An interdisciplinary look at gender and sexuality in contemporary South Korea

Table of contents

Introduction: Mediating Gender in Post-Authoritarian South Korea
            Michelle Cho and Jesook Song
Section I: Historicization of Media: Gender as Platforms and Polemics
            Jesook Song
1: Feminism Reboot: neoliberalism, Korean Movies, Misogyny, and Beyond
            Hee-jeong Sohn
2: Intermedial Feminism: Megalia and Kangnam Station Exit 10
            HyeYoung Cho, translated by Aliju Kim
3: The Birth of “Korean Manhwa and the Discourse of Gendered Realism Since the 1990s
            Dahye Kim
4: Gendered Violence, Crisis of Masculinity, and Regressive Transgression in Postmillennial South Korean Crime Thrillers
            Miseong Woo
Section II: Consuming Gender: Gendered Consumerism and Consumption of Gendered Claims
            Jesook Song
5: Female Pathology and the Marginal Humor in a Thrift Podcast: Kim Saengmin’s Receipts
            Bohyeong Kim
6: Against Confinement: Degeneration, Mental Disability, and the Conditions of Nonviolence in The Vegetarian
            Eunjung Kim
7: Gendered Mediation in Yun Sangho’s Saimdang: Memoir of Colors
            Youngmin Choe
8: “I Can Speak Because I Am a Mother”: The Trope of Motherhood in Mothers’ Political Activism Relating to the Sewol Ferry Disaster
            Jinsook Kim
Section III: Pop Remediation: Beyond Binary Gender Forms
            Jesook Song
9: A Spunky Girl Meets a Queer Boy: Neoliberal Remediation of the Post-Authoritarian Period in the Korean Reply TV Series
            Hyun Gyung Kim
10: The Emergence of “Daughter-Fools”: The Mediation of Masculinity via New Fatherhood After the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis
            Yoon Heo
11: Discontent with Gender and Sexuality in Painter of the Wind
            Sunyoung Yang
12: BL-ing Bromance, Bromancing Ŭiri: Investigating Inter-Male Intimacy in Contemporary Korean Cinema
            Moonim Baek


Mediating Gender in Post-Authoritarian South Korea focuses on the relationship between media representation and gender politics in South Korea. Its chapters feature notable voices of South Korea’s burgeoning sphere of gender critique enabled by social media, doing what no other academic volume has yet accomplished in the sphere of Anglophone studies on this topic. Seeking to interrogate the role of popular media in establishing and shaping gendered common sense, this volume fosters cross-disciplinary conversations linked by the central thesis that gender discourse and representation are central to the politics, aesthetics, and economics of contemporary South Korea. In the post-authoritarian period (the late 1980s to the #MeToo present), media representation and popular discourse changed the gender conventions that are found at the core of civic, political, and cultural debates. 

Mediating Gender in Post-Authoritarian South Korea maps the ways in which popular media and public discourse make the social dynamics of gender visible and open them up for debate and dismantling. In presenting innovative new research on the ways in which popular ideas about gender gain concrete form and political substance through mass mediation, the book’s contributors investigate the discursive production of gender in contemporary South Korea through trends, tropes, and thematics, as popular media become the domain in which new gendered subjectivities and relations transpire. The essays in this volume present cases and media objects that span multiple media and platforms, introducing new ways of thinking about gender as a platform and a conceptual infrastructure in the post-authoritarian era.

Michelle Cho is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto in Canada. 
Jesook Song is Professor of Anthropology, affiliated with Women and Gender Studies, Sexuality Diversity Studies, and the Center for the Studies of Korea at the University of Toronto in Canada.

"Mediating Gender introduces a range of examples of media in South Korea to the international scholarly community. It joins a growing body of literature that both engages with and challenges Anglophone-centered scholarship, potentially shifting the center. In doing so, the book makes a crucial contribution to global feminist scholarship by exemplifying the fluid and dynamic intersectionality of the local and the global, of the dominant and the marginal, and of the center and the periphery."

- Hyaeweol Choi, University of Iowa

“This book brings together cutting-edge research on feminism and misogyny in South Korea to give English language readers insight into one of the most vibrant and contested political reckonings playing out in the world today. This volume is a must-read for both academics and dedicated fans who wish to dive deeper into the context and meaning of cherished South Korean cultural products. A brilliant volume.”

- Ruth Barraclough, Australian National University