Why are Women Travelling to South Korea to Find Love? Here’s Why


The world of Korean dramas and K-pop idols often present an alternative to toxic masculinity rife in Western or even Indian pop culture. Hence, it should come as no surprise if a Korean drama fan tells you that they wish to travel to South Korea to look for their ideal partner straight out of the screen.

The kind of influence Korean dramas, idols, and movies hold is unique since it translates into Hallyu tourism which attracts many hopeful women looking for the man that they saw in their favourite Korean drama. Researcher Min Joo Lee, Visiting Lecturer in Women’s & Gender Studies, Wellesley College had found in her study that a significant subset of Hallyu tourists was a group that was most interested in finding love. These tourists are drawn to the characters they see in drama and start to wonder if real-life South Korean men resemble the K-drama male characters, both in their looks and behaviours.

Korean idols and actors have presented a version of masculinity that is quite different from what has been normally shown. For example, actor Siwan who played the main lead in 2020 Korean drama Run On was not the typical male lead. It was instead the female lead played by Shin Se-kyung who took the charge when it came to their relationship. While Siwan swooned the audience with his “soft masculinity” that was devoid of “saviour complex” like many leads, it was Se-kyung who showed how relationship dynamics can be different.

K-pop idols do have a no-relationship policy because the male artists have to work as the ideal boyfriend the fans never had. As the Korean drama Her Private Life explained, the life of an idol is dedicated to his fans and they often have to treat their fans as their lovers. During fan meets, K-pop idols are often seen flirting with their fans and looking deep into the fans eyes.

However, it should be noted that Korean dramas might not describe the reality of Korean men. Although the dramas are successful in leaving the ladies impressed with all the thoughtful gestures, and subtle expressions of love, it might not be true that all Korean men would be like this, because grey characters also exist in Korean dramas.

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