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[MVP OP:ED] Why do some people perceive male K-pop idols as being Gay?

By AllK_Maknae   Tuesday, May 30, 2017   99,613   2,240   22



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Are they gay?

You've heard it all before; "Is that a girl?," "Is he wearing makeup?," and the infamous "Are they gay?" These are the questions that have plagued the international K-Pop fandom since the dawn of time YouTube. Because Korean culture and their idols are different in so many ways in comparison to gender norms in other countries, it is becoming so common to question any male idols' sexuality before thinking of their talents, or anything else relevant, first.

SEE ALSO: Perez Hilton's comments about BTS' sexuality angers fans

With the controversy being stirred over Perez Hilton's recent bold tweet towards BTS during the Billboard Music Awards, I decided to settle the flame and join the heated discussion and shed some light as to why K-Pop idols' sexual orientation are put into question and address the negative connotations behind being gay.

First, let's address the real problem here - there is NOTHING wrong with being gay in the first place! It shouldn't be offensive to be questioned as if you're asking if someone has a viral sickness or something. 

The way Perez Hilton handled it was absolutely unprofessional because he already made an assumption and questioned "who in the group is out" - meaning they are gay and in the closet. It's wrong because he already labeled a person in regards to a sensitive topic about being in the closet which, especially in Korea, is no laughing matter. Perez, as a gay man, should know better and set a better example.

Me rubbing my OP:ED in people's faces.

Aside from that, being gay isn't something that is idolized or honored in any country, so it is understandable when someone quickly dismisses any false rumor or idea that they might be gay. However, to refer to someone being gay as slander is like saying someone is disgusting just because they are white, black or Korean. It is your born, natural identity - why is it a problem or used as a way to defame people? The moment people stop doing that, the better the world can be for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Second, we already know that some modern Korean men don't (usually) follow the gender norms most men relate to. Makeup for males is a big industry in Korea and you also see male idols sport girlish clothing, and have concepts like dandy boys and flower boys. In Western culture, to a "Bro," all signs point to yes - you're a homosexual. However, in Korea, it seems they don't put limitations on gender norms when it comes to this aspect. Korean culture view men in a different light than that of Western cultures. For entertainers to partake in these "feminine activities" doesn't emasculate anyone. The irony here is that masculinity used to be much more emphasized in Korea than even compared to the West. Around 20 or so years ago, no Korean man would've dared to use makeup but with K-pop leading the way, a lot of things have changed for the younger generation. South Korea is very competitive and if a male can get an advantage in the job market by wearing BB cream, he's probably going to do it. That's why someone viewed as "Handsome" by your standards might be met with a homophobic slur by someone elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the Western media projects Asian men in a very negative light (the sexless nerd) - so you already have an entry point for people to think in such a way. Whether it has to do with their assets or simply because of the media's bigotry, Korea has Super Junior's Siwon, Jay Park and even Daniel Henney who, in my opinion, are running circles around "Hollywood's hottest celebs." Take that, standards!

I find it inappropriate when I introduce a group like BTS to someone for the very first time and they ask me if the members are gay. I ask them why they think this way and the usually answer, "they are skinny and charming and wear makeup." What? You attribute them being gay from that? 

If I showed my friend this, then yes, I can understand the question of gay being asked:

Besides, when did BTS become the 'look' of all things gay in Korea? Limitations put on things like makeup, self-grooming, style and whatever else is considered feminine is becoming rather ridiculous - which is why I'm all for the latest men's romper phenomenon. Let a man do what a man wants to do - that is what makes you strong.

K-Pop idols are, at the end of the day, entertainers. Like most entertainers, they have an extreme image and concept to uphold. Judging their orientation simply because they are wearing guy-liner (yea, it's a thing) and have on cutesy clothing is, blatantly, immature. The reason why appearance is addressed the most is because it seems to be the trigger that has people jumping to conclusions about sexuality. What you do behind closed doors has no correlation to how you dress (unless, of course, you're dressing up in bed).

In the long run, this is also the image K-Pop idol companies are projecting on them for the public eye, and not necessarily, their own personal styles. If a mother dressed a baby boy in a cute outfit, would it really be necessary to call him gay? Unless you're kissing another man (looking at you Super Junior) then no one should be bothered to question your sexual orientation. 

Overall, homosexuality is being used in such a negative way that is it becoming tiring and upsetting to see as a degrading term used towards men. Male Korean idols are just as masculine or sexually appealing as any other man, that simply boils down to personal preference. K-Pop idols fill the shoes of every concept - if you like your hunky men ripping off shirts, we all got it! Sweet-as-daisies boyfriend concept? K-Pop and Asia seem to be the only place you'll find such an adorable concept. 

So why not embrace the many styles men can offer instead of putting them in a box and calling them gay just for being different? 

Being gay isn't a problem, why treat it that way? And no one should feel so achieved if they can guess someone's orientation just by their clothing. If said person is gay and proud of it, I'm sure they wouldn't give you a medal because you figured it out. Otherwise, if the person is closeted or not, that has nothing to do with their achievements.

K-pop male idols are the most confident in terms of sexuality in my book for taking on all these lovable concepts and being comfortable enough in their own skin to perform parodies of girl groups like Orange Caramel and Girl's Day. Less perceiving, more achieving! What's your opinion on this sensitive topic?

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Kristen_Bacon Thursday, June 1, 2017

I agree with you about this because my family members have asked if whomever boy band i show them is gay. I show them pictures of them and sometimes they are like laying their heads on each others shoulders and they look comfortable with each other. Like to me they look like they are brothers letting them know that they are there for the other members and it's really sweet, but because of stereotyping other people call it "being gay". It bothers the person who enjoys kpop and makes it awkward when stuff like this happens

Rock30815 Wednesday, May 31, 2017

So, starting off with "there's nothing wrong with being gay" is something I wouldn't have phrased. As I'm sure the author knows, there's a great many people who are dedicated Christians who know what the Bible says about homosexuality. They might disagree with you, detracting from the original question of this article. Answering that question, I can tell you as a straight male, back in 2005 when I first got into kpop and showed my American friends music videos, they questioned my sexuality. I wasn't offended or insulted. I expected it. I honestly assumed that apparently teenage girls in Asians cultures preferred girly looking flower boys. And if you're a straight male looking at a video where men looking strikingly more prettier than girls, I completely understand why they'd be annoyed. It's actually kind of funny, really. It's simply. Straight men are attracted to women. If men have long feminine hairstyles, long eyelashes and wear makeup to look like women (whether its intentional or not), straight men will likely think they're gay. Until they're secure in their own sexuality, they might not like it because it forces them to question if they themselves are gay.

dope_5 Rock30815 Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Actually, most dedicated Christians that I know don't take every part of the bible that closely to heart. There are part of the bible that contradicts what it says about homosexuality. It's all up to the individual's interpretation.

Rock30815 dope_5 Thursday, June 1, 2017

If any part of the bible is contradicting, that usually means something was misinterpreted and one should dive deeper for clarification. that most dedicated Christians you know don't take every part of the Bible closely to heart, lol, i confess is a bit disheartening. But Romans teaches us not to quarrel over differences, or the way we worship because everyone will be held accountable as individuals.

Qricket Wednesday, May 31, 2017

ewww Perez Hilton

The_Doctor Wednesday, May 31, 2017

They are a "Boy Band", just like the Backstreet Boys or NSYNK and they were constantly talked about the same way so why should K-Pop Idols expect any different reaction. Between Perez Hilton and their appearance at the Billboard awards they are no longer being viewed and judged by fans but by widespread Americans. It is a primary reason K-pop and J-pop groups limit their appearances to California or New York.  I remember a female Idol group that got stopped in an airport in the US a few Years ago under suspicion of being in another profession.With that said Asian society has a variety of effeminate qualities that Americans view as unmanly. It doesn't mean they are gay it's just one culture's misunderstanding of another culture's mannerisms. Fans have immersed themselves into the culture and are more understanding but American's in general have more of a knee-jerk reaction.

zero_red Wednesday, May 31, 2017

why would showing a picture of jo kwon give anybody the grounds to ask if somebody is gay? that's just plane assumption at the point and is the reason people think gay people might act like that, stop perpetuating the stereotype. straight men do drag too not just gay people. also the entire thing with perez hilton, the man is gay, he making the comments he made is the same as a straight women asking if any of bts had a girlfriend.

Logan_W Wednesday, May 31, 2017

i think there's also more to be discussed than what is addressed in this article that would make people who have no idea about korea and korean culture think idols were gay: the fan service and also the freedom straight men in korea have to be extremely affection with each other. those are two big things people around me comment on after the inevitable "EW LOOK AT THIER MAKEUP, they're all twinks, they are so feminine, who would like this". the fan service can be pretty intense if you are an average joe here in the states watching it - especially if you are not aware of the basic fact that other cultures have different standards and ways of life (which is a surprising and alarming amount of people). most people would absolutely assume they are gay because in the states male celebrities and musicians do not engage in fan service where they are all over each other, touching, long eye contact, hugging, kissing, + more. also in korea, straight boys can be very affectionate and it's totally fine - it's a sign of closeness. both times i was there i was really taken aback by it, but also so happy because no one called them a fag or gay in a derogatory way and no one made fun of them, no one tried to beat them up like it would happen here in the states. they can casually hold hands, sit on each others laps, put their arms around each other, stand very close together, etc. and it's normal. so it's not just makeup or clothes, it's a lot of the physical actions of idols as well. honestly i am just so tired of people assuming idols are gay and being weirded out and saying they are feminine and "ewwwww look" like just because something is different doesn't mean it's bad. it's actually in this case MUCH better in my opinion LOL

EveLovesKoreans Logan_W Sunday, June 4, 2017

I agree! Korean culture IS different from North American but the important thing is that theirs is normal for them and since they're in their country we should respect that. We should also remember that to people in other parts of the world North Americans have their own quirks that they think is strange. Viva la difference. All the diverse people and their cultures is what makes this world of ours spin. I for one enjoy the opportunity to learn about customs and cultures in other parts of this globe.

donnycosmo Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I think we can all agree that being gay is not the issue here. Anyone that disagrees is a bigot, period. Asian male beauty standards are different than Western male beauty standards, but that has been changing lately. A lot of European and American men now dress like metrosexuals. This preoccupation with what looks gay is diminishing, and anyone that feels the need to bring it up makes me question how insecure they really are.

EveLovesKoreans donnycosmo Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hear, hear!!

Xadne Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I still don't see what's wrong with that tweet, he never made any assumptions towards them being in the closet whatsoever, he just asked if anyone of them were openly gay. Which, if we take the message from this article, shouldn't be a big deal / dismissed. I by no means wanna defend Perez, I've heard bad things about him, but it was probably meant as a joke too.

Hyeriioo Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Stupid article

allkpopellie Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My answer is because some people have biases and stereotypes deeply rooted in their mind, and are full of prejudices.  For the same reason, I can't eat dog meats because I was brainwashed but I was raised well enough to be open-minded and not have prejudices towards people who do so.

NoonaVip allkpopellie Wednesday, May 31, 2017

And does understanding that westerners are still a bit unfamiliar with men who dye their hair in bright colors and wear eyeliner fit in your criteria of being open minded? Why not educate him instead and explain to the guy what the eastern pop world is like. That way, we can save ourselves from hypocrisy.

allkpopellie NoonaVip Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Yes it does, but u do realize that those stereotypes, biases and prejudices are rampant in and within the Western world too, they are not only directed to the eastern pop music world. Western people need to educate their own people about discrimination and prejudices etc. first, but the Eastern world can certainly teach the Western world a few things if not a lot and vice versa.

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