exactly! My ex was not the most attractive person in the world but his personality was just so amazing that, too me, he became more attractive. I totally understand that. =)

        3 years ago
  11. I have to say, reading this article has enlightened me a lot. I was thrilled with the concept of this song before, but having learned about how it reflects Korea from this article, I’m even prouder of Miss A! INDEPENDENT WOMEN REPRESENT!

    3 years ago
  12. That’s really nice, to have an explanation for the skits in the video. Initially I’d brushed off the video/song as a rather irritating song, but after understanding it, it makes sense and becomes more appealing in a way. Thanks for explaining it! (Y) (Y) (Y)

    3 years ago
  13. Miss A

    3 years ago
  14. All hail my country,the Philippines, where women being strong & independent are the role models & not the wimps…And even if sometimes,it seems too cheesy, the “love before anything else” concept predominates here..I’m blessed to be a Filipino coz I have one heck of a strong independent personality & I’ll kick the ass of any jerk who’ll try to knock me down…

    3 years ago
  15. i liked this song!!…..’cept for the chorus, there’s something about it!
    and i found it a liiiiiiiiiitle awkward to watch the mv in some parts!!
    hahahaha Brohoho Boutique!!!! and you should have said ‘Shinigami chop’ when you attacked her!! heeheehee!!!….but obviously you gotta watch Soul Eater to know what that is… and so, what DID you say? haha i heard ‘churro chop’

    3 years ago
  16. I’m not living in Korea, nor have I ever been there, but I experience similar things in the states. For one, I have a co-worker who is married and has kids. We got to talking about my personal situation, not just with men, but I still live at home as I try to struggle with this economy. One of the first things she says to me is that I should find a guy with a good job and a house, that’s what she did. Now I can’t comment on how he treats her or how well they get along because I just don’t know, but it really shocked me when she said that. To me I would rather have things in common with my significant other and get along with him really well and then we can worry about money and jobs. I don’t want to just have a guy that has a nice job, but treats me horribly or just look for a guy with a nice job before I look at anything else.

    3 years ago
  17. In response to the blog post: I 100% agree…about the “I would much rather have a guy that treats me like gold and that we need to teach this to our kids and the generation under us” part…^^

    Maybe this is why plastic surgery is so freakishly high in Korea. The idea that for a girl to be noticed by a tall-rich guy a girl has to have a perfect face….so, she “improves” her appearance for this to happen….I hate this idea….blech….

    3 years ago
  18. “You are a pumpkin stuffed unicorn” I might have to use that insult from now on. Also, nice Monty Python reference ;)

    3 years ago
  19. Also Martina if you want to watch a good romance drama about a rich girl and poor boy watch Tatta Hitotsu No Koi (ya its japanese… but its really good!… and it has kamenashi kazuya in it! :D )

    3 years ago
  20. “I want to see a Korean girl forcefully grab a guy by his wrist and drag him somewhere against his will.” YES! Arceus that would be lovely. About that… You know how the concept of “Girl pretending to be a boy” is popular in dramas? Well, that’s why I was happy when the oposite happened in the mini-drama (Three episodes) “Ma boy” :D

    3 years ago
  21. Congratulations on finally getting a kitchen table (JYP)! (:

    3 years ago
  22. Another awesome review you guys! Keep it up! How is your eyes?!

    3 years ago
  23. It’s definitely got a Beyonce/Destiny’s Child vibe to it. Very cute and bouncy. I’m glad they’re back too. Win!
    Um, with dating, I don’t have any friends that think this way entirely. Some might be more superficial than others but all would chose love and friendship with a man over attractiveness and money. Though those things are good too. =D
    Oh and my guy friends usually express they like best a pretty face and makes them laugh. They have enough girl friends to know bodies change. You can never count on that.

    3 years ago
  24. This blog post of your s remindeed me of my favorite book “the little prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. There is this line in the book (I had to look up for the quote on the internet since i read the book in Lithuanian) “Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”

    3 years ago
    • Heh, this reminds me of a speed dating thing my room mates conned me into going to with them. They had all these questions for us that we could ask each other, like what is your major, what kind of job do you want to get, what job do you have now. You know, things like that, that most people ask when they want to get to know you. I decided to throw those questions out the window and instead asked things like “what do you like to do for fun?” (since their personality is much more important to me than what their major is) but so many of the guys looked at me with like “But… that’s not one of the questions…”

      Sadly this is also the attitude of people near Washington DC. Literally the first things they will ask me are “What kind of job do you have? Is it a well paying one?” “Where do you see your career in the future?” “Are you planning on going back to college?” instead of questions like “Hi I’m ____, what’s your name?” I always have an insane desire to tell them that I plan on being a hobo that bums off my parents for the rest of my life, and maybe I’ll knock myself up with a rich man’s baby so I can get money off him. Ah, the things i would say if my parents hadn’t drilled into me to try and be respectful…

      hmmm, sorry if that seems like I’m ranting. I guess I’ve kind of been irritated by people lately.

      3 years ago
    • I immediately thought about this too!

      3 years ago
  25. My roommate is am international student from Korea and I just told her about your survey and she said that she would also choose the rich/tall/treats-me-like-crap guy. I was just as shocked as Martina probably was. She said that money was the most important factor and that a man without a good job and salary implies that he has no skills or ability and that is absoluetly unacceptable.

    3 years ago
  26. LOVED the french part! Merci de penser à nous hahaha!

    3 years ago
  27. great blog post and KMM! It’s sooo funny yet insightful. I have to say it again, you guys are the best!

    3 years ago
  28. Simon lost his pants at first and now he doesn’t need it. Awesome! He needs only his T-shirts. XD

    And Meemers. MEEMERS LURKING EVERYWHERE! =^ㅅ^=

    3 years ago
  29. One more thing… 4:55-5:02 MEEMERS IN THE SHOT <3

    3 years ago
  30. Gosh I can’t stop laughing because of the french “subtitles” ! xD Why the hell did you guys write this ? hahaha lmfaoo.
    Anyway it’s nice to think of your french-speaking fans ! *_* (not sure if this sentence is correct but you get my point don’t you ?)

    3 years ago
  31. Thank you :) this was an awesome article. I’ve actually been kind of interested about the gender equality in korea so i appreciate it ^^
    and just a thought that came to mind now; Do korean couples ever live together without getting married? If they do, how do their families take it?

    3 years ago
  32. The only rich girl I ever saw in a Korean drama who was kinda nice-ish (I’ve only seen a handful though) was that rich dude’s sister in Boys before Flowers (which also drove me CRAZY that the empty-headed female character who got progressively weaker and weaker as the drama progressed ended up with the super rich asshole rather than the super nice but also kinda rich not that it matters guy…). Otherwise they fell into typical gender tropes. Anyway, as many awesome things there are about Korea, the role of women and the way they are treated in relationships, marriage, sexual assault, stereotypes, etc. is one that always makes me cringe. However, I know it’s pretty bad here in the US (have you heard what Republican politicians have been saying?), and of course, much worse elsewhere in the world as well.

    3 years ago
    • Yeah, Romney’s stance on women is one of the reasons I am not voting for him in the election. I don’t think a man has any right to tell a woman what to do with her body, especially a man who’s vice president, Paul Ryan, supported the bill in Arizona refuse to let a woman have an abortion even if the pregnancy would kill her and that says pregnancy begins two weeks before conception…really? Two weeks before the baby is even created and you’re already pregnant, I don’t know where they went to school but that’s not what I learned. Personally I’m pro-choice: I think if you have unprotected sex and get pregnant you should be responsible for your actions, but if you are raped then you have every right to get an abortion. The fact that Romney believes in giving rapists parental rights is also a reason I’m not voting for him. The fact that Romney and Ryan also change their stance on abortion, gay-marriage, health care, and immigration just shows that if he gets elected he is going to seriously f up the U.S.
      Sorry for the rant, as you can see I get a little wound up whenever Romney is mentioned^^

      3 years ago
  33. Even though I really love 4Minute, I think Miss A would win this round since the MV itself tells a story while 4Minute’s MV was cute but didn’t hold much of a story. That’s what I’m basing my answer on since both of those songs were catchy for me:3 MISS A AND 4MINUTE FIGHTING <3

    3 years ago
  34. I can’t stop laughing at the “I don’t need my pants”…..”What?!?!” Well done!!!

    3 years ago
  35. Loved this!

    3 years ago
  36. Having lived in Japan for four years of my life, I have to agree with you that it is a huge problem. Status, money and looks seemed to be the most important thing. I think that it’s a shame because while in Japan, I met wonderful people who were very nice but because of their life situation, would never be given a second glance in a dating situation, which is really sad.
    I also like the point that you brought up about the strong women. What drove me crazy in Japan was the lack of strong independent women, because the ideal type for men was a woman that they could protect. I understood that it was a cultural thing, but I still hated it. (sorry, rant….)

    3 years ago
    • It doesn’t matter if it is a “cultural” thing to me. It doesn’t excuse sexist values to me. For a specific example,I don’t consider the way women were treated back in the day in America (though things aren’t near perfect with that situation still) okay just because “it was in the culture”.

      3 years ago
  37. I haven’t watched this week’s KMM yet bc I’m currently in lecture, but I read the blog post, and soo true about (most) girls’ ‘ideal types’. And I don’t think it’s just a Korean thing, but more of an Asian thing (I’m Taiwanese Canadian)
    My cousin (who I am at all not close with) have stated, in short, screw education imma just marry a rich guy and I’ll be set for life. Like what is this crap, seriously…
    Makes me so upset when I hear guys go for good looking house wife material girls, and girls go for good looking and rich fart sucking guys…

    side note: I almost lol’d in lecture when Martina said she didn’t marry Simon bc he was tall, thanks haha ♥

    3 years ago
    • Well, not just an Asian thing. A friend of mine, whom I believe is Arabic-Israeli, told me about visiting her cousins in her dad’s home town. Granted, they live in a small village away from urbanized area, so maybe their way of life seems more “old-fashioned” to us, but when she told them about how she’s in university and trying hard, they were absolutely appalled! According to my friend, her cousins don’t have any form of ambition and just aims to marry rich.
      My parents are, luckily, more concerned with my own competencies and ability to provide for myself. I guess it has to do with their lives, how they went from being really quite poor to building up a comfortable life for themselves and me all thanks to their own hard work.

      And anyway, isn’t it more realistic to not be completely dependent on another person so something like finances (and happiness)? The economy fluctuates, businesses can fail, and boy wouldn’t it suck if your only ambition in life was to marry rich and then your rich husband’s business fails?

      3 years ago
    • Yeah, waaaaaaaaaaay back then everywhere marriage seemed to only be for money and status. Thankfully the Western world has progressed from that, but Asia…well, they ought to catch up. That’s why I’m also glad that my Chinese parents want me to choose a career and a man that will make me happy, not rich (though I’m sure they’d think that’d be nice lol).

      3 years ago
    • I’m thankful my parents always preach that my independence and therefore, my education, always comes first and in my mom’s words, guys are optional lol and I’m sometimes baffled to hear these words from her when she’s your typical asian housewife that (financially) depends on my dad, but they’re both so loving and supportive in my erm… independent-ness haha

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve walked away (?) from that part of your life and was self-aware enough to do so; I’ve heard stories where the girl continue to stay in a bad situation either bc she can’t bring herself to, she doesn’t have support elsewhere, or heaven forbids, her parents and/or friends tell her to stick it out… it makes me ill that there are people out there that encourage enduring abusive relationships…

      3 years ago
      • I wouldn’t look down on your mother because of how she chooses to live. There are some people that want to stay at home, raise a family, and be a house wife. It’s what they enjoy, and they get fulfillment out of life like that. Some people get an education and still choose to be a housewife, if they find a good husband. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s still good to get an education though, because unexpected things happen in life. With an education you can make sure that whatever you choose to do, you know you can at least support yourself (and hopefully your family if you need to) no matter what you choose to do in the end.

        3 years ago
        • Oh no, I’m not, and looking back at what I wrote, I realized it sounded like that ><"

          I sound like a bad daughter now :(

          3 years ago
        • No, you don’t sound like a bad daughter, don’t feel bad.

          3 years ago
    • agreed~ though it may not be as big as what EYK have written above, often when i’m around Asians (I’m Chinese living in Scotland) and they talk about relationships and stuff, the first thing that they will ask is “What does he do for a living?” “Does he get a good pay?” “Wheres he from?”

      Social status is a big thing amongst Asians, which is one of the things i’m not really proud of being a fellow Asian XP it’s like saying if you can’t reach the top, don’t bother talking to me~ >.<

      3 years ago
      • Exactly! Social status and public image is so important among Asians and maybe it’s because we’re living ‘west side’ and in a Westernized culture, so it’s something we can’t really wrap our heads around…

        3 years ago
    • VB

      Hullo! I’m Taiwanese American, agree with the “asian thing” idea. MY cousin said the exact same thing. She went to college to “find a guy and marry rich.” Which annoys me because she cheapens the idea of higher ed and shuns the the idea of a girl pursuing a master’s degree and above as useless (what I’m doing) *sigh*

      3 years ago
      • Oh wow… and college isn’t cheap at all either… well… I hope that um, works out for her but you know what, you keep doing your own thing! Because seriously, when all else fails, it is SO much better to depend on yourself than a so-called rich guy. Who needs to “marry rich” when you can “get rich” yourself? :)

        Of course, economic crisis aside… -sigh-

        3 years ago
  38. All Hail the End of the Sausage Party (on Music Mondays) !!!!!!

    3 years ago
  39. Miss A!!!!!!

    3 years ago
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