IU‘s latest music video for her song “Love wins all,” released at midnight on the 24th, has become embroiled in controversy over its portrayal of disabilities. The video, set in a post-apocalyptic world, depicts IU and BTS’s V fighting against “Square” (hatred) to find freedom. The video, rich in metaphors and implications, has sparked diverse interpretations among fans, with some accusing it of demeaning people with disabilities.
Some viewers have criticized the portrayal of IU, who appears as a character with a hearing impairment, and BTS’s V, who is depicted as visually impaired, as insensitive. They argue that representing a couple with disabilities as idealizing and aspiring to the love of a non-disabled couple demonstrates a “poverty of imagination.” Additionally, there are concerns that framing disabilities as something to be overcome romanticizes and objectifies the disabled community. The video’s ending, which shows a world free of hate and discrimination but does not feature IU and V with their disabilities, has been criticized for its lack of depth and sensitivity.
On the other hand, there is a strong opinion that the music video should not be viewed solely in the context of disability. Some argue that interpreting the narrative as exclusively about disability is a prejudice in itself, suggesting alternative interpretations such as zombies, viruses, or functional loss in a dystopian setting. The lyrics of “Love wins all” do not explicitly mention or imply disability, focusing instead on a more general theme of love.
Fans have pointed to the change of the song’s title from “Love wins,’ criticized for appropriating a term associated with the LGBTQ+ community, to “Love wins all” as an example of undue criticism against IU.
Moreover, there is a viewpoint highlighting the double standard in the reception of disability-themed content. While dramas and films like Extraordinary Attorney Woo and Good Doctor, which also deal with disabilities, have been received positively, IU’s music video has been particularly scrutinized and criticized, leading some to call out this disparity as unfair.