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“This is for all my bad girls around the world”: Globalization and the linguistic construction of gender and sexuality in K-pop


This paper explores the relationship between language, gender, and globalization and, specifically, how gendered identities and sexualities are constructed through the language in popular music lyrics. In particular, I analyze the ways one popular Korean artist named CL, performs, constructs, and negotiates different identities through linguistic and embodied performance. I argue that the rapper-singer uses hybrid linguistic practices and specific embodied choices (e.g. the Bad Bitch, b-girl style, chola aesthetics) to project a distinctively cosmopolitan femininity. In the process, CL challenges longstanding social values vis-à-vis women’s place in Korean society and promotes instead a globalized version of femininity. This study highlights what K-pop as a globalized genre can reveal about circulations of language and discourses surrounding femininity. It also exposes the kinds of gendered and sexual identities that are being articulated through global flows of music and language and contributes to recent discussions in language, gender, and sexuality that take a globalization framework to mediatized contexts.

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