Misogyny in Hell-Joseon: An Intersectional Approach to the Misogyny of South Korean Society


This study aims to explain the recent misogynistic atmosphere of South Korean society through intersectionality theory. While misogynistic hate speech and resulting feminist movement increase, the generalized binary framework, which regards men as offenders and women as victims, maintains the fight between men and women. Black feminism, which emphasizes identity politics, provides an alternative framework for analyzing the misogyny of Korean society. Therefore, this research focuses on the intersectional identities of Korean men and women, thereby identifying the misogyny of Korea as a result of the gender sensitivity formed by dialectical interaction between colonial history and contemporary social contexts. The so-called ‘Hell-Joseon’ discourse, which compares Korea to hell, summarizes this dialectical interaction. Looking back on the genealogy of misogyny in Joseon/Korea in the 20th century, this study reveals that Korean misogyny discourse has been formed by men who have attributed the cause of national crisis to women who are thought to have polluted the essence of the nation. While Korean men have established themselves as the owners of the nation, they have also formed a repressed identity through colonial experience. This intersectional identity constitutes a particular pathos among men and results in double oppression of women. This profoundly rooted colonialism and the resulting distorted nationalism, intertwined with widespread defeatism of young people, form the basis of today’s misogyny. Analyzing the dynamics of the misogyny in a broader context, this study discusses in what ways Korean feminist movement and cultural studies can challenge the gender imaginary created by colonialism.

Author Information
Sojeong Park, Seoul National University, South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2017
Stream: Black Feminism

This paper is part of the ACCS2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon