Breaking the Fourth Wall in K-Pop: Voyeurism and Talking About Reverse Panopticons


Objectification is common in the media and entertainment industry; if you'�re in the limelight, there is no way to escape objectification, irrelevant of gender. While prevalent in both Western and Eastern entertainment industries, this objectification borders on voyeurism when it comes to the Korean entertainment industry, mainly the music sector. Artists, particularly 'idol' musicians live in a fishbowl environment, a reverse panopticon of sorts where every gaze is on them and their actions are scrutinised step by step, both internally by their agencies, and externally by the paparazzi and further still by their fans. This essay looks at this panopticism present in the K-pop industry, where idols are constantly under surveillance, and how they cope with the lifestyle of living in a reverse or inverse panopticon. The focus of this paper is from the other side, where artists break the fourth wall using their songs, and consequently music videos to talk about the voyeurism and objectification they face. Using three music videos, Xia Junsu's 'Tarantallegra' (2012), G-Dragon's 'Who You?' (2013) and FT-ISLAND's 'Pray' (2015) as points of focus, this paper analyses and examines the varying degrees of voyeurism faced by idols as they live in a panopticon society.

Author Information
Kashfia Arif, Bengal Foundation, Bangladesh

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2016
Stream: Media Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon