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Some Aspects of the Expression of Female Sexual Desire in Yadam of the Late Joseon

LEE, JUYOUNG 1

1동국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This research investigated the aspects and the significance of the active expression of female sexual desire in Yadam of the late Joseon and the story of reaction thereto. During that time, patriarchy and Confucian ideology controlled the sexual custom, however the stories were composed of taboo and violation surrounding female sexual desire. Also, such factors as marital status of women, male type for the target of sexual desire, social status of men and women, and the aspect of men’s acceptance toward female desire, etc. form the stories variously. Accordingly, this research stereotyped and considered a few cases. First, stories of unmarried women who actively confess their sexual instinct to men or directly go sweethearting. Target for desire are mainly the noblemen. Most of such unmarried women from scholars’ family(士族) mostly fail in realization of love due to the men’s refusal, instead, they are educated or reformed through the men’s education. However, some women are brokenhearted or died due to the desire. Here, a sharp conflict appears around Confucian ethics. Second, stories of married women who realize their sexual desire through adultery with another man. Their desire from rather lower social status is expressed like animal instinct and evaluated immoral by the observers. Target for desire is also the men from lower status. Men and Women who commit adultery are mostly corrected by the observers of their husbands after realization of desire. The purpose of such correction is the realization of Confucian morality or justification. Nevertheless, it reveals contradictory and unstable point in respect that correction is performed by the male characters who suddenly realized rationally after pursuit of desire. Third, stories of the wives of eunuchs or widows, who search a new life to realize their desire. Particularly, female characters of <Hwancheo(宦妻)> actively fulfil their sexual desire, and the men’s weakness highlights the women’ independence. Desire of eunuchs’ wives and widows is described positively, and remarriage is adopted for the sustainable realization. Here, matter of economic reward is introduced instead of morality or ethical consciousness, in such case, desire is realized without a special conflict as the interest between men and women matches well. Target materials of this research mostly have men-oriented viewpoint onto female sexual desire, however, this research intended to express or acknowledge female desire, indirectly. Also, this research is significant that it activated the discussion on the narrative variation and argument of sexual desire by variously suggesting the form of taboo and violation related to sexual love. That is, narration of the expression of female sexual desire introduces several fluid situations, and violation of taboo is tolerated within the range that does not threaten patriarchy and Confucian ideology.

Citation status

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