The politics of female football in North Korea: Socialism, nationalism, and propaganda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter is concerned with the paradoxical relation between socialist feminism and female sport in North Korea. To do so, this article investigates the media representation of female footballers in communist Korea. Communists proclaim the liberation of women as one of their major political aims, and the North Korean regime encourages women to participate in sport as part of a women’s empowerment policy. Particularly, the communist governments strategically promote female football. The North Korean media coverage of its national football team includes no marginalised or sexualised representation of female football. However, a deeper analysis reveals that the media in this communist state ideologically underline a broader political structure based on state patriarchy. Moreover, the political use of female football is evident. In this regard, the priority seems to be given to nationalism over feminism. With respect to this, this chapter contends that while the North Korean media representation of female sport highlights active and skilful female athletes, such a portrayal must be seen within the limit of broader patriarchal politics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen, Sport and Exercise in the Asia-Pacific Region
Subtitle of host publicationDomination, Resistance, Accommodation
EditorsGyozo Molnar, Sara N. Amin, Yoko Kanemasu
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781351716192, 9781315179384
ISBN (Print)9781138895720
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The politics of female football in North Korea: Socialism, nationalism, and propaganda'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this