I was really happy with the turn in fans attitudes towards sexy concepts in 2015 because it meant groups like Stellar, AOA and Girl's Day were finally getting appreciated and less hate for something as simple as short(er) skirts and more groping in the choreography. However now that people seem to be more "pro-sexy" it has lead to a shit ton of "anti-cute" sentiment. Now this is mostly from international fans but it leaves me this one question: Why in the fuck do people still bother?
This post is long so inserted in some pictures of Lovelyz Sujeong where I felt it was necessary.
The most simple answer is obvious and most of you are probably already answering it - "Because petty fans love to complain about any old bullshit that's trendy so that they feel their opinions are justified." If you thought this, pat yourself on the back because you're 100% right.
However, there is still a root of the problem and it all has to do with people being brought up only see things as black and white. Basically good and bad. However as the k-pop fandom has unintentionally shown us time and time again, is that "good and bad" is a matter of perception when it comes to subjective matters like music, art, entertainment in general.
In 2014, sooo many girl groups were going sexy, and what happened? They got shitted on. Stellar was one of the most hated groups of 2014 simply because they took more clothes off than what is seamed "appropriate" for idols. The sexy concept was deemed "bad" for odd reasons like "objectification of women", while the cute concept was deemed "good" and more in demand because it showed women in a "less slutty" image.
Fast-forward to today and the sexy concept while it isn't deemed "good" it's certainly well welcomed. Meanwhile cute groups can't go a single comeback without being called a slew of shit with the recently trendy "pedophilia inducing."
Why the sudden change? Well with newer groups debuting there has been an influx of school girl concepts meanwhile the older groups have been going more sexy. The reason for that is obvious: newer groups are full of fucking teenagers. Older groups have legal women.
Now it's easy for a fan to say "They should try a newer concept the school girl concept is getting so old." While yes the school girl concept has been going into overload it's what sells. They can't go too sexy because that would mean Chris Hansen would have to make way too many visits than the norm. They can't go on a full blown tomboy or hip-hop concept because unfortunately that doesn't sell because companies fail massively at marketing those concepts. So they have to go with the easier way to make money which is a cute song and concept. Many international fans fail to realize this because they know jack shit about the Korean Pop Industry and Korean culture as a whole.
When a person says "Gosh I hate all of these cute concepts. Why can't all of these new girl groups just be like 2NE1?!" What they're basically saying is "I hate that a country that values youth to the extreme is full of musicians that use a youthful concept." 2NE1 lucked up because they came from YG and promoted hard with nonstop songs and music videos. The average nugu has barely enough money to make one song and video with six week promotions, so of course the average company isn't going to take such a giant leap of fate by just "hoping" their more different concept settles well with the public.
Take a look at Twice's debut. Their concept was vaguely similar to Sonamoo's (BLESS them) however Twice did better because they had a lot of hype around, gave the image a much more girly vibe and also come from a Big 3 company. Sonamoo debuted from TS and majority of fans already hated them because of the BAP lawsuit and that bullshit SHINee light-stick "controversy." Had TS been a Big 3 company, subtract the BAP lawsuit out of the picture and the light-stick shit Sonamoo might be a top rookie now, however the timing was all wrong and the concept just wasn't well received
even though it should have been.
Then you have concern trolls who use IU as a way to justify their hatred for cute concepts the whole Lolita "controversy." Rather they defended or attacked her - she's still being used. Claiming that cute concepts promote pedophilia since majority of their fans are men in the army. But that's been proven to be pretty false as men in the army seem to prefer groups like Stellar, Sistar and Rainbow who have a much more sexy image than say Lovelyz. Sure the army men may dig G-Friend and A Pink however the first three are much more preferred.
The target audience of cute groups is in fact, teenagers. School boys and girls who are willing to dedicate all of their spare time and money to their noonas, unnis and any other term of affection used. Very few girl groups are fortunate to have a mass uncle fan following like SNSD which actually does make up a good percentage of their fanbase.
So it makes sense to have new groups (which typically have members between the ages of 16-20) to have more school centered concepts. It's easier for their target audience to relate to them and it's easier for the idols to relate to the concept they're promoting. Same thing with older groups, or groups with older members taking on a more sexier or mature concept. These women are typically 21-29 and have actual sexual experience, want to express it, and probably sick and tired of singing whimsical twee songs while wearing a uniform they stopped wearing at 18.
This isn't to say that someone in high school can't like a group like Stellar or that someone older can't enjoy a cuter concept. That's bound to happen and it shouldn't be looked down upon. People should be able to like what they like without being attacked for it. Dahye of BESTie once said that she'd love to do a cute concept but feels she can't because she's "too tall." I find that odd since Sowon of G-Friend is 5'10 and Mijoo of Lovelyz is around 5'7 but I guess Dahye's company told her that and she didn't question it.
I'm not saying cute concepts aren't fetishized but if you're going to complain about cute concepts painting a picture then sexier concepts should be getting the same treatment. To say it teaches every Korean men to be pedophiles is like saying AOA are giving 16 year old school boys false hope that a sexy 26 year old like Choa would give him her all. Just think about it. If a man could be easily turned into a pedophile just from watching "Candy Jelly Love" then pretty much every man on the planet would be a child molester. Chances are, he was a pedophile way before Lovelyz even existed. (Women aren't exempt from this but I've never seen someone shame school boy concepts because it makes women pedophiles because pop fans in general wear hypocrisy like a squirrel wears fur.)
Honestly, I say enough with this concern-trolling, everything in pop music is sexualized to some degree because us, the audience wants it that way. One person may look at A Pink and think "Wow so cute," and the other person would be "I'd fuck Eunji up the ass in her school girl uniform," because they perceive different things from what is being displayed. Just like how different people get different interpretations of say a painting in an art gallery, people are going to get different interpretations of musicians and that includes idol groups.
The same goes with this "good vs bad" mentality. I look at Lovelyz and think "Wow they're so pretty and their music is awesome." But someone else could look at Lovelyz and think "They're so hot. I'd pee in Kei's butt/let her pee on me." Neither of us would be wrong for feeling that way.
I feel like international fans want convenient escapism. They want to experience something new from a foreign place but they don't want it too foreign. They just want it to be what they hear everyday sung in a different language. News flash: the world doesn't revolve around you. Sometimes you're not going to like something. It's okay to not like something. However don't go around demanding this and that when you don't even so much as support these people as a casual fan.
Bottom line: hating cute concepts is useless. Hating sexy concepts is useless. It's what the public wants. Nothing wrong with disliking a particular concept but you don't like said concept then you simply just shouldn't view it. At the end of the day, we should be grateful that K-pop is still putting out good conceptual entertainment and should appreciate the amount of creativity that goes into making it work. When we start jumping into conclusions without any context on the subject is when things start to get very stupid. Now lets put this fucking argument to rest, please.