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How Do Korean High School Students Interpret Midnight Talk Show on Dating? - focusing on Witch Hunt(JTBC)

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Abstract

This study examines how high school students in Seoul interpret the TV talk show ‘Witch Hunter’ (JTBC) through a series of in-depth interviews with twelve high school students. This TV show is popular, especially with teenagers, owing to its frank discussion of sex and dating by people in their twenties and thirties. The following findings were derived from the interviews. First, the curious respondents enjoyed the lewd talks by MCs and guests about sex, finding them fun and interesting, especially considering that they were on TV. There was also a tendency to perceive the sexual content of the program as erotic capital, which is closely related to cultural capital. Secondly, the respondents showed the phenomenon of “desexualization” by distinguishing adults’ dating in ‘Witch Hunter’ from purely friendly relationships with members of the opposite sex. Third, the respondents extended the discourse in ‘Witch Hunter’ about sex by comparing the content with pornography or sex education. Fourth, ‘Witch Hunter’ ran many episodes about women who showed very active sexual desires, which can be interpreted as a visualization of sexual subjects from the perspective of feminism. However, the respondents interpreted these episodes as representing promiscuous acts by females or a fear of conception after sexual pleasure. That is, they strengthened the patriarchal dual system of sexual norms.

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