I read the articles and the one that spurred this author's thought process. To some degree I understand where the author is coming from, but I couldn't help but feel a certain degree of "you really just don't get it, do you?". In ways she dances around the point without hitting it.
What bothers me most is that she has the idea that the feminization of men is a universal Korean or Japanese concept. Celebrity males there are expected, to an extent, to be well groomed and dressed and on the outside exude femininity. However, they are also expected to be physically impressive under their clothing. This ideal is not universal, however. Not all stars are as buff or coiffed as Rain and Lee Junki (Oh god he's gorgeous drooling fjkdals;jfs. excuse me). South Korea is the country with the most use of plastic surgery in the world. But men do not focus on glistening pecs or pouty lips, more popular are nose jobs, eye creases, and jaw reshaping.
I lost my train of thought cuz I went back to Kingdom Hearts for a second. Shit. D:
Well, first, the author of that post (it's not an article, just a blog post) is male. (Me!) :)
Second, if you look at the depiction of men in Korean film only ten or twenty years ago, it was very masculinized and very much following after American styles of masculine iconography. From "hi-teen" films to Park-/Chun-era sexploitation films, men showed off their muscles, had manly faces, and often showed off being tough, violent, strong, and so on. I haven't seen all Korean films, but I've seen many and the codes for "attractive male character" have shifted radically. My vague impression is that they shifted in the late 90s, which is around the same time a sudden influx of Japanese pop culture, fashion, and internet culture all appeared in Korea.
And I'm also perhaps commenting on a trend that is confined to domestic marketing here. Bae Yong-joon's everywhere these days -- in women's makeup ads -- and most Westerners who don't know who he is mistake him for a young and slightly weird-looking ajumma -- a mistake non non-Korean would make regarding pop stars in standard marketing 20 or 30 years ago, which suggests the iconography of masculinity has shifted from emulating Western styles to something else. If you walk around Seoul, you almost never see Rain's muscles: you see him in what a westerner would consider girly glasses and girly clothes, acting girly. And you see lots of young Korean guys in the same state.
Whether it's a revival of something domestic, or an import from Japan, I can't say for sure, but I strongly suspect the latter is part of it. (And the shift in female consumerism in Korea is another.)
And while, yes, the "beautification" of male celebrity is far from isolated to Korea, the specifically feminized beautification strikes me as unusually Northeast Asian. I suspect Western celebrities dressing like, and presenting personae like, those of these feminized male stars in Korea, would be laughed at in the West. Doesn't that mean it's *different*?
(And don't even get me started on the blurry line between homosocial and homoerotic imagery in Korean advertising.)
i'm doing a project on japanese performing arts right now, and my 4th year thesis will be to design a concert with johnny's ent. in mind ;)
(ps. pshaw, of course it's that girl waving right? XDD)
Interesting, that's the girliest I ever saw Rain. He's pretty manly in my eyes, and he's friggin' RIPPED man XD (Even Lee Junki is pretty buff too. <3)
My overall opinion on this topic is that fashion and what is accepted as feminine and what is accepted as masculine clearly changes throughout history. I mean, just look at back in the days when guys ran around in frilly collared dress shirts, tights, shoes with heels and buckles, and wigs!! Do you think people thought they were being feminine? No, they were being regular men of the day. And as time goes on, today that's clearly not the idea of a masculine image. And people seem to forget iconic images such as Fabio, who dawned long beautiful flowing blond hair paired with rippling muscles.
I just dare say that all this Korean and Japanese men looking feminine is not such a happening from the moon planet as they like to think. To me it's like fashion and style coming back around in a circle. The queerest thing to me is this, no matter what women turn out to wear, it's all ok! Apparently we just look good in anything XD
At first I didn't recognize Rain - from fleeting glances of him on my fl, I saw a guy who was, as you say, friggin ripped AND beautiful... ahh the best of both worlds. ^-^
I agree, fashions and the boundaries of gender do change, and Fabio's an interesting example, though he was much less emulated than are Rain and Lee Junki in popular youth culture. Fabio ended up copied on roance novel covers; Rain's girly apparel ends up on a certain percentage of young men on the street; and they stand out in harsh contrast to the many men who dress in what is more like Western male fashion.
I'm not so much railing against this, mind. I'm just pointing it out.
The other thing is: the fashions I'm talking about are not just frilly-for-all: they appear to involve the very conscious claiming of women's fashions and transplanting the into the domain of mens' wear. Not just the colors (though pastels and especially pink seem to have become de rigeur) but also the cut of the clothing. A low-cut front on a woman shows off her chest, in theory; what does it show off on a man -- especially the mostly slim meen who wear such fashions -- except his flat shirtfront? That's different from men wearing codpieces and britches that showed off their legs and so on, or the wigs that covered their bald heads. (Wasn't that fashion prompted by baldness from, was it syphilis?)
As for women's fashion, it doesn't *quite* work as you suggest in Korea. There's a bit of the unisex, but many women are wearing girlier and girlier clothes too, or so it seems to me.
I should add there's another style I more often see Rain in on posters and billboards, which is kind of borderline. It's more, for lack of a better word, "diminutive." The styles are less feminine, but more kid-like, and the net effect, to a Westerner anyway, is of a grown man who looks the way ten-year-old boys dressed by their doting mothers look. Not sure I want to think about what the subconscious message of that is.
The topic of my Master's Thesis is the use of English in Japanese popular music lyrics. :P I never thought I would get my MA with the aid of one of my dearest hobbies, lol.
That sounds hilarious, actually. D:
I started laughing at the title of your post given my current side obsession XDDD
Now off to read the article itself... I see that there is an ongoing conversation going on about it in your comments~
What can I say... fashion comes under many shapes and forms. The current trend in Asia leans towards "pretty boys", but it is not much different in Europe. I sometimes show my American friends pictures of some of my European guy friends and one of the things that pops up the most... "are they GAY?" No, sweethearts, you just need to go out and see the world more XD Ahh if only they saw Gypsy Hyde, that would give them quite a shock, ne?
2011-02-11 10:31 am (UTC)
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|From: Lee-Lee Mc|
2017-10-28 08:11 pm (UTC)
Master Thesis on BTS and their growing popularity in the West Due to Social Media
To comment on the photo first. I do believe that is the most feminine I've ever seen on Rain. I think he's very manly and buff looking but he does have a pretty face. I've been a fan of Korean Pop for about 6 years now I guess. I think what first attracted me was their hard work and dedication they have for making music. They work very hard to make music that fans all over the world will love and enjoy.
On some of these idols for example (Heechul, and Sunjong I've seen comments asking "Are they gay"? Not that it would matter at all if they were but are they asking that because they have feminine features or are they looking at their mannerisms?
The same thing can be said for Amber of FX because she has a more tomboyish style than other girl idols. People assume she's gay as well. Like I said, even if these idols were it's no big deal, and it doesn't change who they are, However some fans see it in a derogatory way.
I like many things about the Korean culture but the one thing I don't understand is "the shipping of idol couples" It seems that entertainment companies market that idea to get fans excited and then because South Korea is still very conservative they back track and say "shipping is for entertainment purposes?"
For my Master thesis I've decided to write about how social media has become the ultimate medium for the K-pop genre to spread internationally. I'll be looking at the growing popularity of Bangtan Boys.
Writing a paper about Korean Pop will be an interesting challenge because it's not really in the mainstream but at the same time it can be difficult when looking for academic sources