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Girls' Generation Taeyeon, SHINee Onew, Lee Hyori Middle Finger Controversies: What's The Big Deal?

By Staff Writer | May 24, 2013 02:31 AM EDT


Sometimes it is easy for K-Pop fans to forget that their favorite idols are only human. It may be hard to remember because the singers and their management spend so much time and effort to make sure they are presenting the best possible form of themselves to the public. So when an idol's behavior is anything short of perfection, it tends to send shock waves through the K-Pop universe.

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Netizens and fans go back and forth criticizing and defending the stars, literally picking apart every action that has ever been caught on film. Nobody is perfect, so why do we care so much when a K-Pop star does something remotely unappealing?

A perfect example of this is the middle finger. We all have one and we have all used it before - whether seriously or as a joke among friends. And while yes, it is rude, is it really such a big deal?

Take three recent instances: SHINee's Onew flipping the bird to a fellow group-mate in a radio station studio, Taeyeon of SNSD posing with a man in drag giving the finger, and Lee Hyori's T-shirt with a caricature of a not-so-nice hand on it.

Back in March, a screen shot from SHINee's appearance on Younha's Star Shining Night, an MBC FM radio program with a live stream of what is happening in the studio, was circulating the internet. The image shows the usually polite and gentle Onew giving the finger to a fellow group member across the table.


And instantly the internet went crazy. So crazy that Onew and his agency, SM Entertainment, had to officially apologize for his behavior. The company's official statement read, "Onew is very apologetic and self-reflecting over his action. We promise to make sure something like this does not happen again."

Right... because no one else has joked around with a friend by sticking up their middle finger.

And too bad for Onew. As an idol he is already under scrutiny to have a certain appearance and demeanor, but now he also has to constantly be checking over his shoulder for cameras when he want to have a good time with his friends.

However, he did actually do it, and it was actually caught on film - so really the only person to "blame" is himself. But what about Taeyeon?

The Girls' Generation singer had experienced a similar situation in 2010 when a video of her appearance on a radio show with comedienne Kim Shinyoung the year before surfaced. The video shows Taeyeon smiling while using her "swearing finger."


Amidst the controversy, Taeyeon's fans remained supportive, but now it seems she is making news yet again for middle fingers - and this time it is not even her own!

On May 19 she posted some pictures to her Instagram posing with several men in drag on the set of SNSD upcoming music video. One photo in particular caused a stir as one of the men was shown with his middle finger up.


Taeyeon obviously did not feel the picture was a big deal and soon after it started spreading across the internet she responded with the following statement, "I asked him to do a warui kanji (bad and wild atmosphere) pose and that's what he did. They are not bad people."

As with before, Taeyeon's fans and Soshis united to defend the image and the expressive finger in response to the negative backlash initially caused by the photo.

Sometimes the internet controversies feel like netizens are just grabbing at straws - and Lee Hyori's T-shirt is a shining example of just that.

In the teaser image for her recently released comeback album Monochrome, Lee Hyori is seen wearing a shirt with a cute figure on it. However, when one looks a bit closer, it is easy to see that the caricature is of a hand with its middle finger extended. Below the picture, the shirt reads "F@$K OFF?!"

Lee Hyori was obviously trying to show off her "Bad Girl" side (also the name of the album's title track), but netizens were not so kind in their comments about her styling.

The veteran singer has never been one to be apologetic for her appearance or behavior, and this situation seems to be no different. While other artists who have been criticized for similar "naughty" fashion have made public apologies, even angry netizens are not holding their breath on this one.

The Korean music industry and its fans may expect a lot from their idols, but that does not mean it should be forgotten that they are humans just like the rest of us. And not only do they make mistakes and like to goof off, but they are also entitled to their own opinions and fashion sense. So especially if it is something we have all done, why must we be so hard on the idols?

Tagged :  Onew, SHINee, SNSD, Girls Generation, Taeyeon, Lee Hyori

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