Who Likes Flowers?

   I’ve been hovering over this topic for over a month now. We had this conversation on DA or msn not once, and after some time devoted to digesting all horrible pics and news, I decided to write what’s on my mind.
Of course, some will just disagree for the sake of disagreeing, some will curse me for eternity, but I hope some just nod silently. It might not be a big deal, considering how wide K-entertainment is, but some issues keep bugging me and when I’m irritated I start to develop an anger. This is why I procrastinated. I didn’t want to write in the heat of things, because it might happen I couldn’t control my harshness. Now, since I’m preoccupied with usual, mundane work, I can look at the problem with a cool heart (oh, can you? Really??).
My problem? My problem is this beauty obsession in Korea. I have nothing against someone being beautiful, but we should draw a line between “famous because of the beauty” and “famous because of the talent”. Talent and beauty are seldom walking together. Of course, entertainers are bound to look attractive and stand out against normal people, I understand that they are also working with their bodies. But putting the physical appearance on the worshipped altar of “popularity” is complete nonsense as for me.
I guess everyone knows the term “kkotminam” (꽃미남).

   Korea has the tradition of comparing people to flowers. Hwarang were called “Flowers of the Youth”. Fine. If a boy (and in my opinion only those up to 24 years old) is pretty – call him even Raffaello’s Madonna, I don’t really care. But for the love of sanity, don’t call MEN kkotminam. Why there is such a strong pressure to classify certain actors in some categories? My blood boiled when I read a week ago that Park Shihu was called “Sad Flower“, I thought I would crush my screen and strangle those who came up with this idiocy.
Serious actors don’t need to be called pretty, it’s burdensome for them. Only vain idiots may brag about their S-lines and ajumma curls. Only to them, their look is so important that they sacrifice good acting, self-esteem and respect of some group of fans.
Look is not everything, it’s part of their line of work, that’s obvious, but it’s not the pivotal trait in the actor’s life.
Lee Minho at 2010 MBC Drama Awards
   I do care (and I know not only me) about how those whom I support appear in public. I know that sometimes they have little influence over their outfit, bit it’s not like they are brainless zombies that wear what they are asked to wear. I’ve been saying this for some time already, but the way they see you that’s the way they describe you. I may not be the biggest fan of Lee Minho, but what this young man displays on different events, fanmeetings and regular appearance pleases me. I think: “He looks reliable. He takes his job seriously”. Acting may be fun if you are an accountant and you were asked to assist as an 8th plan person. This is fun. But when someone aims higher, acting becomes a job. It’s like with every job in this world. If you work as a freelancer, that’s OK, you can sit in your room in bunny suit for all everyone care! But whenever an official meeting is planned – I don’t think anyone in one’s right mind would attend dressed like this.
Yes, LMH is also called “flower boy”. 
Why did I ever mention him and not a random man from my (not that long) list? Because he is not on it and I can appreciate his efforts. Plus, he was born in the same year as “S-line Oddity”. Hard to believe, right?
   For me calling someone like that is close to stigmatizing that person. In my language there is this saying: “a guy should be a little more attractive than the devil”. But then again, I’m a bad, biased Westerner who doesn’t understand the subtlety of Asian canons of beauty. I’m not a turpis-lover either, it doesn’t hurt if the one I admire is attractive. But there are dozens of guys out there who are attractive and I don’t admire them. Accidentally, all of those I like behave like normal people. They care about their image, and they care about their career in the years to come. In 2011 an artist builds up his/her image in 2021. Displaying idiocy will not help in a serious business later on. This is why KNG regretted his Bidam role. It jumped him to the enormous popularity, but he’s seen ever since as the pretty boy from Queen Seondeok
Yes, KNG is also called “flower boy”. Well, considering he’s turning 30 next month (and PSH 33), they are eligible to be called “flower BOY”. Why not? This is just so stupid I can’t even get angry anymore. Oh, yes, even Kang Dongwon is called a “pretty boy”. And this one just made me laugh really bad.
   What’s the purpose of writing all that? To let everyone know that I hate “flower boy” trend. I hate the term and hate the fan(girl)s who sprinkle with this word every guy who is a bit better looking than a butcher from the neighborhood. I’m not one of the sheep flock that follow the rest.
   The term, and the whole built up fame around it, fucked up minds of young kyaaa-galls and society. Everyone HAS to be pretty (until your eyes bleed!), has to be skinny, has to be genderless as much as possible. Fangirls retouch pictures to remove any trait of blemishes, facial hair, and even wrinkles. They almost changed the face of Park Yucheon by retouching his left cheek (the upper one, ekhem…). They create dolls on the pictures. But then again, I don’t think they care much about acting abilities. They watch movies/dramas with their own musical score in the background consisting of “Kyaa“, “Oh, oh!! (in B-flat)” ( this one by a famous composer Teen In Sanity). They want “flower boys” and some of the younger idols give them that.
 Oh yes, I’m cruel enough to post those pics. The latest Diva idiocy.

Thank you very much, I take my men in their suits, shirts and with muscles on their arms. And with less styling gel on their hair. Anytime, anywhere.
And I won’t stop bashing either The Diva and her… I mean his consecutive eyesores he displays, or the trends I personally disagree on.

Why fresia? One of my favorite flowers, that’s all.


About ethlenn

Just usual suspect
This entry was posted in Kang Dongwon, Kim Nam Gil, Korea, korean, Lee Min Ho, Park Shihu, Park Yucheon. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Who Likes Flowers?

  1. keiko1981 says:

    Thank you very much, I take my men in their suits, shirts and with muscles on their arms. And with less styling gel on their hair. Anytime, anywhere.
    Great line.

  2. peggybrad says:

    Did you really have to put that picture up? I have to do my taxes today and that has turned my stomach. I really think there is a sparkler in his navel. Well that's par for the course with this person.

    that's why I like Kim Rae Won and a few other good actors who also happen to be interested in climbing the ladder with talent and good acting.

    While I am at this I would like to say that I am getting very tired of the Girl Groups and their lack of clothing except for shiny shorts barely there and suggestive posturing. Just had to say that.

  3. peggybrad says:

    re Flowerboys

    I think this name was first given to the four lads in the Taiwan drama 'Meteor Garden'. It especially referred to the tall one who couldn't sing and couldn't act and visibly shook with terror when he had to appear live on a stage. I felt sorry for the fellow. I can't remember any of the names and where are they now?I mean outside of Taiwan I don't think they are appearing. OH! Jerry Van ?? something like that

  4. Ethlenn says:

    Ah, Kim Raewon, the one with such a bright smile, low voice and great aura of a serious actor… Ah, now you made me dream again…

    I don't want to even start on girl groups, as you said, everything what they rely on is their lack of clothes and provocative poses. It's all for the sales, I know.

    I'm sorry to cause you nausea, but without that… that… something this post wouldn't be whole. I don't know where the name “flower boy” started, I just want it to die. Or I will slash it the way Chun Ah was slashed in Iljimae. I want it to disappear, to go into the oblivion, I hate it!

    Oh, btw, yesterday I stumbled accross two interviews with two fine men and they were asked the same question. You know KNG was asked if he underwent the surgery and he answered: No. Then he was asked if he considered it. He said that he was pushed to do it, but hesitated and didn't do it, saying he can live with his looks. The funny thing is, lately the same question was posed to PSH, if he wanted to change something in his (perfect) body. He answered that he can live looking like that.

    I mean, is this world becoming even more crazy? Isn't it enough that almost every girl has surgery to be more pretty and – let's face it – more westernized, and now they suggest that guys should do it too??

  5. Aili says:

    UGH, why did you have to finish off with those pictures. I find it REALLY disturbing. and the worst part, it wouldnt surprise me if that is the fashion for men in 2012, HAH!

    Aaah… Wonbin is also in the flower boy category, I believe, although he was more of a MAN (despite some of photoshots making him looking 15…)

    I am so glad you wrote this dear! It has been anooying the crap of me lately that I somehow cannot separable different actresses, because they all look the same to me!! Which is why I like the natural looking ladies now; Bae Doo Na,Yoon Eun Hye etc…

    But in Asia in general, they are way too over-focused on looks (I was just thinking this in my bus ride on my way to work this morning, haha!). You have those ullzangs who gets into the entertainment business purely based on their looks and nothing else. Though, on the other hand, they go through hard training, and some sorta talent is squeezed out of them, kinda. Ehem.

    I am optimistic though, that this trend will turn at a certain point! All trends are like a pendulum, soon, SOON, the focus will be on the actor(esse)s' talents and not only their looks. and we can hope all those fangirls will get a brain, far-fetched huh? 😛

    @Peggy: As for the guys from Meteor Garden. Jerry Yan is still rather famous, so is Vaness Wu who is focusing more on his singins career. Vic Zhou has made a name out of himself with regards to his acting career, and singing also… If you do watch TW dramas, they appear rather frequently. Eventhough these guys initially were casted due to their height and looks, and their acting was really really bad, they have slowly improved and gained status relying not only on their looks. Albeit, their singing is still uh…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow, what a nice surprise to know that KNG was labelled as the pretty boy from QSD!?!?!? To me, KNG image from QSD was the dangerous, eccentric & impulsive boy but nowhere near the “pretty flower”. Anyhow, KNG can pull off any kind of looks, pretty, ugly, angel, devil, innocent, wicked, handsome, dorky, intelligent, sexy, sleazy, hot, cute and so on. Same as his acting, he can deliver any emotions, you name it. This man has chosen the right profession.

    I don’t mind so much for celebrities using their pretty image to earn money for living. But what bugs me is when these “pretty flowers” are labelled as good or talented actors, argh!

  7. Ethlenn says:

    Oh, so Won Bin was also a “flower boy”, what a surprise! The latest photoshoot? You mean that “as the boy again”? I was about to send you some links but decided not to piss you off.
    And yes, the entertainment is ruined by ulzzangs and all that hype around them. Yoon Eunhye was lately spotted in NYC without a make up on the street and, personally, still pretty and endearing. As you said, she is pretty without the necessity to go all the way.

    As for KNG, he is still called “flower boy”. Any guy even when he never looked like a boy but like a man, is called like that. I really feel the urge to kill in those moments.

  8. arakira says:

    LOL…flower boys…I wouldn't mind to have a bunch of flowers like petto sitting on my drawer to brighten my day… but if I found such a pest plant like that on the last pics – I'd just pull it out and forget about it!

    so please, dear think of us stalkers of your blog and spare us such pictures in the future, will you? Please, with a cherry boy on top 😛

  9. Vasia says:

    When it comes to “flower boys” I get the term. Someone who is pretty enough and androgynous. With soft features. I get calling a 20-year-old that if he looks like what's-his-name from Secret Garden. The gay one. He's pretty. Not manly. Pretty. I even get Kang Dong Won when he was younger. He's a model, he doesn't have a sharp face, neither does he have a six-pack figure. But even HE is masculine most of the time.

    So how in Sam Hill can someone call a guy who looks like your friendly neighborhood carpenter a “flower boy”? How can someone like KNG be a “flower” or a “boy”? Call a teen kid with soft features a flower boy. I get it. But grown MEN? Men! Not boys. Men!

    What is it with these Korean netizens wanting to turn everyone into a sexless porcelain doll? Do they really expect human beings to turn into anime characters? Is there something bad in being a handsome attractive man? Why do they have to be “pretty”? And what do these poor actors have to do in order to be seen as men? Does a guy have to look like Park Joong Hoon or something to not be seen as pretty? KNG even has his mustache and it doesn't help. And Kang Dong Won hasn't been “pretty” in his movies for a while now.

    And one can say, it's fine. It's ok to have these disturbed people call you that. But when the tv shows, magazines and the industry in general start doing the same, you have problems. If you are a serious actor and want to be seen as one, the last thing you need is a fangirl-filled fanbase, scaring away any normal person who would take interest in your work.

    As we all know, some of them don't mind as they seem to throw their profession out the window in favor of fame, but not everyone is like that. And unfortunately, most actors who are good-looking start from such roles that promote them as fangirl bait. If you're a handsome lad, you're bound to do some drama or movie that casts you as one and then the fangirls swarm. And when they stick a label on you, it stays.

    So, any poor bastard who happened to take a pretty-boy role at some point, is forced to put up with such a fanbase and work their ass off in order to be taken seriously, if that's what they wish for.

    The industry is to blame for this. They use the netizens' obsessions too much and typecast their actors and actresses. But the fans themselves are to blame as well.

    Today, while talking with Ecchan, I found one of the most disturbing things ever.


    Someone actually made a doll resembling a character who is on death row… He's a criminal who is attending church for a pardon from God (or whatever it is he's doing) and someone thinks it's cute.. Cute enough to make a damn plushie out of it, complete with handcuffs. Why? Cause this actor had 2-3 roles as a pretty guy during the start of his career.

    When there are women out there who can even find a convict adorable, just because they've put on rose tinted glasses when they look at the actor, it's easy to see why most men are called flower boys in Korea.

    Because it sells. It sells big. And the industry uses it to sell and the more they use it, the more greedy the fans become for it. But as long as the industry views actors and singers as money-making machines and not people, this won't change.

    Actors and singers are being used. They are overworked, underpaid and no blemishes or flaws are accepted or forgiven. An the pressure for younger, newer talents grows. Cause we've reached an age where you have to have more surgery done than the rest, be prettier than the rest and even more shallow than the rest to stand out and have a shot at making a debut.

    Now if you'll excuse me. I need to go throw up after seeing these pictures again. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when fans get exactly what they want. No, thank you. I'll take my men with XY chromosomes.

  10. Ethlenn says:

    The link that Ori posted is one of the most disturbing pictures I have seen. I was disgusted, but in the same time, deep down I knew what to expect. I remember Ori posted once another link to some pics. Those with a doll playing the role of KDW – like putting the doll in the places KDW was and taking a picture. How sick is that? Do those girls really have nothing better to do with their sad lives than make a doll and take a pictures? It's creepy, it's not even cute. If you want to express the way this-and-this actor influenced you, just grab the damned camera, go outside and take a picture of something that you can connect to that picture. Not creepy dolls…

    When Bidam came into the play in “QSD”, boards went into some frenzy because he was a young man in his full bloom (nomen-omen) with KNG face. So fangirls started to make chibis, similar dolls or photoshopped pictures from the drama. Everything would be fine if the character was similar to any of his previous ones (well, they all were cold, indifferent men, but had some human traits), instead they made stupid cartoons and dolls out of Bidam. A killer without any sense of remorse, inhuman, traitor, borderline personality. One may feel pity for him, but nothing more.
    Fangirls started to participate in a race called “who loves Bidam more?”. I can easily answer that question – Hell.
    Fangirls transposed KNG looks onto the character which didn't deserve any warm feelings. And now – Bidam will always be the one and only character that most of those stupid motley crew called fangirls can relate to. Not Sujin from “Lovers Vanished” who is close to being a perfect portrayal.

    That being said, agencies know exactly the target. They have contracts with actors and they don't want to change their emploi. KNG, ie. was always playing a cold jerk in his dramas, even in “Bad Guy”, PSH is always a chaebeol heir. I'm just sick of it especially when I see there is much more into certain people. But agencies know it is the best way for them, not for the actors. So even when the actors themselves say they'd like to change the roles and play a different type of character, their voices are not taken into the consideration. Sad, but true. I have read and watched too many interviews already.

    Agencies know about this genderless trend in Asia. This is why I sometimes giggle over fashion websites when I check them occasionally. I read: “Men's clothes”, but I see some girly fringe and almost an S-line.

    Magazines, TV shows and CFs are all cut for netizens (read: fangirls) needs, because they are ready to pay any sum of money for any stupid key-holder or a kitchen towel. Kyaagals want their idols innocent, sexless, flawless, ethereal – exactly like uke in yaoi mangas. They want to “love” an ideal man, but what they forced agencies to create is not a MAN. They castrated the idea of man.

    So whenever I read about The S-line Oddity being called a fashionista or a model for some fashion magazine, my guts just feel like exploding. OK, let's bring more of this idiocy and force this into normal people's minds. Let's make them believe THIS is something that's in fashion now.

    What's wrong with men looking like men? What's wrong with attractive men looking like men still. Why they have to be called flowers?

    But just to add – on normal, serious websites, hardworking actors always have 배우 (actor) before the name. Others just have 미남 (beautiful guy) before it. Too bad agencies somehow overlook those. Too bad brains of fangirls are too irreversibly damaged to read those.
    So, even if this trend won't die (despite my witche's powers) and we'll witness more of such Divas, I'd rather see serious, great actors stucked in the same types of roles but played differently each time, than see one flower boy in various (albeit limited by the fear of the wrinkles) roles with the person playing it still visible under tons of make-up and feigned “acting”.

  11. Anonymous says:

    That picture of Jang Geun Suk freaked me out. What the hell is he trying to do? Or he's just that bad of a dresser?

    Wah, I didn't know KNG was considered a flower after playing Bidam. That's weird. Really weird. I never saw him like that. I thought kkotminam applies only to idol groups/young actors.


  12. Aili says:

    Dont kill me for saying thinking this, but how awesome would it be if KNG took on a romcom role after military? Ehem… I mean, he did portray a variety of roles before the Bidam role. QSD was indeed a curse for him, rose him to “fame” aka fangirl material, but also trapped in this role.

    I wouldnt be pissed off of any pictures you sent me Ethlenn. Im aware of wonbin's somehwhat off taste in fashion at times and other things 😉 And I am really REALLY happy he takes on different roles, and is able to pick these kinds of roles and didnt get stuck in that autumn fairytale character, but did mother and also man from nowhere!

    PSH yes. He did a different role in Iljimae no?… but yeah, the last two projects, pretty much the same. that man needs some rest now! Get a tan and just relaaaaaax!

  13. Ethlenn says:

    Yes, as much as I admire him, I DON'T want to see him in the next 6 months. Well, that won't be difficult cause he keeps ultra-low profile anyway.
    Iljimae, yes, I may be biased, but in this drama I cared only for 2 characters. Very good portrayal.

    As for KNG, I wouldn't be pissed off either if he played in a rom-com, cause he never was a leading man in those, and I'd like to see some kissy kissy.
    I'm shallow, fine.

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