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Female Labourers as stereotyped images in Labour novels in the 70’s

Kim, Kyung Min 1

1대구대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the field of literary history of Korea, the 70’s is evaluated as an era of popular literature and labor literature. However, in these novels written in the 70’s that would talk about issues related to labor, female labourers are hardly observed. To be specific, the female labourers are observed or reproduced only through these eyes of male characters or male narrators but they seldom speak in their own voices. Presence of the female labourers who could not speak for themselves in the novels of those times is recreated basically in two ways and as for the first type of presence, the female labourers are described merely as ‘women’ but never as ‘labourers’. Most of these appearances of the female labourers explained by the male characters get distorted as some decadent and promiscuous images or by reason that they are not capable of conducting independent, proactive thinking, the female labourers are described as these vulnerable, ignorant individuals but nothing else who should be happy to be controlled or protected by a head of a family, either a father or an older brother. In addition, in terms of another type of the female labourers in the novels in the 70’s, there are these female labourers who would be described only as asexual ‘labourers’, and readers cannot find anything feminine about those women. In case of such female labourers, they were expected to accept sacrifices and pains with willingness as they were modified by these appetizing terms, ‘industrial worker’ and ‘pillar of industry’, and in the meantime, desires, emotions and others that they could have inside as women were easily ignored and ruled out. Add to that, unlike the male labourers, as for these problems such as sexual harassment and sexual violence that only female labourers could hardly avoid, they were never officially discussed as being left out behind these other generalized labor issues. As described so far, the female labourers in labour novels in the 70’s were still surrounding characters, and it can be regarded as another type of violence committed by the intellectual/men on purpose (out of awareness).

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.