I'm not really surprised by the K-Pop community praising San E as soon as they've read the title "Feminist" only to call for his ban right after the first bit of translated lyrics came out, but do people here actually believe the song was meant to be taken face value?
You can even forget his "apology", looking at his past record and the lyrics from his counter-diss to Jerry.K the track already made perfect sense and didn't require any further explanation.
Let's go back a bit...
Unless I'm missing something prior, the first accusations of sexism he got this year were due to this performance:
Which ignited comments such as these
"Fuck, is he crazy? Isn't this sexual harassment? ㅋㅋㅋ"
"The lyrics to 'Sour Grapes' ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ how is it any different than a roundabout way of saying he wants to fuck her? Ugh, poor Irene having to deal with this bastard for the sake of her job. I'm so pissed ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ"
and even required an official statement from Brand New Music (so yeah, it wasn't just a couple of dumb posts).
The comments could have made some sense, if it wasn't for the fact that Sour Grapes is the complete opposite of the sexist song they are depicting.
San E and Mad Clown both play a sleazy guy who put a girl down after being rejected, but it's obvious how the intent is satirical through and through (the failed pick-up lines are some of the cheesiest imaginable) and they are actually mocking those kinds of men and rap songs (the MV even doubles down by parodying Drake).
I'm assuming most people got it back when it was released too since this was a big hit in Korea.
Next sexist controversy: Wannabe Rapper.
Now, say what you want about the song just being bad or San E not being entitled to talk shit about other rappers, but again, it's plain to see how he's criticizing the character he's portraying.
"Life ain't fair
it's all my parents' environment's president's
never my fault
I'm a free-minded citizen
I only speak the truth
I have no faults
I'm so righteous bitch"
And, of course, that line
"I'm a feminist (u know) I love them bitches"
which criticizes rappers who claim to be feminists while actually despising women (the video also shows the girls not being cool with the "Wannabe Rapper" trying to touch their butts, so the awareness is there).
Still don't believe he's playing a character he's criticizing?
The next line is:
"Cheers! Let's get fucked up
One shot! It's okay, you kill a person when you're drunk
They go easy on you (sorry)"
referencing the numerous DUI scandals (direct reference to YG lawyer successfully protecting Daesung? I can't remember similar cases with a death involved).
So, San E portraying a sexist character to criticize what he thinks are fake-feminists is nothing new.
But sure, many people didn't (want to) get the satire, and San E had to put out an explanation:
"Main character in the video is not San E. This guy is the representation of a kid who "wannabe rapper" (trying to look like, sound like Childish Gambino)"
Reminds you of something? Anyway, this didn't stop him from getting caught once again under fire and being labelled as a sexist.
Finally, there's the actual Feminist controversy, but this last story has a small prelude to it.
Prior to the release of the track there was a lot of talk about a case of violence against women, where two women have been allegedly physically assaulted by three men for having short hair.
The men claimed to have been the ones attacked, with the women hitting them first and ripping off their shirts, but the public opinion didn't side with them and there was a big uproar with both celebrities and an 300000+ signatures petition to the government asking for their punishment.
This until the video published by San E came out, which showed the women going on and on with sexual and homophobic insults, admitting to be part of one of the main Korean misandrist communities (the 6.9cm dick insult they were repeating is also from there, San E's use of it is just some sort of "no u") and refusing to stop despite the polite requests they were getting from the people around them.
(I know, "misandry" in the west is usually just a straw-man for misogynist to hide behind, but I don't think there's a more apt word to describe the Megalia and Womad communities)
Pretty much everyone changed side (by the way, the case is still on-going) and the celebrities themselves either deleted their posts or wrote apologies for having quickly jumped to wrong conclusions.
Yet, despite the vast majority of comments in his support, San E was once more attacked:
"He's attacking the victims a second time"
"I ask for the punishment of San E, who illegally filmed the victims"
These are just a couple of translated comments, but there was yet another petition on the government website asking for San E's punishment, which reached over 22000 signatures in less than a day.
So, here comes the track poking at both the men and women he claims to be fake feminists.
I kinda get why there's a bit of confusion about it since he's attacking two different sides at the same time, but honestly, I don't think it was really that hard to see the true intent behind the lyrics.
The concept isn't anything new either since he basically just took I'm Not Racist and changed the subject (and yes, his portrayal of the average sexist man is just as over the top).
"I'm Feminist because I've said the word 'women' before 'men' and I can quote one phrase from a feminist book"? That's his "I'm not racist, my sister's boyfriend's black".
And you can see this over the top caricature in the following rants too:
"You'll probably say among OECD countries Korea has a gender pay gap of blah blah blah..."
"Hey if you want those rights so bad why aren't you going to the military?"
San E knows he didn't serve in the military, he's not so dumb to bring that subject up (especially since Korea is super-touchy about it, go look at MC Mong and Swings).
Really, the whole thing is blatant satire, but still worked as a bait for the people he was up against...
6.9cm (counter-diss to Jerry.K)
"I know idiots like you very well
After writing the song I thought of you
The guy in the song calls himself a feminist
But just like the lyrics show you
Inside he has no respect women at all"
"So you read a couple books
So you probably understand what these lyrics are saying...
Maybe a little... Let's not even
The fact that I must explain for your brain to understand shows your level is worse than Megalia.
But I'm sure it's my fault, sorry"
"How does the song promote something?
Probably saying that because you lack understanding
Missing the point of the whole song by picking at lyrics
if you had risen above your prejudices and looked a little deeper
Might have heard more than just hypocrisy of a men's appearance and what's on the inside
And the repressed nature of women"
There was no backpedalling in the following "apology" at all, he had already addressed everything people misunderstood in music.
Why is he so up against Jerry.K's "fake feminism" though?
That's what the rest of the counter-diss is about:
"You force who you called your family to write an apology
Without even thinking, but the verdict is not guilty
Not just acquitted but with charges dropped
Don Malik let's do a song together 'Jerry die'"
Don Malik was a rapper under Jerry.K's Daze Alive label who was accused of sexually molesting a minor and other fans.
He apologized for his crimes and was kicked out after that, but he later claimed his confession was fake and forced by the label.
Further investigation proved his innocence and he's now suing the girls who accused him (no apology from Jerry.K and no contract with a new label though).
So there you have the rest of the song going on about how Jerry.K isn't an actual feminist and he's just exploiting the movement for his own brand and image while pandering to misandrists who see every man as a sexual offender (the lyrics directly reference Womad).
Overall, I think San E has been coherent throughtout the whole thing, and he has in no way been fueling hate against women.
Of course, the number of people victim of "fake-feminism" isn't even comparable to the number of Korean women suffering from sexual discrimination, but seeing how closely he and some of his fellow rapppers were affected by it while nobody was willing to take a stance, I think it was completely fair for him to do so.
Don Malik's affair was nasty, but I'm not willing to take a side on San E vs Jerry.K since I don't really know either of them personally and I'm aware that the latter's political involvement goes back in the years (you can't say he just started getting involved because metoo was popular).
If I were to pick a real loser that would be Brand New Music as a hip-hop label.
They've failed to take a stance either pro or against San E (it doesn't matter what's your opinion about him), hoping for him to just shut up so that the whole controversy would be forgotten as soon as possible with the least amount of damage for the image of the company.
That's how an idol agency acts.
Non-Korean fans are unaware of the feminazi websites that exist in Korea, like Megalia and Womad (fyi Womad is a offshoot of Megalia that formed when Megalia banned anti-gay slurs) where people talk about raping men and other fun stuff. The sad part is that while these people know San E is criticizing them, most people think he's being sexist. I mean not like he has a history of satirical rap songs...
Basically, San E is at war with the FAKE feminists, not the TRUE ones who deserve their voices to be heard.