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Soap operas as a matchmaker: A cultivation analysis of the effects of South Korean TV dramas’ on Vietnamese women’s marital intentions
Unformatted Document Text:  SOAP OPERAS AS A MATCHMAKER 8   between South Korean men and Vietnamese women rose to more than 10,000 in 2006, and 12,000 by 2008 (Statistics Korea, 2010a; Lom, 2008). Controversies regarding marriages between Vietnamese women and foreign men stem from the commodification and suspected exploitation of those women. This type of marriages in Asia often involves intermediary agencies that advertised “foreign brides” to their “clients” through television, newspapers, and the Internet (Jonesa & Shenb, 2008; Le, et al., 2007; Wang & Chang, 2002). Such agencies are illegal in Vietnam. Both scholars and mass media pointed out that, besides economic reasons, there had been a suspected link between the popularity of South Korean soap operas over the past years and the rise of Vietnamese brides migrating to South Korea (H. Kim, 2007; Lom, 2008; Onishi, 2007). H. Kim (2007) found that the South Korean soap operas’ unrealistic depiction of a life in that country had provoked Vietnamese women’s desire to experience it. Previous studies (e.g., Epstein, 2008; C. Kim, 2008; D. Kim, 2007; Lee, Seol, & Cho, 2006; Min, 2001; Seol, 2006) often examined it from a gender or sociological angle. They focused on the experiences of the women at the destination, including their arrivals and relocation process. Few have examined the issue at the departure from Vietnam but had mostly relied on media reports (Bélanger, Khuat, & Wang, 2007; H. Kim, 2007). Little is known about the earlier stages in which various factors influence the women’s decisions. The present study would fill this void. Cultivation Analysis Cultivation analysis theorizes that television can subtly, directly, and cumulatively influence audiences’ perception of reality (Gerbner, 1969, 1998). This central idea is that television’s portrayals of the world are unrealistic. Audiences tend to receive these messages somewhat passively. Thus, long-term exposure can create in heavy viewers’ minds beliefs that social reality is similar to what is depicted on television (Shanahan & Morgan, 1999).

Authors: Vu, Hong.
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between South Korean men and Vietnamese women rose to more than 10,000 in 2006, and 12,000 
by 2008 (Statistics Korea, 2010a; Lom, 2008). Controversies regarding marriages between 
Vietnamese women and foreign men stem from the commodification and suspected exploitation 
of those women. This type of marriages in Asia often involves intermediary agencies that advertised 
“foreign brides” to their “clients” through television, newspapers, and the Internet (Jonesa & 
Shenb, 2008; Le, et al., 2007; Wang & Chang, 2002). Such agencies are illegal in Vietnam.      
Both scholars and mass media pointed out that, besides economic reasons, there had been 
a suspected link between the popularity of South Korean soap operas over the past years and the 
rise of Vietnamese brides migrating to South Korea (H. Kim, 2007; Lom, 2008; Onishi, 2007). 
H. Kim (2007) found that the South Korean soap operas’ unrealistic depiction of a life in that 
country had provoked Vietnamese women’s desire to experience it.  
Previous studies (e.g., Epstein, 2008; C. Kim, 2008; D. Kim, 2007; Lee, Seol, & Cho, 2006; 
Min, 2001; Seol, 2006) often examined it from a gender or sociological angle. They focused on the 
experiences of the women at the destination, including their arrivals and relocation process. Few 
have examined the issue at the departure from Vietnam but had mostly relied on media reports 
(Bélanger, Khuat, & Wang, 2007; H. Kim, 2007). Little is known about the earlier stages in 
which various factors influence the women’s decisions. The present study would fill this void.  
Cultivation Analysis 
Cultivation analysis theorizes that television can subtly, directly, and cumulatively 
influence audiences’ perception of reality (Gerbner, 1969, 1998). This central idea is that 
television’s portrayals of the world are unrealistic. Audiences tend to receive these messages 
somewhat passively. Thus, long-term exposure can create in heavy viewers’ minds beliefs that 
social reality is similar to what is depicted on television (Shanahan & Morgan, 1999). 

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