"Brain-sexy man" is a newly coined term that is being used popularly in Korea these days. Television shows are leading the fad. Cable TV channel tvN`s "The Genius - The Rule of the Game" is a survival program, in which guests have to solve complicated problems. Hong Jin-ho, an ex-professional game player, finished first, showing his extraordinary brain performance and emerging as a "brain-sexy man." While there have been various other terms referring to "sexy" men and reflecting women`s fantasy, it is interesting that the new term involves men`s smart brain.
The channel has launched another program dubbed "Brain-sexy Era - Problematic Men," featuring intelligent men such as one with an IQ of 148 and engineering students at prestigious universities. Other popular brain-sexy men include a TV talk show host Jun Hyun-moo and Tyler Rasch, an American student who speaks very fluent and high-standard Korean. It is not only a fad in Korea. Benedict Cumberbatch, a British actor who played the leading role in the popular TV series "Sherlock Holmes" and hit film "The Imitation Game," is considered a "brain-sexy man" with unique charms.
So why are "brain-sexy men" so popular? In modern society where plastic surgery can change anyone`s look, men cannot have competitiveness just with their appearances. This means that highly educated women with economic power have begun to view intelligent and communicable men as their Mr. Rights. "Brain-sexy men" are not just those who are smart but men who are clearly their own bosses, eloquent and humorous. This latest social phenomenon reflects women`s psychology of being attracted to men who are smart and talk with a sense of humor.
The National Institute of the Korean Language announced 334 newly coined words that have appeared on 139 online and offline news media outlets between July 2013 and July 2014. "Brain-sexy man" is included in those words. About 27 percent of the words refer to people who show a particular way of behavior. I wonder whether such a weird term as "brain-sexy man" would survive and make it to a dictionary as a formal Korean word.