Representations of Southeast Asian Wives Under the Korean Gaze

Posted on December 14, 2014


thammasat journal conference proceeding_front page

If ever you’re looking for the research paper “Representations of Southeast Asian Wives Under the Korean Gaze” by Michelle Camille Correa (that’s me!), you can find it in this conference proceeding:

First National Conference 2014 on ASEAN Dynamics in Localism and Globalization

by the Interdisciplinary Studies Department of Thammasat University – Tha Prachan Campus, Bangkok, Thailand.

The conference was held last 16 May 2014. And don’t worry, it’s written entirely in English. =)

The abstract can be found at the Chulalongkorn University Library website, too. It has both the English and Thai titles and abstracts. But the whole document is only downloadable from the Chulalongkorn University website.

Why does it have to have a Thai title and abstract, you may ask? Because I studied in a Thai university and it’s required. Good thing my Thai friend helped me with the title and my Thai thesis adviser helped me with the abstract translation.

For the sake of convenience, I’m posting the English abstract here:

Korea’s homogeneous society is changing. Through the influx of migrant wives, it is moving toward a multicultural society. Brides from Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines comprise a significant number of migrant wives. This reality is reflected in Korean film and television. Their presence in media creates representations of Southeast Asian wives, which influence society’s perceptions of what foreign presence entails and what multicultural society means. Using Judith Butler’s theory of performative Gaze this research sought to find out how the representation of Southeast Asian wives is repeatedly “performed” and looked at through “the gaze” of 6 Korean film and television dramas.The research found out that Southeast Asian wives are stereotypically portrayed under Korean media gaze. Filipino wives are often depicted in three ways: educated but poor women marrying for money, sexual object of curiosity, and caring Catholic mother. Vietnamese wives are depicted in seven ways: as a commodity of matchmaking agencies, as having close connections with Korea, as luckier wives than their predecessors, as opportunistic women, as malleable wives, as panacea, and as a counterpoint to Korean wives. Southeast Asian wives, as a whole, are repeatedly depicted as caring wives, as devoted mothers, and as filial daughters-in-law. Thus, they are portrayed as more desirable women than Korean women—at least for Korean men who belong to a lower socioeconomic class.

I hope this helps other Hallyu Studies, Korean Studies, and media studies researchers in the future. Happy reading!