Thursday, July 5, 2012

Modesty in Korean Video Musicals

With globalization and the interchange between countries, the modesty that came with the Confucian and Buddhist culture is no longer influencing our society. Korea has become 'first world,' even in this area of life.

Musical videos are very popular in Korea. In the past the ear was important, now it is the eye. The business world has taken notice of this shift and is concentrating on producing visuals that appeal more to the consumer. Writing in the Catholic Times, in his column on sex in  popular culture, the researcher asks us to go to the internet to view Bo peep Bo peep to get an idea of what he is saying.

In the musical  Bo peep Bo peep, the viewer experiences the feeling of watching  soft porn; the researcher asks why? This musical is using the grammar of pornography, he says. A gorgeously decked out women goes to a club where she dances sexually, seduces a man and they go to a hotel for sex.  During sex she looks directly  at the camera on two occasions.

Up until now, he asks, have you ever seen, on TV or in the  movies, the characters staring into the camera?  This is considered a 'no, no' even for an acting novice but when you have a professional  actress looking at the camera, what does it mean?  If you ask any middle school student they will all answer "pornography."

How is it that the middle school students  answer this so quickly? The researcher tells us this is what they are exposed to daily. Only porno films use this technique to entice the men who are watching. The makers of these  films  use this code with exquisiteness.  Unconsciously the middle school  students have picked this up rather quickly.This is now part of the culture we live in. And it is frightful.

This series on sex in Korean culture will continue. Porno was always there but not so publicly accessible. Here in Korea the majority of the citizens  still have difficulty accepting what is happening in the media, and yet the underlying sexual nature of what we are being exposed to is evident everywhere, especially in advertizing.

Musical Videos are just one segment of the visual mass media that is going through this change; our one world is also changing the traditional customs of Korea. The country still has her traditional respect for modesty, and the consensus that pornography is unacceptable, actually illegal, although  easily accessible. There are many in the society working against this area of self-expression, but it will not be easy working against the lucrative business interests of so many.

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