Veiling of Korean Women: The Neo-Confucian Influence in Comparison to the Veiling of Muslim Women

Authors

  • Hye Ok Park Claremont Graduate University History Department

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18533/journal.v5i3.911

Keywords:

veiling of women, korean, muslim

Abstract

The phenomenon of veiling of women in Muslim culture also occurred in pre-modern Korea. Sseugae, a type of veil, was worn by noble women in Korea during the Yi Dynasty to conceal their faces. In a society, strictly ruled by the Confucian philosophy and ideals, women’s outdoor activities were extremely restricted. Noble ladies traveled by human-carried palanquin, colorfully draped and protected from viewing by strangers, wearing veils of different types denoting their noble statuses. In this paper I will present who among the Korean women were expected to wear what types of veils in which circumstances.  I will describe how the Confucianism permeated and dictated the value system and social morals of the early Korean society. I will also describe the highly stratified Korean societal structure in which women in various stations were expected to behave according to their fathers’ or husbands’ statuses and to dress differently including their headdresses. The significance of this paper will be in examining the cultural aspects of women having had to wear veils in a paternalistic, patriarchal and hierarchical society with pervasive Confucius ideological and moral standards. I will also review the historical transformation of the practice of women wearing veils as Korea, as a nation, and her traditional society evolved into modernity, painfully and forcibly, largely under external pressures and influences. My conclusion will show the significance in the customs of dressing and veiling in Korea in comparison to those of the Muslim women in different countries of the region within the cultural, political, and religious contexts.

Author Biography

Hye Ok Park, Claremont Graduate University History Department

Ph.D. student in History Dept.

References

Ahmed, Leila. (2011). A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Breen, Michael. (1999). The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Cho, Donghun, & Joonmo Cho. (2015). Over-Heated Education and Lower Labor Market Participation of Korean Females in Other OECD Countries. Women’s Studies International Forum 48 (January 2015): 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2014.10.016.

Coleman, Isobel. (2013). Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East. New York: Random House.

Deuchler, Martina. (1992). The Confucian Transformation of Korea: A Study of Society and Ideology. Cambridge, MA: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University.

Han, Woo-keun. (1970). The History of Korea. Translated by Lee Kyung-shik and Edited by Grafton K. Mintz. Seoul: Eul-Yoo Publishing.

Kim, Se-Jin, et al.(1972). Government and Politics of Korea. Silver Spring, MD: The Research Institute on Korean Affairs.

Lee, Kyung Ja, Hong Na Young, & Chang Sook Hwan. (2003). Traditional Korean Costume. Kent, England: Global Oriental.

Neff, Robert D. & SungHwa Cheong. (2009). Korea through Western Eyes. Seoul: Seoul National University Press.

Resos, Archie. (2014). The Empowerment of Women in Korea, Journal of International Affairs. JIA SIPA (Monday, March 10, 2014). Accessed November 27, 2015. http://jia.sipa.columbia.edu/online-articles/empowerment-women-south-korea/.

Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. (2014). World Clothing and Fashion: an Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Social Influence. Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference.

Thernstrom, Stephen, Editor. (1980). Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Yang, Sunny. (1997). Hanbok: The Art of Korean Clothing. Elizabeth, NJ: Hollym.

Downloads

Published

2016-03-17

Issue

Section

Article