It’s been a long time since I wrote this piece, I have gotten a lot of criticism for it since publishing about a year and a half ago and the criticism is still coming today. In retrospect, I am not entirely happy with this piece, and I just wanted to take the time to clear up a few things.

1 – I accidentally conflated “homosexuality” and “homo-erotica” in this piece. I am aware that these are two very different things. I was trying to make the point that stereotypical portrayals of homo-erotica can often lead to stereotypical interpretations of homosexuality. However, I did not clarify this well enough at all. I apologise for this. I have learned a lesson in the importance of clarity in my writing!

2 – I have been labelled a “hater” of N.O.M because of this editorial. I can assure you, I am not. I actually enjoy some of their music and wish them every success.

3 – This article is by far not the best thing I have written, and the criticism I continue to receive for it has taught me an awful lot about my writing. The overall point I was trying to make was simply not well made, so I am going to clarify it here.

I feel that the use of homo-erotica in K-Pop (shown through concepts and fan service) can often have a negative effect on interpretations of real homosexuality. This can especially be the case in a country like South Korea, where homosexuality is not fully accepted or understood by many (but by no means all) people.

N.O.M can dress and express themselves however they wish to, all power to them, but I think entertainment industries should be careful when basing concepts off of areas that can have a real effect on real people.

Despite all this, I DO see how these portrayals could have a positive effect of attitudes towards homosexuality in Korea too. I hope that, in the future, homosexuality can be fully accepted all over the world. Love is love.

Thank you for reading.


‘Nature of Man’ or N.O.M as they are more commonly known are a 4 member, all male K-Pop group that debuted with their first single ‘A Guys’ back in August of this year. When considering the plethora of K-Pop rookies coming out seemingly every month, it might not surprise you if you missed their promotional period. It might surprise you when you learn more about them though, because their concept is very unusual – often dubbed ‘3rd sexuality’, but perhaps better known to you and I as homosexuality.


Even in the 21st century, homosexuality is not accepted within many societies and, much like the issue of racism, homophobia is and probably always will be present in some form or another within this world. South Korea’s overall attitude towards homosexuality is not very open and accepting, with only one actor – Hong Suk Chun – coming out openly as gay. Now, I am not trying to draw binary opposites by saying: “All of South Korea is homophobic and the UK is not!”, that would be ridiculous! However, speaking on a very general level of course,  South Korea has quite a long way to go in terms on acceptance of both male and female homosexuality and Suk Chun’s apparent struggles since coming out is testament of this.

The very fact that I completely missed N.O.M’s debut and promotions, that I only find out about them through a fellow UKP staff and that it seems quite hard to locate substantial coverage of the group also speaks volumes.

There are also some problems that arise for me when I also consider the group themselves. Their concept is highly homo-erotic in nature and features that stereotypical sexualisation of male homosexuality with all the leather, caps and mini-jackets. Many people have come to the conclusion that the members themselves are homosexual, but that is irrelevant to me. What I can see in their image however, is the gross commodification of male homosexuality. I have a few gay friends and I can empathise with their frustration at the pressure they feel to live up to the media’s portrayal of homosexuality and I cannot help but feel that N.O.M are perpetuating this, and considering how hard it must be to get noticed on the K-Pop scene, the cynical side of me sees the producers of N.O.M rubbing their hands together in glee.

Then again, this concept has clearly not been all that successful when confronted with obstacle of using the South Korean media to promote it. This group has basically faced a shutdown in terms of media platforms made available to them precisely because of their controversial image. It makes me feel that my prior cynicism is misplaced, surely they would have known the adverse reaction they were opening themselves up to by taking on this position? Perhaps they are using this concept for more genuine reasons than to simply shock and gain attention?

The fellow staff member that brought this group to my attention suggested the idea that their concept partly existed to parody the homosexual undertones and homo-eroticism that is already present in the world of K-Pop. The area of ‘fanservice’ instantly comes to mind here, where idols of the same-sex will often engage in intimate ‘skinship’ to the delight of many fans and often entertain the ‘shippers’ of many same-sex idol couples created through fans’ slash-fiction writing. There are also many occasions where games in variety shows will encourage idol members to connect their bodies and lips (through paper), the results are often passed off as comedic accidents, but the very fact that these groups are participating in such games has a latent homo-erotic vibe to it.

0:34 shows some SHINee JongHyun/Taemin (JongMin) fanservice in the video below.

2PM increase their skinship through a ‘Card Kissing Game’.

Whether the intentions of N.O.M and their producers and pure or not, this is a representation of homosexuality in South Korea and, whether or not I agree with the nature of these representations, I think it is much-needed in a country where only one celebrity has come forward to express his homosexuality. Even though N.O.M’s concept may perpetuate hyper-sexualised stereotypes of homosexuality, I hope it gives the homosexual men and women of South Korea the strength to be happy in themselves and the knowledge that they are not alone. I sense that, much like in Britain, the younger generations are often more accepting of homosexuality than the older generations. Perhaps the passing of time and the presence of public figures such as Suk Chun and N.O.M will increase the acceptance of sexualities other than the heterosexual in South Korea.

– A special thanks to Lore for bringing N.O.M to my attention, you can read her piece on ‘A Guys’ on her personal blog here! –

If you are interested, you can also read this piece on links to LGBT identity shown in the K-Pop genre.

What do you guys think of this topic?
Do you think what N.O.M does strengthens or weakens homosexual acceptance in South Korea?

Let us know your opinions in the comment section below.

[Sources: YouTube channels: NOMEntLive, Zess San, MrChazzizle].


About Author

I love writing (especially about K-Pop) and am trying to improve my skills with every post!