Prettiness as a Shield: The Romantic Perpetuation of Patriarchy through the Representation of Pretty Boy in Popular Korean Dramas in Malaysia

Prettiness as a Shield: The Romantic Perpetuation of Patriarchy through the Representation of Pretty Boy in Popular Korean Dramas in 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