de Wandering_Queen, setembro 28, 2020

Hello friends! Have you ever wonder why shirtless scenes are so prevalent in Korean dramas? Did you ever go on Youtube and see a Korean drama multi-male video, then see one shirtless scene with an actor and had to watch the drama immediately? Did you click on this article because the title mentioned abs? If so, it is okay that you did because

Now, before we begin this topic, any scenes with actors shirtless, taking a shower or changing their clothes, etc., will be under the category of shirtless scenes for the purpose of this article. This is just to simplify matters as we discuss shirtless scenes place in Korean dramas. In addition, I won’t be discussing actresses in dramas because they have their own set of problems to be discussed and deserve an article on their own.

When you accidentally get your shirt ripped wide open...

Firstly, if you can take a moment, I want you all to close your eyes, and I would like you to think about how often you see shirtless scenes in Korean dramas on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Keep that score in your head. Now on a scale of 1 to 10, how integral do you think those shirtless scenes are to the actual story? By integral, I mean, is it a scene that is essential to understanding the character, story, or plot. Then, I want you to try multiplying those two scores and divide them by 10. Just kidding, you don’t have to do that. 

I am sure you can see where I am going with this now because it is very likely that your numbers are high for shirtless scenes and low for actually contributing to the story. Am I right? (if not, feel free to walk away now.)

When the bad guys want to fight in the shower but chose the moment AFTER you got the soap out of your eyes to attack you...

A majority, if not all, shirtless scenes are unnecessary and are not integral or useful to the drama’s story/characters. Whether it is romance, historical, or crime, a slow-motion pan of every single ab is NOT going to move that plot forward. Yet, why do we have them?  Well, it is a bit simple. This is pure objectification used to market and sell the drama as a means to increase viewership ratings. The same way directors/producers use product placement in dramas that you likely hate, your favorite actors are sexually objectified for viewership.

This can be seen as harmless for some BUT take a moment and consider if all those actors were actresses who had to take off their tops for those scenes. Still harmless? And yes, everyone is an adult and consented to those scenes, however, in the larger scheme of things, you have companies pushing narratives to squeeze money out of viewers. To companies, the actors/actresses are products to get rich from, the actors’ overall comfort or consent doesn’t matter once they sign those contracts during the process of the film. Now, this is one aspect.

But let us take a moment to see what happens off screen at red carpets, award and talk shows. There are plenty of instances, such as interviews, where host would ask male actors about their bodies and whether they still have their abs. They often even press the male actor to show the host and crowd their abs. In almost all of them, the male actor appears uncomfortable with the discussion and situation. Who wouldn't be if asked to remove their shirt just to entertain somone? After all, actors/actresses got into acting to act in the appropriate setting of a set or stage, not when they are just being themselves at an interview.

After thinking in the shower for over an hour, one becomes thirsty for a drink. Stay hydrated, peeps!

So does this mean you shouldn’t support your favorite actors/actresses or drama? No, this article was made with the intention of promoting awareness on this topic. Korean drama actors are openly sexually objectified for marketing to viewership which is downright wrong, but what is also terrible is the lack of awareness on this topic. I, like many of you, am guilty of googling actors. I’m no saint, but I believe just as we are often cheering for more strong, complex female characters, we should also be cheering for male characters who don’t need to take off their shirts in scenes without justifiable reasoning to the character, story, or plot. 

I know this article is not what many of you expected, but it had to be done. Share your thoughts in the comments down below.

Edited by; Cookie (1st editor), Yuanwei (2nd editor)