A newly debuted K-pop girl group, Bonus Baby, is currently at the center of attention after a recent stage performance on May 12. Unfortunately for them, it is not for a positive reason.
On the stage of KBS’s Music Bank, Bonus Baby performed “If I Become an Adult,” a fast-paced dance song about a girl’s wish to become an adult to be with her crush. For their stage costumes, the six members of Bonus Baby wore pink skirts, white shirts, and—at the heart of the controversy—pink bibs dangling from their necks.
These bibs disturbed people not only because they’re visually hideous, but also because they reignite a pervasive debate over pedophilic connotations in K-pop that have faced increasing scrutiny over the past several years.
“The song is titled ‘If I Become an Adult’ and members who obviously look old enough to be adults are wearing bibs on stage,” wrote one Twitter user, angered by the stage performance. “And why do so many girl groups choose school uniforms for the stage costumes?”
“First the bibs, then the school uniforms, and now even the title of the song and their group name sound like they’re promoting pedophilia,” another Twitter user added.
In recent years, a number of K-pop groups and members have been accused of depicting pedophilia by romanticizing “innocent looks.” In 2015, singer IU was under fire for pedophilic imagery in her music videos and a song titled “Zeze.” Similar cases continue to be found in the genre.
With concerns that employing such problematic imagery could both misrepresent women and promote pedophilia, many argue that entertainment agencies need to refrain from utilizing concepts suggestive of minors when marketing their artists.
By Heewon Kim