miss A and JYP have always done some interesting things compared to other Kpop groups. I personally associate miss A with I-am-woman hear me roar type singles. This certainly is another step on that path, but after my discussion with Professor Zook I began to view things a bit differently.
This song does talk about a kind of female empowerment that from my experience is relatively novel in Korea. Men are still, as they are in many places, the breadwinners. Young Korean men spend a lot of money on their girlfriends, and there are many constructions across media and culture of the responsibility/burden of the male to care for and provide for his female counterpart (let’s not even get into the almost absolute denial of anything non-heterosexual). So in a way this is a cultural critique, a reaction to a norm. The girls seem quite cynical about the sweet words they are being told by the absent men (inevitably Korean pop groups sing about the other gender, but they are never in their videos).
Yet the girls start discussing their parents. Filial piety and respect bring us back to traditional culture and present this interesting interplay of emerging ideas of gender roles and old Confucian structures. This is evidence of the diverse interplay of tradition and modernity in Korea and just of present it is across the cultural landscape. It’s even springing up in pop music.