Paper details:
Please write a short (2-3 page) paper on EACH of the following 3 topics. Altogether, your final paper should be about 7-8 pages.
1. Discuss the relationality between queer/gay masculinity and heterosexual/heteronormative masculinity. Can either queer/gay masculinity challenge as well as incorporate (assimilate with) heteronormative masculinity? Or conversely can heteronormative masculinity also appropriate queer/gay masculinity? Respond to these questions by citing examples and analyzing them in detail. [In both cases, we are assuming here that neither *queer/gay* nor *heterosexual* masculinity are fixed categories.]

Cite 2 examples from the following 3 texts: John Cho’s “The Korean Gay and Lesbian Movement, 1993-2008: From ‘Identity’ and ‘Community’ to ‘Human Rights’,” Sun Jung’s “Bae Yong-Joon and Soft Masculinity and Japanese Fans: Our Past is Your Present Body” and No Regrets (Movie, 2006 directed by Yi-Song Hui-il)

2. Using the K-pop boy group bands’ performances we’ve watched on YouTube as your primary sources, examine the relationship between the kinds of transformed and changing masculinities in the form of globalized pop culture commodities on the one hand and the processes of cultural globalization and cultural technologies on the other hand. In other words, how have cultural globalization driven by new cultural technologies help to contribute to the reconstruction of global contemporary masculinity? What kind of relation does this new global Korean/Asian pop cultural masculinity have to existing patriarchy both in Korean and more global contexts?

Cite 2 examples from any of the YouTube videos we watched and then link them to 2 theoretical concepts that help to explain and analyze these two textual examples that you have selected.

You can choose concepts from any of the following articles: Koichi Iwabuchi, Kent Ono/Jungmin Kwon, Sun Jung (Soft Masculinity and K-Pop Boy Groups), Regina Lee

3. Discuss how women and femininities are represented in the cultural productions we have read and watched in relation to the masculinities that we have discussed in class. How have representations of women changed in relation to the changing masculinities both in South Korea and beyond South Korea, i.e., Asia, (Korean/Asian) America and the globe? Analyze 4 examples altogether, one each from “Yellow” (Don Lee) and “The Last of Hanak’o” (Ch’oe Yun)and 2 from YouTube Videos (Choose only 2 from the 4 YouTube videos that will be posted on the course website) (only first 10 minutes)


Gender in Different Aspects

Relationship between Gay Masculinity and Heterosexual Masculinity

            Gender refers to a social construction phenomenon that is ever changing and hence the world cannot assume a single universal masculinity or femininity. This implies that there are different ways of being a man, meaning that the masculinity of being a man is never uniform. For instance, there is hegemonic, queer, semiotic and hetero-normative masculinities experienced among manhood in different subgroups. In this essay, queer or gay masculinity and hetero-normative or heterosexual masculinity will be discussed into detail explaining their relationship and which is more acceptable in the society. Can either queer masculinity challenge or assimilate with hetero normative masculinity? Conversely, can hetero-normative masculinity also appropriate queer masculinity? This essay will try to answer these questions in details.

Queer masculinity is a behavior that is demonstrated by many straight men. This is further defined as a way of being masculine outside the hetero-normative way of masculinity that either upset or has the capability to interrupt the traditional views of hegemonic heterosexual masculinity. On the other hand, hetero-normative masculinity is the legitimization and privileging of heterosexual relationship in the society whereby the traditional roles are considered basic and ordinary within the society. Gay masculinity in Korea has not been acceptable at all because it is considered a vice and a setback to the traditional culture (Cho 54). The sexual minorities on human rights in Korea however, have come up to advocate for the growth of queer masculinity in the country.

The new social movements that have been seen in Korea have led to the emergence of the Korean gay and lesbian movements. From the minority sexual activists, gay masculinity can assimilate with hetero normative masculinity. Their oppression in South Korea is a unique barrier that hinders the hetero normative group of people from expressing themselves in public. Gay and lesbian activism is a movement that fights against homophobic representation in state censorship of gay films, school textbooks, and the internet. The queer masculinity group of individuals feels that it is their right to be fully represented in all aspects. Gays and lesbians jointly participated in the nationwide labor strike in South Korea protesting against the revision of the Labor and National Security Laws organized by the Homosexual Coalition Committee.             One of the reasons for assimilation of hetero normative masculinity and queer masculinity is that both help individuals of same sex enjoy their rights of being in partnership (Cho 23). The main sole reason for marriage in companionship and hence the gay community considers the behavior rightful. Moreover, being gay or hetero normative was being considered as a lifestyle by individuals, hence, there was no reason for fighting against it. The Korean activists on the gay and lesbian rights claimed that hegemonic heterosexual masculinity does not affect religion and thus it was their right to practice it whenever there was the urge. People are entitled to their own beliefs, meaning that they can do what pleases them at any time and when they feel like.

On the contrary, hegemonic heterosexual masculinity has brought many social problems giving a reason why the gender should not be tolerated. One of the social issue is the dangerous disease; HIV/AIDs that has caused deaths of many Koreans. In addition, there were cases of sexual violence, prostitution, and use of drugs that linked to either homosexuality or queer masculinity. These are some of the side effects caused by the emergence of love and sex between members of the same gender. Hard masculinity refers to the dominance of non-intellectual that is characterized by being rural. On the other hand, soft masculinity should be characterized by global metro sexual masculinity. In Korean, K-Pop requires beast-like masculinity that is defined by musicians being physically huge. Ideally, Sun Jung’s tries to bring out the issue of heterosexuality that should be involved in the dancing career.

Cultural Globalization In Relation To New Cultural Technologies

Culture refers to a people’s way of life and it is treasured across all societies globally. Culture globalization is the situation where individuals worldwide adopt a common culture through the development of cultural technologies. K-pop boy group bands’ represents a Korean idol band and consists of male and female members. The group band helps in bringing out clearly the aspect of cultural globalization in the world among the Koreans. It is clear that globalization affects cultural change in a big way. The new global Korean/Asian pop cultural masculinity has a sour relation to the existing patriarchy both in Korean and more global contexts. Globalized pop culture is widespread among different people living in different regions clearly explaining the process of cultural globalization.

Cultural technology is popularized among the Korean Music label, moreover, it still continues being spread to other cultural groups. The trans-cultural consumption in Korea is one way through which cultural technology gains fame internationally. The issue that is raised is that of hybridizations in that they allow regional audience to embrace the different cultural representations. Gender is constituted through the way a person portrays him or herself to the outer society and thus people will associate a given gender of culture according to the behavior. The social behavior that an individual shows to other people builds a person’s masculinity or femininity. Soft masculinity in the Korean culture is combined with traditional Seonbi masculinity to form the global metro sexual masculinity.

Masculinity dictates that a man should be strong and gentle with high capability of performance. In addition, a man should posses a strong inner will in order to be considered as ideal in the society. The issue of pretty boy phenomenon in South Korea is evident in many areas of their culture such as in music, photography, and fashion (Sun 159). The Korean Dramas have enhanced the globalization of culture largely through their interesting performances. Thus, culture globalization should not be taken as regional because there are numerous people keen to watch and listen to the performances. The reconstruction of the global contemporary masculinity has taken a new phase in the globalization platform. The new Asian pop or Korean cultural masculinity has been experienced in both genders.

The process of cultural globalization should not be taken for granted since it is not always easy to convince people to adopt a given culture. Koichi Iwabuchi brings about the aspect of pop culture in the society of Korea. Pop culture is all about transnationalism of the global culture in Korea that should be dispersed to other people in the world. The aesthetics of globalization involve the addition of cultural perspectives among other cultures (Iwabuchi 233). The values of masculinity such as strength, dominance, and aggression are mostly considered stronger in the Korean culture among men compared to values such as weakness, submission, and vulnerability, which are more dominant ion women. Due to globalization, the Koreans are spreading these values among different culture sin the world.

Lesbianism and homosexuality are among the current trends in the globalization of culture. The relationship between these two cultural aspects among nations has led to diverse views regarding the view of culture and its originality. The mobility of culture globalization has been made efficient and effective due to the rise of cultural technology that has swept across many states internationally. The internet has led to the perception that certain cultures are true and therefore people end up adopting them. Both the social media and the mass media have played a big role in ensuring the rise of a global culture. This indicates why the Asian pop cultural masculinity has extended among the Korean communities and further globally.

Women and Femininities Representation in the Cultural Productions

Currently, the representation of women in the cultural productions has changed in relation to the changing masculinities both in South Korea and beyond South Korea. In most cases, women have always been considered the weaker gender when men are involved. Women are considered important people in the society although their representation in cultural productions does not reflect on this importance. The changing masculinities in Korea, America, and the whole globe are the main reason for failure of femininities representation. In this case, four examples will be used to demonstrate the way this change has affected women’s representation in the current society.

First, in the collection of stories by Don Lee, “Yellow”, Asian Americans are used as the protagonists and they come from different ethnic groups. One of the stories is “The Price of Eggs in China” that clearly brings out the way masculinity has led to the overshadowing of women representation in the society. It narrates the uneasy courtship tale involving a number of Asian Americans that has aspects of deception, aesthetics, and criminality and stereotyping in it. One of the characters in this narration, Dean Kaneshiro is a renowned Japanese American specialized in art making in furniture. He has been very efficient in his artwork such that the national museum has collected his chair to be preserved as a representation of modern art. There is also an unsuccessful poet known as Caroline Yip whom Dean has fallen in love with although she faces criticism. One of the reviewers to Caroline’s poetry work makes harsh remarks regarding her and her works.

Don Lee criticizes the fact that women engage in poetry, which he regards as something invaluable in the society. Keen analysis of the story depicts that the men in the society greatly mocks the ethnic stereotyping that the activities women engage into fall. The story concludes with triumph of love although on the contrary, women need to sacrifice their artwork or engage in deception in order to come out as successful people in the society. The short story The Last of Hanak’o” by Ch’oe Yun also depicts the stereotyping of women by men in the society. Hanak’o is said to have worked her way into the society but the cruel men kick her outside (Ch’oe and Fulton 167). The expulsion scene in the story is another way that shows the extent to which femininity is being discoursed in this Japanese society. The men in the Japanese society are known to be stereotypes and dictators hence overshadowing women and their full representation in the society.

In the video “Korean Dramas”, Joon-Sang falls in love with Yoo-jin although their love is cut short when Joon-Yang is engaged in accident (Dinh, 2013). In relation to this film, femininity is not given a chance because the young woman is not allowed to fall in love with the man of her choice. Men seem to have dominated the culture just as it was years back when women had nothing to contribute in relationships and especially where men are involved in making decisions. Women do not have the freedom to do what they wish hence reducing their representations in the changing masculinities. From this video, men are considered superior while the global view on gender is that both men and women are equal (Dinh, 2013). This notion therefore makes the representation of women to be limited because fear is also instilled in them through the actions men do in their presence.

In the video “Dirty Eyed Girls”, the main theme is about blind love and implies some kind of a ritual that is associated with religion among the Koreans (Farn, 2010). The video was generally good during its performance although it has been criticized for the conveyance of sensual contexts. The cultural production gains favor although having been performed by women. In the current world, most stereotype men consider such a production meaningless, thinking that the message being conveyed is not moral. The overall conclusion from the video is that women should be given equal representation while conducting cultural productions

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