Global Consumption of K-pop Masculinities: Panel at Society for Ethnomusicology (Oct, 2021)

wonho
Wonho, a former member of boy group Monsta X, has emerged as a significant challenge to the notion that all male K-pop idols possess “soft” masculinity

Together with colleagues Dr. Stephanie Choi at NYU and Dr. Kristine M Santos at Ateneo de Manila University, I will be presenting at the Virtual Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology on October 28-31. Sponsored by the Association for Korean Music Research, our panel is entitled “Global Consumption of K-pop Masculinities.” It will be held virtually, for paying attendees, on Saturday October 30 at 10.45am-12.15pm (GMT-4; Eastern Daylight Savings Time).

Here are our presentation titles:

  1. Thomas Baudinette: Yearning for the Beast: Young Japanese Gay Men’s Consumption of Male K-pop Idols
  2. Kristine M Santos: Disconnecting to Connect: Queer Imaginations in the Philippine K-pop Music Fandom
  3. Stephanie Choi: Queer or Heteronormative? RPS and Business Gay Performance in the Korean K-pop World

Here is the panel abstract:

While certain Western media commentators often describe K-pop male idol singers as “effeminate” or “androgynous” as a way of denigrating the K-pop music, academic works have striven to empower singers through terms such as “soft masculinity” that shed a positive light on Asian masculinities which have traditionally been emasculated and/or rendered invisible. Our panelists, however, depart by rejecting such Western-oriented theorizations and attempt to diversify theoretical understandings of the gender presentations of K-pop idol performers. First, Baudinette challenges the notion of “soft masculinity” by demonstrating how reducing contemporary Korean masculinity to notions of softness tied to heterosexual female fandom limits understandings of how K-pop may be locally received. Instead, as Baudinette presents in his ethnographic research, K-pop male idols’ media presence shape different gender relations with Japanese gay male consumers. Kristine Santos’s work demonstrates how K-pop male idols, as global media texts, are recreated as queer figures within Philippine K-pop fandom. Detached from their original heteronormative context, K-pop male idols are reimagined as Filipino locals in the alternative universe of K-pop shipping, a queer fan activity that serves as an empowering practice for local K-pop fans in the Philippines. Stephanie Choi explores a case study of the reciprocal homoerotic performances between Korean heterosexual female fans and their male idols. Choi argues that Korean female fans’ homoerotic fanfic narratives and male idols’ homoerotic fan service performances do not emancipate the Korean LGBT+ community but rather reaffirm South Korea’s heteropatriarchy.

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