Sex in the Kitchen: Gender and cooking media in contemporary Korea

Jennifer Flinn
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 -
7:30pm to 9:00pm
Second floor Residents’ Lounge, Somerset Palace
W10,000 (non-member); W5,000 student (with student ID; free for members

Sex in the Kitchen: Gender and cooking media in contemporary Korea 

이미지: 신발

Venue:          Second floor Residents’ Lounge, Somerset Palace,
                      Gwanghwamun (near Anguk Station, across street from
                      Japanese Embassy)


"If you go in the kitchen, your pepper will fall off!"

Dire warnings about the potential loss of masculinity for men who venture into the kitchen are one sign of how strongly gendered cooking, particularly home cooking, has been perceived in Korea.  New residence patterns and shifts in the family structure during the 20th and 21st century, as women move into the paid labor force, families become smaller and less multi-generational, and people become more likely to live alone, have meant real changes in how individuals must respond in terms of their eating patterns.  How do Koreans today gain and deploy knowledge about how to cook?  Who is in the kitchen, and what are they cooking?   

This lecture will explore how changes in demographics, family structure, and even kitchens themselves have contributed to changing attitudes towards who belongs in the kitchen and what they make.  In particular, cookbooks and other instructional media will be used as a lens to look at how cooking has been re-framed in recent years as an appropriate and perhaps even necessary skill for men, looking at how they're targeted and represented.  By looking at traditional print media and cookbooks in particular, we can see the ways they have shifted to appeal to a broader audience of home cooks that includes men and inexperienced cook.  By further looking at representations of cooks and cooking in larger media like TV and online media, we can further get a sense of how gender is represented, changed, and re-imagined.  The gendered messages embedded in cooking media therefore become a useful way to understand changing ideas about men and women in contemporary South Korean context.

Jennifer Flinn works as an assistant professor at Kyung Hee University’s Division of International Student and Scholar Services in Seoul, South Korea.  She has a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Agnes Scott College, and an MA in East Asian Studies from UCLA. She appeared in the Kimchi Chronicles on PBS and is a better gourmand than she is a cook.


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