Cultural Rehabilitation: Hansen’s Disease, Gender and Disability in Korea
This essay explores how leprosy was used to enforce cultural inferiority, which resulted in the oppression of affected people in Korea. The literature shows that images of lepers as cannibals infiltrated family lives in the communities and made institutionalization inevitable. Contemporary cultural representations depict marriage between disabled men and nondisabled women as a symbolic bridge between the segregated space of "lepers" and the "healthy." Such efforts reinforce the normative power of heterosexual marriage.