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James Turnbull's picture

Korean Photoshop Disaster #4: NOBODY’S Perfect!

Probably both a driving force and reflection of the increasing amount of male objectification in the Korean media since last year, then you may have noticed that female authors and commenters on K-pop blogs have become increasingly vocal in their admiration of male celebrities’ bodies these days. And with the provisos that such objectification can be problematic, and more of one sex by no means nullifying the negative effects of that of another, then all power to them, but it does increasingly tempt me to indulge myself a little too!

Hence I was considering presenting some pictures for Lee Hyori’s (이효리) recent photoshoot for Elle Korea here earlier today, but paused when I thought about how to describe her in them: after all, heaven forbid that a male blogger shift from simply using banalities like “she is sexy” when expressing admiration for a woman’s body, to discussing her body parts in the same manner that female bloggers now can and do of a man’s. Or is that just me?

James Turnbull's picture

Gender Advertisements: What, boys can drink girly drinks now?

Regularly criticizing food and drink companies for marketing their products so differently to either sex, or even exclusively just to one, then I’m surprised to find I have mixed feelings about the news that one company has actually chosen to stop doing so for a change: Hyundai Pharm (현대약픔), whose Miero Fiber (미에로화이바) “diet drink” for women was ironically the first of its kind in Korea, but for which a new campaign has been launched featuring Lee Joon (이준), a member of boy band MBLAQ (엠블랙), and Kwak Min-jung (곽민정), a figure skater:

제 2의 비라 불리며 초콜릿 복근으로 팬들의 마음을 사로잡고 있는 엠블랙 이준과 밴쿠버 동계올림픽에서 괄목할만한 성장으로 모두를 놀라게 한, 제2의 피겨여왕을 꿈꾸는 피겨스케이팅 선수 곽민정, 이 두 사람이 만난다면 어떤 모습일까?

엠블랙 이준과 곽민정 선수가 기능성 식이섬유 음료의 대표 주자인 현대약품 미에로화이바의 새모델로 발탁됐다.

Called the second Rain (비), and gaining a lot of fans through his chocolate abs, Lee Joon of MBLAQ is with Kwak Min-jung, a figure skater who startled everyone with her remarkable growth as a skater at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and who dreams of becoming the second figure skating queen [after Kim Yuna (김연아)]. What are they doing meeting together?

James Turnbull's picture

Korean Sociological Image #38: Gendered Marketing

 

With the exception of some medicines such as painkillers, presumably the majority of things that humans can eat or drink taste exactly the same and have exactly the same physiological effects on both sexes.

So why are so many marketed so differently to both, or even almost exclusively just to one? It’s really quite bizarre:

Already having deeply analyzed Korean examples of both however, and providing possible reasons for the divisions, today’s post is a light one just for the sake of providing a few more recent examples, starting with the opening commercial featuring the girl-group KARA (카라) for Pepero (빼빼로) chocolate sticks. And with 55% of Lotte Confectionery’s (롯데제과) annual sales of them being made around “Pepero Day” every November 11, then one can hardly bemoan the company for looking for ways to encourage consumers to buy them throughout the year. But still, I doubt that Lotte will go so far as to produce similar commercials featuring male groups instead, and especially not with their members pretending to make “V-lines” with the Pepero sticks in them.

James Turnbull's picture

Western Metrosexuals & Korean Kkotminam: Inevitable?

( Adapted from Mobile Life, by geishaboy500 )

Alas, it’s no longer my planned thesis topic, but I’m still very interested in the origins of the kkotminam (꽃미남) phenomenon, and so naturally I”m intrigued by the notion that the physically healthier a society, the more women in it tend to prefer “feminine” men as mates. From The Economist:

A disease-free society helps effeminate men attract women

IT IS not just a sense of fairness that seems to be calibrated to social circumstances (see article). Mating preferences, too, vary with a society’s level of economic development. That, at least, is the conclusion of a study by Ben Jones and Lisa DeBruine [themselves a married couple] of Aberdeen University, in Scotland, published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

….In a man, the craggy physical characteristics associated with masculinity [James: because of testosterone] often indicate a strong immune system and thus a likelihood of his producing healthier offspring than his softer-featured confrères will. But such men are also more promiscuous and do not care as much about long-term relationships, leaving women to raise their kids alone.

Nowadays, sound parenting is often more important to the viability of a man’s offspring than Herculean strength. That, some researchers suspect, may be changing the physical traits that women look for in a mate, at least in some societies. A study carried out in 2004, for example, discovered that women in rural Jamaica found manly types more desirable than did women in Britain, which led to questions about whether those preferences were arbitrary or whether women in different parts of the world might be adapting to circumstances that place different emphasis on manliness in the competitive calculus.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could

I’m watching The Vagina Monologues on HBO right now. I’ve read the book, but I never saw it being performed. It’s a good show, I like how this particular adaptation has mini interview with Eve Ensler and a group of women between each monologue. No matter how many times you hear these stories, they never lose their power to move.

The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could

Memory: December 1965: Five Years Old

My mama tells me in a scary, loud, life-threatening voice to stop scratching my coochi snorcher. I become terrified that I’ve scratched it off down there. I do not touch myself again, even in the bath. I am afraid of the water getting in and filling me up so I explode. I put Band-Aids over my coochi snorcher to the cover the hole, but they fall off in the water. I imagine a stopper, a bathtub plug up there to prevent things from entering me. I sleep with three pairs of happy heart-patterned cotton underpants underneath my snap-up pajamas. I still want to touch myself, but I don’t.

Memory: Seven Years Old

Edgar Montane, who is ten, gets angry at me and punches me with all his might between my legs. It feels like he breaks my entire self. I limp home. I can’t pee. My mama asks me what’s wrong with my coochi snorcher, and when I tell her what Edgar did to me she yells at me and says never to let anyone touch me down there again. I try to explain he didn’t touch it, Mama, he punched it.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

When “Feminist” Became a Bad Word

Back in September I wrote a post called When Did Being Called a Feminist Become an Insult? I didn’t really have an answer at the time, I mostly wrote about my personal musings on the questions, but after reading the first Chapter of Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth I have or rather she has an answer to the question. It might be pretty obvious to some, but she wrote about it so well, that I’m here to share it with you all:

The caricature of the Ugly Feminist was resurrected to dog the steps of the women’s movement. The caricature is unoriginal; it was coined to ridicule the feminists of the nineteenth century. Lucy Stone herself, who supporters saw as “a prototype of womanly grace… fresh and fair as the morning,” was derided by detractors with “the usual report” about Victorian feminists: “a big masculine woman, wearing boots, smoking a cigar, swearing like a trooper.” As Betty Friedan put it presciently in 1960, even before the savage revamping of that old caricature: “The unpleasant image of feminists today resembles less the feminists themselves than the image fostered by the interests who so bitterly opposed the vote for women in state after state.” Thirty years on, her conclusion is more true than ever: That resurrected caricature, which sought to punish women for their public acts by going after their private sense of self, became a paradigm for new limits placed on aspiring women everywhere. After the women’s movement’s second wave, the beauty myth was perfected to checkmate power at every level in individual women’s lives.

This book is AWESOME. I’ve only read chapter one and it has pretty much blown me away. You should all get your hands on a copy from somewhere. I borrowed mine from my neighbor. Seek it out! Spread the word!

Crossposted from Cuntlove.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Bodies and Souls: The Century Project

Frank Cordelle had an idea. He took nude photographs of women whose ages spanned over a century. The first picture is of the head of a baby girl crowning through her mother’s vagina. Not quite making it to a hundred, the last picture is of a 94-year-old woman whose photograph is accompanied by the following message:

I posed so some old lady will not fear age, and some old men would know old women are not so strange. I loved the challenge of posing nude, such excitement! My husband would have said, “Some picture, kid!”

Most of the pictures are in fact accompanied by a message written by the women themselves and although I did not read the entire book, I did take a look at the excerpts on Frank’s website and let me tell you they are heartbreaking, but in a good way. My eyes literally welled up with tears. As did my neighbors eyes when I told her about the project and the stories these brave women have shared.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Pornography Helped Betty Dodson

I recently read in Sex for One that Betty Dodson was convinced that she had abnormal labia since one of them was longer than the other. As she tells it, when she was a kid she thought that she had deformed them by masturbating too much. She even made a deal with God that she would immediately stop masturbating if the situation was rectified, only to eventually make a compromise with herself, which consisted of only masturbating on the shorter side in an attempt to even them out.

It wasn’t only Betty was in her thirties that she came to realize that her labia were perfectly normal and in fact desirable. Her lover at the time asked if he could look at her cunt and ashamed she told him what was “wrong” with her lips. Fortunately he assured her that they were perfectly normal and in fact beautiful. In an attempt to reassure her and show her that labia came in all shapes and sizes, he took out some porno magazines and showed her photographic evidence.

This was the first time that Betty was exposed to that kind of material and the experience blew her mind. She came to accept her own body by simply seeing that other women had similarly shaped labia and that our bodies didn’t all fit into one image of how things ought to look. 

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

There's Nothing Wrong With Our Genitals

pc-242I‘ve had so many conversations with women who have felt that their genitals where deformed in some way or another, or at the very least not a representation of the status-quo. One person I know, had been told by an ex-sexual partner that her clit was quite predominant, which led her to question her genitals in a way that she had never considered before. When another friend was telling us how her inner labia hung lower than her outer labia, I started to question why mine didn’t do that. I wondered if my inner labia were too small. 

I’ve had many similar questions about my vulva: Was it too hairy? Where my lips too big? Was my clit too small? Was my pubic bone too prominent? How did it smell? How did it taste? From looking at my brother’s porn magazines, I determined that the entrance to my vagina had too many folds or that it looked wrinkly, or too stretchy, something I thought I was worsening by masturbating. Yup, I was concerned that my selflovin’ habits were going to make my pussy look prematurely old or used in some way. 

I’m not the only one, I know I’m not. This is a problem.

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