Women In Contemporary South Korea Cultural Studies Essay

Harmonizing to Nueno and Quelch ( 1998 ) , the lifting demand for luxury trade names in Korea can be explained by the lifting wealth in the whole of Asia and its emerging markets. The luxury goods industries, confronting decreased demands from the traditional markets they serve, such as Europe, which at that clip, was covering with recession and minimum population growing, started to switch their focal point on flush Asiatic consumers who perceived Western luxury trade names as marks or symbols of good gustatory sensation ( Nueno & A ; Quelch, 1998 ) . Among the Asiatic markets, Korea was one of the markets mostly focused on by the globaal luxury trade names ( No, 2003 ) . As younger and younger citizens of Korean addition more disbursement power, they progressively became consumer trendsetters. Specifically, the tendencies and manners they follow are the 1s from the Western states ( Louis, 2002 ) . Persons in their 20s are going the dominant consumers of the planetary luxury trade names available in Korea, outpacing the middle-aged consumers ( Park, 2000 ) . Global luxury sellers became cognizant of this and they started to organize schemes that would specifically pull this demographic of consumers. This is a far call from their traditional mark market, particularly since they besides started to provide to the immature Korean consumers who surely have money, but can be considered to be merely belonging to the moderate-income bracket.

There are specific factors determining Korean ‘s ingestion patterns when it comes to the luxury market. Specifically, the factors are personal values ; societal acknowledgment and demographics of immature Korean consumers shape their buying determinations in the luxury market.

In this thesis, I have foremost defined conspicuous ingestion in rating of related literature, and so penetrated deeply of the cultural important impacting such phenomenon in political and cultural context.

Personal Valuess

The variable of personal values has been widely used to exemplify the implicit in dimensions qualifying consumer behaviour and received important sum of attending of research workers. Harmonizing to Vinson et Al ( 1977 ) , who through empirical observation measured the effects stemming from personal values on consumer behaviour, personal values play an of import function in determining consumer behaviour towards specific goods. Sukhdial et Al ( 1995 ) peculiarly looked at the effects of personal values on consumer behaviours toward the luxury trade name market. The writers found that personal values are critical in finding whether a consumer will purchase or non purchase luxury autos. Individual values and social-related values make up the personal value variable. Individual values are consumer ethnocentrism and materiality ( Ha, 1998 ; Park, 1999 ; SharmaA et al. , 1995 ) . Social-related values are conformance, amour propre and the demand for uniqueness. All these variables are discussed below.

Consumer Ethnocentrism.

The variable of ethnocentrism determined the consumer behaviour of Koreans with respect to luxury goods. Previous research illustrated that persons who are extremely ethnocentric are those with greater affinity with abroad merchandises, which are produced and manufactured within culturally similar states. As such, a high degree of ethnocentrism discourages Koreans from buying planetary luxury trade names. Harmonizing to Shimp and Sharma ( 1987 ) , consumer ethnocentrism can be defined as “ the beliefs held by American consumers about the rightness, so morality, of buying foreign-made merchandises ” ( p. 280 ) . Assorted literature have expounded on the function of consumer ethnocentrism with respect to the behaviour and attitudes of consumers when it comes to goods imported abroad ( Shimp and Sharma, 1987 ; DurvsulaA et al. , 1997 ; Brodowsky, 1998 ) . Surveies are besides cognizant of the important function that consumer ethnocentrism plays on consumer behaviour when covering with merchandises made abroad ; as such, they focus on the possible impacts with respect to the rating of the merchandises manufactured in states of cultural similarity on consumer behaviour ( Watson and Wright, 2000 ) . There are besides surveies that determined the product-specific impacts of foreign-made merchandises ( Kim and Pysarchik, 2000 ) , and impact on foreign trade name personality ( Supphellen and Gronhaug, 2003 ) .

Some surveies specifically looked at Korean consumers ‘ behaviour as affected by their degree of ethnocentrism. Some surveies ( Ha, 1998 ; Park, 1999 ; SharmaA et al. , 1995 ) illustrated negative influence effects of consumer ethnocentrism on buying imports. Those with high degree of consumer ethnocentrism are more likely to eschew foreign-made goods. In add-on, Park ( 1999 ) determined the critical influence of consumer ethnocentrism on attitudes toward imported vesture in the Korean market. The survey found that there is a negative relationship between consumer ethnocentrism and attitudes toward when it comes to purchasing planetary luxury trade names.


Materialism refers to a individual ‘s preference for roll uping goods and money. Some civilizations view this trait as positive and desirable ( Diener & A ; Biswas-Diener, 2002 ) . Harmonizing to Belk ( 1984, 1985 ) , philistinism is a personality-like trait that differentiates a individual when it comes to his or her ownerships. A mercenary individual will see ownerships as indispensable to their individualities and endurance, while a non-materialistic individual will see these ownerships as secondary or even worthless. Richins and Dowson ( 1992 ) claimed that philistinism refers to a group of centrally-held impressions about the significance of ownerships and their functions in one ‘s life. As such, being mercenary propels an person to get more and more material objects. Under this definition, Richins and Dowson ( 1992 ) stated that philistinism is a cardinal factor that shapes an person ‘s ingestion behaviour and forms, particularly the type and measure of goods they would purchase.

As ingestion forms besides became globalized, consumption behaviour became mostly shaped by transitional and transnational houses ‘ selling attempts. Consumers worldwide are going more material as they start holding troubles spoting which is a demand and which is a privation. Global selling attempts make it difficult for consumers to believe that they can predate something they want. One form that emerged is that people start to value stuff life styles and value well-known/popular trade names that showcase their prosperity ( Solonom, 2004 ) . With their market doors spread outing to planetary trade, and with their disposable income increasing, Korean consumers are one of the premier illustrations of such consumers.

Koreans are now in the threshold of philistinism. They want the life style that is being portrayed by the media that are extremely fictional, romanticized and dramatized. Harmonizing to Yoon ( 2003 ) , distributing of philistinism among the Koreans, peculiarly the younger coevalss, has been conspicuous get downing from 1995. About two decennaries subsequently, it can be observed that Koreans are progressively sing money as the representation and mark of success, and as a consequence, are progressively attracted to planetary luxury trade names, which are the prototype of wealth and accomplishment in life. They buy these goods simply to demo off to others.

Specific surveies such as the 1s by Fournier and Richins ( 1991 ) , Richins ( 1994 ) and Wong ( 1997 ) , have illustrated the important and positive relationship between that of philistinism and conspicuous ingestion. Harmonizing to these surveies, philistinism encourages success-orientated ingestion and purchase of goods. Fournier and Richins claimed that two causes for increased degree of philistinism is the thought that one can expose his or her position through his or her ownerships and the thought that they can confirm themselves through these ownerships. Harmonizing to Richins ( 1994 ) , persons who are extremely mercenary have higher inclinations to set more importance of expensive goods and would be the 1s most likely to publically expose these points to demo their success and societal position.

Bearden and Etzel ( 1992 ) categorized goods into publicly-consumed and privately-consumed. Wong ( 1997 ) took these classs and performed a survey to find which class will be prone to conspicuous ingestion. Wong found that persons are more mercenary towards publically consumed goods and hence, these goods are more likely to be consumed conspicuously. Public goods are the goods that can be used or consumed in public position and non normally owned or used, such as family points. Global luxury manner trade names are one of the top goods in the public goods class, which is why mercenary persons will set premier importance into the acquisition of these trade names or goods. Materialists would devour these goods chiefly for exposing them publically so as to denote their position and successes in life.

In this visible radiation, Ziccardi ( 2001 ) defined luxury trade names as less about the point, and more about the trade name and what it stands for. Koreans, particularly the immature 1s can be considered the 1s who are status-oriented, and would showcase this personality through their ownerships. Harmonizing to Wong ( 1997 ) , comparing East Asiatic consumers with American consumers, it can be said that East Asiatic consumers are the 1s more mercenary. American topics buy these expensive goods non because they are seting premier accent on the public significance of luxury ingestion, unlike their East Asiatic opposite numbers ( Wong & A ; Ahuvia, 1998 ) . Most surveies used the construct of philistinism to nail that Asiatic consumers, who are shaped by the value of Bolshevism will more sensitive to the public significance of luxury ingestion than did Western consumers, and this will act upon their purchasing forms. As such, philistinism promotes Korean ‘s buying purposes toward planetary luxury trade names.


Literature claimed that conformance is one of the most important factors determining buying forms when it comes to publically consumed merchandises. As such, Wong and Ahuvia ( 1998 ) put frontward that consumers in Confucian civilization are more likely to buy luxury good based public repute of the members of the group they belong to in comparing to their Western opposite numbers. Therefore, conformance promotes buying purposes of Koreans toward planetary luxury trade names.

Harmonizing to Bearden and Etzel ( 1982 ) , , mention group influences are different between publically and in private consumed goods every bit good as between luxuries and basic necessities. Conformity is described as one of the most important factors determining publically consumed goods. Taking this into consideration, Wong and Ahuvia ( 1998 ) claimed that those who abide by the Confucian civilization will be those who are likely to set a great trade on the effects of their ingestion of luxuries. When it comes to manner, an earlier survey by Rose et Al ( 1994 ) , claimed that persons who have higher degree of conformance will be those who are likely to devour vesture and expose the trade name out to the populace. It is easy to presume that conformance is one of the most of import forecasters of purchasing luxury trade names, peculiarly for manner trade names. Wong and Ahuvia ( 1998 ) differentiated luxury ingestions between Confucian and Western states. They found that although both groups consume conspicuously luxury goods, Americans buy luxury merchandises because of their personal penchants, while those in East Asia, purchase these goods because they want to conform to specific societal norms. They besides found that Southeast Asiatic consumers put greater accent on publicly-visible points because of their attached symbolic significances and values. This suggests that East Asiatic consumers, who experience higher force per unit area to conform are more likely to purchase publicly-visible luxury points, because they perceive these goods as straight stand foring their wealth and success.

Harmonizing to Lacsu and Zinhan ( 1999 ) , East Asiatic consumers are more likely to purchase luxury points, particularly those that have societal visibleness. Because luxury goods cry success and wealth, and are particularly different from mass market merchandises, East Asians are more likely to conform to societal force per unit area and experience higher thrust to buy these trade names.

The demand for Uniqueness.

Harmonizing to Workman and Kidd ( 2000 ) , an person ‘s demand for uniqueness significantly affects his or her behavior toward luxury manner trade names. Harmonizing to TianA et al.A ( 2001, p. 52 ) singularity is an of import factor in consumer behaviour. Uniqueness is defined as “ the trait of prosecuting differentness relation to others through the acquisition, use, and temperament of consumer goods for the intent of developing and heightening one ‘s self-image and societal image ” . Harmonizing to literature, consumers ‘ ego and societal image are mostly derived from the symbolic significances they attach to the merchandises they purchase ( TianA et al. , 2001 ) . Therefore, consumers wanted something non generic and really similar to others. Luxury merchandises have the great power of bring oning the feeling of singularity among consumers. Aside from being crazily expensive, and the fact that all of them reigns worldwide, they are reputed to be of uncomparable quality, holding hosts of forgeries under their names. After all, imitation is the best signifier of flattery. One word to depict these luxury trade names is “ iconic ” . Take for illustration, Gucci and its ruddy and green chevrons, these may merely be your ordinary logo, but no, everyone wants a piece of it. The trade name offers high manner yet really commercial points, which is why everyone loves it. Chanel on the other manus as the following trade name favored by most luxury consumers, is observed to remain in this place and relevant to the industry because it has a host of classically fashionable goods. Koreans ‘ demand for uniqueness promotes buying purposes toward planetary luxury trade names.

Those competing for singularity in their ownerships are those more likely to be attracted to luxury goods, because singularity is exactly what luxury trade names seem to offer to the consumers. There are many factors that verify this. First, luxury trade names ‘ limited quality enables the purchasers to experience alone and typical from others who use mass market merchandises ( Burns & A ; Brandy, 2001 ) . Harmonizing to Tian and Mckenzie ( 2001 ) , those who value singularity are attracted to luxury merchandises because they are scarce and they would non happen merely anyone having the same. In this respect, luxury trade names endeavor to continue their singularity by non bring forthing excessively many of the same design so as to avoid over-diffusion. This makes them really different from the mass market merchandises. Harmonizing to Dubous and Paternault ( 1995 ) , using an empirical trial showed that consumers are attracted to luxury merchandises through consciousness, and negatively attracted through diffusion, which is a paradox under luxury trade name direction. Consumers are cognizant that luxury trade names strive to continue their prestigiousness by being endorsed expensively by popular people, but they are non made to be owned by many people. As such, consumers ‘ demand for uniqueness find that luxury merchandises satisfy this demand. Korean consumers ‘ general perceptual experience of foreign luxury trade names in general follows this line of idea. They perceive that having luxury trade names differentiate them from others and do them alone because non all will hold the same sort or trade name. Even with the inflow of planetary luxury trade names in the Korean market, Korean market still have this impression that luxury trade names are difficult to entree, and holding it will do them one of a sort, because luxury goods have scarceness value.

Harmonizing to Gluck ( 2002 ) , immature Korean consumers purchase dress and other manner points in which they can utilize to show their individualism amidst a instead unvarying society. Young consumers in Korea believe that they can show their uniqueness utilizing foreign trade names with scarceness value, which as a consequence, boosted demand for luxury trade names in the Korean market. In add-on, because luxury goods are globally characterized as holding recognizable manners and designs, it is easy to showcase their singularity, societal position and success even across the universe. Young consumers are attracted to luxury goods to the promise of singularity every bit good as giving them a encouragement in their societal images.

Amour propre.

Harmonizing to NetemeyerA et al.A ( 1995, p. 612 ) , amour propre is the “ inordinate concern for, and/or a positive ( and possibly inflated ) position of, one ‘s physical visual aspect ” and achievement amour propre as “ an inordinate concern for, and/or a positive ( and possibly inflated ) position of, one ‘s personal accomplishments ” . Vanity is the concern of an person with his or her physical visual aspect because they use it to convey societal position. As such, people who are vain will prosecute more in conspicuous ingestion because this can demo off their physical visual aspect and position ( NetemeyerA et al. , 1995 ) . As of now nevertheless, no survey has yet determined the relationship between amour propre and manner luxury ingestion. However, it is hypothesized that Korean consumers ‘ amour propre promotes buying planetary

luxury manner trade names.

Harmonizing to Durvasula et Al ( 2001 ) , amour propre is described as one ‘s strong accent toward one ‘s outward visual aspect such as being excessively concerned and antsy over one ‘s vesture, from the manner, to the quality and to the trade name. Harmonizing to Durvasula and his co-workers ( 2001 ) , a individual ‘s belief or perceptual experience that others are looking at how he or she dresses, or what sort of luxury trade names he or she carries, this will determine his or her determination in buying luxury trade names. Social acknowledgment hence plays the key in person ‘s determination to buy luxury trade names.

Social acknowledgment

Although personal values such as philistinism and conformance can excite persons to buy luxury goods because of what they represent and symbolize, they might non be the lone factors why luxury goods consumers are attracted to these merchandises and trade names. Harmonizing to Nueno and Quelch ( 1998 ) , consumers feel that having luxury trade names allow for information to distribute with respect to the proprietors ‘ societal position. These luxury merchandises can assist the consumers say what they can non publically announce, which I that they are affluent and successful. The ownership of these goods allows them to claim their societal position and prestigiousness without stating it outright. Consumers believe that the nature of the planetary luxury trade names allows others to acknowledge the trade names and this will be a vehicle for the proprietor to pass on to others their success. This nature plays a important function in determining one ‘s determination to buy luxury trade names. In peculiar, Koreans view planetary luxury trade names as the incarnation of prosperity and societal position, which is non truly that different from the perceptual experience of the Westerners. Because others will acknowledge one trade name, consumers will see higher purpose of purchasing this trade name.


Demographics play an of import function in the buying determination of consumers when it comes luxury goods. Demographics include age, income and buying frequence. Harmonizing to Louis ( 2002 ) , younger people are more attracted to luxury goods and what they offer. In Korea, the younger coevalss are those who have higher buying purposes when it comes to planetary luxury goods. They are what most lable as consumer trendsetters and they try to continue this image, by holding the “ IT ” things

Harmonizing to Dubous and Duquesne ( 1993 ) , income is a really of import factor when it comes to luxury goods purchases. As widely known, luxury goods are non inexpensive. Therefore, monthly income or at least monthly pocket money of the immature people plays a important determiner. By holding the agency, consumers will be more inclined to purchase luxury goods. Once consumers become loyal to a trade name, it is already easy for houses to market the goods to them. In fact, it has been said that pulling new consumers are more hard than keeping bing 1s in the industry of luxury goods.

Veblen ‘s theory and East Asiatic ingestion forms ( projections in South Korea )

Emergence of the mass production phenomenon in the modern epoch allowed for economic crises, the declaration of which should be through mass distribution and mass advertizement. A direct effect is the transforming of the family from being a unit of production to that of a unit of ingestion ( Kearl & A ; Gordon, 1992 ) . This transmutation besides led to a new signifier of consumer moral principle, which replaced Weber ‘s Protestant moral principle of self-denial. It besides goes against the rules put frontward by Weber, such as purposeful activity, delayed satisfaction and thrift. In this modern epoch, different forms of over disbursement can be observed such as: binge of disbursement ( McKendrick et al. , 1982 ) , hedonism ( Bell 1980 ; Campbell 1987 ) ; impulse disbursement ( Kearl and Gordon 1992 ) , and so the different selling promos and schemes of houses to do people purchase such as, “ purchase now, wage subsequently and more others ( Packard 1957 ) . It can be said that bulk of these word pictures can be explained by Veblen ‘s ( 1979 ) and Simmel ‘s ( 1904, 1950 ) seminal work on modern consumerism.

Veblen ‘s most well-known rule related to his term ‘conspicuous ingestion ‘ which describes the unneeded purchase of services and goods which are bought for the exclusive focal point of exposing and advertisement wealth. This is done in the enterprise to keep or achieve a certain degree of societal position. Such goods are now jointly known as ‘Veblen goods ‘ , which is a group of trade goods. The fact that these goods are placed at such high monetary values is the really thing that makes them attractive to conspicuous consumers.

Conspicuous ingestion was surely non limited to the western states, in East Asia, for illustration, misss in flush households would hold their pess broken and tightly bound so that they grew to hold bantam “ Nelumbo nucifera ” feet.A A These were thought to be really stylish since the adult females who had them were unable to last without the aid of retainers. This was a mark of wealth taken to the extreme.

Today, there are still many illustrations of ‘conspicuous ingestion ‘ and the surveies on general modern ingestion are so intricate, that about all walks of life are targeted with today ‘s mass media. Ads and hoardings are everyplace stating the populace what ‘s ‘cool ‘ and what ‘s non. Trade names like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Moet & A ; Chandon sell a life style. Moet & A ; Chandon advert provinces ‘Be Fabulous ‘ and shows two beautiful well-groomed adult females mounting out of an expensive auto with a bottle of bubbly in one adult female ‘s manus. An advertizement like this is fundamentally seeking to demo the public what position could be achieved by buying a bottle of Moet & A ; Chandon. The term ‘Keeping up with the Joneses ‘ comes to mind, as surveies show that many consumers purchase goods merely to ‘show off ‘ and keep a certain position amongst their friends.

Veblen goods are n’t merely restricted to apparels as the purchase of certain magazines, strictly for the position they offer. Bing seen reading a magazine like Robb Report or Conde Nast ‘s traveler may give the feeling that one can afford what is featured in the magazine. Veblen besides spoke about the manner frock can turn out many things. The wearer can give an feeling that they can pass without much idea on the monetary value. Veblen goods are still really much around, such as interior decorator pocketbooks, expensive vinos and thousand-dollar tickers. The luxury ticker is an ultimate illustration of a Veblen good as the consumer truly buys into the temptingness of a higher position. Companies like Rolex, TAG Heur and Omega have all used famous persons such as Roger Federer, Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Craig in his bond suit. Even though its intent is really practical and can assist with mundane determination devising. These tickers are aimed a concern work forces with a high wage who identify or would wish to place with the athleticss stars and histrions have oning these tickers at the dorsum of TIME magazine and the similar. A Louis Vuitton bag for illustration merely would n’t be viewed the same without the high monetary value ticket.

Today ‘s fast manner and mass production besides encourages conspicuous ingestion. However mass production has changed the mentality on adult male ‘s life and has created a remarkable type of being which can be viewed as about humiliating and that the merchandises are what drives adult male. The tendencies we see from interior decorators on catwalks are translated every bit rapidly as possible into high street shops. It is non surprising that with the accent on maintaining up with the latest tendencies, which ties into ‘fitting in with society ‘ ingestion of apparels has reached an all-time high. The quality of apparels nevertheless, is less of a characteristic than the over-all expression of the point. In the Victorian times, garments had to be made of the best lacing, but with today ‘s engineering, garments can be made to look more expensive than they truly are. Keeping up-to tendency with accoutrements such and bags and places is still really expensive to make. Designer ‘s put their signature touches on places and bags, which make them more lust after. Christian Louboutin ‘s places have the signature ruddy sole, Louis Vuitton may have an LV and a Mulberry bag could transport their characteristic tree on the logo. To be seen with any of these points offers a instantaneous position that comes with it.

Korea is now considered an prototype of such societies. When Korea was merely get downing to industrialise, conspicuous ingestion among most people can be said to be still silent and defensive. An expressed show of conspicuous ingestion was criticized for being impractical and imprudent, notwithstanding the individual ‘s societal position. This tendency is now gone. Today, many Korean people compete based on societal stature and symbols, and this encouraged new forms of ingestion. Even during spiritual rites, Koreans can non assist but vie with each other by demoing off how many their goods are or expensive as a mark that they have higher position.

Conspicuous ingestion, behaviour does non merely be within the leisure category, nevertheless throughout every category and person in our society. The privation to devour is nil new, people work and live to devour, people are what they consume. As seen with famous persons today, they consume the best autos, the best apparels, the biggest houses. Veblen explains a adult male of wealth is the 1 who consumes without limitations on anything. This type of ingestion is what Veblen describes as “ conspicuous waste ” , the mode in which people frock is ever seen and noticed, particularly when famous persons are exposing them. With conspicuous ingestion, the ingestion and wealth must be displayed and noticed. Many famous persons, who are members of the leisure category, show off their places, autos, apparels, and other points. Veblen argues this is harmful to our society, these luxuries and types of ingestion are merely for the leisure category, and one is expected to populate this certain life style in order to maintain their standing in the leisure category. A adult male of the leisure category must devour certain goods and give away certain types of wagess or gifts to with keep his place within the leisure category. Koreans are really much in this stage right now, outpacing the Americans it seems.

Koreans are turn outing that the “ outgrowth of the leisure category coincides with the beginning of ownership ” ( Veblen 22 ) . Before the early twentieth century, Korea was ruled by the Yi Dynasty and had clear differentiation of the category system with the political orientations of Confucian Tradition: In this context, adult females were a signifier of ownership. Womans were seen as a position symbol, a trophy married woman, for which work forces of the leisure category could have and demo off. When we own people, we own material or production, so by having something one can work his net incomes. Like ownership, most adult females of the leisure category are considered “ vicarious leisure ” . Veblen ‘s “ vicarious leisure ” is defined as people who live the life as though they are a member of the leisure category nevertheless do n’t acquire all the stuff that comes with it because they are populating through the wealthy. Throughout the barbaric phases, work forces were considered the breadwinner and worked while the adult females stayed at place while adult females were considered to populate through their partners. The adult females of the family were non suppose to work and were expected to be more “ showy ” about their leisure than work forces, they were expected to be beautiful and stand for the family ‘s wealth.

Literature in the early 1980s showed that conspicuous ingestion of merchandises were positively linked to exposure to the influence of equals and the sentiments of others. Harmonizing to Bearden and Etzel ( 1982 ) , conspicuous ingestion is more likely when buying publically consumed luxury merchandises than in private consumed luxury merchandises. Conspicuous ingestion ate up a important portion of the income of the urban population compared to the rural population. Urban citizens are more concerned about their visual aspect and position, and are more susceptible to purchasing things that would function the intent, irrespective of the cost.


This survey aims to understand the relation of conspicuous ingestion and position competition in Korean adult females. This subdivision explore the disbursement behaviour of adult females in Korea, which are found as new phenomena under prosperity in South Korea after the 1997 fiscal crisis, therefore station IMF period. Under current authorities signifiers and of Neo liberalism, we are able to acknowledge the sarcasm that contest the really hegemonic thought of neo-liberalization, which is soundless but hyper witting in the heads of Korean adult females. This fact is elaborated in relation to the patriarchal political orientation profoundly rooted in the tradition ( neo-Confucian ) heads of Koreans and although times have moved on, the representation of organic structure in Korean adult females in Korean society today remains valid. Here I am able to research conspicuous ingestion of the organic structure as a whole, and how ingestion on visual aspect is conceived in the heads of immature adult females today.

Execution of visual aspect of Women in the Post-IMF, Neo-liberal Korean Society

The transmutations in post-IMF Korean society accorded with accelerated passage to a postmodern consumer society. An writer proclaimed in 1999, “ The present Korean society is a Eden for consumers ” ( Yoon 1999, 189 ) , and the tendency of ingestion for self-distinction and look of self-identities has been of all time escalating. Concerns over organic structure in this “ epoch of civilization ” became a widespread set of phenomena after the IMF crisis. Healthy life styles became a societal tendency in the 2000s when legion self-help books were published to state consumers how to prosecute them. Womans are progressively drawn into ingestion of non merely of luxury ingestion, but beauty merchandises and attention services every bit good. More adult females have been fall backing to better their visual aspects for which purpose smart or posh apparels and originative or original hair manners had been sufficient in earlier decennaries ( Lee 2006, 73 ) .

Particularly for immature adult females, their gender and category positions are estimated no longer chiefly by their single characters and resources, but instead by their visual aspect. Increasingly, Koreans of all ages and genders view their visual aspect as something that can be improved through of all time developing. Not being stylish or cognizing the latest manner tendency is considered negligent, nescient and tasteless. This building is “ a procedure of materialisation that stabilizes over clip to bring forth the effects of boundary, fastness, and surface we call affair ” ( Butler 1993, 9 ) . What we need to analyze is what sorts of regulative norms and discourses are imposed and produced in building the neoliberal topic of adult females in disbursement conspicuously.

Imposed Femininity: The Appearance Obsession as Patriarchal Ideology

So, what are the beginnings of adult females ‘s visual aspect compulsion? Harmonizing to Naomi Wolf, the beauty myth has nil to make with adult females and everything to make with the masculine establishment and institutional power ( Wolf 1991, 13 ) . Concepts such as “ maternity ” and “ celibacy, ” which one time were of cardinal value, have now been replaced by “ good expressions. ” The beauty myth is neither an antique system of esteem of adult females, nor was it one adopted by adult females. It is no more than a myth, an look of the power relationships against which adult females must fight while contending for the resources which work forces have taken exclusive ownership of. Beauty is neither cosmopolitan nor changeless ( Wolf 1991, 11 ) . Sara Halprin points out that the “ authorization of visual aspect ” and the “ double nature of adult females ” are apparatuses that bound opposition to the beauty myth. “ Under the masculine capitalist system, we can see an inevitable look of female dichotomy by adult females today: paradoxically, while resenting the premiums offered to those adult females with ‘superior ‘ expressions, adult females in secret envy those expressions and topographic point utmost importance on the organic structure ” ( Halprin 1996, 11, transcriber ‘s foreword ) .

Furthermore, external visual aspects have come to be regarded as the index mensurating adult females ‘s personalities. The construct of beauty has come to work as a metaphor for young person, power, virtuousness, frailty, artlessness, and experience ( Halprin 1996, 143 ) . Women follow along in subconscious longing for good expressions and what good expressions stand for. Today, it has become basic mental wellness cognition that adult females who show indifference to their visual aspect exhibit early symptoms of mental unwellness ( Halprin 1996, 152 ) .

This phenomenon is connected to the unequal educational procedure and internalisation of the values lifting from this procedure. Bartky notes that through the unequal subject that classifies and differentiates maleness from muliebrity, adult females voluntarily submit themselves to power, and internalise, absorb, and align themselves with these values ( Bartky 1988, 75-81 ) . Women ‘s entry to the patriarchal system is expressed in their ceaseless staring at their contemplation in the mirror and heightened uneasiness. Despite women’s rightists ‘ hardworking exposure of the false- goon of compulsion with visual aspect ( catered by famous persons who represent object of visual aspect ) , the popularity Luxury trade names are of all time more coveted.

Spheres of Production and Labour

The patriarchal norms of beauty control non merely adult females ‘s day-to-day lives but their societal consciousness every bit good, so that adult females ‘s productive activities can non get away the power of these beauty norms. The patriarchal labour construction discriminates against adult females based on their visual aspect, immersing adult females into a barbarous rhythm that makes them even more dependent on their expressions. The restrictions placed on adult females ‘s visual aspect as a status of employment, every bit good as the accent on expressions imposed by the service sector, are both major variables that limit chances for adult females to expose their abilities and achieve economic independency. These factors contribute to the reproduction of unequal sexual power dealingss.

The variegation of businesss and occupational places in modern society has non contributed to the enlargement of the in-between category with a guaranteed stable income. Rather, it has contributed to workers ‘ entry to pay work, and has become the capital scheme that causes many to necessarily accept the prejudiced construction of rewards. The prejudiced construction of labour is manifest in the instance of female labourers, who are bestowed with the position of members of the industrial modesty force.

At this phase, the most important elements are muliebrity and the norm of feminine visual aspect. For illustration, in 1994, adult females ‘s associations, the Korean Teachers, and Educational Workers ‘ Union protested the petitions of 44 companies to urge adult females alumnuss of vocational high schools of specific tallness and weight for employment ( Seo:2000 ) . Following this instance, the ordinances sing visual aspects as conditions of employment disappeared, but in pattern visual aspects continued to be counted as an indispensable component in the employment procedure. As a consequence, instructors fixing their pupils for the occupation market in vocational high schools have come to concentrate foremost and foremost on preparing their pupils ‘ visual aspects instead than concentrating on academic waies, classs, or abilities. The pupils have found themselves most easy employed in simpler helper places ( Lolo 1994, 35-37 ) .

The quantitative addition and variegation in the service sector are closely related to adult females ‘s compulsion with visual aspect. As the types of business demanding a specific build as portion of official employment demands continue to increase, such as doumi and storyteller theoretical accounts, adult females are being evaluated non harmonizing to their accumulated accomplishments and experience but harmonizing to their physical visual aspect. Consequently, the older the adult females get, the shorter their period of labour and the more negligible their value becomes. One survey that examines the importance of physical visual aspect in the employment of flight attenders clearly demonstrates how the consolidation of the patriarchal employment system takes topographic point by doing physical visual aspect history for the most of import portion in the labour of adult females working in the service sector ( Hong 1999 ) . Even in the non-service sector, physical visual aspect is considered the foundation of adult females ‘s possible and is considered a important tool that contributes to a company ‘s net income devising and productiveness.

The displacements in the labour market and patriarchal labour construction have created a unidimensional definition of adult females harmonizing to which adult females are histrions in changeless chase of superficial values. In order to accomplish higher and more profitable places in the labour market, adult females have no pick but to set their organic structures to the standard construct of muliebrity. The capitalist system aims at making division within the labour market, furthering the growing of the service sector to efficaciously increase net incomes within a gendered societal order, while at the same clip efficaciously functioning to secede adult females ‘s groups.

Spheres of Consumption and Desire

The meeting between the patriarchal criterion of beauty and consumer capitalist economy consequences in a phenomenon that locates adult females ‘s organic structures at the acme of consumerism. From the point of position of consumer capitalist economy, adult females ‘s physical visual aspect is presented as the form of desire and is consumed as an point of exchange value. Women ‘s chase of good expressions is based on pleasance instead than force, and adult females throw themselves wilfully and enthusiastically into the beauty market. As the most beautiful object of consumerism, the organic structure is viewed as an plus, every bit good as a form of societal position ( Baudrillard 1991, 193 ) . This fact resolutely directs the historical procedure of the “ release of the organic structure ” -the “ commodification ” of the organic structure.

The bureau that makes consumptive objectification of the organic structure possible is the ceaseless comparing with others and the coevals of feelings of lower status. Any treatment of beautiful organic structures necessarily revolves around female theoretical accounts and beauty contestants ( Yun 2000, 39 ) .

In today ‘s society, where patriarchal political orientation meets consumer capitalist economy, chic consumerism continuously promotes a comparative physical imperfectness composite, which serves as a most efficient tool for psychological and emotional control over adult females ( Yi 1997, 25 ) . Yi notes, “ In the history of the patriarchal system, adult females ‘s organic structures, which were colonized and stripped of any right to self-determina- tion, have come to confront the world of more competitory and public captivity at the custodies of the consumer market ” ( Yi 1997, 26-27 ) .

The lower status composite experienced by adult females over their organic structures in the consumer market is more intense now than of all time before. No thirster is it about adult females merely experiencing compelled to simply adorn themselves with ornaments ; adult females now desire to be perfect merchandises. They want to bring around themselves from the anxiousness and lower status that remains even after the superficial, compensatory map that make-up or manner provide. Womans today seek to devour the beautiful organic structure that is manufactured through decorative surgery and other signifiers of ornament. That sort of beauty comes with a seal of blessing by different media, and is one adult female one time dreamed of achieving through the application of make-up or the followers of manner tendencies. The capital that creates net income through adult females ‘s organic structures is now invested in the really decorative engineerings that industry adult females ‘s organic structures. Through decorative surgery, adult females ‘s organic structures re-create the beauty criterion more expeditiously and fruitfully, which so leads to the idea of holding success in extremely skilled profession, which than affirms there position demoing that they are able to afford sole points. The discourses refering visual aspect contribute to an intensification of adult females ‘s inferior feelings towards their organic structures and stimulate involvement in prosecuting a transmutation of their characteristics. They promise to transform the ideals being reasonably and holding money ( exposing sole luxury points ) emphasize that this is a pleasance that can be possessed merely by adult females. The feeling of “ holding it all ” really much affirms the esthesis of experiencing exceeding, sceptered and independent like the four ladies we see in The Sexual activity and The City.

The Confucian Tradition, its significance in twentieth Century.

In the article the significance of The Social Meaning of Body in Confucian Tradition: Between Moral and Political Power ; by Lee he outlines exhaustively out lines values of Confucian ethical motives and what it is meant in the twentieth century. I elaborate with apprehensions from his words he claim: with the debut of liberalism and capitalist economy, the communal life sought in traditional society has become disused. In this world, a disproof of facial looks in the moving ridge of secularized and materialized autonomy has overhauled the community. Peoples exercise bodily motions with no concern for their milieus, make immodest, avaricious looks of emotions, and execute expressions of aggression, cautiousness, indifference, and disinterest. The people ‘s “ regard ” is non considered as the inter-subjective regard of community members, but as the intervention of unusual encroachers or the regard of pretence. These regards today are the exclusionary regards that Confucianism warned of. But they remain beyond reproachable, because single facial looks and bodily motions are no longer portion of responsibility or moral duty, but belong to the kingdom of self-discretion. Taking issue with these looks is regarded as go againsting on the autonomy and rights of persons. ( Lee, 2004 )

In our capitalist civilization, where all values are converted into pecuniary value, facial looks are no longer an look of one ‘s true head but an index of societal position and wealth. For illustrations, faces undergo plastic surgery for a pretty expression, organic structures are created in the gym for a sexier contour, and apparels and accoutrements are worn to demo off wealth. These facial public presentations, bodily motions, and apparels are masks missing truth, 1s reproached by Confucius and Mencius. But, although we know that they are misdirecting, we do non quire into their truthfulness. In today ‘s capitalist society, the more ownership the better, and look of ownership is non a affair of moral consideration, but of single penchant or personal discretion.

Modern people are liberated from household and friends due to technological civilisation that surges with commerce. Wife and hubby feel empathy mediated by the looks of film stars on telecasting alternatively of seeing each other oculus to oculus.

Girls no longer waver over the pick between desire and temperateness. They choose spouses based on the trade name of their apparels and autos.

Traveling into deepness of what one time used to be a low belief of a moral virtuousness of adult male, has now demolished and what is left of the this tradition over the past centuries are the hegemonic power that shackled mutely, what we pursuit now, as release.


In researching the conspicuous ingestion and the disbursement behaviour of Women in South Korean in general, I conclude with much to be desired. The thesis started with a wonder in head and chase to decide inquiries in the obsessional conspicuous disbursement behaviours of Korean Consumers. In examined the values of this sort of behaviour, which at the really terminal, sums up with a impression of the word in itself, conspicuity of person, which is affirmed by the regard of others. Deeply perforating in to the political and cultural chance of attached to such phenomena ; it has become clearer of to why this compulsion is outstanding and likely to be fixed that manner.

And I conclude with a personal idea, where it is even agonising to see the cultural consciousness that has been crossbred indigenized in an unwanted mode. Much more of this modern-day phenomenon could hold been elaborated in a historical context which I has Acts of the Apostless as restriction of my work. In the average clip I am aspired to transport out probe of the immature ladies who work every bit high category Barmaids ( called 10 % ) in chase of excess high terminal interior decorator goods such as Hermes and Luxury autos such as Bentley. The interesting fact that these misss who are believed to be theoretical account, famous persons look a similar who graduated top Universities and talk three linguistic communications are inclined to pouring Johnny Walker and go talk brothers of in-between age adult male instead so perusing professional occupations of virtuousness and self-respect, is an interesting observation. Yet with the Confucian moralss the silence of shame that is reflected on these miss makes it hard investigate with true agencies, and with out set uping the moralss of transporting out societal research.