Recently, Jonghyun’s MBC Blue Night radio show was graced by indie rock band Dear Cloud’s vocalist, Nine. It would have been just another friendly conversation with an indie artist but it took a significant turn when the two got discussing Wouter Hamel’s “Girls in the City”. Jonghyun praised the “blessed existence” of women as muses for artists, “the existence that gives the greatest inspiration to all artists.”
Nine, while agreeing to his opinion, voiced her take on the issue by talking about sexism in the music industry and its effect on female artists, her key statement being: “And that it looks really good if you sing and make music as a man, but as a woman it’s really difficult to appeal (to others) through music.” What Nine, I think, wished to express is that for a woman, it’s not enough to select a muse and channel her “artistry” through it; she also needs to be several other things to make her music marketable. The stereotype of the whimsical artist is an image more easily available to men than women.
This is an important conversation on Korean music and artists, despite its tangential nature, for it has an actual female artist mention the gendered accessibility of creativity. This is not the first time that sexism in the Korean music industry has been discussed but most discussions in the past have been restricted to men’s views. Quite ironically, when women decide to voice their points of view by either being being funny or calling out street harassment they are met with scathing criticism and mockery.
The wind changed its course when Jonghyun was called out by netizens on his misogyny...