Monday, November 20, 2006

Korean Culture Through TV. Part One: Women

Korean Tv has evolved in the years that I have been here. Cable and satellite services now provide dozens of channels, some digital, some high definition. There are news, sports, home shopping, religious, educational, documentary, cartoon, and computer gaming channels - not so much different from back home. Many channels play movies and other programs from English-speaking countries subtitled in Korean - thus I never have to miss an episode of the Amazing Race, American Idol, or Lost. Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and CNN offer their usual lineups.

But Korean TV is undoubtedly different, as you would expect. Whether a country's TV offerings reflect or create the everyday reality of ordinary people is always a subject of debate among those who care about such things.

I only wanted to show you some of the things I noticed about Korean TV that people elsewhere might find interesting.

So I recorded bits from TV dramas, movies, and advertising that I felt were representative of what is on screen every day here.




Today, I wanted to show how women are portrayed on the tube here. Feel free to comment. Are these depictions of women different from those you would see where you are from? Are these images positive in your eyes? Are they an accurate reflection of the roles played by Korean women and their character as a group and as individuals? Or are these stereotypes? What message do these images convey?


kangmi said...

I don't know that the portrayal of women on Korean television (at least via your selections) is that much different than here in the States. In some way, each selection represents some form of reality, even if it's stretched.

As in America, only really attractive women are on Korean television. There's nothing wrong with that, unless one is futilely trying to emulate what one sees on television.


So who creates these media messages with attractive, demure, soft-voiced women, pouting and looking so gosh-darned cute, who are almost always depicted obsessing about makeup and clothes or singing the praises of the latest kimchi fridge or washing machine - is it men or women who decide this is what women should look like on TV?

The media does SHAPE culture as well as just reflect and maybe stretch it a little. Young girls DO emulate the stars and models they see in pop culture. So are modern women being represented when decisions are made regarding what goes on TV or in the magazines??

kangmi said...

"Modern women"? What kind of person is a "modern woman"?

In both Korea and the States (the cultures with which I have the most experience), women are subject to some similar pressures. Be attractive (using surgery if necessary). Make money. Get married and have children (or not, depending on one's individual circumstances would be wrong to imagine that those pressures have entirely disappeared from this country). Don't talk too loudly or be agressive, or people might think you're a bitch.

With the coming of age, the pressures diminish, because all over the world, people care less what other people think as they get older.

Sure, the media helps to shape culture. It always has. It always will. It makes money.

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