When I first decided to write about this I can honestly admit I felt slightly ashamed by the fact I was voluntarily searching up info about K-pop on my computer. I don’t necessarily have anything against the industry or the music it produces and prior to today I wouldn’t have been able to give an opinion on the topic because I just did not known enough about it. Nevertheless something about perfectly dressed groups of men or women, all perfectly dressed, with perfect makeup and seemingly always posing for a camera, even in the absence of one makes me question my sexuality.
K-pop, short for Korean Pop, is a genre of music that came out of South Korea during the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. K-pop developed through the 90’s and many of the groups that are around today where started during the 2000’s. The music genre K-pop is mostly characterised by taking elements of Western music and layering it on top of traditional Korean music roots (this has been changing as the groups gain more popularity internationally and their styles change to cater to different audiences). But perhaps just as important as the music aspect of K-pop is the visual elements, this includes the way the groups dress, the makeup the use, the way they walk and act both on and off stage, the style and colour of their hair and the heavily choreographed performance that accompanies the singing.
K-pop quickly grew within Korea and neighbouring Asian countries because of its cultural relevance and “glamorous” presentation which appealed to a large portion of youth. It has gradually gained popularity throughout the West and many of the better-known groups are recognised all around the world and today many argue that some of these groups are becoming larger than Western pop idols such as Justin Bieber. Although this massive growth of the industry on an international scale brought in a large amount of cash to the country it also hit the South Korean culture in several negative ways as K-pop, in the eyes of the rest of the world, became bigger than the country it came from and it greatly affected the way of life in South Korea. One such example of how this rise of K-pop has affected the way of life in South Korea was the rise in plastic surgery with the country having the highest rate of plastic surgery operations per capita of anywhere in the world in both 2015 and 2016. This in itself is, at least in my opinion not necessarily a bad thing, especially as different types of plastic surgery become more common and accepted all over the world. The only real issue that is a consequence of this how they advertise looking like these K-pop stars as being ideal or perfect and they claim that is necessary to look like these idols to be “beautiful”.
Regardless of these negative consequences for South Korea, along with countless others I can only assume would exist, I still think overall that the K-pop industry is a great thing, it is successful and provides a great source of entertainment for millions of people from all over the world in different countries and bringing like minded people together.