Korea

Organized Panel Session

(65) Performing Gender: Unsettling Norms in South Korean Popular Culture

3/23/2018
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Madison B, Mezzanine Level

Many often assume that popular culture reinforces conventional gender norms and hierarchies based on a top-down “ideological template” (Lewis 1990), or media producers’ ideological assumptions on audience’s taste. This panel explores gender not only as a property of individuals but also as a situational accomplishment that demonstrates the social dynamics of South Korea, such as gender as it intersects with race, class, and sexuality. Expanding the idea of “doing gender” by West and Zimmerman (1987), all four presentations collectively discusses how television and musical acts “perform gender” in both conventional and unconventional ways in the arena of Korean popular culture. Stephanie Choi discusses subverted gender hierarchies between male singers as service workers and female fans as consumers who purchase intimacy from the singers. Michelle Ho’s case study on K-pop singer Amber Liu negotiates the unsettling heteronormative and homosocial spaces in the K-pop industry redefined by her androgynous appearance. Kendra Van Nyhuis investigates intersectional identities and on- and off-stage representations of women from different cultural backgrounds in the Korean underground rock scene. Bonnie Tilland focuses on media depictions of urban-rural tensions in Korea, especially parenting and gender roles within the family as a site of domestic tourism discourse. Looking at performance as a site of social practice, this panel is timely for demonstrating diverse case studies in which performers reinforce, subvert, and negotiate gender dynamics in transcultural South Korea.

Presentations:

Stephanie J. Choi

University of California, Santa Barbara, California

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Stephanie J. Choi

University of California, Santa Barbara, California

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Stephanie J. Choi

University of California, Santa Barbara, California

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Michelle H. S. Ho

Stony Brook University, New York

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Kendra Van Nyhuis

University of California, Berkeley, California

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Bonnie Tilland

Yonsei University, Kangwon-do, Republic of Korea

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Donna Kwon

University of Kentucky, Kentucky

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