Conceptually androgynous : The production and commodification of gender in Korean pop music
Sammanfattning: Stemming from a recent surge in articles related to Korean masculinities, and based in afeminist and queer Marxist theoretical framework, this paper asks how gender, with a specificfocus on what is referred to as soft masculinity, is constructed through K-pop performances, aswell as what power structures are in play. By reading studies on pan-Asian masculinities andgender performativity - taking into account such factors as talnori and kkonminam, andinvestigating conceptual terms flower boy, aegyo, and girl crush - it forms a baseline for aqualitative research project. By conducting qualitative interviews with Swedish K-pop fans andperforming semiotic analysis of K-pop music videos, the thesis finds that although K-popmasculinities are perceived as feminine to a foreign audience, they are still heavily rooted in aheteronormative framework. Furthermore, in investigating the production of genderperformativity in K-pop, it finds that neoliberal commercialism holds an assertive grip overthese productions and are thus able to dictate ‘conceptualizations’ of gender and projectidentities that are specifically tailored to attract certain audiences. Lastly, the study shows thatthese practices are sold under an umbrella of ‘loyalty’ in which fans are incentivized toconsume in order to show support for their idols – in which the concept of desire plays asignificant role.
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