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Rethink banning minors from Gaga

Apr 06,2012

My son is in high school and he gets up at 6 a.m. everyday, about an hour earlier than when he was in middle school. The changed routine is not because he has more work. He has joined the school’s broadcasting club, and in order to prepare for the morning show he has to be at school by 7 a.m. Instead of being tired, he is energized and enthusiastic. Recently, he and his friends have been looking to celebrities for inspiration, including world-renowned performer Lady Gaga.

The 26-year-old American pop star is a singer-songwriter with numerous international hits. Last year, she was named the most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine. She has 22.15 million followers on Twitter, the most of anyone in the world. Her unmatched popularity makes her an obvious pick for youth looking for inspiration. So, as expected, Korean fans’ excitement reached a fever pitch when the star announced she would preform in Seoul on April 27.

But Lady Gaga also garnered some less welcome attention, too, from the government’s Media Rating Board. The administrative body created a stir when it announced last week that it would ban minors from attending the show, even though anyone above 12 years of age was permitted to see Gaga’s last performance in the country in 2009. This makes Korea the only Asian country on Gaga’s “Born This Way Ball” tour to ban minors from attending.

Those in show business suspect that the Media Rating Board has bowed to pressure from some conservative Christian groups that have condemned Lady Gaga for advocating satanic ideas and homosexuality.

Of course, some of Lady Gaga’s performances are shocking. But the superstar is so much more than a singer. Working together with Harvard University, she launched the Born This Way Foundation to end bullying among young people. American media often call her a “mentor for the teenagers.”

On Tuesday, Lady Gaga used her mighty Twitter account to criticize the government, thanking those who stood up to the Media Ratings Board. And she had some advice, too, saying, “Parents should be given more credit to determine what’s good for their children.”

Thanks to the new age policy, millions of Twitter users have gotten a less-than-flattering image of Korea. The high-ranking government officials who are so sensitive about upholding their own standards should determine for themselves whether to feel ashamed or proud.

The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.


by Lee Na-ree



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