When it comes to the world of K-Pop, one of the biggest issues surrounding the industry has been the topic of age.
Recently, HYBE‘s sublabel, ADOR, announced the debut of their newest girl group, NewJeans. With the members so young and many still considered minors, it’s raised concerns about the safety and well-being of idols.
When the group first debuted, many praised the group, adding that the concept of the video seemed age appropriate for idols between the ages of 14 and 18.
Yet, many quickly noticed things that didn’t seem right and were deemed inappropriate for idols so young. In particular, many pointed out concerns about the outfits worn by the members in the video and also in the photos posted on their social media.
Many have also raised concerns about the past history of CEO Min Hee Jin, who has had a history of poor management when it came to working with underage idols.
On August 1, the group officially made their debut with their EP New Jeans and released a music video for the track “Cookie.” Like their last video released, the song initially seemed quite sweet, and the title seemed to suit the members’ age.
Yet, according to netizens, some of the lyrics have been deemed inappropriate, especially considering the ages of the members and the past issues raised. In the context of the lyrics, many saw the word “Cookie” as a metaphor for “Vagina.”
Looking at my cookie, the scent alone will make you see. You can’t stop at one bite with me.
— “Cookie” lyrics
Many also believe that the lyrics of the translations seem suggestive and completely inappropriate for minors to be singing.
If you want it, you can get it. If you want it, let me hear you say you want it more.
— “Cookie” lyrics
When the lyrics were shared online, international netizens couldn’t hide their anger and disgust. Many also added that the styling also add to it being inappropriate, with the outfits being compared to uniforms or looking like secretaries.
Within hours, the tweet had been commented on thousands of times. Many were wondering how grown adults could approve a song like this for a group with minors.
Many also emphasized that this isn’t meant to target the members but protect them from what they deem as inappropriate content to promote.
y’all taking people’s criticism on cookie’s lyrics as an attack on newjeans, y’all have it twisted. it’s CONCERN FOR THESE GIRLS. whoever approved of the lyrics and allowed them to sing is disgusting. people are worried, rightfully so esp after the accusations against their CEO
— ☻ (@fearofkth) August 1, 2022
Yet, some international netizens pointed out that they thought there were mistranslations with some of the lyrics and it was interpreted by international fans too literally.
In particular, many Koreans seemed to be confused by the negative reactions to the lyrics and instead saw them as more innocent and cute.
- The lyrics are super cute and fresh.
- It’s kind of ambiguous, I guess.
- The lyrics are so cute!!!
- Just how can you even think that the lyrics sound sexual from reading it? LOL, I really don’t get it.
Many also pointed to the video by the members. In the video, they shared that rather than the “sexual” connotations, it is an innocent song written for the fans.
There’s a really special meaning behind ‘Cookies,’ so we’d like to explain it to you. ‘Cookies’ is a fan song we made for you all.
Korean and international netizens might have mixed views about the lyrics and the meanings, yet, the issues surrounding the age of the members have meant that fans are rightly critical. For many, they just want to ensure that the members are taken care of and not exploited in an inappropriate way,
You can read more about netizens’ concerns about NewJeans below.