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New machos dominate TV programs
MARCH 25, 2014 00:10  
KBS airs a pilot program titled 밒뭢 a Man on April 9. Although it is not a regular program yet, it draws a lot of media attention in that Yoo Jae-suk, a national emcee, hosts the show. It is his new program in four years since 밨unning Man.

The pilot program is a group talk show 뱋f the men, by the men, and for the men. Co-hosts are all men including Yoo Jae-suk, Noh Hong-chul and Yim Won-hee. The first episode is said to have hosted 250 audiences including ordinary citizens who graduated from boys middle and high school and majored in science and engineering. Reviews on its website showed that the pilot program was reminiscent of barracks. The audience hailed with cheers when Suji, a member of Miss A, a Korean girl group. They also sang along men뭩 favorite songs such as Still Heart뭩 밪he뭩 Gone and Yim Jae-beom뭩 밎o Hae (Confession). The producers of the program said, 밫oday, men feel marginalized both at work and home. The purpose of this program is to comfort men by communicating each other.

Entertainment shows have long been dominated by men. Men were preferred as they were not reluctant about making fun of themselves to make others laugh. Only men appear in or men dominate signature entertainment programs such as MBC뭩 밫he Infinite Challenge, KBS뭩 밐appy Sunday One Night Two Days and SBS뭩 밒 Like Sundays Running Men.

Recently, entertainment programs that highlight masculinity, brotherhood or men뭩 perspectives were added. There was a notable increase in programs that cover men뭩 interests such as military, hunting, and automobiles like MBC뭩 밨eal Men, SBS뭩 밫he Law of the Jungle, and XTM뭩 밫he Bunker. Some programs disclose men뭩 personal lives (MBC뭩 밒 Live Alone) and others cover adult topics from men뭩 perspectives (tvN뭩 밪NL Korea and jtbc뭩 밯itch Hunt). Min Jeong-ho, XTM channel team head, said, 밫here were many programs about fashionable men in the past, but today, we see programs that are more true to masculine instincts like ordinary citizens exploring martial arts are getting popular.

Some programs are in search of new masculinity or comfort men who are marginalized in a society where successful women are highlighted. The identity as a father who fosters his child is well identifiable in programs such as MBC뭩 밆ad, Where Are You Going? or KBS뭩 밐appy Sunday Superman Is Back.

What is interesting is that women are more interested in men뭩 stories. The broadcasting community says that programs for men not only strike a chord with male viewers but also can give a fresh impression on female viewers. For example, 밨eal Men, a show on military life, has more female viewers (55 percent) than male viewers (45 percent). 밠ost viewers of TV programs representing masculinity are women, said culture critic Kim Eun-yeong. 밒t뭩 because women are interested in real men뭩 stories, which they did not know.

Some experts say that increasing social anxiety is part of the reasons behind the increase in such programs. 밫oday, new 몀achos who are physically healthy, economically competent, and take good care of his wife and family are popular, not 몆atriarchal machos, said Lee Na-yeong, a sociology professor at Chung-Ang University. 밄oth men and women want strong masculinity in an unstable society, and media represents the trend in various ways.

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