Kpopalypse assesses street harassment danger levels in k-pop music videos

If you’ve been following k-pop as long as I have, you will have noticed a trend in k-pop boy group music videos – they love to have dramatised scenes of men chasing women around and annoying them a whole lot.  I’m not sure why this is, but I do know that such content is definitely worthy of further inspection by Kpopalypse!  Let’s take a look at some of the most female-pestering videos in k-pop to see what kind of threats they represent!

The trend of k-pop boys being annoying to random women in music videos definitely isn’t new.  Bizarre scenes of male idols engaging in street harassment and general annoyance of randomly-placed ladyfolk have been with us for quite some time.  This kind of portrayal in k-pop music videos is an interesting phenomenon that is perhaps a product of the unique cultural position of South Korea’s entertainment industry, it reminds me a little bit of how the relationships between men and women were often portrayed in the similarly curious and stultifying world of classic-era Hollywood films, before the USA became fully on-board with all that “women’s rights” stuff.

Those dastardly scoundrels!  Of course we know that oppa would definitely never do THAT, so it’s good that like the old Hollywood “casting couch” scenes, modern k-pop videos don’t reflect the reality of how men perceive women whatsoever.  Your favourite male k-pop crush would certainly never harass and annoy women, he’s a busy man and his time is far too valuable for that, he’s much more likely to just drug them and skip straight to the rape and torture, or maybe just beat the living fuck out of you and send you to hospital.  This means that we can appreciate the following videos for the light, harmless fantasy that they are!  However that doesn’t mean we can’t also learn a few neat street survival tricks.  Kpopalypse will now assess the following videos on the basis of these criteria:

Creepiness level: how annoying and entitled are the k-pop guys being?  Are they like that idiot ex-boyfriend of yours who would still turn up to your house unannounced after you broke off with him, kept on messaging you years later, and got all pissy when you got a new man in your life as if he fucking owned you or something?  Or are they more along the more subtle lines of the ex-boyfriend who just occasionally passive-aggressively likes your posts on social media and occasionally sulks in your DMs?

Threat level: it’s one thing to be a nuisance, but how much of a threat do these guys potentially pose to the women pictured?  Are there obvious signs that the males could instigate events that could make the situation depicted turn violent or nastier than portrayed?

Defense potential: how good are the woman’s chances of repelling these pestering guys?  What would be the best self-defence options for her?  Could she easily handle the situation with a few basic street-smarts, or does she need to take a course of “Rapist Beware”?

An important point before we begin – some people in this erudite, woke day and age believe that it’s not women’s responsibility to learn self-defense and street smarts, but rather it’s men’s responsibility not to be creepy assholes.  Of course, the women who believe this are 100% right, and all men should be courteous and non-harassing to women at all times.  It’s also true that I should be able to leave my keys in the ignition of my car and the window down any time I want, and nobody should ever try to steal my car.  I’m 100% right about that, too.  Unfortunately, we currently live in a world where many people do not feel the same way – a world where there are car thieves, and there is also Seungri.  Until all the bad people are wiped from the face of the earth or at least agree to reflect and return with a more mature image (spoiler alert: your first year university gender studies course material probably won’t convince them), it pays to be streetwise.

This list is presented in no specific order and may not be complete.  Feel free to add more videos in the comments below… oh wait, you can’t actually do that because I disable all URLs in comments on my site, oops.  Oh well, it was a nice thought.  Anyway let’s get on with it.

BTS – War Of Hormone

Creepiness level: at about 2:12 the boys from BTS notice a woman emerging from a building, and then follow her down the street for a while.  One of the guys offers her a lift in his car, to which the girl responds “yeah nah, I’m good thanks” and walks off.  To their credit, the BTS boys don’t go crazily chasing her for the rest of the video after that, but stalking a girl outside of a building that you know she’s in when she doesn’t give a fuck about you is certainly some A-grade creepiness.

Threat level: while the girl is in an urban area, it should never be assumed that this represents safety.  Upon seeing an altercation, many people will simply decide that it’s none of their business and choose to not get involved, especially if you are surrounded by multiple attackers in trendy punk-lite k-pop clothing.  However it’s also true that an open area is an advantage as the public attention can dissuade all but the most serious creeps of doing anything too drastic.

Defense potential: BTS are highly mobile with a car and several bicycles, they could easily chase the woman down if they wanted to get hostile and she would have little chance of overpowering the whole group in a fair fight.  However they are all wearing loose clothing with several straps and chains that all represent points of vulnerability.  A quick pull of the right bit of dangly clothing at the right time could create enough of a distraction to allow for a quick getaway, or at least buy enough time and cause enough ruckus to alert someone who can offer assistance or at least recognise one of the boys and alert fans to swarm them for autographs, restricting their mobility.

SPEED – Why I’m Not?

Creepiness level: SPEED are far greater cunts than BTS, and pester a girl for their entire video, blocking her path repeatedly and doing all sorts of creepy “just give me one more chance” shit that gentlemen really should not do.

Threat level: the girl in this video walks down some fairly secluded and dark back-alley areas, the guys definitely present a serious threat to her safety.

Defense potential: there’s not really a lot of scope here for the girl to fight if things get ugly, with multiple SPEED members moving in on her from many different directions during the course of her walk through Korean back-alley-ville.  She would really want to carry a knife and threaten to start stabbing eye sockets, or at least play along with the guys until she’s in a position to sink her teeth into someone’s face or neck and then run screaming.  Don’t worry if you’ll hurt him – their group is due to disband soon anyway, they won’t be missed.

BigBang – Lies

Creepiness level: of course it wouldn’t be a post about street harassment without Team Seungri, and here they make a woman feel decidedly unwelcome with lots of street chasing, stalking and even some old-fashioned homegrown domestic violence.

Threat level: the girl has the right idea here, at least while out in the open – don’t look meek or weak and keep moving quickly.  Nevertheless, she does have the whole group’s attention and a violent incident in an enclosed space like an elevator or a kitchen is a far more threatening situation than out in an open street.

Defense potential: as already covered, busy streets can be good for attracting attention and making a getaway.  As for the more secluded scenes, all elevators have emergency alarms of some kind (just be aware that it might not work because many old elevators are all kinds of busted), and almost anything you can find in a domestic kitchen can be used as a weapon if things turn ugly – make sure you strike quickly and do what’s necessary to absolutely secure your safety.  You may not want to kill the guy but at the same time you don’t want to prioritise the life of an attacker in front of your own, because who knows how far he’ll go if you let him or what he’s capable of, especially with some of these k-pop dudes.

BigBang – Bad Boy

Creepiness level: Team Seungri are back with more street harassment, although this time they trim it down to only about 35% of the video – they’re all heart.

Threat level: once again busy streets are chosen, probably because these kids think they’re above the law and that the authorities will probably just let them go with a slap on the wrist.  They’re probably right about that, at least until the press shows up and finds out about the collusion.

Defense potential: more yolo clothes and some extravagant, easily-grabbable hair are definite points of vulnerability that can be exploited in a physical altercation, and I’m not sure how well T.O.P could run after someone with that skull around his neck practically hitting him in the ballsack.  Still it would be unwise to underestimate the threat potential of five guys including one who owns a sleazy rape-nightclub, so the best strategy if things get physical is definitely hit-and-run rather than stay-and-fight, because who knows how long you’ve got before the drugs kick in.

Youngjae – Another Night

Creepiness level: the most recent example of k-pop street harassment at the time of writing features just one guy, chasing down a girl who initially doesn’t like the attention, but eventually gives into his charms – or perhaps just figures that going along with proceedings is easier for now while she plans her getaway strategy.

Threat level: while there’s certainly merit in playing safe and strategically in an evidently low-threat situation involving only one fairly weedy-looking attacker, you don’t want to fall into the pattern of being a complete habitual doormat or before you know it you might end up being married to the fucking dude.

Defense potential: as it happens the girl employs several smart defense tactics that could be used to make a quick getaway, like distracting the guy by pointing to something far away, luring him to a concrete precipice that he could be pushed off to his death, and running with the guy while keeping him on the street side of the footpath so he can be easily shoved into oncoming traffic.  She clearly know what’s up and is biding her time, waiting for the perfect moment to make his kiss the concrete and then run, a good strategy but only if you know for sure that you have the time up your sleeve.

GOT7 – A

Creepiness level: Twice’s Sana certainly has “got seven” annoying harassers, who bother her at work, and then later on the street and when she’s out shopping at the supermarket.  However they eventually decide to leave her alone and just dance a bit more instead once it occurs to them that their boss might also be watching via hidden surveillance cameras.

Threat level: GOT7 certainly demonstrate that they have the agility to create a serious threat to Sana’s freedom to walk down a street without being interrupted by some backflipping k-pop dude shouting “aaayyyyy” – which wouldn’t be all that bad if that’s all it was, but remember that GOT7 have abducted people before.

Defense potential: while the “Rapist Beware” video I linked earlier suggests snotting on yourself might discourage and turn off an attacker, wearing a crusty old unwashed punk rock T-shirt is probably a good second-best option if that sounds a little too gross.  Also having your friend turn up and threaten to beat the shit out of your attackers is a great tip that can have the right discouraging effect if they look scary enough while grabbing their favourite shampoo brand.

Block B – Yesterday

Creepiness level: more supermarket stalking in this video from Block B, as well as a lot of annoying phone action, clearly Block B have some members in them who send 50 texts a day to their exes asking for a second chance, my money’s on Zico who probably got her number from when he looked at Jung Joon Young’s contact list.

Threat level: Block B prove to be a bit more clumsy than GOT7 and also a bit more into the awkward yolo-lite fashions that would surely make them easily targetable for a swift takedown in any altercation.

Defense potential: nobody in this group looks like they’d be up for a serious struggle, and each scene is filled with several props that can be used for quick distractions or hasty getaways.  Even the interrogation scenes have some potential for fightback, as furniture makes great weapons, just ask the Ugandan parliament.

N.Flying – Awesome

Creepiness level: N.Flying are those annoying frat-mentality kids who get drunk on a Saturday night and repeatedly go through the fast-food drive-thru so they can moon girls like AOA’s Seolhyun.

Threat level: with the duress cameras and safety screens firmly on the side of the employees, there’s not a lot of threat to be had from these clowns while on the job, just make sure the coast is clear in the carpark before leaving work for the night.

Defense potential: it’s an old adage true in any food and beverage industry that you should never be rude to the people serving you your meals, because they have the power to make your life very bad with just a little bit of food mishandling.  Also nothing says “back off” like a pan full of hot cooking oil to the face, as some guy discovered recently when he tried to rob my local chicken take-away.

Seventeen – Very Nice

Creepiness level: Seventeen bother some girl for no reason, but they don’t get very far.

Threat level: boxing gloves might seem like they would land a softer blow, but they’re designed to make the surface area of your fist wider so it’s easier to land blows.  Fortunately for anyone faced with an enraged boxer, they also make it really hard to grab onto things.

Defense potential: there may be over a dozen of them, but the girl seems to have mastered the Kill Bill “five-point palm exploding heart technique” of making guys bleed to death internally – but without actually touching them.  This probably makes her the safest girl here.

SHINee – Replay

Creepiness level: some SHINee dude harasses a girl out on the street and after much pestering, finally convinces her to come to… a basketball court?  Suspicious.

Threat level: there’s lots of people around who could probably come to her defense if required, and sport people are always willing to get into fights to prove their bravado to women, so she’s probably quite safe in the event that the SHINee boys would try anything.  However they are also singing on of the worst k-pop songs of all time at her, which could severely compromise her mental state to the point where she can’t think straight and makes poor decisions, sort of like a sonic rohypnol.

Defense potential: strong earplugs are recommended in this scenario.  Sound quality isn’t a concern, you just want to attenuate as many high frequencies as possible.  The cheap foam ones work well enough but have a tendency to fall out of the ear, Kpopalypse recommends the silicon ones that all chemists have, they’re only very slightly more expensive and will block out most of those high vocal runs.  With the shit music turned down to reasonable levels, our girl should be able to think straight enough to plan her escape, maybe screaming “look, it’s Hitomi Tanaka!” and then running in the other direction would work.

BTOB – You’re So Fly

Creepiness level: the pantomime is so severe in this video that I’m not even sure what half of these cringy facial expressions are even supposed to mean, but it does seem clear that the guys are being annoying fuckheads to some girls and that’s good enough for them to be included in this list.

Threat level: there seem to be two girls who are under threat here, some tall girl who randomly swishes her hair around for no reason, and a shorter girl with a bowl cut who dresses better than everyone else in the video.  The guys seem equally annoying to them both, which just goes to show that you should never assume that just because you look a certain way it might make you safe from harm.  All people like different things, sexual tastes are actually much more wide and varied than mainstream media would have you believe, and that goes for pestering creeps too.

Defense potential: given that there’s two of them, they should really take the opportunity to team up (assuming they can stand each other of course).  You’re always much safer going out with a friend into strange areas like supermarkets where boy groups dance in front of.  However if you’re massively introverted I think from the way these guys are acting in public having your local psych ward on speed dial would probably be all it takes to get you out of this one.

Snuper – Shall We Dance

Creepiness level: wait, how the fuck did you get on my widescreen TV, sending me messages?  This is some weird shit.

Threat level: the Snuper boys seem mostly nice but god knows what’s actually in those biscuits that they try to feed her near the end.  Fortunately for the girl she’s smart enough to say no to that shit.

Defense potential: the “I have a boyfriend” trick works pretty well for getting you out of sticky situations if you’re being harassed by guys, it’s not a bad idea to have some random tall friend dress in a leather jacket and keep him on standby, if you’re not confident in extracting yourself from the situation safely he can come over and pretend to be “that guy” for you if things are getting a little out of control.  Sure it’s a little sexist, but so are the douchey guys who won’t leave you alone, sometimes they only listen if you speak in their language.

B.A.P – Stop It

Creepiness level: this hapless invisible furry is stalking some girl who is admittedly genuinely attractive and looks like a cross between Gain and Kaho Shibuya.  Although that’s certainly creepy of him, it’s not as weird as that time when B.A.P had just debuted and they all dyed their hair the same shade of blonde.

Threat level: of course he’s not really invisible, she’s just pretending he is because he’s just so fucking annoying and making him think he might legitimately be invisible is a good way to give him the hint that maybe he should fuck off.  Of course he doesn’t get that hint and tries to molest her using his friends’ help which is definitely disturbing and she should be careful especially as he knows where she lives.

Defense potential: never be afraid of losers in fursuits.  They spend thousands of dollars getting their glorified onesies just right and they’re easy articles of clothing to use against them.  You can’t really do much damage to someone encased in three inches of fetish padding but there’s always lots of extraneous bits to grab on those suits that can send them clumsily off-balance, this girl wisely realises that the dangling tail is a weak spot and hones in on it.  If that doesn’t work, a can of house paint directed at that custom plushwear will turn any wannabe walk/fox hybrid into a scurrying mouse worried about his hobby investment.

Super Junior – Magic

Creepiness level: the boys of Super Junior use magic powers to make a girl do things against her will, sort of like a roofie from the spirit world.

Threat level: unexplained powers of mental manipulation can be very frightening, especially as bystanders might think that you’re just going along with it all for fun.  It’s even more frightening when one of the members of the group has a known killer attack dog.  Shindong is notably absent, so chances of a gallant rescue are also slim.

Defense potential: if you don’t have James Randi on speed dial, you might find the regular doses of cynicism from Kpopalypse blog useful, so I suggest that you keep reading, and then when you mean some magic-spinning hypnotist you’ll have the clear mental state to tell them to fuck off.  Just remember to keep some dog food handy as a decoy just in case Bugsy makes a lunge for your leg.

JYP ft. Jessi – Who’s Your Mama

Creepiness level: there’s no creepiness like CEO creepiness.  These guys will do their worst and let their boy-group members take the fall, and good luck getting a job in this industry if you protest their leering shenanigans, something they’ll no doubt remind you of at every opportunity.

Threat level: JYP might be part of a bible cult but clearly that cult doesn’t have a commandment “thou shall not spill drool in the gym”.  JYP is probably that guy who looks over your shoulder and says “you’re doing it wrong, here, let me help you adjust your form” while groping you without asking.  This is why membership at ladies-only gyms has skyrocketed in recent years.

Defense potential: people who push a lot of weights are tough to beat in combat but don’t usually spend the same amount of energy toning the space between their ears, so hone in on their weak brain matter to worm your way out of any sticky situations.  Pandering to male ego is a great trick and any escape attempt that involves making him feel like he is the most masculine person ever is almost guaranteed to succeed.  Just remember that he’s a CEO first and a pervert second so don’t sign any slave contracts or you’ll be on that treadmill for another seven years.

GD&TOP – Don’t Go Home

Creepiness level: being trapped in a car or out on the street with a creepy guy is a tricky situation, especially when it’s someone who works with Seungri on a daily basis.

Threat level: there seem to be a lot of people around at first, but worryingly G-Dragon manages to corner the girl while she’s alone.  This is definitely a high-danger situation.  Also notice the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it people watching through hidden cameras filming them as they walk up to their private room.  Has anybody seen the girls in this video after it was made?  Maybe it’s time to call the cops… but presumably they’re in on it, so I guess these girls are probably recovering in a psych ward somewhere, oh well.

Defense potential: at least we can learn from the trail of gang-rape victims, and use this knowledge to increase your safety.  Don’t leave your drinks unattended and especially don’t accept food or beverages from people you don’t trust, whether out at the club or in private settings.  Even if you do trust them, maybe you shouldn’t – remember that some of the victims in the Burning Sun cases knew their attackers personally for years before they got the drugs slipped to them.  Sex offenders are capable of hiding their true nature even from their own family members for years, so you bet that they can fool you also, they’ve had lots of practice at it.  As boring and uncool as it sounds, abstinence and resisting peer pressure is your best defense in these circumstances.

Jang Hyunseung – Ma First

Creepiness level: Hyunseung follows some girl around, who eventually gives into his advances once he proves that he’s not just a buff dickweed but can dance a bit and write stuff on her boobs.

Threat level: she’s pretty strong, at one point she slaps him playfully and he actually falls off the couch from the force.  I’m pretty sure that he’s a weedy dude and she’s an ass-kicking lady who is the one really in control of this situation.  If anything it’s him who should be afraid.

Defense potential: they get a bad rap on the Internet from incels who don’t know how human dynamics work, but beta dudes actually often do very nicely with the ladies because not every girl wants some pushy macho posturing douchenoz who wants to annoyingly “take charge” all the time.  Girls with strength of character often appreciate guys who aren’t afraid to let go of the reins occasionally and let the girls be themselves instead of trying to mold them into whatever it is that the guy wants them to be inside his own head.  Sometimes the best defense against douchey guys is not associating with douchey guys.

SS501 – Love Like This

Creepiness level: the scenes of girls getting harassed here fly by very quickly and are almost unnoticeable if you’re not paying attention, much like Kim Hyun Joong’s career.  Clearly the girl is NOT into it at all, but since when did that stop a guy like him.

Threat level: there’s a real risk of bad stuff happening, I’m not sure what “love like this” refers to, presumably a surprise butthole attack from Kim Hyun Joong the Ted Bundy of k-pop, remember that Ted got away with his crimes for years because he was so dashing, affluent and charming that nobody could believe that he could do such things, a stark mirror of the in-denial behaviour of k-pop fangirls today.  Don’t fall for his charms, run quickly girls – and don’t trip over that coffee table on the way out!

Defense potential: make sure to always carry contraception, because how are you so easily pregnant?  You’re such a pregnant freak.  I guess I’ll have to go to your house – or the police department.

History – Psycho

Creepiness level: well at least History were honest.  No wonder they didn’t last long in k-pop with these honesty levels.

Threat level: it’s implied here that they’re already in jail, or just about to be, and in any case all the evidence of their crimes is right here in the video so even if they’re not incarcerated yet they’re giving your lawyers a lot to work with.

Defense potential: it’s a good idea to move address, change your phone number and maybe even your name before these guys finish serving their ultra-light sentences for whatever they did to you.  At least they had some reasonable songs, so maybe once you’ve moved countries you could even try lightly stanning under and assumed name.

That’s all for this post!  Hopefully you have felt your personal safety and OH&S compliance increase through reading this post!  Kpopalypse will return soon!

7 thoughts on “Kpopalypse assesses street harassment danger levels in k-pop music videos

  1. Another excellent article. The only downside to your hilarious commentary was that you encouraged me to watch music videos by Korean boy groups, and that’s practically never a good thing, either for me or for brain-dead fangirls who would gladly set themselves on fire in a misguided attempt to prove that their oppas aren’t rapists.

    Fortunately, following the events of that Got7 video, life has turned out very well for Sana. She’s now rich and famous, and could easily hire a hitman to garrotte those boys (or perhaps make them choke to death on their own jewellery) if they continue to give her a difficult time.

  2. Thanks for this article, it made me see that I tend to ignore “concepts” that I don’t like and accept that idols are forced to do them – without realizing that these concepts can be seen as commentary on the industry!

    Here’s more MVs where I noticed similar stuff (most of them aren’t street harassment though, I think you got the majority already):
    (1) Exo – Lotto: Woman is chased by wolves and becomes unconscious – shortly after the lyrics are “I just hit the lotto”. Later we see r*pe and one boy tries to save her; in the end she gets caught – but not handcuffed like the boys.
    (2) Block B – Jackpot: At the beginning she gets unconscious, the clown laughs and we hear a shrill voice “Those oppas are a bit strange/weird”. She tries to flee but they stop her / chase her, so she has to perform with them and they control her. At least she gets to show them the middle finger right at the end and walk away.
    (3) Teen Top – Crazy: “Do you want to be my girlfriend?” – “No” -> epic chase starts
    (4) Teen Top – Miss Right: She is locked in a prison cell with one of the boys at 1:49, and at 3:03 he watches her as she changes clothes in front of him (lyrics at that part: “I’m staring at you)
    (5) Teen Top – To you: 0:43, 2:34
    (6) B1A4 – Beautiful Target
    (7) Infinite H – Special Girl
    (8) NCT 127 – Firetruck: they show up randomly in her life and spray everything (also the beginning with the little girl has a Lars van Trier feeling for me)

    Not harassment but still: JJY Band – OMG: Jung Joon Young has a huge party with alcohol, scantly clad women and hallucinations – he ends up with two women in bed and next morning he is the only one able to get up – all other people look sleeping/unconscious. Also at 2:41 a woman realizes she’s filmed and lashes out.
    Random JJY fact (I was once a fan): He and Roy Kim got famous with covering the song “Becoming Dust”. Their wish was fulfilled

    PS: slight spelling mistakes. For Jang Hyunseung in 3rd paragraph: a bad rap or a bad rep? And for History also in 3rd paragraph: stanning under and or an? assumed name

    PPS: Sorry for my boring writing style, I adore your wit and appreciate all of your posts.

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