Idol Culture and East Asia

2121 Words9 Pages
From celebrity endorsed product advertisements to Reality Television programs on cosmetic surgery, the commercialized nature of ‘Idol culture’ has become crucial in reforming beauty ideals and perceptions of masculinity and femininity amongst mainstream society in East Asia. Due to the drastic popularity of South Korean Idol groups both nationally and throughout East Asia including China, Japan and Taiwan women and men have been increasingly more exposed to sexualized imagery of ‘desirable’ bodies (Epstein and Joo 2012). This has generated an international idealism of the ‘Korean body’ as a national symbol representing South Korea’s participation in the global arena. Media liberalization during the 1990s increased the presence of Korean culture across Asia, especially China through CCTV network that aired Korean drama programs primarily due to cheaper programming costs (Shim 2011). As a result of the popularity gained by Korean music and movie stars, large companies started using ‘Idols’ to endorse their products. Idol endorsements are especially popular in the market saturated beauty and cosmetics industry, however this has essentially fueled a reformation of standardized beauty ideals (Schwekendiek, Yeo & Ulijaszek 2013). This basic marketing strategy used to encourage consumers aspirations of having the large eyes and smooth skin of their favourite Korean stars has created a cultural on-flow stimulating a growing cosmetic surgery market. No longer are ‘whitening’ products sufficient to satisfy the needs of a beauty driven society in declaring their economic status. Consumers now believe the coveted ‘V-shape’ face, double eyelids and straight nose are essential to success and are not shy of altering their appearance for a compet... ... middle of paper ... ...p://>. [17 May 2014] G-Dragon becomes first male Idol to endorse red lipstick, 2013. Available from: <>. [17 May 2014] Dana 2012, K-Pop Diets and the Logical Disconnect. Available from: Brunelle, E. 2008, Gender Performance Japan: Visual Kei. Available from: Asian Plastic Surgery Guide n.d. Korean Body Lines. Available from: . [16 May 2014] MULTIMEDIA Girl's Generation & 2PM - Cabi Song [HD] 2010, (music video). Available from:
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