Men Can Be Flowers Too: Asian Masculinities in Popular Culture

NIcholas Tse as Hua Wuque, The Proud Twins
Nicholas Tse as Hua Wuque, The Proud Twins

Every time I see articles about young Asian actors leaving behind their “flower boy” roles for more “manly” characters, I feel some kind of way. Such articles act like attractiveness and masculinity cannot go hand it hand. They might if their authors were watching what I watch.

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Clothes Make the Man (and Woman!) in Kdramas


Clothes may seem like mere accessories to the romantic triangles and tensions in a Kdrama, but often they are characters in and of themselves.  Some Kdramas use clothing to enhance the presentation of the characters and the story.

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Babies, Tweens and Grandmas: Unsung Fans of Kpop



Some people say it like it’s a bad word. All too often, I find people saying condescending things about Kpop fans, assuming that they are all 12-year-old girls. They deserve respect, and so do the other fans of Kpop that people do not recognize.

Read more at (Originally published on August 29, 2011)

Gentlemen, Gangsters And The Guys Next Door: The Many Faces Of The Male Kpop Idol «


I know you have heard about the “4D personality”, but what about the “3G idol”?

That’s what I call certain idols who manage to be gentlemen, gangsters and the guys next door without making you scratch your head. Some people say that all idols are the same, but the ability of certain male idols to present a variety of images makes them stand out and shows the many different ways one can be a man…….click on the link below to read more: 

Gentlemen, Gangsters And The Guys Next Door: The Many Faces Of The Male Kpop Idol «.

Published on on July 2, 2011.

SS501: This One Is All About You

“In my eyes,” SS501 is the brightest star in the kpop universe. I’m not hatin’ on anybody else, but I am a SS501 girl. I like them so much that I will occasionally tease them also.  It’s all peace and love. Just think of me as that cool noona always cheering them on.  Yeah, I’m working on research that is all intellectual, how they represent a transnational masculinity that negotiates between two ethnic cultures (having a degree means you can work the academese!) and what not, but this post is about the fangirl/boy in all of us.

Why do I like SS501? What’s not to like? Really, if you are going to like to SS501, you have to embrace ALL of SS501, from the sexy manly of “U R Man” and “Love Ya” as well as that cracktastic choreography of “A Song Calling for You.”  They are the wonderful embodiment of what I like in a kpop band: pretty and silly. That’s not easy to pull off.  Yeah, Kim Hyung Joon, we all know that you like to flaunt that tattoo in the “U R Man” video, but I’ve seen footage of you screaming in a Japanese cemetery. Yeah, Kim Hyun Joong, you are all pimptastic cool in “Love Ya,” but I’ve seen footage of you when you first wake up in the morning. It certainly goes against the complete pretty boy image that could be defining feature of a kpop boy band (oops, I mean idol band, because they are “men” now, y’all).

Contrary to popular belief, it is not all about how they look. According to the count on my iTunes, my most played SS501 song is “U R Man,” with “Deja Vu” close behind (what is even more curious is that Nicholas Tse’s “Huang Zhong Ren” outpaces them both–what’s up with that? clearly, another post).  I really can’t say which member is my favorite. Heo Young Saeng has a beautiful voice, and Kim Kyu Jong is a really strong dancer.  And Park Jung Min will tell you about all of his fantastic qualities! I like them each for different reasons; they each have different talents and personalities, which would warrant successful careers on their on, but you put that together, and it’s something special.  And I would venture to say that the reason why fans like SS501 is that they genuinely seem to like one another. How else are they going to be five united as one forever?

It’s an interesting time to like SS501, with all the emotional appeals and outbursts on the net about whether they are together (or not), will put out a new album (or not), etc. Leader Joong has to be one of the hardest working idols out there; it seems it’s everyday I hear something about him. Baby Joon is in a musical and Jung Min is about to drop his album in the new year (you know, if North Korea doesn’t act up). KyuSaeng showed up for a fan meeting recently.  BIG SHOUT OUT to all the Green Peas and Triple Ss running blogs, sites, Facebook groups and pages, because there is no way this SS501 train keeps moving without people who speak and read Korean translating for those of us who don’t. How else can we sing along IN KOREAN! What people should really pay attention to is the truly international appeal of SS501. Sisters are holding it down from the Philippines to the Middle East. I just found a student here in NC that shares my adoration of the band (hey, Michelle!). SS501 fans are everywhere. That, my friends, is deep.

So as we wait for the next SS501 “thing,” I have one thing to say:

“Baby, one more time!”