Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 291–303 | Cite as

The Anguish of the Korean Woman’s Soul: Feminist Theologians on a Real-Life Issue



This paper explores the conflict between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law in traditional Korean families. In Korea, mothers-in-law sometimes dominate and even denigrate their daughters-in-law. This situation may be caused by the accumulated frustrations of oppressed Korean women that are then vented against their daughters-in-law, intensifying the suffering of women in Korea. The daughter-in-law is now demeaned not just by the men in the family but also by an older woman in the family who has power over her because of age and her status as the mother of the younger woman’s husband. The two women are both victims of a society dominated by men. Women in this culture tend to view their suffering as their destiny, even though they are pained by the unequal treatment. It is possible for a faith community to accept and heal these damaged souls, but some faith communities hurt the women even more in the name of God or sacred authority. This paper provides an analysis of the reality of women’s predicament in Korea and suggests ways in which theology can be a creative and productive resource for these oppressed persons.


Women’s suffering Evil Oppression Erotic power Liberation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Practical Theology DepartmentYeungnam Theological University and SeminaryKyeung SanSouth Korea

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