Fans of the girl power concept with undoubtedly love BLACKPINK‘s latest in “DDU-DU DDU-DU“. It’s understandable, as despite any misgivings I had about the chorus, the attitude they projected sold the concept perfectly and they made it work for them.
Of course, a lot of the imagery isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, with the easy comparison being their YG Entertainment predecessors in 2NE1. That said, I did find things that seemed to broach new ground, especially in terms of what’s going on socially in Korea. For example, a frequent argument there at the moment (and even in the West, really) is men questioning why women doll themselves up if not to appeal to them. So Jennie‘s rap lyrics expressing that she’s doing it for herself and not for them is a fitting moment that seems like a direct response to a lot of the national discussion.
But one thing that I wanted to focus on was Jisoo‘s scene from the music video in which she rocks a pink wig, and it starts with a bunch of dudes on phones enthralled with the image on a wall that’s what Jisoo projects to the public.
Obviously the mural is the idealized image of Jisoo, while the other persona that’s truer and edgier walks by unnoticed … until she slips up.
Then it’s everybody against Jisoo and they only see that element of her persona as true.
Many seem to take this solely as a commentary about haters, and they’re not wrong that it’s part of it. But I think it’s kind of simplistic, and rather it’s referencing everybody within that culture, including the press who feed it, the companies who revel in it, and the fans who eat it up. Cynicism on why the company would then allow this is warranted and reasonable, but quite frankly my feeling is that they don’t really care as long as the message connects with BLACKPINK’s fans and they continue to profit off it.
I also think it’s important that everybody else involved in the scene appear to be male. Given the current wave in Korean society revolving around the Me Too Movement and feminism, this sure seems directly related to those events. It’s fitting then that Jisoo is the one playing the role, as she’s always been the quirky, beautiful, innocent one in terms of public perception, but as we’ve found out, one read of a book or a phone case can lead to all that crashing down on her due to certain groups of men. Definitely makes me wonder if that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if this is interpreted similarly in Korea, and I don’t think it’s much of a reach to see it that way, so it’s something to monitor.
So while the music video did appear to rehash a bunch of tropes from girl power concepts, I did actually think it took some refreshing approaches to it as well. While the sweg sweg sweg stuff will likely get most of the attention, “DDU-DU DDU-DU” did seem to bring something new to the table, and that’s what made it most interesting to me.