13th Gwangju Biennale — Minds Rising Spirits Tuning

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“I am Not Pretty”: Digital Feminism and its Political Possibilities in South Korea’s #EscapeTheCorset Movement

By S. Heijin Lee

In 2018, CNN featured a story called “How South Koreans are Pushing Back Against Beauty Standards,”1 while NPR asserted that “South Korean Women ‘Escape the Corset’ and Reject Their Country’s Beauty Ideals.”2 Although South Korean beauty has long been a mainstay of the English-speaking media, this was the first time in three decades that feminist activism against beauty practices and consumption in the country was making headlines. Up to that point, critical western media framings had focused on whether or not South Korean beauty ideals showcased a desire to “go Anglo,” as one Wall Street Journal article put it.3 Despite western media’s inattention to it, #탈코르셋 or #EscapeTheCorset (the movement’s shorthand after the hashtag that made it popular) is not Korean feminists’ first foray into anti-beauty organizing by any means.4 Rather, what this attention indexes is digital feminism’s ability to command international attention as a consequence of the global solidarities that the momentum and sharing of hashtags are able to generate. Although hashtags as an organizational form have only been around for little more than a decade, they have enabled “an emergent organization whereby individual tweets coalesce into a larger collective storytelling.”5 What collective stories are South Korean digital feminists telling vis-à-vis #EscapeTheCorset? What possibilities has digital feminism enabled in South Korea’s already robust terrain of anti-beauty organizing?

Lina Bae, “I am not pretty,” YouTube, June 4, 2018, screenshot by the author

Understanding these stories necessitates an accounting of beauty’s incredible recent history in South Korea and the ways it has been deeply tied to geopolitics, war, and political economy. Indeed, what may seem like a recent craze has actually been seventy years in the making. Plastic surgery, for example, was first made available to the general public with the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement that ceased (but did not end) the Korean War hostilities in 1953. With their continued occupation of South Korea, the US military launched a massive humanitarian effort in order to ingratiate themselves with locals, which included passing out chocolate, soda, and SPAM.6 As part of their outreach efforts, US military doctors performed reconstructive surgery on Korean War victims. One of those doctors, Dr. Ralph Millard, began a crusade to emancipate Koreans from what he described as their “expressionless” eyes by pioneering what is known today as “double eyelid surgery.”7 As he wrote in a 1955 essay, “Oriental Peregrinations,” Millard saw these procedures as his “deorientalizing” project through the erasure of what was then, and continues to be, the primary signifier of Asianness—the monolid.8

Yet, since its origins, plastic surgery in South Korea—like the country itself—has undergone extreme transformations. Plastic surgery became widespread as a neoliberal strategy of self-management and entrepreneurship particularly after 1997, when South Korea faced an economic crisis because it had to default on its foreign debt. Although the International Monetary Fund bailed it out, the country was forced to restructure its economy and unemployment rates went from as low as 3 percent to 20 percent.9 At the same time, the government also decreased spending in social services, leaving many people to fend for themselves in a fiercely competitive economic environment. (In recent years, Korea has seen the highest rates of suicide of any industrialized nation and, in a troubling further development now has some of the highest rates of suicide among its elderly, which have quadrupled.10) Since photographs were required on resumes, “enhanced” looks were seen as a necessary tool for gaining any competitive edge in South Korea’s neoliberalizing society.11 Multiple forms of self-investment have become culturally coded as obligatory as a result of the IMF Crisis, ranging from plastic surgery to expensive English training.12 Such competition has fostered neoliberal mandates for self-management that operate in such a way that individuals are controlled through their freedom and the myriad choices they make toward their personal success, which are openly celebrated as evidence of their ambition and commitment to getting ahead. According to Cho Joo- Hyun, in Korea’s neoliberal regime “the most successful self-entrepreneurs . . . will be those who faithfully internalize the neoliberal logic, subjugating themselves to the techniques of biopower with no intention of activating their own critiques or initiating their own forms of subjection.”13 Neoliberal imperatives for self-management and improvement, and their close relationship to success on the job and the marriage market, have also engendered new structures of discrimination. 

Korean feminist nonprofit organization Yŏsŏng Minuhoe (한국여성민우회), known in English as Korean Womenlink (hereafter Womenlink), has identified this structure as “lookism.” As Kim Sang-hŭi, then executive director of Womenlink, wrote in a 2003 editorial for JoongAng Ilbo: “In a lookist society, it is not just about self-maintenance, it’s that unbeautiful women are seen as lazy and as incapable. Lookism discrimination is pervasive in job hunting and marriage and such discrimination based on ‘looks’ is deemed ok by this society.”14 In other words, women who choose not to invest in their physical appearance are seen as not fulfilling their potential. With “lookism” as the central concept around which Womenlink organized against beauty, in 2003 it initiated what was formally known as the “Women’s Bodies Are Beautiful as They Are: The Lookism Perception Reform Project”—a yearlong series of educational events and programming that reached out to women and sought institutional reform. It was known for short as the “I Am the Owner of My Body” campaign and most commonly as “Love Your Body.” “Love Your Body” was composed of a wide array of activities and actions both to stymie the multiple industries sustaining and benefiting from lookism and to educate women. These programs included public rallies, petitions, and performances, a mother-daughter overnight camp, a media monitoring campaign, legal action against illegal before-and-after advertising, and producing and publicly airing an educational satire. Indeed, Womenlink cast a wide net in 2003 and then again in 2013 in order to address what they viewed as a primary obstacle to gender equality.15

Since Womenlink launched its first “Love Your Body” campaign and particularly after 2009, with the emergence of Hallyu 2.0—the moniker for the most recent stage of Korean pop cultural products’ global success made possible through “social media, their practices, and the uses and affordances they provide”—cultural expectations about how a Korean woman should look have no longer simply reflected the lookist standards within South Korean society but have morphed into a transnationally circulated ideal.16 South Korea’s beauty industry has intensified, going global as the phenomenon known as K-Beauty, and as a result, so too have South Korean beauty standards become further entrenched. A $13 billion industry, K-Beauty (in tandem with K-pop, a $15 billion industry), sells a national image of Korean women that is encapsulated by the K-pop ingenue’s signature features: dewy, porcelain skin with thick eyebrows and accentuated eyes.17 K-beauty offers consumers ways to purchase the look through endless products—vitamin C serums, sheet masks made of gold, snail night creams, etc. This arsenal of commodities comes complete with strict rituals of application and rigorously time-intensive procedures, such as the now famous twelve-step skincare routine. Further, the Korean “look” is an ideal buttressed by a complex architecture of products, advertisements, music videos, and makeup tutorials that get posted and reposted and then memed. As a result, feminist organizing has also transformed from Womenlink’s in-the-streets activism that sought to reeducate one woman at a time to digital and hashtag activism that utilizes the same digital infrastructures that sustain K-beauty and K-pop and has an international reach.

Tweet from @blankapple, May 11, 2018, captioned “The pretty packaging has been cut,” screenshot by the author

Tweet from @FV6DOQQbnem3OmB, August 11, 2018, captioned “Enlightenment has come too late,” screenshot by the author

Just as K-pop has become a worldwide sensation through video virality (think of rapper PSY’s (Park Jae-Sang’s) 2012 viral hit “Gangnam Style”), South Korea’s #EscapeTheCorset movement has become globally visible through the connectivity of social media.18 In June 2018, YouTuber and makeup vlogger Lina Bae became the international face of the movement when she posted a video called, “I am not pretty. (나는예쁘지않습니다.),” which has to date received almost 1 billion views.19 In it, she painstakingly puts on a full face of makeup and then immediately removes it, while comments that she has received during her makeup tutorials such as “Even pigs wear makeup” and “Why is your skin so dirty?” scroll down at various angles of the screen.20 She ends the video with words of encouragement: “It’s ok if you’re not beautiful or skinny. You can find your own way. Don’t make yourself up for others.”21 The slogan “Escape the corset” does not originate in South Korea but rather can be traced back to the 1968 Miss America pageant when young American women protested the event by throwing their skirts, false eyelashes, high heels, and girdles into a trash can, which they dubbed “the freedom can.”22 From there, escaping the corset both literally as a constrictive piece of clothing and figuratively as a metaphor for feminine beauty ideals, became a central tenet of second wave feminism in the US. Similarly, young feminists today utilize the slogan to encapsulate the restrictive nature of the beauty regimens imposed upon and expected of feminine bodies. As Bae explains in the caption under her “I am not pretty.” video: “In detail, women are forced to wear a corset that makes one wake up an hour or two earlier to get ready.”23

If Womenlink’s main focus was lookism as a form of gender inequality within South Korea, then digital feminists focus on the labor such lookism demands of them. Bae illuminates that for young Korean women today, the corset they are forced to wear is “base, eyebrow, and lip makeup.”24 Yet, these cannot simply be put on, they must be applied in a process that takes hours of grooming before leaving the house. By emphasizing this, Bae and other digital feminists are quantifying the labor these beauty regimens require, known in Korean as “embellishment labor” (꾸민노동). And by recounting what coworkers would commonly say if one does not wear makeup to work (“You really don’t care about how you look,” “You look sick”), Bae points out the ways in which beauty expectations have normalized to the point of daily toxicity (the same daily toxicity that scrolls throughout her video).25

Although Bae’s video received a lot of international attention, other South Korean women were also actively rejecting beauty standards via social media. For example, on May 11, 2018, @blank_apple tweeted a before photo with long hair alongside an after photo featuring a pixie cut. The photos were accompanied with the caption: “The pretty packaging has been cut (미사여구는 다 잘아냈다).”26 @FV6DOQQbnem3OmB’s August 11 tweet features her sheared locks and smashed cosmetics with the statement, “Enlightenment has come too late (깨달음이 너무 늦었다),”27 illustrating that by late summer of that year, the movement was in full swing. These posts, however, are a means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. That is to say, the hashtag does not merely announce active refusal and withdrawal from beauty’s labor, but also signals the emergence of something else altogether: the possibilities opened up with that newfound time, energy, and money. For example, after cutting her hair short and giving up her makeup routine, feminist Cha Ji-won not only saves $700 a month, but uses the same mental and physical energy she spent on her looks towards her YouTube channel dedicated to feminism called “한국여자 Korean Womyn.”28 Bae has used her platform to write a book with the same title as her now famous video “I’m not pretty.” In these ways, young feminists point out that makeup is a critical part of women’s economic participation and a form of uncompensated labor, the value of which can be recuperated through other, more meaningful endeavors. 

What makes #EscapeTheCorset particularly salient, however, is that in illuminating the local South Korean context, it is also connects these gendered labor demands to other movements to address gendered violence across the globe. For instance, at the end of 2018 @DrAishaKGill tweeted, “This is brilliant. Female fightback in 2018 in hastags (sic).”29 @DrAishaKGill followed this with the following hashtags: “#MosqueMeToo #thetotalshutdown #saudiwomencandrive #escapethecorset #Cuentalo #dancingisnotacrime #ThisisNotConsent #equalpay.” Evoking the most influential feminist microrebellions of 2018, including Saudi women’s winning the right to drive (#saudiwomencandrive ) and gender pay inequality in England (#equalpay), for example, these hashtags side-by-side put into conversation women’s resistance in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Africa, Russia, Ireland, and South Korea, reflecting the sharp rise of transnational feminist protest movements in recent years.30

While Womenlink’s campaigns were extensive, they necessitated, in part, a proselytizing approach that stopped women on the streets to reeducate them on proper ways of “loving their bodies.” Womenlink is a state-funded feminist non-profit organization that received three-quarters of its funding for “Love Your Body” from the South Korean government, the same government that promotes the K-pop, K-beauty, and medical tourism industries (of which cosmetic surgery is the largest market). The government’s sponsorship of Womenlink is illustrative of the ways non-governmental organizations have been used since the Kim Dae Jung administration as “‘surrogate’ social engineers for neoliberal policies.”31 As Jesook Song explains, Kim’s neoliberal regime hijacked the liberal practice of civil/individual freedom of the ten years preceding the IMF Crisis. It is within this backdrop that Womenlink asserted its “Love Your Body” campaign and in this formulation, loving your body or cultivating your inner beauty is the individual agency necessary to counter the seductive practices of the beauty industry. Similarly, “I am the Owner of My Body,” Womenlink’s other anti-beauty slogan, relies on neoliberal logics of self-possession that are not unlike the neoliberal governmentalities that push Korean women to the marketplace for forms of self-management and entrepreneurship in the first place. Relying on the individual rights discourses that characterized the end of the military regime to the IMF Crisis ten years later, Womenlink’s activism highlighted inner selves as paths to liberation waiting to be unlocked within us, yet such self-making is a way of becoming a self-governing subject, able to govern where the state cannot. 

In contrast, as Hester Baer has written, “rather than participating in narratives of social progress or emancipation,” digital feminists “emphasize the process of searching for new political paradigms, languages, and symbols that combat the neoliberal reduction of the political to the personal.”32 In this vein, #EscapeTheCorset gains momentum through the collective recognition others experience when they read individual stories of pain or empowerment. For example, Sookmyoung Women’s University’s Feminist Association wrote a declaration of support for the movement in lipstick and eyeliner that read: “Makeup is not my power. Getting dolled up is not my power. Not needing to get dolled up is my power.”33 Afterwards, the association reported that more and more university students were ditching their dresses and skirts in favor of pants and their makeup in favor of short cuts.34 As such, we see the potential for hashtag activism to produce spaces where the answer to feminist dilemmas is no longer specific formations of self-fashioning such as loving oneself, but collective solidarities that produce the possibility of addressing structural inequalities. Digital feminism is “contentiously redoing feminism,” in ways that “deploy the precarious female body to make visible the contradictions of contemporary social reality.”35

Significantly, what makes digital feminism so powerful is that it has occurred in tandem with the rise of street-based protest actions in many parts of the world.36 In South Korea, young feminists have constructed a politics that coheres other digital and on-the-ground movements that foreground violence against women in a multiplicity of connected spheres. Just a month before #EscapeTheCorset made international headlines, tens of thousands of women took to the streets under the slogan “My Life is Not Your Porn” to protest the preponderance of illegal filming of women. The protests were catalyzed when South Korea’s National Police Agency reported that 30,000 incidents of illegal filming have been reported since 2013.37 These incidents are composed of “up skirt” or covert videos in bathrooms, dressing rooms, and even in private residences. In order to help combat these, the city of Seoul hired 8,000 workers in 2018 to inspect the city’s over 20,000 public restrooms daily.38 The backdrop to the spycam protests has been South Korea’s #MeToo movement, which began in 2016 when prominent theater directors were called out for sexual harassment, and garnered more headlines the following year when internationally famous director Kim Ki Duk was fined for slapping an actress and then forcing her to take part in a sex scene on the set of his recent film.39

While seemingly disparate, South Korean young women are connecting these gendered acts of sexual violence with other gendered acts of physical violence. Many young women were shaken by the killing of a woman near Seoul’s Gangnam Station in 2016. The 23-year-old victim was stabbed to death by a male restaurant worker who reportedly said, “I did it because women have always ignored me.”40 Notably, Bae stated that her interest in feminism started after learning about the murder: “The thought that (it) is something that can happen to any woman sent a shiver down my spine.”41 This began her own investigations into the violence she herself was complicit in by being a makeup vlogger. As Bae tells it, comments on her videos from girls who could not go to school without makeup made her think twice about the message of her tutorials.42

While these young feminists do not yet have all the answers, their calls to action and their savvy use of digital platforms signal how young feminists in Korea and elsewhere are creating new collectivities that have yet to be defined. Indeed, #EscapeTheCorset is a work in progress; most recently, young feminists expanded the “corset” to include feminized speech habits that require young women to speak with aegyo or to use “baby talk” to come across soft and innocent.43 In this way, the #EscapeTheCorset microrebellion and the larger feminist movement with which it coheres continues to take shape along with other digital feminist resistances around the world. The very nature of the word “escape” as a verb, a noun, and a command, however, has the potential to serve as a call to action. Early iterations of the movement called for nationwide strikes on the first Sunday of every month, urging women to abstain from consumption in order to proactively divest from the beauty and fashion industries.44 These calls were followed by a rally at Hye-hwa station in June 2018 during which 22,000 demonstrators supporting the #EscapeTheCorset movement participated.45 Just months later, when a woman was beaten by a man at Isu station because her hair was too short, #EscapeTheCorset feminists sent 300,000 petitions in one day to the Blue House (South Korea’s White House) demanding justice for the victim.46 Digital feminism is “process-based political action” that is helping us rethink the terms of feminist activism as we grapple with intersectional nodes of identity that are salient both in cyberspace and in the streets, in local as well as global contexts, and as such, demand that our movements take place in these multiple spheres.47 While #EscapeTheCorset’s impact on South Korea’s structures of beauty has yet to be fully written, young feminists continue to search for new escape routes and political possibilities.

1Sophie Jeong, “How South Koreans Are Pushing Back against Beauty Standards – CNN Style” CNN Seoul, January 11, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/style/article/south-korea-escape-the-corset-intl/index.html.

2Anthony Kuhn, “South Korean Women ‘Escape The Corset’ And Reject Their Country’s Beauty Ideals,” National Public Radio, May 6, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/05/06/703749983/south-korean-women-escape-the-corset-and-reject-their-countrys-beauty-ideals.

3Steve Glain, “Urge to ‘Go Anglo’ Sends Korean Scurrying to the Cosmetic Surgeon,” Asian Wall Street Journal, November 24, 1993.

4The movement is known colloquially also as “탈코 (Tal-ko),” which is an abbreviated way of saying “Escape the corset.”

5Sarah Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles, eds., #HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2020) xxx.

6As sociologist Nadia Kim puts it: “The US military indeed doled out not just food but ‘stuff.’ The stuff included a public relations program wherein the military offered free reconstructive surgery to Korean war victims as well as plastic surgery, namely the double eyelid procedure in which a fold is cut into the eyelid.” Nadia Kim, Imperial Citizens: Koreans and Race from Seoul to LA (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008), 53. As a result of the US military’s gifts of canned meat, SPAM has become a staple of Korean food. For more on the militarized currents through which SPAM became so commonplace on the tabletops of many Asian nations, see Robert Ku, Dubious Gastronomy: The Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2013).

7D. Ralph Millard, Jr., “Oriental Peregrinations,” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 16 (1955): 333, as quoted in David Palumbo-Liu, Asian/American: Historical Crossings of a Racial Frontier (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999), 100.

8Millard, as quoted in Palumbo-Liu, 101.

9Jesook Song, “Family Breakdown and Invisible Homeless Women: Neoliberal Governance During the Asian Debt Crisis in South Korea, 1997–2001,” Positions 14, no. 1 (2006): 40–42.

10Choe Sang-Hun, “As Families Change, Korea’s Elderly Are Turning to Suicide,” New York Times, February 16, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/world/asia/in-korea-changes-in-society-and-family-dynamics-drive-rise-in-elderly-suicides.html.

11South Korea’s “Blind Hiring Act” prohibits potential employers from asking personal questions during interviews ranging from questions about family to appearance. While photos on resumes are technically not banned under this legislation, appearance is categorized as irrelevant to hiring practices. See Kelly Kasulis, “South Korea’s New ‘Blind Hiring’ Law Bans Personal Interview Questions,” The World, July 23, 2019, https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-07-23/south-koreas-new-blind-hiring-law-bans-personal-interview-questions.

12South Koreans spend $17.8 billion a year on English academies. See Joohee Cho, “English Is the Golden Tongue for S. Koreans,” Washington Post, July 2, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/07/01/AR2007070101259.html.

13Cho Joo-Hyun, “Neoliberal Governmentality at Work: Post-IMF Korean Society and the Construction of Neoliberal Women,” Korea Journal 49, no. 3 (Fall 2009): 37.

14Kim Sang Hee, “Society Incites Cosmetic Surgery,” JoongAng Ilbo (Seoul, Korea, n.d.), sec. Minority Voices.

15In 2013 Womenlink hosted a forum called, “Apkujeong Station #4: Let’s Talk About it.” The forum’s title references the fact that nearly half of Seoul’s plastic surgery clinics are located in the Gangnam district (made world famous in South Korean rapper PSY’s (Park Jae-sang’s) viral hit song), many of which can be accessed through the Apkujeong subway station and, more specifically, via the #4 exit from that stop. Besides Womenlink activists, the event featured a panel including a doctor, professor, television director, and lawyer, with a congressional representative giving closing remarks.

16Dal Yong Jin, “Hallyu 2.0,” International Institute Journal 2, no. 1 (Fall 2012): 3.

17Mintel Press, “A Bright Future,” April 4, 2017, https://www.mintel.com/press-centre/beauty-and-personal-care/a-bright-future-south-korea-ranks-among-the-top-10-beauty-markets-globally.

18During the second half of 2012, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” set a world record for Most Liked YouTube Video, garnering more than four million likes and 1.5 billion views worldwide just that year. By 2014, “Gangnam Style” surpassed 2,147,483,647 views, forcing YouTube to reset its counter from a 32-bit to 64-bit ledger (more than nine quintillion). PSY also held the record for most overall views and most views in a day—thirty-eight million—for “Gentleman,” his 2014 follow-up to “Gangnam Style.” See CBC News, “PSY’s Gangnam Style breaks the limit of YouTube’s Video Counter,” December 4, 2014, http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/PSY-s-gangnam-style-breaks-the-limit-of-youtube-s-video-counter-1.2860186.

19Lina Bae, I Am Not Pretty, YouTube video, June 4, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq51xKG-hyU.



22Hong Sang Ji, Choi Ku-Jin, “‘시선의 구속 벗겠다’ 탈코르셋 운동’ … 상의 탈의 시위까지” [The Escape the Corset Movement – ‘I will free myself from the pressures of the gaze’], Joong Ang Ilbo, June 4, 2018, https://news.joins.com/article/22682738.

23The rest of the text reads: “Some are even pressured to wear makeup to the supermarket because of their insecurities of their bare face. Especially, in the work place, if women do not focus on their appearance and decide to go bare face, co workers (sic) would comment ‘you really dont (sic) care about your looks,’ ‘you look sick.’, ‘you know its (sic) actually considered to be a courtesy to wear makeup in work place.’ Because of this thought, one has to wear base, eyebrow, and lip makeup, even if they do not want to. Even if one’s eyes are all dried up, one has to wear contact lenses in the 9–18 hour work place.” Bae, I Am Not Pretty.



26아무 생각 on Twitter (@blank_apple), Tweet, May 11, 2018, https://twitter.com/blank_apple/status/994994822233571328.

27실천하는보지 on Twitter (@FV6DOQQbnem3OmB), Tweet, August 11, 2018, https://twitter.com/FV6DOQQbnem3OmB/status/1028229646989451264.

28“한국여자 Korean Womyn – YouTube.”

29Professor A.K.Gill CBE ✒?✊? on Twitter (@DrAishaKGill), Tweet, December 31, 2018, https://twitter.com/DrAishaKGill/status/1079676029172621313.

30According to Hester Baer, “an increasing felt sense of precarity among women and minorities, especially in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, describes one reason for the sharp rise in transnational feminist protest movements in recent years.” See Baer, “Redoing Feminism: Digital Activism, Body Politics, and Neoliberalism,” Feminist Media Studies 16, no. 1 (2016): 17–34, here 22.

31Jesook Song, “Between Flexible Life and Flexible Labor,” Critique of Anthropology 29, no. 2 (Summer 2009): 144.

32Baer, “Redoing Feminism,” 30.

33숙명여대 중앙여성학동아리 SFA on Twitter (@Sookmyung_SFA), Tweet, November 19, 2018, https://twitter.com/Sookmyung_SFA/status/1064433125462171648.

34Jeong, “How South Koreans Are Pushing Back against Beauty Standards – CNN Style.”

35Baer, “Redoing Feminism,” 30.

36Baer, 22.

37Tiffany May and Su-Hyun Lee, “Is There a Spy Camera in That Bathroom?” New York Times, September 3, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/03/world/asia/korea-toilet-camera.html.

38May and Lee.

39Soo Ryon Yoon, “Mapping the Stage Differently,” GenderIt.org, October 25, 2019, https://genderit.org/articles/mapping-stage-differently-theatre-metoo-movement-and-internet-culture-south-korea.

40임주언, 조민아, 강경루,“탈 코르셋 운동’의 확산, 1020 여성 넘어 전 세대로, Kukmin USA, June 22, 2018, http://www.kukminusa.com/news/view.php?gisa_id=0923969491.

41Jeong, “How South Koreans Are Pushing Back against Beauty Standards – CNN Style.”

42Alexandra Stevenson, “South Korea Loves Plastic Surgery and Makeup. Some Women Want to Change That,” New York Times, November 23, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/23/business/south-korea-makeup-plastic-surgery-free-the-corset.html.

43혼삶비결] SOLOdarity, 그거 “예의” 아닙니다. 모든 여자들이 버려야 할 언어습관 [혼삶비결] SOLOdarity, August 24, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjM-N2IFXpg.

44Jeong, “How South Koreans Are Pushing Back against Beauty Standards – CNN Style.”

45이재은, `내 얼굴 부정했었다`…거세지는 `탈코르셋 운동`,” Zum 뉴스줌, November 6, 2018, https://news.zum.com/articles/45657334.

46Lee Min-Kyung, 탈코르셋: 도래한 상상 [Escape the Corset: The Coming Imagination] (Seoul: 한겨레출판, 2019) 242.

47Baer, “Redoing Feminism: Digital Activism, Body Politics, and Neoliberalism,” 30.


S. Heijin Lee is Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. Her research explores the imperial routes of culture and media. In addition to her forthcoming book, The Geopolitics of Beauty, which maps the convergence of pop culture and plastic surgery coming from South Korea, Lee is co-editor of Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia (NYU Press, 2019) and Pop Empires: Transnational and Diasporic Flows of India and Korea (University of Hawai'i Press, 2019). She has been featured on National Public Radio's Code Switch, Korea Society’s “K-Pop 101” series, and at KCON discussing beauty, pop, and power. Lee lives and works in New York City.