Yerin Kim | Staff Writer |
American society’s obsession with hypersexuality permeates every aspect of life, normalizing unrealistic and unhealthy stereotypes regarding gender and sexuality.
In Korea, although we are exposed to pornography and provocative images in the media, hypersexuality is considered shameful, rather than a normalized and acceptable culture.
About two weeks ago, my friends and I went to a strip club with a giant wave of curiosity, which gave me a huge culture shock, and pushed me to consider the subject of sexuality in American society.
After passing a sign on a door that ironically read “Gentlemen’s Club,” strippers walked out, on a glass stage, where they performed extremely sexual moves one by one.
It was sad and uncomfortable to see the strippers picking up money thrown at them. The strippers who barely received tips went backstage early.
I felt women’s bodies were displayed and estimated by customers in terms of beauty and sexuality like products in stores.
It was even more shocking to see my friends’ perception towards strip clubs.
“I like strip clubs and I think strip culture is not that bad because strippers can get many money for that,” said an anonymous source.
Stripping has become normalized and regarded as a subculture, or entertainment in American society.
The shock I felt in the strip club was immediate and comprehensive, reminding me of several occasions when I was surprised at my American friends’ attitudes concerning sexuality.
I found that hypersexuality is commonly presented in the American language, in media and popular culture, and is shared between individuals.
Although daily conversation starts non-sexually, it frequently ends with sexually explicit topics, revolving around categories such as homosexuality or promiscuity.
Common slang and curse words, even daily words or expressions are taken out of context and used sexually; “That’s what she said” is an expression that can transform innocent statements into sexual context for a joke.
In Korea, making sexual jokes is regarded as a disgusting insult and sexual harassment, making people uncomfortable, offended and embarrassed.
Someone who makes sexual jokes can be recognized as a disrespectful and shameful person, diminishing the innocent nature of sex.
Expansion and normalization of hypersexuality throughout American society is attributed to popular culture through mass media such as film, TV shows and advertisements.
Mass media places sexual images and concepts into popular culture in society, raising unsound stereotypes in terms of sexuality.
The movie “Magic Mike” portrays strippers as entertainers with a cool job to get money, shaping false representations about strippers and normalizing the act of stripping.
Gender discrimination prevails in hypersexual cultures; women’s bodies are sexualized and objectified more than men’s.
The advertisement industry is notorious for sexualizing and objectifying women.
In one of Gucci’s paper ads, a naked woman posed erotically, displaying her shaved pubic hair in the shape of the letter “G”. Her face is missing from the photo, leaving only her body exposed before a fully clothed man, his face shown, gazing at her crotch.
Women’s bodies are also equated as inanimate objects; in a Carl’s Jr Carl’s Jr. advertisement, the main model’s breasts were represented with two melons.
You barely see such sexual scenes mentioned above in South Korea because the Korean Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), a South Korean media regulation agency, regulates sexual imagery, removing content which provokes unhealthy sexual desire within the audience.
The KCSC is in charge of establishment and derogation of broadcast standards in terms of sexuality and violence.
The popular song “Bubble Pop” by Korean pop singer, Hyuna, was regulated due to revealing clothes and sexually explicit dance moves.
She was asked to replace the sexual clothes and moves; however, she refused, and decided to stop featuring the song in her performances.
Mass media requires ethics, norms, self-regulations and responsibility in order to cultivate sound culture in society.
By perpetuating sexual illusions and stereotypes, mass media generalizes and normalizes them as common sense, which allows people to believe that hypersexualizing is acceptable.
It was another shock discovering that many Americans admit the existence of hypersexuality, but easily overlook it with the reply of “I don’t care.”
“In modern day, the concept for sexualizing is already built into American society towards money. We know it’s bad, but we got so accustomed that we need it just like using a cell phone,” said student Abel Salgado.
South Korea also has sexual subcultures like strip clubs and prostitution; yet it is not as prevalent or acceptable in our society as it is in America.
It seems to me that American hypersexuality numbs people to the threat of dehumanization, suppressing human dignity and ethics.
Someone told me that I am conservative and barely understand American culture, but I believe it’s a matter of humanity rather than culture.
Nevertheless, I’m not trying to change American culture, and I’m not saying what I believe is right.
I intend to expose people to the realities of American hypersexuality from a different perspective.
I wonder whether it’s understandable to accept hypersexuality in the name of culture. What do you think?