K-Pop (케이팝) Exposure & Asian Male Sex Appeal
I don’t listen to much pop music, but as an electronic music enthusiast and amateur producer, K-pop will more likely catch my attention than any of pop’s other forms. K-pop often features of its complicated and intricate beats, quick cuts, and edgy synth hooks. As Pitchfork describes in their “20 Essential K-Pop Songs,” http://pitchfork.com/features/starter/9475-20-essential-k-pop-songs/
“The Western media loves to fixate on K-pop’s ‘assembly line’ methodology, and the industry’s de rigeur trainee development program indeed prizes performative excellence over any kind of creative aptitude. Considering the cost-intensive multimedia project that is the typical K-pop smash, it’s little surprise that agencies tailor these acts and their images to best court audiences that are most likely to reward their investment: obsessive teenyboppers. As such, both the presentation of the music and the “impersonal” way it’s made fundamentally disagree with most Western music fans’ Beatles-derived notions of authenticity. (The language barrier can be a roadblock as well.)
But the Korean music industry—for all its bright color schemes, plastic sheen, and frankly commercial raison d’être—has quietly produced some of the most intelligent, adventurous, and accomplished mainstream pop of the past few years. It’s a world where songs with whiplash tempo cuts, Punjabi-via-Korean lyrics, and irregular beats exist as hyper-realized pop commodities, but connect with audiences on a mass scale. The following list offers a modest introduction to the hugely saleable genius some of the world’s best songwriters, producers, and performers can achieve when working in close cooperation.” (http://pitchfork.com/features/starter/9475-20-essential-k-pop-songs/)
This is f(x)’s 2013 release Rum Pum Pum Pum, one of the 20 Essential tracks recommended by Pitchfork.
There is no “average” fan of K-Pop, as the relatively young genre of music crossed borders early on as an international phenomenon. As with most pop music, the listeners tend to be younger. As to the boy-band styled groups, I would bet it’s a huge number of female k-pop fans for every male one. I can see why…
Full Spectrum of Asian Masculinity On Display
For those living in America, K-pop videos likely represent the only significant exposure they have to Asian guys in mass media. Without a counternarrative, the image in the subconscious of an Asian man remains the tired effeminate perpetual foreigner, an utterly non-dateable individual.
The men that the fans of K-pop are exposed to are something completely different. In the culture of K-pop, Western women are able to see something beyond the two or three offensive tropes. They see for the first time all types… expressive, creative, muscular, quirky, soulful, tough, &c. It helps that they can all sign and dance too. And you know what? They want to date these men.