“I did it because women have always ignored me.”
This quote by a man who brutally murdered a woman in her twenties in the middle of Seoul’s busy Gangnam neighborhood on 17 May 2016 has triggered furious responses by Korean young women. Against the official announce by the Police indicating the incident as a random murder, Korean young women calling it “femicide based on misogyny” started a SNS hashtag movement #survived.
In this talk, Professor Lee analyzes women’s collective reaction to the misogynous killing in South Korea, highlighting the significance of women’s passionate aspiration. As examining the issues surrounding the “the Exit no. 10 of Gangnam Station,” she analyzes socio-political backgrounds and meanings of the seemingly unexpected emergence of women’s visible resistance and mourning fervor to be followed by diverse activism including the Pro-choice movement to decriminalize abortion, the #MeToo movement, the Anti-spy camera movement, the Escaping corset movement and so on.
As reading the incident as a symbolic signifier, she argues that the phenomenon of “the Exit no. 10 of Gangnam Station” is not a sign of simple gender conflict but should be understood as a new wave of Korean feminism to share some similarities with the Second Wave Women’s Movement in the U.S. Utilizing online technology, Korean women are not only to challenge gender discrimination in general, but also to deconstruct the socio-cultural perceptions and practice concerning women’s sexuality
Na-Young Lee is Professor in the Department of Sociology at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, Korea. She has published many books and articles in Korean, in English and in Japanese, covering the subjects of Japanese military ‘comfort women,’ U.S. military bases, prostitution, gendered space, women’s oral history, and migration. In addition, as involving in activist fields of Japanese military sexual slavery, anti-prostitution movement, and anti-US military prostitution movement, she has served on the boards of various academic professional associations for women’s studies, sociology, oral history, media studies, and cultural studies in Korea. Her international publication include “Un/forgettable Histories of US Camptown Prostitution in South Korea: Women’s Experiences of Sexual labor and Government Policies” (2017); Women’s Activism and “Second Wave” Feminism (co-author) (2017); “Korean Men’s Pornography Use, Their Interest in Extreme Pornography, and Dyadic Sexual Relationships” (co-author) (2015), among others. Her major research areas are feminist theories, sexuality, post/colonialism and gendered nationalism, trans/national women’s movements, militarism and gender, Japanese military sexual slavery system, prostitution and feminist policy, and feminist oral history.
This talk is organized by Laam Hae (Politics) and Hong Kal (Visual Art and Art History) and presented as part of the Korea in the World, the World in Korean Studies project funded by the Academy of Korean Studies. It is co-presented by the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) and Hope 21.