Korea Lapse in Sexual Fantasy
Korea Lapse in Sexual Fantasy
  • Park Bae Haewon
  • 승인 2009.11.05 19:24
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“Say your fantasy straightforwardly.” “I’ll do anything even if it will be more than this.  For my fantasy, I’ll bet my everything. I’m gonna get you.”  The lyrics are part of the songs, “Genie” by Girl’s Generation and “Abracadabra” by Brown Eyed Girls.  The songs are highlighting the word, fantasy, shaking slender legs or pelvises with fitting uniforms and hot pants or torn leather dresses.  The word of fantasy has its origin in the Greek word phantos. 

Phantos indicates “appearance of an invisible thing,” and it is synonymous with simulacrum in Latin. Simulacre is used to mean ‘duplication without original,’ or ‘duplication of duplication’ in modern philosophy.1 Robert A. Beuroeo, professor of New York University, aid fantasy is a main strategy to sell products or services making real life sweet.2  In the meantime, Japan's culture critic Gishida Shu recognized it as strategic device for preservation of the species because man's sexual desire is based in fantasy more than instinct.3 Sexual marketing is prevalent uniting fantasy’s function, as sexual field and means of marketing and sublimating it as sexual image.

- Sexual Marketing

Sexual marketing is a strategy that stimulates customers’ curiosity and fantasy by sex appeal and induces consumption.  From sexual marketing’s point of view, sex means only a means to make costumers decide to consume.  Then, why does sexual marketing occur even if it degrades sex to merely a means?  That’s because it could make large profit.  According to Hans-Uwe L. Koehler, a famous German brand marketer, sex and the related information is the most effective trigger of emotional excitement.  Sex is not only most people’s favorite gossip source, but physical and psychological desire, a universally existing phenomenon in human beings.  Accordingly, by stimulating the consumer’s desire, the distributor maximizes his profit.4

- The Spread of Sex Appeal in Media

Sexual marketing and sex appeal is most easily found in media contents.  In the music industry, a number of young girls and women are launching but they appeal only with sexy concepts and suggestive clothes, dancing and lyrics.  In addition, men also become objects of the sexual marketing.  Jimseungdol is the radical example which emphasizes masculine character.  Jimseungdol, which indicates idol groups who use sex appeal with image of beast, were criticized from some netizen because it can be sexual harassment toward men.  “As women get economic power, existing commercializing sexuality spread its range from women’s sexuality to that of men,”Jung Duckhyung who is a culture critic explained about the phenomenon appearing many programs and celebrities, which reflects interest of men’s looks.  However, due to some hits from sex appeal, the Tunner Effect occurs; as people become accustomed to existing stimulation, more sensational stimulations are required.  According to this, there are many dramas and films attracting public attention with homosexual







Through code like Coffee Prince, Frozen Flower (ssanghwajeom), and Antique Through.  This trend, “as commercializing women’s sexuality are saturated, media is exposing homosexual code too many,” LQ(21), a member pointed out in People to People, a club for sexual minorities in Korea University.  Last summer, origin of folk tale, Junseolui Gohyang, a special summer evening horror drama, became the target of criticism because of its sex scene and groaning sound.  At the notice on KBS’s homepage, “KBS’s identity is clearly public management broadcast.  Its intention making the drama was for families but there are excessive sexual scenes.  I felt uncomfortable and if I watched with my daughter, I might bring a law suit,” a netizen who has ID conti400, stated.  In the meantime, Naked News, in which women who wear only underwear announce news, had been broadcasted on the Internet till last July.  Naked News even produced a film for teenagers.  A reporter in Sisa Journal, Lee Chilhyeon, said that Korea is addicted to sex appeal.  “Sexy code always existed in fashion or cultural goods.  But, today’s trend is changing in form that the only spotlights to the goods themselves are the sexy code.  The definition about Korean present culture is usual of sexism,” Ku Jungran, chief editor in NYLON, a woman’s fashion magazine, also pointed out about Korea’s present culture.7

- What Is the Problem?

Is it always lewd work expressing nudity of a human’s body on media? In the age of Renaissance, there were many nude pictures created not only of women’s but also men’s bodies because people of those days thought human bodies were beauty in itself.   Like “Scenery on Dano day,” a genre picture of Joseon, Korean last sovereign state, emphasize eroticism and sexuality.  However “because the motive of the pictures is originated from the human and human’s desire, it has artistic value”9 Said Professor Kim Heonsun in Kyeongki University said.  The problem is that while art is expressing sexuality understanding human’s body as beauty, present some media is express sexuality understand human’s body as means of a profitable business.  Seoul National University Professor Kim Jaeki pointed out that the present sexual industry plays a large role in modern capitalistic society.  This mechanism is based on perception that human’s labor power can be commercialized and also anything about human beings that can be sold can become goods.  In the meantime, Professor Kim stated that wanting to touch the

other person who looks beautiful is a natural desire, if they have relationship which shares their emotion with each other.  Through image, however, the screen of the television gives a sense of unity and reality driving people on misjudgment.  With Jean Baudrillard’s theory Simulacre, Park Jung-ja, honored Professor at Sangmyung University pointed out that the present society is Hyper Reality in critic of Newdaily.  Hyper reality means an actuality that is seen as more actual than actuality.  Commercializing sexuality is easy to seduce people into a distorted concept about sex because it already offers a simulative image, more real than real-reality.  “When most people have sex with a partner, they imitate its detailed concept, methods or atmosphere, from sex scenes in media contents,” said Professor Park Eun A, who gave lectures of women’s studies in Sookmyung Women’s University.  Exposing parts of a celebrity’s body in media is a serious situation because it distorts people’s understanding of the body or promotes the idea that the body is just a tool to achieve sex appeal, not only to celebrities, but also to general people.  According to statistics researched in 2004 by HAETAE Confectionery Company in Korea, and Naver, a portal site in Korea, Korean women thought men’s ideal body condition is 180cm tall and 70kg, and Korean men thought women’s ideal body condition is 165cm, 45kg.11   However, Korean men’s average body condition and weight were 173.6 cm and 68.1kg, and Korean women 161.1cm and 55.8kg.  This gaps show people’s misunderstanding about the other sex’s body.12 


- Searching for Countermeasure

According to column of Kim Minhwan in Joongang Ilbo, a journalism Professor at Korea University, while in west recognition about sex was progressed gradually, recognition about sex in Korea experienced rapid growth follow its speedy economic growth.  Accordingly Korean social had not chance to discuss mutual consent about sex.  Therefore, as social consensus is absent, legal regulation is also unprepared.  However, when it comes to make legal regulation, it would also face problem because of development of intelligence network like UCC or blog.  Already, in the music industry, as mentioned above, some producers instead intend to accept the judgment ‘uncensored’ to utilize noise marketing.  “Some director or singers request to staff about their work taking course to give up being on air in the main broadcasting station, from the start.  They think the judgment, uncensored, is seldom a problem because they can open the contents to the public through cable broadcasting stations or on-line,” said, Hong Donghee a journalist in Herald Media, reported.14   All media contents not commercialize sexuality to raise audience rating mobilize spectator or advertise their products.  Rude Miss Youngae is good example. The drama is deal with a Korean ordinary working woman’s life.  “Without Sexy code, it attracts people.  Moreover, it indicates new viewpoint about women against commercializing sexuality and emphasizing only appearance,”15 a journalist Cho Sangin said.  Like this, there are also some contents which say sarcastically about Korean society prevailing commercializing sexuality.  “To worker in Media contents industry, it is necessary to have power of self cleansing like behavior observing code of ethics and conducts” professor Choi Chang Seop in Seogang University, pointed that duty of provider is more important in Korean society without social consensus and legal regulation about.16



1) Kim Yongseok, The Beauty, Beast and Human, Pooreunsoop, 2000. 12. 01, p. 565
2) Robert A. Brawer, Fictions of Business, Haebaraki, 2005. 07. 20, p. 23
3) Gishida Shu, Sex Is Merely Fantasy, Yihaksa, 2000. 11. 13, p. 69

4) Hans-Uwe L. Koehler, Sexual Marketing, Tornado, 2007. 11. 05
5) Jung Deokhyun, How to See about Homosexuality in Popular Cultre, Sports KHAN, 2007.11.20
6) Lee Joonha, Is it Okay Only to Homosexual Hot Guy?, Ohmynews, 2008.12.07

7) Sisa Journal, 2009.07.15. Lee Chilhyeon,
8) Jung Haekyung, Sexism, Humanist, 2007.12.05, p. 216
9) Yang Sunghee, [Fountain]Shinyoonbok, Joongangilbo, 2008.10.25
10) Daeshik LEE. Study about .lasciviousness and violence in domestic Music Video. 2003. Graduate School of Mass-Communication, Chung-Ang University
11) Kukinews 2004.07.08 Seo Jihyun

11) Kukinews 2004.07.08 Seo Jihyun
12) Newsis 2006-08-14 Kang Soojin
14) The Herald Business, 2009.05.22, Hong Donghee
15) Jo Sang-in, Dribbling Popularity in Cable Drama, Sports KHAN, 2008.12.18
16) Choi Chang Seop, Reconsideration about media nuclear umbrella ,Jinhan M&B, 2008

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