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BTS and Asian Masculinity -Deimperialization and Transmediality-

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2021, (82), pp.143-175
  • DOI : 10.31310/HUM.082.05
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : July 5, 2021
  • Accepted : July 28, 2021
  • Published : August 31, 2021

Soo Yeon Kim 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article analyzes BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan), the world’s most famous K-pop boy band, in the light of soft masculinity. Rather than defining soft masculinity per se, this essay shifts focus to the notion of deimperialization and transmediality as instrumental to constructing the discourse of soft Asian masculinity. The first part of the essay looks into “Asia as method,” Kuan-Hsing Chen’s term for a deimperialized way of gaining knowledge about Asia. The second part begins with surveying masculinity studies and moves on to examine the increasing popularity of soft masculinity which, represented by BTS’s gender-crossing performance, is celebrated as an antidote to “toxic masculinity” dominant in the west. Calling BTS’s masculinity “manufactured versatile masculinity” designed to meet the diverse expectation of fans, the last part looks at contemporary transmedia culture in which BTS’s hybrid masculinity emerges and travels across media. By calling attention to the variety of racial, gender, and late-capitalist ideologies, such as racial essentialism and cultural relativism, my article argues for the need of deimperialization in understanding and assessing Asian soft masculinity embodied in BTS.

Citation status

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