Title

The Objects of Our Affection: Objectification, Sexualization and Commodification of the Korean Pop Culture Industry and Fandom

Author

Karolyn Park

Class Year

2014

Access Type

Archival Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Media Studies Program

First Advisor

Tarik Elseewi

Second Advisor

Dara Greenwood

Abstract

K-Pop with its flashy ‘bubble gum pop’ aesthetic has developed into a major cultural product and dominating industry in the past decade. In the growing market, idol celebrities have started to emerge as manufactured products that market the fantasy of romance to a large fan base. In this thesis, I discuss how the Korean pop culture industry molds stars into marketable products to be actively and enthusiastically consumed by a participatory, often authoritative fandom. I also explore the psychological processes that may be responsible for contributing to extreme fan mania and destructive behavior often witnessed in the realms of Korean pop culture. The utilization of digital media and social networking services by the industry and fandom are also investigated. By offering a close examination of the various industry and fan behaviors, I aim to highlight why and how celebrities and objectified, commoditized, and exploited by the collective system.

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