It's always felt wrong to me when people praise girl crush concepts for being "empowering" but then put down cute concepts for being "disempowering" or "infantilizing." I'm not saying that girl crush isn't empowering. As long as there are people who are more comfortable being mature, girl crush will be empowering. What I'm saying is that girl crush is associated with being "empowering" while cute concepts aren't. That shouldn't be the case.
As long as someone enjoys a concept, it's empowering. There are people out there who don't feel comfortable being a "bad bitch" and are more confident being cute. Yet when groups do cute concepts, they're accused of "anti-feminism" or "appealing to creepy men." Even if the group had minors in it. It boggles my mind how some kpop fans will praise a group for doing girl crush then turn around and put down a group for being cute.
There is almost this embarrassment around cute concepts in kpop right now, specifically with I-fans. If someone praises a group for having a cute concept, there will be like 200 people in the replies saying that "noooo the concept isn't cute, its "fresh" or "bright" but not cute." And point to the one speck of black in the fountains of cute and bubblegum as their evidence. Like, let groups be cute without treating it like they're doing something embarrassing.
TLDR: Let groups do what makes them comfortable. Don't praise them for being "empowering" or shame them for being "disempowering" based on the concept.