Korean Dramas? A Female Addiction?

22 07 2011

It is not hard to see why pornography is so harmful and dangerous to not just the individual psyche but to relationships and even just human interaction. But Betsy Hart interestingly raises the other side of possibly the same coin: Romantic Pornography. At the risk of being unattractively prude, she writes in her column article titled “Beware Romantic Pornography” of how romantic comedies unreasonably feminizes the ideal man and guises chivalry with over sensitivity. She shares an experience illustrating the phenomenon:

That’s where the pornography comes in. Just as sexual pornography twists an understanding for men about real women’s bodies and sexual appetites, so romantic pornography twists the perception for women about real men and how they “ought” to behave toward women, which tends to amount to, well, behaving like a woman. I have a dear friend who once didn’t like a fellow I was dating. Among other shortcomings, he didn’t arrange spa treatments for me, she explained. Seriously. No more chick flicks for that girl.

The lines she draws in terms of the appropriate sensitivity level in a man is definitely arguable, but there is something to the point that being a civilized man is not the same as a feminized man, and that though enjoying rom-com’s is not bad in itself, watchers must be clear on what is fantasy and what is real.

In this discussion, there is one question that arises in my mind. That is whether Korean dramas fall into the same category of rom-com’s of which Hart speaks. And this is where it gets less clear because I know plenty of men who watch and enjoy Korean dramas and rom-com’s (though I’m sure they do not publicly advertise this affinity). So then, how does this affect the male psyche?




9 responses

24 10 2011

Hi there!
I came across this post (and so your blog) through the gospel coalition post above.
Out of interest and curiosity, do you have more thoughts on the questions you raised in the last paragraph?
I live in a different country (to you), but Korean dramas are also something very popular here – and so been pondering about this for a bit. And that’s why when I saw your comment on the gospel coalition blog, I was interested to see what you’d be saying about it…
Do you have further thoughts or that’s pretty much it? =) Know anyone in your circle or anyone online (Christian) who might have given more thoughts into this? =)

24 10 2011
Paul Park

Hi Lilies, thanks for visiting my blog. I do have more thoughts on the topic/issue, but did you have any specific questions or curiosities that could be answered in a more pointed way?

25 10 2011

Hmm, I just wanted to learn / find out more about what you think on the topic/issue in general. Not sure I have specific questions. More wanting to know your thoughts on it. Or maybe more to ‘compare notes’?
Sorry if this comment is a bit long…

I guess, I was just intrigued because somehow, when I read your post, I felt that you think it’s something neutral, yeah? Watching korean dramas, I mean?

Some I know, would argue that because they could be pretty addictive, they’re actually even worse than western romantic movies… That it’s even a sin to watch them. Something that you need to stop doing kind of thing / repent of.
Yet some others also say that it depends on the people watching and their level of self-control etc, and also the fact that some people do watch it “as a break”/for relaxation. And so can be OK – but depends on their self-control.

I personally, wouldn’t go as far as calling it a sin – or something that’s totally ‘prohibited’. I think I agree more with the second point of view. But I have been wondering about the impact of watching kdramas in terms of people’s perceptions of the world – or even korean world, culture and people.
I guess I’m talking more about people from different cultural backgrounds.

But yeah, when I was reading Hart’s article and thinking how does this apply in the context of kdramas – I thought maybe it’s not exactly like how Hart described it, but kdramas could change people’s perceptions of “what the ideal men should look like” or “how they should behave” etc? Maybe those perceptions are different than the ones in western rom coms, but somehow, I know quite a few girls who can’t separate reality and fantasy after watching kdramas… Would it be more like how some people in Asian countries view Anglos because of how they are portrayed on TV or movies? Or would it be more like what you said in your other post: https://pauljpark.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/the-harm-in-looking/

I guess the main danger is still the same, separating fantasy and reality – and helping people to be aware of that. What’s fantasy and what’s reality might be different in western rom coms and kdramas, but the need to separate them is equally important?

And I guess it’s not just kdramas but also people’s obsession with korean boy bands? What is it about kdramas and korean boy bands that make people hooked and how to help them see what’s reality and what’s fantasy?

How to help people see when they’ve started to blur the lines? How to help people see that they might be obsessed about a culture or people who exist only in movies / the entertainment world? Do they really exist only in entertainment world? Or is real life like that as well? If real life is different in Korea, how to help people see that since their contacts with “Korean world” is only through “the entertainment world”…

Anyway, sorry for long comment – thoughts and questions. I think somehow, the answer could be in that other post of yours about the harm in looking. At least a starting point… But my brain is too tired to think and articulate things. Sorry if this doesn’t make sense.

25 10 2011
Paul Park

Wow, that’s a lot of questions. Well, the original post, I was commenting on how women need to be careful to not have idealized view of men, whatever that idealized view may be (feminized, masculine, tall, short). The issue for women that Hart points out is how their view of men become distorted through rom-com’s. And I do believe k-dramas have a similar effect on women.

My question in the last paragraph was just a curious wonderment of how men’s perception is affected when they watch kdrama’s or rom-coms. I think they are very similar in terms of their affect on perception of image.

As for your struggle to discern whether watching rom-coms or kdrama’s is a sin. Well, it is not. But it BECOMES sin when we turn a good thing into an ultimate thing (as it is with many sins), meaning when someone gets addicted or start to gain a sense of security in the drama world instead of the real world. There are many things that are good in themselves that we make into sin. Such as careers, money, sex, significant other, etc. They are good, but when we start to say or think, “I can’t live without this.” Then it becomes an idol and we step into sin.

Keep searching and asking.

25 10 2011

Thanks for responding =)

I think I might’ve confused you with my confusing and long comments n questions…

I think my main question wasn’t so much whether watching them is a sin or not (although your answer on the topic was appreciated since interestingly, it was a brother who had the sin view).

Hart, in her article seems to imply that we know rom-coms aren’t helpful when women start to feminised men, like organising spas. I think my question is, how do we know that women have blurred the fantasy/reality line from watching kdramas? And how do we help women to see that they’ve had their lines blurred, as I don’t think it’s necessarily just about “feminising men”.

But these are questions out of pastoral concerns. And it seems that you were pondering the question more with the brothers in mind than the sisters, yeah? While I’m probably thinking about this with the sisters in mind (not that I don’t care for the brothers =))

So yeah, will keep thinking n searching =)

Thanks again for the discussion (helping clarify my thoughts) and for interesting/helpful blog entries and a link to Unearthed which has some more helpful links n posts on human trafficking – as it recently made the news in this country. Keep up the good work!

26 10 2011
K-pop: A Global Mania « Paul's Mental Meanderings

[…] the increasing popularity of Korean Dramas (which I address, in part, in this previous post “Korean Dramas? A Female Addiction?“), the powerful nature of K-pop’s “innocence and hair gel”, to use the […]

2 05 2012

Hi Paul. I forgot how I got to your blog but I’m glad I did. I read some of your recent posts and I just came across this one. I’ve just wrote something relevant to this post on korean dramas and since it’s a topic I’m really interested in, I want to share some of my thoughts. 😉

(Don’t let the length overwhelm you!)

To add to your ‘wonderment’ on the influence of korean drama to the male psyche, I think it’s similar to that of how women idealizes and expects certain–distorted attributes of men. Simply, for men as well, it will influence their perception that all–or most women (usually Korean) is in need or desiring a guy like the male lead. Then, this could be played out in two ways

1) Reality tells them, ” I don’t know any guy like this, act or think like that. do they all live in Korea? Girls need to wake up”. Men who respond similar to this may be discomforted by such dream-like fantasy the drama portrays and how far it is from reality. If they continue watching despite all this, it’s possible that deeply they actually want to be like the male leads, or they never want to be like them but wants the type of girls these male leads are ‘getting’. So conundrum!…
2) Or a guy fully embraces the illustration played out on the screen and intentionally or even subconsciously applies what the male did or said to his relationships to the woman of their interest.

What’s distinctive about korean dramas is that there are more playful banter between the lovers and women aren’t usually the sexy glamourous types but instead have a playful daring personality. What Hart calls the romantic pornography is more than unrealistic distorted views of men. If porn can be classified as soft porn and hard/hardcore porn, I daresay korean dramas are all about the flirtatious foreplay and these days even soft porn…

Another way the korean drama is influencing the male psyche is: it does not whatsoever encourage protecting a woman’s purity. Most commonly in Korean dramas, when it comes to sexual advances the male leads tend to be sly and even coy—or just acting plain dumb about never having known that there will be no more boats to get out of the island, so then they have to spend the night together, or ‘accidentally’ forgetting keys so they are locked in some deserted place overnight and it’s cold so now they have to cuddle for body heat. And not overtly telling the girl, ‘I want to spend the night with you’ is somehow so sweet. And of course, it’s “sweet” because the girls were secretly wanting it too because if not it’ll just be plain perverted and creepy and will no longer be romantic but horror… Sometimes, it’s not even the male lead though, it can be grandparents and friends of the two parents characters…forgetting the keys..etc..

Sorry I tend to ramble…I think the most important point (that i have yet to make) is to not let korean dramas or whatever it is influence the male or female psyche in defining and promoting characteristics of men and women that are not Christ-like. And to always remember we can’t truly love our spouse if we don’t love God. 😉

Finally I’m done sharing…hehe

3 05 2012
Paul P

Thanks for the comment, noobonmot! It is an insightful comment. Even though I realize the dangers of addiction to romanticized dramas, one thing that I gets me wary is to call ‘playful banter’ or all ‘flirting’ as wrong. I think it becomes wrong without commitment, but the acts themselves (of course there are flat out sinful acts) are not necessarily wrong. (Here, I’m excluding overtly sexual acts.)

Anyhow, thanks for the comment!

4 05 2012

Yes, of course! Ah! how dull would conversations be without playful bantering here and there~ 😉

Thanks for responding ;D

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