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Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1920s _ centering on the ordinance prohibiting topknots ?

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2007, (87), pp.146-185
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Sangkwon Han 1

1영남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The fundamental spirit of the cultural movement in the 1920s was born out of a respect for individuality, freedom and equality. It gave rise to a movement that women should be released from the oppression of a patriarchal system and educated in a way to allow them to enjoy the same status with man. Owing much to the social atmosphere respecting women’s individual character and personality, the ‘bobbed hair girls’ appeared for the first time in the history of Korea. The Kisaeng (entertainment women) who were subject to social discrimination but were socially more active than ordinary women, took the lead in cutting their hair, changing from the traditional uniform chignon style to western style cuts. By late 1925, socialist women led by Huh Jeong-suk began to work on theories justifying ‘cutting hair short’. Women Liberalists as well claimed the advantages of cutting hair short, noting the particular convenience and practicality, both elements for living conditions improvements. Kim(Cha) Melisa was a central figure of movement. Those new women who dared cut their hair in the late 1920s were called ‘modern girls’. On the other hand, socialist women went back to the traditional chignon style. They changed their attitude, believing that ‘cutting hair short’ failed to gain public sympathizers. As a result, only the women liberals advocating rationality remained as the only group supporting ‘cutting hair short’.

Citation status

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