So I got asked this question by Anti Kpop-Fangirl:
It’s a good question, and I think it’s definitely important enough for a post of its own so here it is. We all know that sex sells, but does more sex sell for more? This post has the answer!
In a previous post I’ve compared the state of the current k-pop industry to the operations of the American Motown record label in the 1960s and 1970s. However, there’s another analogy that also works for explaining the inner machinations of the k-pop business, and I’m not the only one who’s been able to single it out.
This is all trufax, however the analogy for the purposes of this post isn’t to explain the fake personas and shitty-ass contracts of the k-pop business (because I’ve already been there and done that) but instead to understand how the “studio system culture” impacts representations of sexuality, and what this means for fap.
In the very, very early days of the Hollywood system, tits and ass were everywhere and films were quite risque and brazen. This era was known as “Pre-Code Hollywood” and during this time there was little meaningful censorship of films with adult content. This all changed in the 1930s when public pressure to clean up Hollywood’s scandalous reputation at the time allowed censorship to gain weight and the Motion Picture Production Code came into force. Here’s a list of things (sourced from this book) that you strictly weren’t allowed to show on screen in your Hollywood film according to the Code or your film would get permabanned:
Holy fucking dick, that’s pretty draconian (and you definitely couldn’t say “holy fucking dick”, by the way). And here’s a bunch of other stuff that you had to be really careful with; use of these topics in non-approved ways could also get your picture easily banned by the censors:
Wow that’s a lot of stuff to think about. Note that point 2 actually prevented Hollywood directors from making several anti-Nazi films in the 1930s. Oops! But what did the Code specifically have to say about sex?
All this extreme clamping-down on any type of sex in cinema at all had a few interesting effects. The first effect was that people became extremely sensitive to various types of sexual content, and started to eroticise things which would normally not be considered quite as erotic. In other words, cinema trained them to become sex fetishists.
Think about the common sex fetishes and porn themes in America and then think about how they relate to the Code and you’ll see patterns forming. When plots for pornographic films do exist, infidelity is probably the most common theme, because it has a history of being forbidden on screen as well as being a real-life taboo and is therefore “naughtier”. “Interracial porn” doesn’t even exist in many countries (when two people of two different races fuck on screen most countries just call it “porn”), but because it was forbidden to show sexual relations between whites and blacks by the Code, nobody could see mixed-race relationships on screen in America so people started to specifically long for that and fetishise it, so it later became a specific category within porn to cater to the demand. Boobs were previously shown on the cinema screen in the Pre-Code era, but now they were always completely covered up, thus making them more desirable, thus meaning that people wanted to see them even more than usual. Pornography after the Code came into practice had a lot more focus on boobs than it did before this time, for precisely this reason – they were catering to a higher demand for tits. By starving the public of boobs the Hollywood Code had the opposite effect to what was intended by its creators – instead of making society more pure, they just made it more pure on the outside while simultaneously making it more perverse on the inside.
Here’s a picture of Qri that she put up on her Instagram the other day before she very quickly realised that it exposed a little too much by stupid Korean fangirl cunthole standards, and removed it. (Thanks to the sneaky cao ni ma Queen’s who screencapped this moment in boob-history before it went away and forwarded it to me.) Most hot girls that I know who also have reasonable-sized boobs wouldn’t think twice about posting an Instagram pic like this. However, k-pop fans make a big fucking deal out of it because it’s a k-pop star and they don’t usually show cleavage, so when it is shown, people suddenly start blowing their loads at extraordinary speed. Congratulations, you have been “resensitised” to boobs by k-pop. Suddenly, less is more.
Kind of, thoughtful Raina. Why is there so much porn concerning nuns? Because almost nobody gets to see under a nun’s clothes in real life, it’s one of the ultimate forbidden zones. Likewise, if you think people in the Middle East aren’t interested in porn or fapping to boobies like crazy, think again – the data shows that they search it even more than westerners do and it’s probably got something to do with women in public wearing clothing that covers more parts of the body than in the west. On the other hand in certain African societies where women walk around topless all the time, those people don’t find breasts to be much of a turn-on at all. If you can always see it any time you want, it’s no big deal anymore, but if you never get to see it, suddenly it’s a lot more interesting. Therefore as k-pop boobs are a forbidden zone, prurient interest is heightened; that’s why there’s so much interest in idol tits and why the posts of mine that trend the highest and get the most hits are the ones with boobs in them. Or the promise of boobs in them. Or ass. Or whatever it is that you want to see that k-pop normally doesn’t want to show you.
The dance routine for AOA’s “Miniskirt” was changed in Korea because it was “too racy”… but what’s the most raunchy thing about the dance? Why, the girls unzip their skirts…. not take them off, just unzip them a little bit. You see maybe two more extra square inches of flesh on the side of each girl’s leg than you otherwise would… which is nothing, really… yet it’s hot as fuck. Meanwhile, in America:
Lady’s video is over-the-top, hilarious fun, but it’s not that sexy… whether you like the ladies on offer here or not. It’s closer in spirit to a workout video than something that somebody would fap to.
All the censorship in Hollywood also had another effect – it really pissed off movie directors. Frustrated by Joe Censor (and yes his name really was Joe) stepping in and forcing them to re-write scripts and even change endings to comply with the ludicrous censorship requirements, directors started to become sneaky cao ni mas and sneak in their sexual content around the edges.
The most well-known example of this is Alfred Hitchcock’s “Notorious“. The Code stated that over three seconds of actual continuous kissing in a kissing scene was considered “excessive and lustful” and therefore cruising for a banning. Hitchcock worked around these rules and trolled the censor magnificently by interspersing kissing with dialogue in the above scene and stretching out the passion to over two minutes – Joe Censor couldn’t do shit about this because Hitchcock was able to work the loophole. After the late 1960s when the Code was removed, Hitchcock lamented its passing, because of the fun he had pushing boundaries like these.
The 1960 film “Spartacus” depicted life in ancient Rome which was a city of vast and liberal homosexual cockgobbling gayness, but you couldn’t talk about a preference for slobbering on knob instead of eating out pussy on the screen, so Stanley Kubrick got his actors to talk about oysters and snails instead of vaginas and dicks. This way he was able to slip his “inference to sex perversion” (as the Code called it) past the censors of the day… and most of the audience too, although anyone who was gay probably understood the reference, because they would have been looking for and hoping for just such a reference in a “two guys in the bath” scene. The political sphere has a term for when this type of tactic is applied to convey one message overtly and another different message to a specific subgroup – dog-whistle politics. I’m not sure if the k-pop world has a different term for the same thing happening in the entertainment sphere, but observant types can see dog-whistle-something happening in k-pop music videos easily enough.
Sometimes it’s fairly obvious boundary-pushing going on with not too much hidden:
Anyone not extremely naive will know that Stellar’s “Marionette” is using fresh milk from the fridge as a substitute for fresh milk from a guy’s nutsack. However, there really isn’t that much skin exposure going on in the milk-dribbling scene, it’s the colour of the liquid and the specific angles and presentation which lead the mind to the most dirty thoughts possible even though not much is really happening except a bit of sloppy drinking. The video director is exploiting your brain to make you see more sex than what is actually present – a classic envelope-pushing tactic in the Hitchcock tradition. Let’s now look at a more complex example with dog-whistle messages in full effect.
The sexual references in the MV for EXID’s sleeper hit “Up & Down” flash by so quickly that they’re sometimes hard to discern. Anyone naive and innocent will just see some girls playing around with balloons, fruit and some magician-stuff, but general perverts will notice the phallic balloon-blowing, genitalia-esque fruit still-life and erection-creating. More advanced perverts have another layer to unravel.
If you understand this picture after reading my red text, well done, you are a perv. If you understood it instantly even before you read the red text, and also understand exactly which subgenre of pornography it’s referencing (a clue: not foot fetishism) then you are the type of Kpopalypse-grade pervert that EXID’s dog-whistle message is directly targeting. Congratulations, you sick fuck. Also, if you’re a new reader I’d just like to say hello and welcome and tell you that I think you’ll enjoy my writing in general.
Even SNSD got in on the act, and their dog-whistle got under the radar of nearly everyone including the majority of their own fanbase and quite possibly even the girls themselves:
“SNSD never did a sexy concept”… yes they did – this is it, right here. The specific lighting, the specific design of the room-shaped set, the clothes, the boots, especially the hats… Joe Cocker had something to say about those hats… yes that’s right kids, this is a fucking peepshow stripper concept. Little rectangular holes in the walls or one-way mirrors would have made it too obvious and given the game away thus drawing the ire of Korea’s censors but anyone familiar with the more elaborate peep show setups will see the inspiration for their concept instantly.
Why do you think they chose this type of concept for a song called “Show Show Show”? Because whoever thought it up is insinuating that SNSD is going to “show show show” you some tits and ass. If you’re now thinking “but… you’re only seeing that because you’ve got a dirty mind!” you’ve just understood exactly how these kind of messages work.
But the real question is, does this puritanical shit that Korean video directors constantly have to edge around and dog-whistle under actually make k-pop more popular globally and help fappers? The answer to this question is a definite “yes” because all these daft rules make k-pop more exportable. One of the reasons why k-pop has exploded to become a global cult phenomenon whereas pop from other countries has not, is that you can export k-pop’s high quality and sexually tease-rather-than-please visuals to almost anywhere in the world. Some country where the population is 99% brainwashed by some ultra-conservative organised religion like fluffy-unicorn-worship probably can’t handle Lady and they probably can’t handle AKB48 either, but something like EXID will get through the net. The smart agencies know how to toe the line betwen fapability and conservatism, getting away overtly with what they can and sneaking the juiciest fap content under the radar of prudes in foreign markets using dog-whistle tactics, and they’re good at it precisely because their home market is so prudish that they’re used to thinking this way. The results are far more fappable than they would otherwise be, plus whole countries wouldn’t get the content at all otherwise. In this way, we can see that censorship backfires – it allows the sexy content to spread further, reach more people and it generates more interest in whatever content is presented. Here’s a picture of Hyosung that I stole from an Asian Junkie article, who’s boobs look really hot here precisely because she’s got some transparent cloth obstructing her cleavage.
I’ll finish up this post with another unrelated tale of censorship failure – censorship doing exactly the opposite to what the censors want (which it always does). A few years back, the Attorney-General of South Australia was Michael Atkinson. Michael was one of those “protect the children” family-values types and was pretty keen on censorship, he was instrumental in making sure that Australia didn’t get an R18+ rating for computer games until very recently. Because we didn’t have an R18+ rating, computer games that would normally get that rating snuck in under the MA15+ rating instead, meaning that younger kids got to play them. Oops! Mike also snuck a nasty piece of legislation into South Australia which stated that all R18+ DVDs and BluRay for sale in regular DVD stores had to be either sold in plain packaging, or consigned to a special section of the shop just for them. It just goes to show how behind-the-times our politicians are – legislating on physical movie product in 2010? The young people who he wanted to protect don’t even go into a video store anymore, so this change doesn’t even affect them. It’s got a great effect for me though – I no longer need to go browsing through an entire DVD store to find what I want, all the smutty and violent films that I’m interested in are all grouped conveniently together on the same shelf! DVD stores couldn’t be bothered with unappealing and costly special plain packaging so instead now every DVD and BluRay store in my city is legally forced to create a special signposted R18+ section so I can easily find the films that I want, or they can be fined $5000 for not catering to my specific taste! Awesome, high fives to Michael Atkinson and his outstanding work in the field of helping perverts like me choose films wisely!
Anyway that wraps up this blog post, and just as a heads-up for all you lovely readers to prepare yourself for my next post which is going to be all abou…