I just discovered My First Love Story
, a Tumblr whose author, Maddie, describes the blog's objectives as: "My ideas about/analyses of K-pop in relation to feminism, the music industry (both North American and Korean), and the portrayal of Asian femininity in media (both North American and Korean). Continued exploration of my diminished and/or burgeoning identity as a Korean/Chinese-Canadian woman who has never visited the country my mother came from over 40 years ago. Relations between K-pop and above exploration. Songs that I'm obsessed with. Pictures of idols that I'm obsessed with."
If you're like me (that's about three of you), you have now instantly bookmarked that blog and are this moment reading it, or are about to. For one thing, a lot about the look of the girl teen idols will make most of us immediately go "PROBLEMATIC PROBLEMATIC" but I, for one, feel way too ignorant of Korea or K-pop to think I have anything knowledgeable to say on the subject (which of course doesn't stop me from trying). So someone who knows and loves the music but doesn't duck the problems has my immediate esteem.
On that subject, I recommend that you go read anhh's heartfelt disaffection
: "To be honest, lately I can't stand K-pop. I still consume it on the same way: enjoy the music (music videos, albums, etc.) you can enjoy, avoid the rest (fans, media, the propaganda). To be fair, I don't think that you can separate one from the other. Some of the things I like about K-pop (the belief that a song can be an event and/or can change your life, how this treatment applied on the producer side can make a song you don't care about something that you never want to get out of it, etc.) go hand in hand with the propaganda side of it." And on.
I'd say that the K-pop convos are the best to have occurred on my livejournal over the last year, thanks mostly to anhh and Mat, and since the conversations often will extend for days or weeks on a particular thread I urge you to periodically click my K-pop tag
and revisit the threads (some of these being commentary on quarterly or year-end lists, with the K-pop content being rudimentary in my original post and only really developing down in the comments).
Back to Maddie's blog, a theme that's developing is that if you're Asian or Asian American in North America, Asianness will become an issue whether you want it to or not, and any attempt to break the Korean groups here will have to take this into account. I'll add a corollary, though, which is that if part of someone's heritage is black, everything changes, and the Asianness may even go unnoticed.
[EDIT: Add "or Latin American" after black in the previous sentence, or you can make it "black or Latin American or even though you've got no Latin American ancestry you played someone with a Latina name in High School Musical