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Abstract

This paper explores the ways in which the Korean popular music industry has maintained and promoted pre-existing cultural patriarchy. The discussion highlights how seeming opportunity for women to enter the industry has resulted in increased objectification and legitimacy of the domination of the “male gaze.” The paper provides an evaluation of the career, marginalization, and precarity of female music artists (“idols”) both with respect to the issues they face and in comparison, with their male counterparts. The paper addresses how ageism and sexualization in the music industry has influenced and reinforced social norms. The discussion concludes by noting a cultural shift that may have the potential to augment the perception and value of women.

Note on the Author

Liz Jonas is a recent graduate of Miami University. Throughout her undergraduate experience she researched the culture of K-pop and the feminist intersections within the industry. She is now working towards a PhD in Health Psychology and hopes to continue work on feminism.

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