Where is the ‘S-Line’? Male-Female Split in Netizen Opinion

Model Yui shows her s-line in a soju commercial

Ask any Korean about a woman’s S-line, and they might point you to the elegant meanders of the female form: the feline curve of a woman’s lower spine, pert yet voluptuous breasts, a slim waist. Perhaps they would recount their favourite celebrity S-lines, celebrated in magazines and commercials throughout Korea.

But a recent photograph, which has received huge amounts of netizen attention from the Korean internet community, has put the s-line in the firing line. When the Nakkyeosseo Facebook group reposted this picture of Yui’s fine s-line from a 2009 ad shoot, it attracted thousands of likes and hundreds of comments on the Facebook group alone:

Which S-line is correct?

The red line is what women think is an s-line; the blue line is what men think is an s-line.

It’s obviously the blue one, isn’t it….?

The photograph, originally posted on an online community message board, rapidly went viral, spawning several news articles as well as countless blog posts on the topic. The lines drawn on the picture claim that the red line represents a woman’s line of sight when looking at the s-line, while the blue represents a man’s. As the Facebook comments below demonstrate, some women agree that the blue line is the true s-line, some men look at the red. In short, no-one really seems to know where exactly your eyes should linger when you see the perfect s-line, but they do agree that men and women often look for different things in pursuit of the perfect pose.

Lee Hyori shows her S-line in a photoshoot

Still, while we might think that objectifying and alphabetising the female body in Korea (as this interesting post from The Grand Narrative discusses) must surely be problematic for some, netizen reactions don’t reveal this perspective at all, focussing instead on defining the s-line while highlighting essentialised sexual difference between men and women. As the photograph demonstrates, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to know where to draw the (s-)line.

Comments from Facebook

Kang DaeHyun:

Obviously the blue


I’m a woman, but I reckon it’s the blue



Tae Gyu Choi:

If it’s red then I’ve got an S-line~


Weird..I reckoned it was the red..don’t they say that the S-line is what connects the shoulders, hips, and pelvis?


Rather than that, the body of the woman in the photo is fit.

Woojung Jung:

It’s not red


I expected it to be the blue

Sangyoung Han:

I was surprised when I saw the red ke ke ke


Hey~It’s red, right? Ke ke Yui’s got a great figure~~


It’s blue, no?….That’s a no brainer


ke ke ke ke ke


Blue, naturally.


It’s not obviously the blue ㅡㅡ I’m thinking that it’s the red one..men didn’t try to make an S-line, did they

JaeWan Jang:

Looking at the ad, I realised that I was mistaken about the S-line until now ke ke ke

Ryan Seo:

If it’s red then everyone has an S-line If it’s the red one, then every man has an S-line too…

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  • Korean in Beijing

    Sofa for sure!

  • DigitalSoju

    S line is stupid Konglish anyway. The actual description of an S line sounds more like Sculliosis.

  • k

    While westeners are going “What’s an S line?”

    • lonetrey

      Exactly what I was wondering. =__=

      I still can’t tell what the hell is an “S line” ….

    • sojubang

      All I know is apparently ‘S Line’ = Hot, the question is what is the term for someone who doesn’t conform to ‘S Line’ standards?

      • h3ll

        ” P Line”?

        • lonetrey

          more like a “b Line”.

          Either a fat butt or the belly sticking out with a flat chest?

          • h3ll


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  • Stories of butts

    I always wondered what they meant by S line, I knew it had something to do with curves.

  • Jang

    Want an S line? Just go around the corner to have your picture photo-shopped like most other pictures used for a specific purpose in S. Korea.

  • Godori

    How can we even comment with so few pictures to consider..? We need to study about this diligently.

  • Brett Sanbon

    There are many different types of lines in Korea

    The “S” line for curvy women.
    The “D” line for pregnant women.
    The “V” line for women who don’t have square jaws.
    and the ever popular “I” line, for pretty much over 90% of women.

  • hardyandtiny

    the red line is the s-line

  • Erika

    Korean’s are so superficial that’s for sure.
    I never even knew the word double eyelid. until i watched Koreans hating on Japs
    And those lines…who cares.
    Hell it’s not even curves, she was standing in an awkward position that will make her chest and butt protrude. If she stand properly, youll see that she’s so straight bodied like an ‘I-line’. Those netizens are ignorant. most of all that i saw on kpop are so straight and skinny for the love of god.

  • Smith_90125

    Filipina women refer to Korean women (and Chinese and Japanese) as “bamboo”. They’re shaped like a pole, with *maybe* a little bit sticking out at the top and bottom, but essentially cylindrical. That “S” line only exists when they’re bending their legs. Otherwise, Asian women have no ass at all, there’s just nothing there.

    The ass is the first thing I look at on a woman, and it’s not for sexual arousal. If a woman doesn’t have slim hips and muscular buttocks, then it means she’s never done serious exercise in her life, and/or she drinks a lot of alcohol, especially beer. A woman who does either or both is a complete turn off.

    I have met and seen Asian women with decent butts, but they were all early 20s, too young for my interest. The older women are still part of the generation that did what they were told, sitting around being obedient and “ladylike”. Boring.

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