Feminism Without Morality, Neoliberalism as Feminist Praxis: A Computational Textual Analysis of Womad, a South Korean Online “Feminist” Community
Womad, a South Korean online “feminist” community, has since its inception been the center of national controversy stemming from its avowed belief in the biological superiority of women (and the innate inferiority of men). Using computational textual analysis (topic modeling), we reveal how Womad’s espousal of biological essentialism is inextricable from a neoliberalist belief in individual capacity. That is, neoliberalism allows the community to reconceive feminism as a means to advance individual cis-women’s power over other identities. Womad’s communal rhetoric is thus closely linked to its users’ enthusiasm for neoliberal self-fashioning as the means to overcome female oppression, an optimism simultaneously complicated by the desire to escape Korea and the latter’s patriarchal nationalism. In sum, Womad’s vision of female emancipation—problematic as it is—needs to be situated alongside both its criticism of South Korean nationalism and its faith in neoliberalism as a means to escape the patriarchy.