BANGTAN SONYEONDAN IN AMERICA: SOFT MASCULINITY PERFORMANCE AND AUDIENCE RESPONSE

Adinda Saraswati Mustafa Putri, Adriana Rahajeng Mintarsih

Abstract

Before their name resonates in American music charts and award shows, BTS experienced a shift in their display of masculinity, from showcasing complicit masculinity towards hegemonic norms to challenging the socially accepted values of being men by performing soft masculinity. Nonetheless, they still manage to snatch tens of thousands of fans' hearts, especially in the United States. Since female fans dominate the fandom, BTS's male fans are often overlooked in existing studies. With the purpose of analyzing BTS’s display of soft masculinity and comparing female and male fans' perceptions of non-hegemonic masculinity, this research studies BTS’s performances and does not only focus on female fans' views on soft masculinity but also those of male fans. Online surveys and in-depth interviews were conducted to unravel American fans' perception of soft masculinity. Using Jung’s concept of soft masculinity alongside with Connell's concept of hegemonic masculinity, this research found that although soft masculinity is widely accepted among American BTS fans, hegemonic masculinity continues to remain among male audience.

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