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2005 - International Communication Association Pages: 25 pages || Words: 9657 words
1. Park, Bongsoo. "Sensational Politics of Desire and Trivial Pursuits: Public Censure of New Women in Private Lives in early 1930s Korea" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY, Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2023-11-30 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: What do we think of Korean women’s experiences that fall outside the interests of nationalists? This paper is inspired by the question. The debates on new women I will explore in this paper reside in public narratives on the nature of new women in the Korean women’s magazine Shingajong (New Family) from January 1933-August 1934. Many articles in the popular magazine of the 1930s attempted to adopt a reformist discourse on educated new women but simultaneously condemning new women’s adoption of western ideas of sexual liberation and gender equality. While the modernizing male nationalists acknowledged the need for women’s education and their involvement in the movement, they resisted a radical restructuring of gender relations, especially when what women wanted and acquired from the nationalist movement was not confined to the cause of nationalism.
The terms of new women’s arguments centered on issues of sexual liberation and the adoption of western fashion styles. I argue that new women’s configuration of women’s liberation and power structure within Korean society led them to individualistic modes of negotiating their identity and claiming agency. Much of the public censure and the symbolic social death of new women came from society’s male-centered critique that marginalized the ways that new women actively negotiated and resisted the social and familial constraints upon them.

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