"Korean men are so effeminate."
"Korean men aren't real men."
"Korean men are gay as fuck."
I hear this sentiment a lot from foreigners, male and female. I think the issue of masculinity, or what it means to be a man is an interesting one, especially when comparing across cultures.
Some Korean men look effeminate because of the way they treat their hair and wear tight clothes. It's not like these things don't happen in the US. You don't see it as much in large part because so many men are too fat to wear fitted clothes.
Honestly, their fashion is the full extent of how Korean men are more effeminate than Western men.
If masculinity is defined by how tough someone is, and I'm not saying it should be, I just don't buy that Korean men are any less tough than Western guys. I should say American guys because that's the extent of my experience.
In America we spend about half as much time in school as Korean guys do. Our childhoods are so easy, full of free time to play. When I was in school, free time meant playing video games with friends and eating junk food. Rising childhood obesity and diabetes rates convince me that kids are even softer than they were ten years ago.
The Korean norm on the other hand, is ten hour school days (just yesterday I saw two sixth graders get back from hagwon at 9pm) and martial arts several days a week. Soccer is almost as popular in Korea as Doritos are in America. Have you ever seen how fat American kids are? American kids are soft.
If you don't think being studious is an aspect of masculinity that's fine, most people's schemas don't equate being a bookworm with being manly. And that's neither right nor wrong. What I am saying is that what American kids do with their free time is play video games, watch TV, and get fat. Most of them are just lazy bags of shit, and I don't think that makes them any manlier, just more diabetic.
The biggest irony I find in the emasculation of Korean men is that most people who do it have not spent a single day serving their country. Korean men must serve a minimum of 2 (fucking TWO) years in the armed forces, and they return for service two days a year, every year after that. Most of them have this done before their 25th birthday.
Everybody has their own idea of what manliness is, and I can only speak for my own. Maybe your idea of manliness is about being muscular and promiscuous. Or being fearless and able to handle yourself in a physical confrontation. Perhaps it's being able to drink lots of alcohol, but only certain types (you're either sixteen, a faggot, or Irish if it's this one). Maybe you think being a man is about taking responsibility, self-sacrifice, and fatherhood. Opinions will vary, but from where I sit, the only thing more effimnate about Korean men than American men is their choice in clothes. And if you think that means anything more than fuck all, you're too young to be having things like opinions.