My name is Gemma and I’m a Bachelor of Communications and Media/Diploma of Languages student, majoring in Digital Media/Marketing/French. I work as a barista, and I’m also a Communications Manager at a not-for-profit organisation. My online pseudoynm is gemmcraft; you’ll find me on wordpress and twitter writing/tweeting about digital media and politics, on Steam, and on Instagram and Pinterest regularly posting images that express my love of baking, craft, paper art and drawing.
Growing up I had almost no direct experience of Asian media and culture, particularly apparent when it comes to television; I never watched or played Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z or Avatar. However, over time my fascination with Asian media and culture has grown with me. I really enjoy following Asian artists on deviantART and Instagram, watching Asian movies, and most of all, investigating Asian culture through watching and sharing YouTube videos.
This is how I’ve become utterly obsessed with the blog and YouTube channel Eat Your Kimchi, an increasingly popular group of channels (EatYourKimchi, simonandmartinabonus, and Open The Happy) which discuss Korean music, food, fashion and cultural life. EYK is run by two young Canadians called Simon and Martina who travelled to South Korea to teach in Korean schools 6 years ago, and they now run their media channels as their full time jobs. One of the most interesting aspects of Eat Your Kimchi is their booming fan following, named Nasties, a group of very enthusiastic international subscribers.
Simon and Martina are two great examples of what I understand an autoethnographer to be; one of their main ‘segments’ involves conveying their experiences of Korean culture to their online audience in order to analyse how Korean culture relates to their own concept of culture, particularly gender and sexuality stereotypes, body shape and beauty, standards of fashion and dress, health trends, and the list goes on…
What is interesting about EYK is that they themselves have become an unique cultural phenomenon, a fusion of Korean and Western culture. Mainstream media views them as a product or cultural phenomenon to be investigated and talked about, whereas they are seen by the online community as the leaders of an inclusive, encouraging and creative online micro-culture in itself that they have created throughout the last 6 years. It will be very interesting to research EYK’s online and offline presence, reflect on my own participation in the EYK community, and analyse how Simon and Martina’s perspective on Korean culture relates to the wider Korean context.