Is Missy new femininity?

JongMi Kim

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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    In the 1990s, an interesting concept emerged to refer to young married women in Korea. This article is to analyse the emergence of the term, missy and its socio-cultural implications in the context of South Korea. Young women in South Korea during this period experienced enormous cultural transformation. As women's social status and social participation increased, young married women needed to construct their own identities in which the newly emerged term referred to new more liberated femininities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNew Femininities
    Subtitle of host publicationPostfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity
    EditorsRosalind Gill, Christina Scharff
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)978-0-230-29452-3
    ISBN (Print)9780230223349
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2011

    Bibliographical note

    Author's note: Significance

    The article seeks to explore social formations structured by neoliberalism, and in which femininities are increasingly produced through postfeminist discourses of choice, empowerment and (sexual) pleasure in Asia. The article is located in debates about contemporary culture at a moment of rapid technological change, globalisation and the growing cultural dominance of neoliberalism and postfeminism .The article is paying significant attention to identity/subjectivity, neoliberalism, postfeminism and cultural politics in Asia, it also introduces a small number of new voices set to become the significant feminist scholars of the next generation.

    This research is based on a series of interviews (101 women) and 21 focus groups with young Korean women in their 20s and 30s. The paper analyses what young Korean women think about the new image of married women, which has been called ‘Missy’. The main aim is to show how young women in Korea construct their own images of active and empowered ‘married women’, which is quite different from traditional passive image.

    The article pays attention to identity/subjectivity, neoliberalism, postfeminism and cultural politics in Asia. In this context, it seeks to the possibility of postfeminist approach to analyse women’s identity politics in the context of the non-western country. It fills a gap in available scholarship, and will be of interest to anyone studying or researching media, identity, gender, feminism and postfeminism, representations and cultural politics.

    This paper is the first analysis to show the newly emerging images and concept of new femininity in South Korea. The edited volume is based on the collaborative project of an ESRC seminar series which was organised by the Gender Institute at London School of Economics and Political Sciences. The project has been organised by Professor Rosalind Gill, who is a world-leading feminist scholar. The edited volume has been published by Palgrave MacMillan under the title, New Femininity: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity in 2011.


    • femininity
    • missy
    • subjectivity
    • identities


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