Thursday, January 20, 2011

Polar opposites: A Russian pop video censored on Korean YouTube

Growing up in Idaho hardly ever exposed me to the overt hyperfemininity I found when I arrived in Moscow. At first, I was overwhelmed.




I felt embarrassed by the amount of cleavage I saw, from young and old alike. I stared in awe at women walking gracefully in stilettos on ice.

“How could they not be in pain?!”

I shook my head at crocheted shirts with only a bra, no camisole, underneath. My jaw dropped when I saw women without bras in the summer. I stared in envy at long legs exposed by “too short” skirts. I admired perfect makeup, Dior, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chanel adorning the bodies of my students.

After a few months of viewing women’s bodies on display in videos, on the streets, and as go-go dancers, I became quite immune. No longer did I stare in shock. In fact, often I tuned it out.

But before I became immune to women on display, in the fall of 2008, DJ Smash’s “Волна” (“Volna” which means wave) blanketed the club scene.

The video showcases scantily clad women eating junk food in sexually provocative ways, and as one of the top pop songs in Moscow, it was viewable everywhere:

In clubs and bars.

On televisions and computers.

And even in malls and restaurants.

In short, it was in eye-shot of everyone at every age.

While there is nothing overtly sexual going on, the messages implicit in the women’s body language can be quite alarming to the sheltered eyes of someone who grew up in Conservative Land (aka Idaho). I knew if the video was plastered everywhere in the States, like it was in Moscow, parents and church leaders would go into hysterics.

Now, I occasionally listen to Russian pop for the dance beat or to get a kick out of what was popular in Moscow two years ago. My perception has changed, and I no longer think scantily clad women are that big of a deal.

A couple nights ago, while enjoying the eccentricity that is tektonik, I recalled Russian pop, flipped back to “Volna” and saw that YouTube had censored the video. On normal “safe” mode, this video is no longer viewable. Even a month ago, this was not true.

YouTube, in Korea anyway, has suddenly deemed the video unfit for eyes under the age of 19, stating, “In compliance with the Youth Protection Act, this video cannot be seen by a person under the age of 19 years.”


I googled “Youth Protection Act” and came up basically empty handed. This has got to be Korean censorship.

Regardless, young people should not watch a sexy woman in little more than a bathing suit eat an ice cream cone … or a hot dog … or a lollypop … or a hamburger…?

Maybe it’s the swinging hips that are offensive.

Or that the only Asian girl in the video makes eating with chopsticks sexy.

Or maybe it's just the word sexy that can be applied to the video.

I would love to hear impressions from “fresh”, “unadulterated” eyes.

I have gone from a culture that inundates the public with images like these, to one that is intent on sheltering the public from them.


  1. ...impressions from "fresh" "unadulterated" eyes... "naive"... "old-fashioned" ... Call it "youth protection", or call it "inappropriate", "puritan", or whatever, but many of us believe that some "images" are too suggestive, provocative, inappropriate, or even "abusive" for young minds- regardless of what these images are doing.

    The view I was raised with is that sexuality is holy and sacred and special - not something to be exploited or to become immune to. I never used to think that censorship was truly necessary, but because young children surf the net, with little or no guidance, regularly; most not having the maturity to filter such images on their own and put them in proper seems very necessary.

    Pornographic viewing is a growing addiction which used to be perpetuated via magazines one could only purchase if they were 21. ..and not every family had them "hidden under the bed".
    Of course one can find arguments pro and con, but I've read articles about scientific evidence to back up the fact than an immature brain is altered by it's experiences...and pornographic addiction is a fact (as is addiction to violence - but that's another topic), why not honor and protect them as long as we can? This is not a place that most parents I know want their young sons to go, simply because of respect.

    Granted, some will be "exposed" regardless...but why should a culture have the right to exploit young minds?

  2. kim this is great! your words have a way of dragging me into what is being said, provoking me to voice my opinion! i agree on both fronts of cores scantly clad woman are not that big of a deal. we live in an age of whitch the majority of movies, tv shows, and MUSIC, thrives off these things even back ten years or so. the music video, Benny Bennassi - Satisfaction that i posted on my wall a week or so ago proves this point.
    now there are exceptions! a young kid before high school should not be exposed to this material... if helped, and thats like saying im going to walk though a battle field, on stilts, in the mid 1800's and not get shot and die of gang green... its almost not practical, it could happen but then your kid turns into a social failure.. not saying that porn should be brodcast over the regular TV stations, PORN IS BAD! i do not agree with it for my own reasons. just saying that in order to cast out things like half naked girls and such is like trying to filter out an aircrafts hydraulic system with the best, most top of the line 5 micron filter the world has to offer and still end up with a bad hydraulic sample over time, even after replacing ten times.. its nearly impossible to accomplish keeping the world from contaminating your child so why not just teach before the teaching doesnt soak in.. it worked for me! then we can let the older more mature group enjoy the tastyness of these emotionally stimulating nix nacks!

  3. I can completely understand your sentiment when it comes to being immune to "inappropriate" materials being everywhere. Germany was no exception and living there for four years, you become immune to checking out at the gas station next to hard core porn magazines.
    Whether or not it should be censored, I think it should, only to give parents the option of being able to parent their children. If they don't have a problem with their children viewing the material, then great, they can give them the ability, but if they do not want to, they now have the ability to stop them. It is so hard for parents to monitor and have any say in what is thrust in front of their kids anymore. I think the parents know and understand their children the best and have the right to decide if their children are of the appropriate mindset to view or listen to certain things. I don't think the censorship takes anything away from adults, but allows parents the ability to actually parent their children and make the decision on what is appropriate or not, and I think that is a good thing.