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Perpetuation of Female Beauty Stereotypes through Korean Mass Media: Emancipation or Objectification of Women?
Unformatted Document Text:  to infuse American values, such as the American beauty standard, into Korean society. In June 1994, changes in laws allowed the Korean advertising industry to use foreign models for domestic products(Byun 1997: 32-3). Since then a rapidly increasing number of western models can be seen on television and in magazines. There are also many Korean editions of Western fashion magazines 5 , which continuously introduce western beauty ideals to young Korean women, mostly using the same contents and pictures of their original editions published in western countries. The advent of the cable television network 6 in 1994 also intensified westernised beauty standards onto viewers by re-broadcasting American TV programs, notably ‘Friends’ and ‘Baywatch’. Yet the greatest influence on Korean society has been the advent of World Wide Web (WWW) in 1991. Thanks in large part to the Korean government’s powerful drive to develop the information technology industry within a highly dense population, eased the construction of communication infrastructure, allowing the Internet to develop at a very high speed in Korea. As a primary new media whose major features are digitalisation allowing the interchange of all information made by various media on binary code, blurred boundary between public and personal areas, and interactivity (Marris & Thornham, 1996), making the WWW a necessity for Korean life now (see the following chart). 5 As of April 2005, there are 14 Korean editions of western fashion magazines: Elle, Madame Figaro, Vogue, Allure, In style, Cosmopolitan, Cosmogirl, Figarogirl, 25ans, Vogue girl, With, Peluquerias, and Marie Claire (Source: Korea Magazine Association, http://www.kmpa.or.kr ) 6 Since the pilot cable broadcasting started in April 1994, 11,404,632 households have subscribed Korean cable network (as of December 2003) (Source: Korean Cable TV Association, http://kcta.or.kr) 7

Authors: Jee, Min-Joo. and Oh, Byoung-il.
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background image
to infuse American values, such as the American beauty standard, into Korean society.
In June 1994, changes in laws allowed the Korean advertising industry to use foreign
models for domestic products(Byun 1997: 32-3). Since then a rapidly increasing
number of western models can be seen on television and in magazines. There are also
many Korean editions of Western fashion magazines
, which continuously introduce
western beauty ideals to young Korean women, mostly using the same contents and
pictures of their original editions published in western countries. The advent of the cable
television network
in 1994 also intensified westernised beauty standards onto viewers
by re-broadcasting American TV programs, notably ‘Friends’ and ‘Baywatch’.
Yet the greatest influence on Korean society has been the advent of World Wide
Web (WWW) in 1991. Thanks in large part to the Korean government’s powerful drive
to develop the information technology industry within a highly dense population, eased
the construction of communication infrastructure, allowing the Internet to develop at a
very high speed in Korea. As a primary new media whose major features are
digitalisation allowing the interchange of all information made by various media on
binary code, blurred boundary between public and personal areas, and interactivity
(Marris & Thornham, 1996), making the WWW a necessity for Korean life now (see the
following chart).
5
As of April 2005, there are 14 Korean editions of western fashion magazines: Elle, Madame
Figaro, Vogue, Allure, In style, Cosmopolitan, Cosmogirl, Figarogirl, 25ans, Vogue girl, With,
Peluquerias, and Marie Claire (Source: Korea Magazine Association,
6
Since the pilot cable broadcasting started in April 1994, 11,404,632 households have
subscribed Korean cable network (as of December 2003) (Source: Korean Cable TV
Association, http://kcta.or.kr)
7


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