Go Premium
Facebook Twitter Google Plus

Our Thoughts on the T-ara Break Up

August 2, 2012

Comments

Share Post

Ok, so we had a regular, plain-ole, easy to talk about TL;DR planned for this week about life in Korea and our experiences and stuff. It was gonna be smooth and easy! Then, the whole scandal with T-ara erupted, and we received messages everywhere: on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and our Email, asking about our thoughts on the matter.

So, we talked about it amongst ourselves for most of yesterday and half of today, and tried to figure out exactly what we wanted to say. We know, after all, that our opinions aren’t the most orthodox ones. We don’t feel outraged or sad or disappointed by the rumours, nor are we intrigued by the accusations or the juicy gossip or conspiracy theories (someone sent us an email suggesting that this was actually a plan by Korea’s president to distract people from some issues with Incheon Airport’s privatization). We’re indifferent to all of that. What we are interested in, though, is the dynamic between members of Kpop groups, and the operations of Kpop as a business, especially its marketing aspects. We’re more interested in the workings of the company and the final product in the music than in the idols and their personalities and personal lives. That’s the approach we’ve taken with our Kpop Music Mondays, and that’s the approach we’ve taken here with the T-ara controversy as well.

Hopefully we expressed ourselves semi-decently in our video. There are a few things we didn’t include, though.

We didn’t have the time to address the age ranking system in Korea and how it would affect the members in a kpop group. You’ve probably heard of kpop groups calling a member the “maknae” of the group. To those of us living outside of Korea, that might just means the newest or youngest member of a group. But in Korea, the maknae of a group or company has TONS of responsibilities to the older members. That includes being extremely respectful to the older members all the time, following orders without complaint (which could be costume choices, who gets the best seat in the car, first pick of anything), and they also have to do things for their “unnies” and “hyungs”. For example, maybe they’ll have to eat last, or hand out all the coffee, they might have to clean up after everyone eats in the dorms, or share a bathroom with the other youngest/newest member. There are tons of things the maknae has to do for their elders. Why? Because their elders were once maknae’s to someone else, whether in school, at a job, or at home so this is the time for them to be respected by someone younger then them. You’ve got to think of it like being in the army, where the maknae is the new recruit and everyone else is ranked higher. The reason we bring this up, is because Hwayoung was the maknae of the group (taking over Jiyeon’s position) and thus had to take over the submissive role of a maknae. As outsiders who aren’t in the group, there is no way of us knowing whether or not she was respectful enough to her elders, if awkward situations arose regarding her level of respect, or if perhaps her unnies were abusing their position as elders. I bring this up because I’ve seen a lot of pictures popping up on the internet claiming evidence of bullying because Hwayoung is getting last pick, or getting the worst seat, or being forced to eat something on a variety show. To me, that kind of treatment happens to the maknae in any kpop band and I just can’t see it as solid evidence against the other members of T-ara.

Another thing we wanted to talk about but quickly glossed over in the video about the stresses that arise from a hectic schedule: we talked briefly about how kpop idols go from place to place to place, do one thing, don’t rest, do another thing, don’t rest, travel somewhere else, barely rest in the car, do another thing, don’t rest, so on and so forth. In the video we mentioned how difficult it must be to be with each there all of the time, but we also think that it’s not just a matter of the amount of time they spend with each other, but it’s also a matter of them being overworked, sleep-deprived, and exhausted…AND THEN having to buddy up to each other.

Hell! Think of it this way: the two of us are one of the sappiest, lovey-doviest couples you’ve ever barfed rainbows over watching. When we’re deprived of sleep, though, and our schedules become too packed with lots of movies and other projects, we get snippy with each other when we’re planning and filming. It’s nothing bad, though, like fighting or yelling or anything like that, but we get short with each other, you know? And we’re married. I can’t imagine what it’s like for Kpop idols who work harder than us, for longer hours, with less food, AND THEY’RE NOT EVEN MARRIED TO EACH OTHER! We can resolve our disputes with snuggles and kisses. How do kpop idols resolve their disputes?

Another thing we glossed over: let’s look at T-ara as a group. They’re, what, seven members, right? Seven pretty, highly driven and motivated girls, plopped together for an infinite amount of time, who are viewed by the public in very superficial terms…and they’re all between 18-26. How about the fact that GIRLS ARE CATTY!* There’s bound to be cat fights happening all the time! We know the majority of our demographic is female: you know, you MUST have experienced being in large groups of girls and how not-so-smoothly that often flows, right? And this isn’t for just T-ara alone. We often wonder what are Girls’ Generation like with 9 members. How about After School? GOD DON’T MAKE ME THINK ABOUT AKB48!!!

Altogether, put a bunch of young girls together in a high stress scenario with little rest, a broken leg, and the constant need to put their best faces forward: there’s BOUND to be tension and eruptions. We’re not condoning anyone’s actions within the group, primarily because we will never know what actually happened between them (and news sites are more interested in stirring things up rather than reporting on news), so we won’t say who’s right and who’s wrong. What we will say, though, is that we suspect every band is going through their own crap, and they’re not skipping around with sunshine and lollipops everywhere.

We really hope that people don’t take this as a statement that we hate Kpop or that we’re saying bad things about Kpop with this video and post. Not at all. What we don’t like ABOUT Kpop, though, is the idolatry that goes on, how fans get so caught up in the lives of artists, and forget about the music itself. Whenever we meet a Kpop idol we always get comments like “how did you not faint or scream when you met blah blah” but to us, they’re just normal people. The two of us here at Eat Your Kimchi don’t give a burning crap about the lives of idols, how dreamy they are, how they act on TV shows, or anything like that. We barely even know the members names most of the time, and it shouldn’t matter if we know their names or not. What we care about is music. We want to talk about kpop not as fans who worship the idols, but as people who appreciate the music. You know what we’re saying?

Word.

*EDIT:

This is Martina, who wrote this blog post, and I understand that some people have completely misunderstood and been deeply offended that I said “girls are catty”. I clearly have poorly worded this and have made people think that I’m making a generalization about all women, and I’m sorry that it came across that way.

So let me further attempt to express my opinion somewhat clearly: In my personal experience of the world, which differs from your personal experience, I think that girls, BUT NOT ALL GIRLS, tend to be more catty than guys. However, guys can also be catty, but in my personal experience, I found that my male friends were much much less catty. My definition of “catty,” which might differ from yours, is when people create fights over trivial topics due to jealously. Examples of what I think are catty behaviours: saying mean comments about someone’s looks, being jealous about the attention someone is getting, purposely lying to someone to make the other person look bad. I absolutely did not mean that T-ara broke up due to the sole fact that they are female.

It was not my intention to offend anyone, and I’m honestly sorry that I did, but now I’m concerned that I’ve doubly offended you in the explanation of what I meant, so…I’m not sure what else I can do now apart from build that igloo I talked about in the video.

Comments

176

Share Post

TL;DR

HIDE COMMENTS

Our Thoughts on the T-ara Break Up

176 COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

  1. WORD! nuff said~

    4 years ago
  2. I really used to be like this– just music and that’s it. I particularly loved CNBLUE, 2NE1 and Big Bang. I only cared about their respective music and songs. But the more I got into Kpop, it was like I was sucked into this hole that keeps getting deeper and deeper. It’s creepy. I blame the moment I started watching variety shows. One day I just woke up and realized I know almost every single name of the active Kpop idols. My sister gets really shocked when we listen to a Kpop song or watch a Kpop music video, and I start spewing out massive information about this member or that member or what happened with this and that. I wasn’t like this before AT ALL!

    I swear to God it’s addicting and creepy. But that’s how it happened with me. Once you get into it, it’s hard to turn your back away from it. I really wish there comes a point when I get over this. I know I will get over this but now I really miss those days when my sister and I will listen to 2NE1 songs and we’ll have a blast because we know nothing about the stress, the drama and all that. Sigh. :(

    4 years ago
    • I used to be like that too, and then I got hardcore, but then I was away from kpop for a long time, due to no internet connection. So it helped a lot:P
      I REALLY like ALL the music T-ara has, (but I don’t know any of the names), so I am a little sad because of this controversy…

      4 years ago
    • You’re comment is the most relatable thing i have EVER read in my entire life. Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it; after reading your comment, for the first time ever, I acknowledge that I am addicted to these Kpop idols. And it’s not a good thing and I really need to get a life; I realized.
      Kpop rehab, here I come… :/

      4 years ago
    • Yeah I guess it’s human nature. What makes it even harder for me is that I don’t have any friends who are as into Kpop as I am. My sister likes some of them but she doesn’t exactly delve into every single detail. So every time I feel the need to discuss it with someone, I have no choice but to go on the internet and the cycle repeats itself. Lol. (BTW, as I write this, it’s almost 2 AM here!!! HA!) It doesn’t really affect my life very extremely. I mean, I still go to work as a fully functional human being. But my current interest in Kpop is like 80x more than my interest before.

      As long as it doesn’t ruin my life, I know I’ll get over it. And when that happens, I know I’ll reminisce about the days when I’d stay up really late just to ogle at the sight of my Kpop biases. :)

      4 years ago
      • Ok…basically everything you said here is exactly like me!! LOL Its 1:53 am here. None of my friends are remotely interested in Kpop and the second i started watching variety shows I was way addicted, like its bad.

        3 years ago
        • I too blame variety shows …. but there just so good

          3 years ago
    • I totally under stand what you’re saying. It’s like when I first started I was just in to the music but now I stalk my idols like a crazy fan girl. It nothing wrong being a fan girl, sometimes I feel like we go to far and we think we now our idols in real person. that thought creepy’s me out. I try my best to not go to far with the idols. right know I try my best to just like my idols for their music and hard work. Im sorry about my bad english ^^”

      4 years ago
    • To be honest, if it wasn’t for creepy stalking fans, it wouldn’t be hot online and you wouldn’t be searching for it. Its easy to stalk esp if you’re online. Internet is crazy. Not all rumors are true. You’ll get over it soon. :)

      I love 2ne1, bigbang. But that’s it. I’m not crazy over them, i’m crazy over their music. You’ll never go crazy over them if you have other stuff to do with your life. Try to distract yourself once in a while. Read books, or fly with the wind. I don’t know.

      4 years ago
    • true that! i agree with you 120.9%!

      4 years ago
    • Used to be a hard core crazy kpop fan, but i forced myself to leave kpop and i did for a year. Than an awesome group debuted and here i am again lol!!

      4 years ago

    • Once you get into it, it’s hard to turn your back away from it. ”

      i feel the same way..

      4 years ago
    • i feel your pain! i once had a life too!!! hahaha

      4 years ago
  3. Hey simon and martina!!!! You guys are awesome. I also made a video on T-ara, and have two other videos. If you guys could check it out and other people too I would be honored. The channel is kpopindian. The video is called “T-ara’s Hwayoung Bullying Reaction”

    4 years ago
  4. Amen to your Chris Brown comment!

    4 years ago
  5. THANK YOU for this video, guys. And even though you couldn’t address the maknae thing in the video, thanks for blogging about it, because it really is a very important dynamic when considering the relationships of Kpop groups. Sometimes people think they know everything about a group or scandal or whatever, but really? That’s the most ignorant position you can take.
    Also, thanks for that bit about Chris Brown, too. Him and Kanye REALLY get me going. I mean, I won’t right now, I’ll spare you guys, but really… -_-

    4 years ago
  6. Wow, that was really good! Idk why but when you talked about how idol group members didn’t know each other beforehand I thought of BigBang. GD and TOP were good friends and had been singing together since before BigBang. It’s initially because of GD that TOP even got into BigBang. And GD was really good friends with Taeyang pre-debut at YG because they were both there since they were 12, working together. I find it really sweet how they knew each other before, and find it extremely cool that they ended up in the same amazing group. You don’t see this in kpop a lot. Regarding t-ara, I can understand what they were going through. Not only were all the conditions Simon and Martina stated placed on them, they also have a retarded CEO. But no matter how much we discuss the t-ara issue, the end result is the same. Their image is completely wrecked. What I’m personally waiting for, is for a t-ara member to say SOMETHING. I’m sick of the CEO’s lies…

    4 years ago
  7. I do have to say, a lot of this is reminding me of what happened just over a year ago with U-Kiss. Kibum suddenly stopped appearing with U-Kiss, then the rumours started then bam over night drama about both Kibum and Alexander leaving. Kibum spoke up a little bit at the time saying they found his skills lacking then faded off. The issue with Alexander persisted longer mostly because he first stayed in the company then only formally left after a show case a few weeks later. A year later we still don’t know what happened and like with T-ara we will never know. Only the members in that group probably know what happened.

    I think at the heart of this issue is two things, one how attached people get to their idols and two, how poorly this whole situation was dealt with. It was messy right from the get go, and how KKS deals with situations doesn’t help anything either. I’ll likely still listen to their music if it is go. I just probably won’t actively follow them anymore like I used to. And its more for the reason that I am disappointed with how this situation was dealt with more than anything else.

    4 years ago
  8. I hope you don’t get too much backlash from younger people who haven’t reached the point where they understand this concept of idols NOT being gods or in any way really different from your or me.
    I think you treated the topic very well, and managed to develop good points, which hopefully worked as eye-openers for those who fall into the category I mentioned above!
    I have, like you two, thought about how stressful the life of a kpop idol must be, so the video wasn’t anything “new” to me, but the part in the blog post about the role of the maknae was very interesting! Thank you for bringing it up.
    Maybe you will want to post a more relaxed tl;dr next week, so the spirit of tl;dr doesn’t become too “political”, and then, since people seem to be requesting it to a large extent, move on to sasaeng fans in two weeks? (Personally I don’t know what you could say about them; they are people who fail at recognising that idols are people too. It’s sad. Not much one can do, you know?)
    Anyway, as I said, I think you did a good job with this video! EYK fighting! ;D

    4 years ago
  9. THE TRUTH IS SPOKEN! Chris Brown really is a dickhead.

    4 years ago
  10. omg i love you guys so much… nobody knows what happend and never will unless you are T-ara… so why bother picking sides… ppl been driving me crazy about it…

    4 years ago
  11. i totally agree with u guys!
    My question is do u guys have a favorite group in the k-pop industry and y?
    thanks!

    4 years ago
  12. Im not really a fan of T-ara but which one is Hwayoung?? It takes me a while to know who is who

    4 years ago

  13. The two of us here at Eat Your Kimchi don’t give a burning crap about the lives of idols, how dreamy they are, how they act on TV shows, or anything like that. We barely even know the members names most of the time, and it shouldn’t matter if we know their names or not.”
    wat
    Martina
    what about TOP

    4 years ago
  14. Ahh thank you now I hope some of those biased people watch, read, and listen to you. It pains me to see people bashing on people who may be completely innocent not realizing what they’re doing is bullying too. Hypocrites. We might never know what happened but at least this incident exposes people to what kind of problems idols go through and perhaps get a psychologist for the company or group as someone mentioned below (or above?! xD I don’t know). I’ve been trying to get to people by saying that their “proofs” are unreliable but people believe what they want to believe. And all those anonymous sources will keep coming as long as people support them and watch the world burn.

    4 years ago
  15. oh, u talked abt T-ara? somehow I felt as if you were talking abt JYJ – TVXQ all the time ^^ thank you for this movie, totally agree with you guys.

    4 years ago
  16. I think this T-ara thing has gone too far and made to be way worse than what it’s suppose to be. I don’t know if there was an event before that happened liked this, but I must say, this is really crazy.

    4 years ago
  17. Shinhwa farted in their TV show so yes I can image an idol farting lol XD

    4 years ago
  18. brava. well said

    4 years ago
  19. lol I’ve didn’t know they split after watching this i know now lol
    aw this sucks but i agree with every word u said because no body actually knows what happened and no one will! ..we all just need to hope for the best for them and time will pass very fast and people will forget and things will go back the way they were….i guess

    4 years ago
  20. I really love this video, this is exactly what I think about this scandal. People just don’t get that they are humans and it’s completely normal for them to fight. It must be really common in groups.
    Thank you, I feel a lot better thinking people will actually be able to listen to your opinion, because that’s a good way of thinking you guys have ! :D

    4 years ago
  21. I think your point about her being the maknae is a good one: As an ELF I’ve heard tons of stories about Kyuhyun entering the band late and then getting treated poorly etc…

    HOWEVER–I would like to object to your point about girls being catty, in bold. I think this is a sexist stereotype you shouldn’t be endorsing. Looking at Super Junior, they have had similar experiences (see all their drama, including the story they just told on Strong Heart) and yet they’re male. I think your argument would have been stronger if you had just left gender out of it–it was unnecessary.

    4 years ago
    • I agree with you, principaly in the Kyuhyun case. A member entering in a group later – think about us entering in a new class – is difficult to fit in (speccially in the entertainment). But Kyuhyun seems to be a lot more talkative than Hwayoung, and SM does’t make idols fight against each other with peaople rotation in groups like CCM. -look, i’m not saying SM is the best. they also suck, the things they do with their idols…

      4 years ago
    • Dont lie to yourself. Girls are more likely to be catty. Super Junior case is showing exactly how boys not taking relationship problem too seriously as a problem, they can even speak it out in front of the camera. I am a girl, and I don’t think the catty thing is sexist sterotype.. I think it’s just discribing the nature of girls who are more sensitive, more possessive etc.. .

      4 years ago
  22. Martinaaaaa, where did you buy those glasses? They’re so cool! I live in Europe, do you think I can buy them of the internet?

    4 years ago
  23. HA! I know I shouldn’t be laughing but that Chris Brown thing was so funny to me….I need help….o-O….anyway…..
    I love you guys….every thing that you said is exactly what I try to tell my friends….It saddens me that things like this happen, but we are all human and honestly I am here for the awesome, clean music….
    I think every kpop fan needs to watch this before they become crazy stans…^^

    4 years ago
  24. Awesome TL;DR! I really like the approach you’ve taken (and I was just getting tired of the whole “BULLIERS HAVE TO DIE” on allkpop). The T-ara drama did not really surprised me. It was bound to happen: in a certain way, the company “imposed” a new member. Whether it brought a “better sound” or not, this addition completely changed the group dynamics. Sure, the other members could have been “nicer” towards Hwayoung and Hwayoung might have tried “harder” to be integrated (perhaps the fact that she became the new maknae as you said did not help her…). But we should not blame them for not getting along,we’re humans after all (“L’enfer, c’est les autres”). Just hope that both will continue to have a brighter musical career…

    4 years ago
  25. …Well, this is new. Such a fail Korean, so out of loop on everything :P
    This is hardly the first time a KPop group broke up due to member conflict anyway.

    Anyone heard of S#arp, a famous co-ed group in the 90s? They broke up around the turn of the millenium b/c the two female members were on really bad terms and it escalated into a nasty physical fight. With seven/eight people, the drama’s probably worse.

    Can’t add anything else other than I agree with EYK. The only real person you might be able to blame is their company CEO for putting them through slave labor-like work schedule (which probably made everything worse) and having shitty team management.

    4 years ago
  26. This remind me of “The Greatest Love”
    Ae Jung was once the most popular member of girl band The National Treasure Girls. However 10 years ago the band broke up and she received most of the blame. Despite her warm personality her career has suffered ever since and she now spends her time fighting for air time on variety shows . Thank you for explaining this whole drama, cause I couldn’t really go through all the news and rumours and really figure out what was going on, I didn’t read that much tough.

    4 years ago
  27. Oh my LAND. Thank you SO much for that one last paragraph in your blog post, I relate to it a ton! Recently with the whole ordeal about y’all reviewing Psy for KMM and how you guys were (essentially) harassed by some fans, I totally wanted to spout and spew about this kind of fan-ing (idk what to call it hah). The dedication many kpop fans have to their idols is really amazing (and I’m not saying it in a good or bad way, it just is what it is)… Not just with kpop either, it’s for any kind of celebrity, though it seems more extreme with kpop.

    4 years ago
  28. So tell me, honestly, did the Dr. make it’s own personal guest appearance during the making of this fine video?

    *:QUESTION:*
    “What kind of television is on in Korea? Is it a mix of kpop/western/anime? All i ever see are talk shows or gag shows or competitions… (What is the night time teve like? o///O? Is is pervy or full of nostalgia?) IS THERE AN AMERICAN CHANNEL?

    4 years ago
  29. That was a very intelligent response, and I am glad to know that there are people like you in the world.

    4 years ago
  30. la la la la LOVE you guys u always put a smile on my face and u made this scandal slightly less depressing :D

    4 years ago
  31. this was the best view i’ve seen on the topic this entire time. then again… i’ve been reading fan posts made by kids that have been talking on this subject

    4 years ago
  32. You guys are awesome! You totally summed up all my feels about the whole T-ara/Hwayoung issue. People forget that this has happened before, maybe not as messily as T-ara/Hwayoung, but Oh Wonbin left FTIsland saying that he wanted to do different types of music – did you listen to his first solo song? It sounded exactly like FTIsland. Plus FTIsland didn’t hide the fact that Hongki and Wonbin had physical fights before. And, I’m totally sure it will happen again in the future.

    As for the farting, I totally lol’d.

    4 years ago
  33. couldn’t agree more :)

    4 years ago
  34. I try to not care very much about the idols lives, but first, as someone below said, we have all these shows talking about their lives and even if I don’t have too much time to watch all of them, it’s so hard to be “impartial” in that way.
    Yet I listen to music firstly because of the music (and not the singer), but also it wouldn’t be true if I told that the song being from my favourite group doesn’t make me like just a little bit more (although if a song of my fav group isn’t of good quality, I would absolutely think and say it).
    But, I mean, certain things of idols I can put aside, but others would make me think “I don’t want my hard-earned money going to a s** of a b**** that beat women” or anything bad like that, right?
    So… everything is relative xD

    4 years ago
  35. I know this doesnt have anything to do with the topic of the video , but Martina I love your makeup :D !

    4 years ago
  36. Ahah you guys are so random! random fart music time!! ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ)

    But T-ara had 8 members, up until Hwayoung was kicked out, so they are 7 now, and I appreciated your thoughts~

    “is the idolatry that goes on, how fans get so caught up in the lives of artists, and forget about the music itself.” right on!

    4 years ago
  37. unverifiable sources = AllKpop. well atleast to me. they have been titling their artices with EXTREMELY misleading titles lately. shame shame

    4 years ago
  38. Hear, hear! I was always curious about maknaes and now I feel enlightened.

    4 years ago
  39. Preach that Chris Brown argument! PREACH IT HARD.

    4 years ago
  40. I think that the one who is handling this the WORST is the company, CCM. The band members (now & former) are acting pretty respectable considering everything but the official stuff & interviews from CCM is really just making things worse. They seem to be the ones feeding the trolls the most. IMHO. If someone just muzzles CCM I’m sure things will quiet down.

    4 years ago
HelloTalk
ToFebruary