Girl's Generation, GG in short, also known as SNSD (Sonyeo Sidae, stylised as 소녀시대 in the Korean alphabet) is a South Korean girl group that has been active since 2007. The group quickly gained the title 'Nation's Girl Group' but their journey has not been without its ups and downs. Yesterday was GG's 11th anniversary and I celebrated by talking a walk down memory lane. Here are 5 things I've learnt from Girl's Generation.
The road to success is a long and winded one.
GG started out at a time when boy groups were the norm and yet they managed to carve a name out for themselves. It didn't come in an instant though, they released their first song in 2007 - Into The New World - but the song that rose them through the charts was Gee which they released in 2009. And even before their debut, the various members were trainees for several years as is the norm in the South Korean entertainment industry. Some can even train for 10+ years before they get a chance to debut! And, because of this training system, the people seeking to be in the entertainment industry practically start out when they are wee children so that they can debut by the time they are getting into late teenagehood or thereabout. I remember watching a GG documentary of the Into The New World era: they would practise that one song for hours and hours on end until every single thing was perfect. At that time, they were opening for Super Junior. People hardly knew who GG were; they had close to no fans. And yet, slowly, through the years, their popularity soared up to the point where they were being put in Korean textbooks as one of Korea's attractions!
Not everyone's going to like you, and you're going to need to be okay with that.
Given what I've led with, you'd think that GG was liked by everyone, and, well, relatively so, but they received their fair share of hate. There's this phenomenon called K-Netz, and they're basically Koreans on the internets who seem to specialize in hate. There's also this other phenomenon called sasaeng, which is an obsessive fan on steroids (figuratively). K-Netz and sasaengs can get very wild. Very, very wild. K-Netz have called for the death penalty for Korean celebrities simply because the celebrity did something the K-Netz didn't like. Sasaengs have directly caused the physical harm of celebrities and other people in the vicinity. Let's just say that things get ugly. But back to GG. GG has had it's fair share of hate. When they started out, Hyoyeon got labelled ugly for her nose. Yuri was attacked for her tan. The girls had to constantly watch their weight otherwise any misstep and they were done for. Then Jessica left and people took it out on Taeyeon who is the group's leader. The poor girl got depression so bad. In fact, she was recently attacked for mourning her friend's death who also happened to be suffering from depression and who ended up committing suicide due to depression. GG as a collective went through a period of time where they tried changing themselves to suit everyone else but as they grew, they grew into themselves and became more and more comfortable with themselves and slowly stopped changing themselves for everyone else's pleasure. Liberation.
Sometimes you're going to have to step out of your comfort zone.
A sizeable amount of entertainers state that they are, as a matter of fact, introverts. Then how are they entertainers? Such is the performer's paradox. GG also has introverts in its midst. Taeyeon is perhaps the most introverted amongst them, yet she has a budding singing career. How? She simply steps out of her comfort zone whenever she has to and steps back into it after she's done. Did you also know that Beyoncé states that she's an introvert? That boggles my mind. What is this life?
You're going to make mistakes.
The most recent mistake by GG was by Tiffany when she put the Imperial Japanese flag on her Instagram on South Korea's Independence Day. Japan's Imperial flag is considered the 'Confederate flag of the East', so you get the idea. And to put it up on Independence Day, oof! Tiffany's defense was that she had simply mistaken the flags and she had meant to put Japan's flag because she was in Tokyo and the the rising sun flag came up after she typed Tokyo and she didn't know any better because it wasn't taboo in Japan or anywhere else in the world plus she's American...she didn't know, in short. She apologized, but it was a really big scandal. HUGE scandal. In her defense, Japan's imperialism isn't discussed outside of East Asia mostly. The rising sun flag of Japan is in display in lots of places and people just think it's just another symbol of Japan, which it is, but they have no idea that it actually stands for war, destruction and hate. The point is, you're going to make mistakes. Apologize and make it right, otherwise you're just an asshole. The world doesn't need any more assholes, there's already plenty of those.
Friends are just family you choose.
GG is a tight-knit family. They're always there for each other. Even now, when they're in different countries, they still make time for each other. They get together when they miss each other and even during member's birthdays whenever they can. When one of them comes up with a project, the rest of them throw their weight behind her and support her fully. Get you friends like those.