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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. #1 – I am SOOOOOOOOO happy that miss A won!!!

    #2 – Maybe miss A wanted the dance to be different than their other songs so it wouldn’t distract from the words and message of this song. This dance certainly doesn’t challenge their awesome dancing skills as much. Great performance anyway.
    Oh! And check out their dance practice video of this. A single camera shot captures the excellence of the complete dance with each them visible. I love Min’s dancing, and Suzy has really grown to become a fantastic dancer!

    7 years ago
  2. I haven’t seen the video yet, but I have to say, being so curious (heyyy) about you two and your perspectives made me start going to the blogs recently instead of just watching the Youtube videos straight up. I always appreciate your “groundness” despite all the silliness in the videos (and I love every bit of the silliness!)

    7 years ago
  3. I live in North America and I’m appalled that Toddlers in Tiara & HoneyBooBoo were ever allowed on TV, and I’ve never watched a single episode of either.

    7 years ago
  4. I personally, when I studied abroad in Korea, all of my roommates (rather the two who were single) talked about how when they were looking for a guy to date (they were 24 korean age at the time, I believe. I am 3 years older than them) they were looking for marriage material, and for the long term instead of just having fun in the moment.
    Like. Okay . I understand that, but … life is all about having fun in the moment–if that guy makes you happy then what the heck else matters?
    And why are you thinking about marriage at such a young age? I wonder if they were all secretly judging me for being old and single… They didn’t say that (nor that I was old, despite being ‘wang unnie’ lol).
    Anyway, yes, I have experienced a similar thing–also. I love this song.
    But had I voted. I would have voted for Hyuna just so I could watch what Simon and Martina would do for it lol.

    7 years ago
  5. independent woman scare of asian guys though cause they feel they have nothing to give them since they have everything they need already ,so ive heard..

    7 years ago
  6. i dont live or ever visited korea but i did understand how much of an impact or maybe dismissial it could get by the korean community cause like u said martina after watching so much kdramas and movies …its always a rich guy and poor girl or if theres more than one woman talking about men, there always talking about how many thing they buy them and how hot they are….sometimes the chicks are are
    just using them….

    7 years ago
  7. i watched a Japanese drama where the GIRL is RICH and the GUY is POOR. it was really interesting to finally see the gender roles change and have a girl that was rich instead! and Kamenishi Kazuya played the main guy who was poor. i think that you two should really check it out simon and martina :) the dramas called Tatta Hitotsu no Koi

    7 years ago
  8. ok I can See it now. Simon singing “I lost my pants in rippito flipitto sipi slow motion” then Martina or a chorus of girls can chime in with “He don’t need his pants, he don’t need his pants!” lol that would be awesome.

    7 years ago
  9. Lol this was great xD the kangaroo (costco) card part was so funny xD and the i dont need my pants part xD

    7 years ago
  10. I got a bad case of the giggles during the Simon as JYP part. lol I’m going to sign JYP everywhere now.

    7 years ago
  11. In the new EYK office, can there be a gift shop called “The BroChoCho Boutique”?

    7 years ago
  12. PREACH!
    Honestly all countries have issues with gender equality but certainly the legal and social/moral boundaries for women are more oppressive in South Korea. Ever since Confucianism (although its just one aspect) became the dominant ideology in Asia, this trend towards rigid gender divisions and strict moral propriety have been much more evident as have ideas of material status since modernization. I feel like I have this weird psychological compulsion wherein I cannot find people with bad personalities, attitudes and discriminating opinions attractive. I can subjectively consider them good looking, in an aesthetic sense… like… I might, for example a nice looking couch, but I can’t be emotionally or physically attracted to them. I say this because many people I know, male and female seem be or have been in relationships where the physical attraction overrode some SERIOUS flaws in the relationship and the partner. I don’t know how they do it, how they can be sexually attracted to someone who treats them awfully or why they would desperately cling to them or try to win over their affections. I try to understand but my brain just does this weird ‘does not compute’ thing. I don’t know if I’m lucky or cursed…

    7 years ago
  13. PREACH!
    Honestly all countries have issues with gender equality but certainly the legal and social/moral boundaries for women are more oppressive in South Korea. Ever since Confucianism (although its just one aspect) became the dominant ideology in Asia, this trend towards rigid gender divisions and strict moral propriety have been much more evident as have ideas of material status since modernization. I feel like I have this weird psychological compulsion wherein I cannot find people with bad personalities, attitudes and discriminating opinions attractive. I can subjectively consider them good looking, in an aesthetic sense… like… I might, for example a nice looking couch, but I can’t be emotionally or physically attracted to them. I say this because many people I know, male and female seem be or have been in relationships where the physical attraction overrode some SERIOUS flaws in the relationship and the partner. I don’t know how they do it, have they can be sexually attracted to someone who treats them awfully or why they would desperately cling to them or try to win over their affections. I try to understand but my brain just does this weird ‘does not compute’ thing. I don’t know if I’m lucky or cursed…

    7 years ago
  14. totally loved this one, i actually liked this more than Touch. it’s nice to see that Miss A is still sticking to being healthy (weight wise) and showing off their skills instead of trying to be cute. Good on ya JYP

    7 years ago
  15. PREACH!
    Honestly all countries have issues with gender equality but certainly the legal and social/moral boundaries for women are more oppressive in South Korea. Ever since Confucianism (although its just one aspect) became the dominant ideology in Asia, this trend towards rigid gender divisions and strict moral propriety have been much more evident as have ideas of material status since modernization. I feel like I have this weird psychological compulsion wherein I cannot find people with bad personalities, attitudes and discriminating opinions attractive. I can subjectively consider them good looking, in an aesthetic sense like I might say a nice looking couch, but I can’t be emotionally or physically attracted to them. I say this because many people I know, male and female seem be or have been in relationships where the physical attraction overrode some SERIOUS flaws in the relationship and the partner. I don’t know how they do it, have they can be sexually attracted to someone who treats them awfully or why they would desperately cling to them or try to win over their affections. I try to understand but my brain just does this weird ‘does not compute’ thing. I don’t know if I’m lucky or cursed…

    7 years ago
  16. This song definitely made me think of Destiny’s Child, in a good way. I thought the message was great, and even though I’m hearing people say it’s really not Miss A’s best song, I have to disagree. This song and the message it’s trying to get across makes it my favorite of their songs. It has substance, and a rocking beat to go with it. It’s nice to know that bands in other countries are going with the ‘strong, independent woman’ message. It’s something that needs to be more well-known. It also reminded me of a quote (and I’m not exactly sure how it goes) along the lines of “Give a man (money, food) and he raise up his family for a day, give a woman (money, food) and she’ll raise up the whole village.’ Sort of. Thanks EYK!

    7 years ago
  17. Wow I think this has been my favourite review in a while… And I totally relate to this song’s message. I mean even living in France I often get comments like ‘don’t you miss having a man?’ when I say I’m single. It might be me overreacting here but I sometimes have the impression that even though the equality between genders is seemingly established, people seem to think that women are more in need of a man than the contrary… Ah well sorry for the rant I loved this KMM and had a good laugh anyway! Thanks for the bit of French at the end by the way (Youtube instant translations are often ridiculous)

    7 years ago
  18. 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)

    7 years ago
  19. 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.

    7 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.

      7 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. =)

        7 years ago
  20. 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!

    7 years ago
  21. Miss A

    7 years ago
  22. “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

    7 years ago
  23. 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.

    7 years ago
  24. 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’

    7 years ago
  25. 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…

    7 years ago
  26. 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

    7 years ago
  27. 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.

    7 years ago
    • I was confused at first too ^___^. In the music video Bang Yong Guk is a demon.

      7 years ago
    • I think he was suppose to be a a little devil or something. He was invincible and causing the girl he liked all kinds of trouble.

      7 years ago
  28. VB

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

    7 years ago
  29. “YAH DIS IS JYP WHO DIS!?!?!!!!!”
    I died guise… I died….

    7 years ago
  30. 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¡

    7 years ago
  31. 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. :)

    7 years ago
  32. 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)

    7 years ago
  33. 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?

    7 years ago
  34. 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…

    7 years ago
  35. 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 )

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

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

    7 years ago
  38. 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.

    7 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^^

      7 years ago
  39. 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?

    7 years ago
  40. 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

    7 years ago