© Media Watch 8 (3) 298-310, 2017
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
Prettiness as a Shield: The Romantic Perpetuation of Patriarchy through the Representation of Pretty Boy in Popular Korean Dramas in Malaysi
SOH WENG KHAI & JULIANA ABDUL WAHAB
School of Communication, Universiti Sains Malaysia
The idea of being a pretty boy was hailed as a regional privileged male ideal in Asia after the booming of Korean wave in late 1990s that saw Korean drama featuring men that openly embrace both masculine and feminine traits. They were often described as tall, possessing a slim feminine face, fashionable and romantic. While the pretty boy image was seen as a form of ‘new masculinity’ that acknowledged women equally, however, critical qualitative content analysis of popular Korean dramas in Malaysia, Moon Embracing the Sun (2012) and The Heirs (2013) revealed that these Korean men were feminised through the use of constant fragmented and close-up shots, and also through the use of bright and colourful costume. Although they did not hide their emotions, however, this performance only took place in the private sphere. As much as the metrosexual tried hard to disassociate themselves with the notion of femininity and queerness, the idea of being a pretty boy showed similar disavowal-masculinity is maintained through high-ranked social position despite there is an acceptance of a more feminised appearance.
Keywords: Pretty boy, metrosexuality, masculinity, Korean drama, Korean wave
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Soh Weng Khai is a PhD candidate at the School of Communication, Universiti Sains Malaysia. His research interests are gender and media studies, specifically in the context of Korean films and dramas. He is the Champion of Malaysia 3 Minute Thesis Competition 2017 for Social Science category.
Juliana Abdul Wahab is a senior lecturer at the School of Communication, Universiti Sains Malaysia. Her research interests cover media studies and popular culture, television studies, audience studies, gender and ethnicity and qualitative research method.