[KS] Query: soft-masculinity and cross-dressing in Korean context

Stephen Epstein Stephen.Epstein at vuw.ac.nz
Wed Jul 29 16:25:53 EDT 2009

Dear Yun Mi,

More on the first point than the second here:

Sun Jung, now on a postdoc at Victoria University in Melbourne, has written on the kkonminam phenomenon here:
http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue20/jung.htm (The Shared Imagination of Bishōnen, Pan-East Asian Soft Masculinity: Reading DBSK, Youtube.com and Transcultural New Media Consumption). A rather different version of the piece will appear in the volume Complicated Currents: Media Flows and Soft Power in East Asia, out in November this year: http://www.epress.monash.edu/forthcoming.html#cc . Her work, however, focuses much more on the transnational reception of the kkonminam than on the Korean socio-political context. More attention to the historical/social context does appear in an Honours thesis at ANU which was written last year on the topic (if you write me directly, I can see whether a copy might be available).

Also, although not (yet!) an academic, James Turnbull has done some very good work on the topic, informed by his reading of scholarship, in his blog The Grand Narrative, which those who are interested in issues of contemporary Korean gender, sexuality and media should certainly check out: http://thegrandnarrative.wordpress.com/  Posts on the topic at hand include:




Cheers, Stephen
From: koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws [koreanstudies-bounces at koreaweb.ws] On Behalf Of YM Clara Hwang [sumovmi at hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 30, 2009 1:36 AM
To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
Subject: [KS] Query: soft-masculinity and cross-dressing in Korean context

Dear members,

My questions are two-fold. First, I'm interested in reading more the rise of feminine or soft mascuilnity in Korean context, portrayed in the popular media. It seems to me the neither post-femininst mascuilinity or rise of new men seen in the Western discourse nor the spread of Japanese manga (yaoi and BL in particular) influencing the construction of new type of masculinity in SK do not sufficiently explain this phenonenon. Have you come across any scholarship that provides sound Korean socio-political context supported by theoretical framework?

Second question, I was greatly intrigued by the representation of cross-dressing in TV and films (King and the Clown, The Painter of the Wind, Coffee Prince, etc), which of course intersects with the my first question (and gender and queer theory). As far as I'm aware of Korea does not have defining cultural tradition of transvestite theatres like Beijing opera or Japanese Noh theatre. Or am I mis-informed? Is there any scholarship on the tradition of cross-dressing in Korea?

Thank you.

Yun Mi Hwang
PhD Candidate
University of St Andrews
ymh at st-andrews.ac.uk

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