South Korea tries to curb the sexual exploitation of underage K-pop stars

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 2:51am

South Korea authorities want to curb over-sexualised performances by teenage stars of the country's thriving K-pop scene.

Proposed revisions to the Youth Protection Law would slap an R-rating on films, music videos and TV shows that place an exaggerated sexual emphasis on young singers and bands.

An official at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Lee Ill-hyun, said the move would encourage self-regulation, as producers would have to tone down performances or suffer a rating that cut out the teenage audience they target.

The revised law would apply to videos and shows that "excessively highlight certain body parts of minors and depict them as sexual subjects".

Lee cited images that zoom in on the breasts or hips of performers under 18.

The R-rating would mean that such material could only be sold to people over 18 or broadcast late at night. Internet viewers would be required to type in social security numbers to prove their age.

"It is aimed at curbing the exploitation of underage entertainers as some are known to be forced to perform overly sexual dance moves," Lee said.

"Most fans of these young stars are teenagers. If the artists are practically banned from showing their performances to them, there will be less incentive for agents to produce such sexual choreography," he said.

South Korea's K-pop scene is dominated by girl and boy bands whose members are sometimes as young as 13 or 14.