Date of Graduation

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS)


College of Arts and Sciences


Asia Pacific Studies

First Advisor

Brian Komei Dempster

Second Advisor

Youna Kim


Regardless of country and culture, the media has the power to influence the opinions and perceptions of its viewers. This project evaluates specific Korean movies—and the reactions of South Koreans to gender representations in films that are considered “feminist”—along with the variety show genre, which also tends to reinforce gender stereotypes and imbalances. With these media representations as a framework, this research explores the impact of the internet in forwarding feminist views along with unearthing the reactions of Koreans. Given the anonymity of the internet and social media, these platforms allow for honest expression and counterpoints to sexist views and promote feminist films and thinking. This project employs a mixed-methods approach. For one, I have conducted an online survey of 67 Koreans to investigate their opinions on films, social media and feminism. In addition, there is use of primary sources—namely films, variety shows and social media—in order to analyze key themes and illustrate real-life examples of the issues at hand. Moreover, newspaper articles about the reactions of Koreans offer further support for various claims. By probing into these matters and cultural values considered important to Koreans, this paper critically explores the potentially negative perceptions perpetuated by the media and the implications of feminism in Korea. Feminists utilize the internet to encourage progressive thoughts of gender equality. At the same time, their views are contradicted by others and the negative reactions to feminism further complicate how Koreans view the media and larger issues of sexism and feminism in their culture.