Edited by Lyndon C.S. Way
[Journal of Language and Politics 18:4] 2019
► pp. 560–578
Neoliberal feminism in contemporary South Korean popular music
Discourse of resilience, politics of positive psychology, and female subjectivity
This paper examines how South Korean popular music (K-pop) promotes neoliberal feminism by a discourse of resilience. In a therapeutic narrative of overcoming obstacles and achieving goals, K-pop videos deliver a hegemonic message that individuals have to be responsible for their success and well-being rather than blaming external, institutional conditions. While ostensibly promoting female empowerment, the videos update and reinforce patriarchal gender norms and expectations. To substantiate this point, I analyze music videos of the most successful K-pop group, Girls’ Generation’s “Into the New World” (2007) and “All Night” (2017) to investigate how they promote resilience discourse along with neoliberal positive psychology as a hegemonic ideal of female subjectivity.
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