Balancing Fan and Feminist Identities: Feminist Fans and their Connective Action on Twitter K-pop Fandom

Summer 2017

Yena Lee : Media Studies, Journalism (minor)

Donor: Anselm Fund
Mentor: Edward Timke

The past two years have been a time of painful awakening for Korea as the country witnessed a deeply polemic gender war previously unprecedented in Korean society. Within K-pop fandom, a series of fan-initiated hashtags such as #WeWantBTSFeedback has started publicizing and demanding feedback for issues of misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia in K-pop industry, specifically in the star text of different idols and idol groups. In this research, I will explore how the recent feminism revival in Korea has fostered a discourse on identity politics within K-pop fandom by examining the feminist narrative of the 21st century Korea, history and characteristics of K-pop fandom and past fan activisms, and intersectionality of of feminism, K-pop fandom, and Twitter as both a medium and an active site and producer of a social movement.

Dear Anselm Fund, Receiving SURF fellowship was both a milestone and a capstone of my college career. I characterize the experience as a milestone because the fellowship was a chance for me to deeply engage in independent research for the first time in my college career. I had no resource nor knowledge about starting my own research but this scholarship gave me motivation and support to direct a proposal based on my experience and interests. I also characterize it as a capstone because this research was an opportunity for me to sort through all that I have learned so far and figure out where my interests and curiosity lay. I deeply appreciate the fund`s generous donation because it not only opened my eyes to this independent research but also myriad other opportunities to develop my academic interests. The SURF experience will take up the bulk of my grad school application and I hope to be able to follow-up with good news in the future. Sincerely, Yena Lee