[LECTURE] 2015 April lecture-changed to April 13th (not the 6th)작성일   2015-03-17

April lecture schedule has been changed to April 13th (not the 6th as previously noticed) because of the lecturer's schedule.

An Ever-Evolving Image: Representing the Ideal Korean Woman in K-Pop

Lecturer: Heather A. Willoughby

Associate Professor, Ewha Womans University, Graduate School of International Studies

This will be a highly interactive presentation in which we will watch a number of music videos and together make observations about what we perceive is the underlying message being portrayed in the images we are presented, focusing primarily on the representations of “ideal” men and women. This topic has long been of interest for several reasons, including the dichotomy between what was once accepted on stage, but not in public; the portrayal of women on popular music television shows and later music videos; and the power of the production companies in Korea.

First, when I lived in Korea in the mid-1980s, a singer by the name of NaMi became immensely popular. Unlike other contemporary singers, she dressed in black leather jackets and mini-skirts, accessorized with garish costume jewelry, and wore heavy, dark eye-shadow and mascara. At that time, I had many conversations, particularly with teen-aged girls, about NaMi, her image, and what was known of her life. The young women seemed mystified by NaMi’s strong character and bold fashion statements. They were enthralled by her music and the image of a wild, powerful woman. Yet, most did not personally approve of this image or have desire to imitate it. Many things have changed since this time, but the stage, and particularly the staging of K-Pop, remains a important and influential place of negotiation; a place where young women and men are presented (or perhaps bombarded) with images of ideals in fashion, beauty, and demeanor. But these ideals are increasingly difficult to achieve without significant surgical or other artificial means of alteration and thus can have a long-lasting and devastating negative affect on a woman’s personal body image. Finally, time permitting, we will discuss the all-encompassing power that a very few individuals have in creating and controlling these images through the production companies that control the entire music industry in Korea.

In sum, we will observe videos that portray various aspects of the evolution of the ideal Korean woman as represented by K-Pop idols, and what affect that has on young men and women today.



Education room (1st floor), Seoul Museum of History

55 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Date and Time

April 13th, 2015 (Mon)

11:30 A.M. to 13:00 P.M



Lunch Fee (optional)

10,000 won(Sandwich & drink) if you’d like to have one.

* Reservation for lunch is required.

* Donation receipt can be issued.

* Wire transfer to KEB a/c#631-000503-181 (YÉOL) or at the venue in cash

Contact (Registration required)


T: 02-745-5878

F: 02-736-5878