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Assuming manhood: Prostitution and patriotic passions in Korea by Sea-Ling Cheng

The Korean beverage market is saturated with male tonics. A 1999 TV commercial of one such tonic featured a gigantic bottle of drink making a thunderous landing onto the city, upon which toppled buildings become erected, together with throngs of Korean office men’s arms raised to the sky, cheering in unison to the male voice-over, “Korean Men! Rise! Korean Men! Rise!” The theme of rise from ruins in national and commercial propaganda has been prominent following the “IMF crisis,” a local interpretation of the Asian economic crisis and its effects on Korea. Together with the slogan “Glory and Might” athletic male body, the advertising campaign offers the promise not only of male virility but also reinvigoration of national honour through the revitalization of the male body.

Assuming Manhood Prostitution and Patriotic Passions in Korea