Hyejung Park is a Master's of Gender Studies candidate at Seoul National University in South Korea. As a long-time activist for women’s rights, she co-founded the Center for Women’s Right Sallim, a direct assistance organization for women in sexual exploitation industry. Her book on sexual exploitation recently came out in South Korea. She is now doing a research on the resurgent feminist movement in South Korea.
The tal-corset movement, a beauty resistance campaign, swept South Korea’s feminist scene in 2018 and became a phenomenon bringing about unprecedented social changes in South Korea. This article explains sociocultural contexts to South Korea’s tal-corset movement through group interviews and examination of online materials. It documents the contemporary history of the development of the movement from a feminist perspective. Findings show that movement participants see beauty practice as social oppression imposed on women’s bodies and appearances and the marker of women’s low social status. The new wave of an online feminist movement that emerged in 2015 created women-only communities that enabled South Korean women to share their personal experiences as women and to reach the conclusion that in order to reject femininity and sexual objectification of women, they needed to take off the corset collectively. Awareness was manifested by encouraging other women to reject beauty practice and display their own tal-corset practice online and offline. This article argues that tal-corset movement is a feminist political movement that aims to eradicate femininity as social oppression. Female solidarity and connectedness played an essential role in forming the rationale and the tactics of the movement.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
"Throwing off the Corset: A Contemporary History of the Beauty Resistance Movement in South Korea,"
Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence:
3, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol5/iss3/1
Asian Studies Commons, Civic and Community Engagement Commons, Community Psychology Commons, Family, Life Course, and Society Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, Inequality and Stratification Commons, Politics and Social Change Commons, Women's Studies Commons