Girls On Top (GOT) the Beat’s debut single “Step Back” caused a stir online as some K-pop fans found the lyrics to be a literal step back in women’s representation in South Korea.
The single, performed for the first time on New Year’s Day and released online on Jan. 3, follows the story of a woman trying to warn another woman to step away from the man she likes, Genius reported.
The woman in question warns the other one of potential backlash if she defies her and accuses her of flirting with her man despite him being in a relationship. She also puts the other woman down, saying, “Try climbing your way up here. My man is on another level (Level). You can’t even dream about this level (Level).”
The lyrics of the song’s chorus, which is the focus of the recent online controversy, read: “It won’t be enough even if you’re born again.
(Step back, step back).
You’re like a poison to the good boys.
They become lonelier as they drink more.”
Many Twitter users quickly took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the lyrics.
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Another user also accused songwriter and producer Ryan Jhun, who composed thelyrics for “Step Back,” of portraying women as “jealous” and “self-absorbed.”
However, one Twitter user shared a screenshot of another person’s comment, explaining their interpretation of the “Step Back” lyrics. In summary, the song’s narrator was apparently trying to fight off a “homewrecker,” adding that the man in the song is a “faithful person” who shows no interest in the other woman.
South Korea is experiencing a surge of anti-feminist movements as many young male activists continue to spread misogynistic rhetoric targeting online feminists and those they perceive to be supporters of the women’s rights movement.
Some young men in the country believe men, not women, are the ones who are being threatened and marginalized, while nearly 70% of men in their 20s think they have been victims of serious gender discrimination, a May 2021 poll revealed, The New York Times reported. Three-time Tokyo Games gold medalist An San became a target of online anti-feminist activists last year after she appeared at the Tokyo Games sporting a short haircut. The sexist comments she received online prompted many social media users to come to the South Korean archer’s side and show their support, as NextShark previously reported.