“Just Because I Am a Woman?” Gangnam Femicide, Misogyny, and a New Wave of Feminism in South Korea

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Na-Young LEE, Sociology. Chung-Ang Univ., Republic of Korea
“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 has triggered a 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. Boosted by the strong blast of wind, countless numbers of mourners came to leave post-it messages in order to express their sorrow over her death and had collective memorial gatherings in front of the exit 10 Gangnam Station. Behind the wave of commemoration, there was a public concern about intense hostility between women and men, so-called “gender war.” The purpose of this paper is to analyze the misogynous killing and women’s collective reaction in South Korea. As examining the meanings of misogyny, gender based violence, and femicide from feminist perspectives, this paper explore issues surrounding the ‘the exit 10 Gangnam Station’ and socio-political meanings of the seemingly unexpected emergence of women’s visible resistance and mourning fervor. Reading the incident as a symbolic signifier, I argue that the ‘the exit 10 Gangnam Station’ should be understood as a new wave of Korean feminism having similarities and differences with the Second Wave in the U.S., because of women’s efforts not only to challenge androcentric laws and institutions, but also to deconstruct both cultural perceptions of gender violence in specific and social practices of gender in/equality in general. This current feminism as a feminist social justice project, is now to reconstruct the Korean society toward more egalitarian, democratic, and sustainable one.