As the definition of globalization varies, questions as to its origins and cultural consequences have to be answered very differently. This study starts from several viewpoints, which clearly shows that the process of modernization has already affected the development of globalization in a wide sense. The main subject of this study is the relation between female identities and the process of modernization in Korea It analyses women's identities who took part in that process, and focuses on the female body using the categories of labor, gender and sexuality. The experiences are not given before their expression; they are constructed by the material factors that are contradictory and at the same time related closely to each other. Especially I examine the linkages between women's bodies and labor, industrialization and urbanization in social-economic contexts and the representation of the world in the 1970s, the decade in which the modernization process was pushed most intensively.
This stage in modem Korean history was a period in which modernization and government-led industrialization was carried out very rapidly, manifested in the technological revolution, the industrialization of production, the demise of agriculture society and the construction of big cities. With television, advertisements, increased leisure times (etc), the era of mass culture was born. And the introduction of foreign, or more accurately, American culture into the "Korean body" was very intense.
In this period, women's lives also took on new forms. At first young women who had moved from the countryside to Seoul became part of the industrialization process and contributed to the change from an agricultural to an industrial capitalistic society. These young working class women have succeeded in constructing themselves as subjects by expressing their viewpoints as working women in various ways, e.g. working class movement; exchange of experiences and interests, collective education and leisure in private groups etc. This situation was encapsulated in the figure of "Young-ja", a working class woman and prostitute in the novel/film, . Young-ja's life shockingly portrayed the violence of modernization as inscribed into the bodies of young female migrants.
In the 1970's the prostitution industry was widespread thanks largely to government-led sex tourism aimed at earning more foreign currency. The prostitution industry had already developed deep roots in Korean society during the Japanese occupation, Korean war and because of American army camps. The prostitution industry in East-Asia is linked closely with the politics of modernization in the third world. But it was promoted more virulently in Korea because of the gender politics that persisted in this patriarchal society without any serious resistance.
In pursuit of national democracy and modernization, young women were asked to perform low paying labor for long hours as well as prostitution in the name of the Nation. Working class women were able to construct themselves as agents by succeeding more and more in expressing their experiences. However, in contrast, women engaged in sex industry had no opportunity to express their experiences.
Discourses surrounding the sex industry in Korean society are yet to be fully discussed. I think it must be discussed in a broad context in relationship to patriarchy and sexual culture in Korean society, colonial modernization, and the commodification of sex in consumer society in the late-capitalist era.
"Kyoung-a" in the novel/film, perfectly represents the image of a prostitute in 1970s Korean society. As a prostitute she represents urbanized desires projected by men. She was successful as a prostitute in western cultural tradition which allegorized capitalist commodity culture. She also became a mediator of social fields and castrated male subjects.
South Korea was a police state in the 1970s.