Thursday, December 3, 2009

High school junior's cleavage attracts attention.

The Korea Times writes on some controversy around a website using a busty high school junior as a model.
The decision to cast an 18 year old high school girl to appear in a collection of sexually-suggestive photographs has caused a dispute on the Internet over the suitability of using a teenager in these images.

Applemilk Communications (, a publisher well-known for collections of photos of amateur models, announced Monday that it has selected Choi Eun-jung, a high school junior, as one of two models who will be featured in the third edition of its ``Kind Glamour'' photo series.

I checked and Naver lists her date of birth as 1991; often in Korean papers the age listed will be two years higher---18 in Choi's case---because of the Asian age-reckoning system. The HelloKind page doesn't seem to be working now and instead just has these two pictures (Choi is on the right).

Googling around shows its specialty is busty women in bikinis and lingerie, and I wonder if it's any coincidence that "Kind"---in addition to being an English adjective" also means child in German. The article continues:
``The domestic photo collection market has been growing fast but the quality of models has been sliding, failing to meet public expectations,'' said Shim Young-gyu, president of Applemilk Communications. ``We focused on young models this time.''

It is the first time in three years that a high school girl has been picked as a model for the collection of photos in which models pose in revealing attire. In 2006, Lee Ji-yeon modeled for a collection of sexually-suggestive photos at the age of then 17.

The selection of Choi is drawing criticism from some netizens on Web sites. ``It's not right to pick a teenager for these types of pictures,'' said a netizen with the username ``muse.''

However, Shim said current laws do not ban high school girls from appearing in these shoots.

Well, in spite of the headline "Selection of Highschooler for Glamour Model Causes Stir," it looks like the Korea Times is merely advertising for the site. After all, the "stir" comes from one lone netizen, expressing a fairly generic opinion.

James Turnbull of The Grand Narrative last night on Twitter reminded me of the story from January of semi-nude photographs of a 14-year-old model and the controversy it caused in Korea. As a language aside, "glamour" (글래머) in Korean means busty, but has a different meaning in English.

And on last week, pictures of Chinese high school girls in bikinis.


brent said...

I am against stifling the freedom of the young that want to do something if they are not co-erced and the parents sign off on it.

However, I don't think the 14 year old's parents should have allowed her to do a topless photo shoot.

holterbarbour said...

I think the use of "glamour" here isn't entirely inappropriate, given that it's referring to modelling and photography:

But at least these hellokind girls are glamourous. I shudder when I think of all the floppy-bellied pinnipeds that have their pictures on display at the "Glamour Shots" in the local mall back home.

fattycat said...

Geeze students of all ages here were short shorts with their butts hanging out and no one takes a second look. Show a little cleavage and all hell breaks loose.

Pehaps this is all jealously from men with flat chested women? ;)

Brian said...

Good point, fattycat.

There's a big difference in how showing off legs and chests is perceived.

Living in Korea for so long, where you don't see much cleavage (for various reasons), when I watch CSI or Law and Order, I'm actually kind of bothered with all of it. I'm not a prude or anything, but I don't really want tits hanging out in my face all the time.

Brian said...

A friend of a friend had a great picture on his Facebook a while ago, and I wish I could find it. It's of a woman, Korean I think, with a coat waist-length coat on buttoned all the way up to the top, but with short shorts on that leave her cheeks hanging out.

fattycat said...

Supprisingly I've gotten the same reactions when I've shown a bit of cleavage from Korean men as I have when I've shown my shoulders. I've been told "too naked too naked!" but the korean girl next to me wearing the same thing but with a smaller chest gets got not reaction.

Maybe with all the cutesy sexy dances and butts hanging out and pre teens in heals boobs are the only thing that can still make a Korean man blush

fattycat said...

btw, I know the "too naked" comment may also have been because I am foreign

Pretty Gull said...

Korean word "chakhan" translates as "kind" but also translates as "curvy" when talking about a woman's body (in case you were wondering, which you said you were). That's curvy in the traditional sense, not as a polite way of saying fat.

Darth Babaganoosh said...

Meh. Not as controversial as the one with the Japanese girl a few years back. IIRC, she was 12-years old but already a D-cup and doing bikini/thong photo shoots.

Pervy and creepy.

By comparison, a C-cup high schooler showing a little cleavage is downright prudish.

Darth Babaganoosh said...

Sorry, she was 11, not 12.

Puffin Watch said...

Consider American Beauty featured a topless 16-year old Thora Birch.

I find it odd there was no controversy. Nothing compared to 1978's Pretty Baby:

Yeah the mini mini mini skirts are okay but oh my god showing a bra strap you're a whore thing is a mystery to me. But then it's like American TV which can show all manner of violence but a nipple will get you shut down.

Radical Contra said...

Korean men puritanical? No way!

When men are alone, it's anything hoes. I once taught body parts by showing various actresses' bodies. It lasted for weeks. But, getting a boy and girl to practice a dialogue is like dental surgery. But, in a public setting, with women present - and I think I would include the internet as public - men act diffident and proper. There seems to be a tendency to downplay public interest in sexuality and and to emphasize moral factors, like motherhood and and other virtues, over sexuality.Those childhood years in segregated classes retards familiarity.

An Acorn in the Dog's Food said...

Wonder if we have the 저고리 to thank for that difference in perception ...

jay said...

korea is slowly becoming very japan-esque in this manner.

and "glamour" is a japanese-english. a GaiRiGou