The Not-So-Happy Ending for K-pop Girl Groups with a Sexy Concept 

(G)I-DLE recently dropped new teaser images for their comeback album, but they quickly found themselves in a controversy due to the sexy concept, which is not common among new generation girl groups.

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The disappearance of the sexy conceptThe new era of girl group 

In fact, Kpop has evolved into an era where girl groups are making it big by taking a different route. NewJeans, IVE, aespa, and especially BLACKPINK have risen to the top without adhering to the sexy style and daring outfits.

The disappearance of the sexy concept


Girl groups known for their sexy concept are Girl’s Day, AOA, SISTAR, Secret, miss A, After School, 9Muses, 4Minute, and Rainbow, to name a few… miss A, in particular, embraced this concept from day one and achieved remarkable success. Miss A even won a Daesang shortly after their debut. 

These groups belonged to the second generation of Kpop, considered the golden age of Kpop overall and the sexy concept in particular.

In Kpop, the sexy concept was easily recognizable by its appealing music, dark colors, provocative choreography, and revealing outfits, all openly aimed at gender appeal.

Girl’s Day initially went for a cute, sweet image. AOA even had a band image, but neither gained much attention at debut. Yet, they changed their game with the sexy concept. Girl’s Day’s “Something” became a hit, covered by many fans and fellow idols.


However, this concept has all but disappeared as Kpop moved from the second generation to the third and is now in the fourth. HyunA, for sticking to this style and sometimes being too provocative, faced public criticism. Groups like Girl’s Day, AOA, Secret, After School, 9Muses… enjoyed brief popularity and eventually disbanded.

Some netizens believe that the sexy concept is vanishing due to female idols facing sexual harassment.

And now, Kpop has so many minors debuting, forcing companies to narrow down concepts, seeking images suitable for the idols’ age and public taste.

The new era of girl group 


According to The Korea Times, the rise of new generation girl groups, especially NewJeans and IVE, has been quite noteworthy in recent years. NewJeans’ music successively broke records domestically and internationally upon release.

They even achieved a significant milestone by topping Billboard 200 within a year of their debut. The group solidified its global position by winning the Global Kpop Artist award at the 2023 Billboard Music Awards.

In 2023, NewJeans undeniably had a breakthrough year. Their songs went viral, and the numerous awards they received demonstrated their strength in the entertainment scene.

IVE is also a leading 4th gen girl group. They attracted widespread media attention by winning both the rookie and Daesang awards at various Korean awards shows in 2022. Continuing their impressive achievements, in 2023, the group dominated music charts with their releases. 

Other names like LE SSERAFIM, aespa, (G)I-DLE, Fifty Fifty… have contributed to the golden era of fourth-generation Kpop girl groups.

BLACKPINK rose to the position of a top global girl group with their confident and strong girl crush  concept.

Among these names, (G)I-DLE is a rare group that adopts a bold, sexy style.


Music critic Jung Min Jae told Korea JoongAng Daily that the success of current girl groups comes from building unique musical identities to differentiate themselves while attracting target audiences. Therefore, solely focusing on a sexy concept is no longer effective in winning fans.

Jung said, “If girl groups only stick to cute, sexy, or ‘girl crush’ concepts, it will no longer be useful. With more and more girl groups debuting, focusing on a simple concept will not be competitive enough.”

According to Jung Min Jae, NMIXX establishes a unique genre called Mixx Pop, while aespa focuses on a fictional worldview in the metaverse. They are both prime examples of showcasing unique colors.

In the case of (G)I-DLE, they are still doing well. However, the group’s success does not come from their bold outfits. Korea JoongAng Daily analyzed that the secret to their success lies in following the theme of self-love conveyed through their music. (G)I-DLE’s songs aim at confidence and accepting their true selves.

Source: zing