I started watching these shows, since Hulu added this category. What’s interesting to me, is that I’m beginning to understand what the characters are saying in Korean. Words are floating around in my head, because they’re repeated so often. I can read a few words in some languages, but I’ve never picked up a language as fast as this one. I’ve always viewed myself as foreign language impaired. I’ve had Spanish in school. I’ve listened to Spanish for years, and I still cannot make heads or tails out of most of it.
In the Korean Dramas, the people speak slow enough that I can tie the English subtitles to the spoken words. The dialogue isn’t complex, very long or involved. On occasion, some characters that supposedly spent time in the US, or are Americans, make a determined effort speak to English. Although badly. Nearly everyone mumbles words they need to enunciate.
Media Image is Everything
Since watching these programs, I’ve come to realize that they aren’t made just for a Korean audience. They are created with an awareness that the rest of the world will be paying attention.
These shows have given me a different impression of Koreans, as opposed to the ones I’ve been acquainted with here in the USA. Do I see the portrayals as realistic? I don’t think that’s the point of the programs. Whatever images there have been of Korean men, have been modified, if not overhauled, by these shows.
According to a Washington Post article (from 2006), the success of the revamped or enhanced image of Korean men have done the following:
In recent years, the wild success of male celebrities from South Korea — sensitive men but totally ripped — has redefined what Asian women want… Gone are the martial arts movie heroes and the stereotypical macho men of mainstream Asian television.
…Yoshimura signed up last year with Rakuen Korea, a Japanese-Korean matchmaking service, to find her own Korean bachelor. And she is hardly alone. More than 6,400 female clients have signed up with the company…
In part, the new allure of Korean men can be traced to a larger phenomenon known as the “Korean Wave”…
…the number of foreign tourists traveling to South Korea leapt from 2.8 million in 2003 to 3.7 million in 2004. The bulk of the growth, South Korean tourism officials say, stemmed from Korean Wave-loving Asian women. Partial statistics for 2005 indicate the feminine tide has not yet let up.
For the South Koreans — who have long suffered discrimination in Japan and who have hardly been known as sex symbols — it all comes as something of a shock.
Entertainment industry leaders in Seoul credit the phenomenon to good marketing coupled with an uncanny response throughout Asia to the expressive nature of the South Koreans — long dubbed the Italians of Asia. A hearty diet and two years of forced military duty, industry leaders and fans insist, have also made young South Korean men among the buffest in Asia. Most important, however, has been the South Korean entertainment industry’s perfection of the strong, silent type on screen — typically rich, kind men with coincidentally striking looks and a tendency to shower women with unconditional love….
Throughout Asia and other countries, women are watching TV shows and movies to such an extent that they have become enamored of the fictional representation of a specific group of men. So here we have proof that there is a direct connection between a positive image of a group and the corresponding response to it.
What Some of the Guys Look Like
I find some of the Korean male actors smoking hot, some cute and others moderately good looking. Although I find the “fashion” on the shows rather odd looking, but hey, I congratulate men who aren’t afraid of being edgy.
Positive propaganda: is enhancing imagery to increase the desirability of a group.
The entertainment industry, basically the media, alone is responsible for the complete overhaul of the image of Korean men, so much so it has made the men hot commodities for the women who travel the country looking for one as a husband. It’s overturned reality and made such an indelible impression on women just from watching Korean Dramas.
In case you ever wonder why black women have negative, degrading stereotypical images, always remember to thank Hollywood and our media. Think about it the next time you think it’s important to embrace the “othering” of black women with those “keeping it real” negative images.
If anyone really wants to improve the desirability, popularity and increase of desire for black women: the best looking have to be highlighted, the most sophisticated has to be highlighted and the most engaging, lively and lovely ones have to be embraced.
Otherwise, we’re just shooting ourselves in the foot.
So, think about who you are embracing if the only thing they highlight about black women is constantly negative or off-putting. Those people aren’t doing you any favors. They’re deliberately sabotaging you.
Update: Korean Men Marriage Rates
I was asked to provide some data, so I dug up some stats. If they seem funky to anyone, please put up the correct numbers.
Throughout the world, more males than females are born. This imbalance is natural. However, in Asian countries it is exasperated by female reduction from sex selection in the womb (abortion), export adoption of girls, and other extreme methods. The result is a population of males outnumbering females. Based on the gender imbalance in Korea, social changes, population movement to urban areas, there are more men than women available and interested in marriage.
So, whom do Korean men marry? Funny enough, it turns out they marry all women. Although black women are a miniscule portion of the population in Korea, there are likely marriages between the two. With the USA having 1.3 plus million Koreans, it turns out that they are the East Asian men black women are most likely to marry. Certainly not in significant numbers overall, but it does happens.
And I’m just as surprised as y’all are by that information.
In 2005, 14% of all marriages in South Korea were marriages to foreigners (about 26,000 marriages); most were Korean men marrying other Asians. Government figures show the number of Koreans marrying foreign spouses increased from 4,710 in 1990 to 33,300 in 2009. And numbers are expected to continue rising. More than 100,000 women among South Korea’s 1.2-million foreign population are estimated to be foreign brides.
YouTube link: the marriage between a Korean man and an African American woman. The wedding is awesome; sexy and sweet too.