Friday, June 3, 2011

Boys Before...Feminism

Everything I'd want to say is basically here: Why Boys Before Flowers Sets Feminism Back 20 Years at Da Hee's Plastic Castle. In a nutshell: Boys Over Flowers / 꽃보다 남자 takes a surprisingly feisty, empowered, stubborn female protagonist and turns her into a wilting delicate flower, trembling for the love of her broody, emotionally constipated man. I won't rehash everything that's wrong with the series; instead I want to know what the Korean feminist reaction to this series is.

Each person in this photo is individually responsible for setting feminism back exactly four years.

Jong-min once described feminism in Korea as "less feminism and more a special interests group for women." Since I don't have access to whatever the Korean academic world is discussing and postulating (as regards feminism or anything else) because I don't speak Korean, I can neither confirm nor deny this. All I have is Korean pop culture through the filter of white Western feminists and that's obviously going to be a whole different kettle of fish. By his account, academic feminist reaction to 꽃보다 남자 has been mostly to shrug at it, or forget the glaring issues in the story in favor of handsome curly-haired man—far from the outcry that still reverberates in Western circles as regards Twilight.

If anyone has any insight regarding the reception 꽃보다 남자 has enjoyed in the feminist circles in Korea, I'm keen to hear them. I sincerely hope that Jong-min is wrong (the only time I'd ever say that!)...but I have a sinking feeling he's not.

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