The aim of this study is to review narrative comics in the female magazine, "YoeWon" in the gender's point of view and to investigate how the characteristics of post-war female culture is related with the Korean modern style. Cartoon and literature have in common in a way that they are both recognized as creative arts through language and story. But there is a difference between literature which writes a story by words and cartoon which picturizes the story thereby keeps the imagination unharmed.
If we have more flexible and more extended point of view on the literature, cartoons can be recognized as one of various forms of narratives. Considering today's situation that the division of classical genre and the border of genre is demolished, it is necessary to escape from language-oriented bias existing in the literature researchers. This study is to ascertain the possiblity of the said actions by performing the desire of expanding the territory of the object of the literature study.
The object of this study, "YeoWon" is a female magazine with the motto of "advancement of the cultural thought of women" which started to include various cartoons from Oct. 1955, the very beginning of the magazine. Most main characters are women such as a housewife, single female, high school girls, university students, working woman, married couple and maidservants. Narrative comics have the same character in every series even though the story goes differently all the time. Every scenes reflect the current life and approach the criticizm of realization by using the narrative method of exposing the character's personality and also of making a caricature.
The roles and activities of female main characters in the narrative comics are divided into emotional work and physical work by their clothes and hair styles. A woman who is working physically at home wears white traditional jacket and black skirt with hair in a chignon or with an apron, on the other hand, a woman who is working emotionally wears a western style one-piece dress or two-piece dress with western style hair.
Women's physical works in the cartoons are limited to home work with little compensation and treated as worthless. In particular, like a housemaid cartoon 'Aunt Walsun', the house work strongly related to physical labor is regarded as women's work only and this idea results in the distinction of sex in the labor. House work is always given to women only in comparison with outside work which is treated as men's work. Cartoons show that to do the house work properly is too heavy to keep women's health. The cartoons ascertain the house work to be a very heavy physical work as we see in the 'Aunt Walsun' and make the female character a tough woman.
On the contrary, a rich housewife or a single woman is described as a person who has to do the emotional work even though she is free from house work. Emotion can be regarded as personal, natural and voluntary rather than compulsory, but the cartoons express emotion as a kind of socially forced work.
House wife's emotional labor is differentiated from man's mental work. The latter is recognized as the expression of individual ability in order to achieve the social work. However, the former is regarded as non-labor just focusing on consideration and care for the family members' rest which is also derived from collective ideology. That is, house wife's emotional labor has to be done from a mere sense of duty under the social structural force not by the voluntary or creative choice.
Emotional labor at a workplace is done in the form of office cleaning, coffee serving, an erand etc. This emotional labor is regarded as women's own nature and even promoted as an etiquette of female officer. The meaning of emotional labor becomes equivalent to the meaning of care, consideration, obedience, kindness, winsomeness, softness etc and makes the expressions such as 'a woman should be winsome' or 'female officer has to be a flower in the company with obeying and kind nature'. However their emotional labor is placed out of market economy which means no need to be regarded as worth or no need of compensation. This idea is quite different from the situation of a 'house maid' in a way that the labor done by the 'house maid' is easily converted into money or other types of compensation.
The narrative cartoons in 'YeoWon' mainly express lower class of woman or old woman with a big face, small eyes and flat nose. The image of Korean women is tough and unpolished housemaid, peddler, worker, out of dated mother-in-law, middle aged house wife.
On the contrary, unmarried women are described as western style with a small face and a long nose. They are mainly wearing western style clothes and take a handbag, high heeled shoes, parasol, hats as they look good. They are well-educated female with self-confidence that they are the center of the society and with a dream of future happiness. They have relatively longer nose, bigger eyes, longer eyelashes and curled hair and these characteristics becomes an object of envy. Namely, the richer you are, the more western image you have.
Male image also has the same principle as female image. In case of male characters, older, lower class or labor class seems have a flat nose, on the other, richer, higher class is described western style with a higher nose .
Such a western image made Korean style image inferior by the idea of losing the competition in the society. This is also the result of inferiority that we felt at that time. Jeopardizing Korean traditional image and preferring western image in the cartoons are because we were looking for physical richness and brightness in the western countries. That's why the narrative cartoons in 'YeoWon' have described the pursuit of western life style as bright and beautiful.