Say Hello to Hallyu Emirati Nation-The Rising Digital Korean Wave among Emirati Women and its Impact on their Cultural Identity
Goal: Young Emiratis today are increasingly obsessed with South Korean entertainment. From boy bands to TV soap operas, and reality shows to movies, there are endless choices available. Intrigued by the newly emerging K-wave particularly popular among young females, this paper explores how Emirati women negotiate their cultural identities through their active involvement with K-pop culture in digital media. It studies their perception of the Emirati media industry and compares it to online K-media and Hollywood and Bollywood. This exploratory study examined how and why K-entertainment strikes a chord among Emirati females. It also recognized indicators of possible threats to cultural identity. A focus group was conducted at United Arab Emirates University among females contributing to the Hallyu phenomenon. The results suggested that Emirati youth expect diverse and unique content from local media industries; since they are not receiving this through mainstream Emirati media, they are seeking to fill the void by venturing into global cyberspace. In addition, recommendations are provided on ways to respond to the growing online K-wave and how local identity could be preserved through the entertainment industry.
Keywords: Korean wave, Hallyu, Emirati identity, Society, Culture, Digital Media, Entertainment industry