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The ‘Netflix effect’: Young women in the West go to


photo: Netflix capture from the South Korean series “Crash landing on you”

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If there is a country where men are attentive, patient and romantic, it is South Korea. Or at least that’s what many of the young women from the West came to believe, who go to this country with the hope of finding their perfect partner, like the male characters in the South Korean series they watch on Netflix, writes CNN, quoted by Digi24.

Researcher Min Joo Lee wanted to find out what influence k-pop culture has on South Korean tourism. Based in Seoul, where she studies the politics of gender and race, she noticed that young Western women in their 20s living in dormitories were not interested in sightseeing or shopping.

She spoke to 123 women, mostly from North America and Europe. Most of them spent the day in their dorm rooms watching Korean TV shows.

In the evening they would go out to socialize and find a South Korean partner.

This is the “Netflix” effect, the researcher believes.

The popularity of South Korean series such as “Crash Landing on You” and “Goblin” has made young women in their 20s in the US and Europe think that South Korean men are different from those in their countries. The series promotes the image of a “patient, attentive and romantic” man who does not shy away from showing his emotions, in contrast to the culture of sex-based dating in Western countries.

The popularity of Korean TV shows with global audiences has coincided with a steady increase in the number of women traveling to South Korea.

In 2005, 2.3 million women visited the country, compared to 2.9 million men. And in 2019 – the last year before the coronavirus pandemic – almost 10 million women went to South Korea and only 6.7 million men.

Men in the series vs. men in reality

Some women find after arriving in Korea that the men they meet are not “as perfect” as the ones they saw on TV.

Mina, a 20-year-old student from Morocco, said K-pop shows and Korean television influenced her decision to come to the southern city of Busan in 2021. The men she saw on TV were portrayed as being “rich, good-looking, respectful, protective of you,” she says, adding that she actually got groped in a bar one night and felt that some Korean men tend to think that foreign women are more open to casual sex than those in their country.

“Men are men, people are the same everywhere,” concludes the young woman, who since then is no longer attracted to South Korean television productions, nor does she want to meet men from here.

It’s a conclusion also reached by researcher Min Joo Lee, who says that some men felt they could treat women from other countries badly.

“Those who come here find that not all Korean men are perfect, but they need an alternative to the disappointing marriage market in their home countries,” explains the researcher.