In response to this question, Stephen Epstein’s RAS presentation last week about girl groups was well worth attending. There was a lot of textual analysis of lyrics and dissection of the narratives present in the videos. I liked his description of the dichotomy between girls presenting themselves as shy and inexperienced while at the same time ‘anticipating being deflowered,’ I think was how he put it.
The article which made him interested in the topic of Girl Groups can be found here (enter page 25 at the bottom). There’s lots to tear apart – you’ve got to love a self-described “middle aged man” asking, “Just what is it about them that drives us into such a frenzy?” and then match that with this: “Some are so surprised by the elder generation’s enthusiasm for girl groups that they cannot help but mention the Lolita complex. Nevertheless, that would be an example of an exaggerated principle that remains from the past authoritarian era.” (Nice try, but I don’t think wonjo gyoje began in the 1970s.)
“In the course of shifting from a masculine-dominated era to one of feminine equality, the imposing frames of age and gender are being slowly torn down. The time has come in pop culture where a man in his 40s can cheer for teenage girl groups without being looked at suspiciously.”