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Emergence and Meanings of a Strategic Misogynistic Narrative - focus on the Webtoon Series A Beautiful Soldier

Koo, Ja-jun 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

A webtoon series titled A Beautiful Soldier, whose official serial publication began on Naver on February 15, 2015, has caused a lot of controversy for its "Misogyny". It is interesting that the webtoon series has enjoyed tremendous popularity and broad support from its readers despite increase resistance and criticism against it. That is, its popularity is based on not only online community 'Ilbe', which have continued to produce hate discourses, but also extensive support from male webtoon readers of the young generation that were sensitive to "reverse discrimination" against men. This study thus set out to investigate the backgrounds and meanings of an "aggressive" misogynistic narrative to address men's complaints about reverse discrimination such as A Beautiful Soldier by reviewing the narratives of the young generation on the Web and in webtoons. The publication of The Generation of 880,000 Won brought huge changes to the self-perception of the young generation as well as the society's view of the young generation. The medium of webtoons has depicted the new self-narratives of the generation most actively. One genre of webtoons depicts the daily life of the young generation as campus dramas, which have been neglected by the established media, and reveals how the young generation in pain forms a sense of solidarity and expresses their anger about "free riders." Then the members of Ilbe have presented Jeolla Provinces, the Left Wing, and women as imaginative "free riders" and turned the narrative of the young generation toward the Far Right. Misogyny is, in particular, accompanied by active "strategies" to "correct" the current gender structure and can thus be called the core of "their problematic practice." A Beautiful Soldier reflects the characteristics of misogyny based on those strategies. It points out women as unfair beneficiaries who exempt from military service, clearly presents the desirable image of women, and proposes corrective strategies and alternatives. While basing his webtoon series on vivid depiction and anger at military life found in such old narratives as Old Solders' Songs by Gian 84, the cartoonist presents gender switch and maximizes anger and imaginative punishment toward women. Similar to the misogyny expressed by Ilbe, which is familiar yet new, the webtoon series have succeeded in developing a narrative of punishing and correcting women who are "free riders", which have not been discussed in the public sphere, on the Naver platform by using language that is familiar to the young generation. There is no specific mention about who are "free riders" in the narrative of the webtoon series, of course, but it constantly arouses the fact that women are free riders according to its setting of gender switch itself.

Citation status

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