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Study on Co-evolution between Genre and Society in TV Dramas- Focused on Representation and Discourse on Homosexuality

  • The Journal of Korean drama and theatre
  • 2020, (69), pp.139-177
  • DOI : 10.17938/tjkdat.2020..69.139
  • Publisher : The Learned Society Of Korean Drama And Theatre
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : July 31, 2020
  • Accepted : September 20, 2020
  • Published : September 30, 2020

Kim, Mi- Ra 1

1서울여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Television is a repeated cycle of collating and adapting social changes, prevailing social norms, sensitivities of the users into text, then disseminating the discourse through the medium. This, in effect, results in the coevolution between genre and society. As such, the way homosexuality is represented in TV dramas have evolved in line with the social perspectives, discourse, sensitivities and tolerance of the viewers of that time. This study aims to identify the way homosexuality is represented and what aspects of homosexuality is excluded, through a narrative analysis of<Sweet Munchies>(JTBC) and <My Unfamiliar Family>(tvN), in order to discuss the co-evolution and political perspective of TV shows which portrayhomosexuality. The analysis showed that gay characters, previously sidelined, are put on center stage, and these characters were not portrayed as subjects of morbid curiosity, or destined with a tragic fate, but they were portrayed as a common, normal subject of society. In addition, the storyline deviated from the usual plot of limiting conflicts arising from homosexuality as an individual issue, and concluding it through human generosity and family support, but instead, directly addressed social topics, such as questioning the traditional marriage institution that is based on heteronormativity, and society’s baseless discrimination and hate toward homosexuals. However, there was evidence of selective depoliticization, such as the fact that the characters’ occupations were limited to designers, chefs, and baristas, which confines homosexuals to the outer edges of the social system, and that the sexuality of gay males were hidden and not addressed by the use of the “strategy of the closet”. From a social coevolutionary perspective, this shows that while popular culture has admitted homosexuality into the mainstream and more individuals accept homosexuality, the reality is that under our patriarchal society, there is still a high level ofnegativity towards male homosexuality. This seems to reflect the current environment in 2020, which is, a society where there is not insignificant opposition to a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill that illegalizes discrimination against sexual minorities because it is deemed to be a legalization of homosexuality, a society where gay marriage is not legally recognized, and a society that is apathetic to protecting the civil and legal rights of homosexuals.

Citation status

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