Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Lady": A Lady-man Pop Group in Korea

From left: Binu, Sine and Sahara

I saw this headline today on the Chosun Ilbo's website and I had to blog it.

I mean I had a cross dressing roommate when I was in San Francisco. Very strange not because he was a cross dresser, but because he just wasn't a good one. I lived a couple of blocks from a great drag bar, so I saw great looking drag queens all the time.

Anyway, the article talks about how a new pop group whose members are transsexuals is set to debut here in Korea. Now that might sound strange but when I first arrived Harisu, 하리수, was huge news here in Korea.

Honestly, I think it's great that it's happening. I know that in the States the protest groups would be out in force and an entertainment company wouldn't dare to put together and promote a group like this. As I've said a few times on this blog before, believe it or not, but Koreans have a quicker discrimination learning curve than we do in the West. This is just another example.

Manufactured Transgender Pop Group 'Lady' Set to Debut
Pretty pop princesses are a dime a dozen, but meet “Lady,” not your typical girly group. These four foxy sirens are creating media frenzy as they poise to take the entertainment industry by storm. Korea's first transgender group is set to release its debut album in a Euro-dance style.

And its members -- Sine, Sahara, Binu and Yoona -- born as 'he's are now 'she's with looks that many natural-born women would kill for.

"We love chocolate, shopping and gossip. Mentally we were always women, the only difference being that we changed something physical, simply we are women with an extra scar," said one group member.

And Lady's agency is banking on this with the manufactured group. In fact, the decision to create a transgender quartette is already reaping a marketing pay off.

It's hard to believe that the members of lady aged 22 through 29 had to compete with other transgender contenders in an audition, where they say, almost 400 other showed up for their shot at fame.

"Many people are speculating that you are trying to cash in on the novelty of being transgendered, but many are skeptical about if you have any talent, what do you say to that?" "Soon we'll show everyone what we've got on stage."

Part of the paparazzi can be owed to the pioneering role of the Korean singer Harisu, who successfully created a niche for transsexuals in the traditionally conservative Korean entertainment industry.

All post-op transgenders, the members of Lady say that they are hoping to find acceptance from the public, having been warmly embraced by their families. "It was hard for them at first, but now they support me." "I was very fortunate, when I became an adult and went to get my gender reassignment surgery, my whole family came to support me."

But in a fickle industry their long-term popularity will depend on the quality of music they deliver, and only time will tell. Waiting in the wings until the curtains go up on their big debut, each day is spend to the hilt, focusing on preparation, and for now they are just "ladies, in waiting.”

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  1. Oh wow, I am a bit confused, how did they get their bodies so slender. I am disappointed that this group wasn't homegrown but very thought out and commercialized(an indicator is the mass audition); its seem less about a minority group willing itself and more about making a quick buck on a "fad". 400 people showing up to audition just for the group? You are right, try that in the US.

  2. In general, both Korean men and women have much slighter frames. Now that's a broad generalization, but I'm thinking if a Korean man is on the hormones that go with a sex change they'd be able to be quite slim.

    I don't know if it's a fad per se as Harisu has been going strong since 2001 in her current form (I linked to the Wikipedia page on her in the post.)


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