Feminist Rebuts Claims Women are Over-Empowered in Korea

Boseulachi

Kim Eri has written another controversial article as a follow up to her editorial about discrimination against women first reported on koreaBANG here. Ms. Kim sought to counter the new movement among Korean men to oppose “reverse discrimination” by over-empowered women. The article uses comments from koreaBANG readers as evidence that Korean men are ignorant of the problems women face at home and in the workplace.

Online reaction to the follow-up article was dominated by sharp attacks about the author’s “lack of logic” and misunderstanding of gender relations. Netizens drew distinctions between gender inequality in Korea and gender inequality in the rest of the world.

Throughout Ms. Kim’s comprehensive analysis of modern discrimination against Korean women, she also points out certain problems that are distinctly Korean and which carry their own unique challenges. In particular, the author warns about the legacy of sex-selective abortion, which is predicted to lead to an imbalance of 128.3 Korean men for 100 women by the year 2031. She also addresses military conscription for young women, often suggested as a way to break down inequality.

From NEWSis:

Kim Eri’s ‘Pop Culture’ – ‘Boseulachi,’ and now Gender Equality of the Developing World

On the 16th of this month, my column ‘What Boseulachi, You Pitiable Men’ started a controversy. It was not only introduced by koreaBANG, a website which reports hot issues in Korea and translates them for a foreign audience, but also received much attention from foreigners who live in Korea. They, as outside observers, seem to rebut the arguments made by Korean men, accusing them of discriminating against women.

Foreigners criticize Korean men, saying “women take responsibility for making a living as well as raising children. Korea treats its women as cows to be milked. It is the most anti-woman country I have ever lived in…It’s clear that [male critics] have never been outside of this country.” In regards to the argument about the low life expectancy of Korean men compared to Korean women, a foreign man said that their life expectancy will rise if they spend less time drinking after work and abstain from spending as many hours smoking during the workday as they do behind their desks.

Newly created www.boslachi.com, the website slogan: “For the Sake of Gender Equality, We Dream of a Restoration of Men’s Rights!”

Another foreigner talked about his experience in a Korean work environment, saying that women run errands, have to make coffee, and get scolded by their boss. The man further said that men receive 50% more salary than women in similar positions. Women are also required to participate in drinking after work, where they are plied with alcohol and treated like trash.

I have received so many email replies regarding my last article that my inbox ran out of space. There were many readers, who seemed to be men, who just threw insulting words at me. I was shocked. My expectations about events like the forced entry of the Jecheon Women’s Library by the Man of Korea coalition, that it would be regarded as a bad joke by people desperate for attention, were completely off the mark.

People always seem happy to talk about older women who never had the chance to go to school making donations to education, but when it came to the Jecheon Library, all people could do was criticize. In her will, Mrs. Kim Hak-im left her life savings to make a place where women could nurse infants and study. (I had the chance to see reports from 1970-2005 that listed all of those people who had given their life savings to schools. Of the 94 such donors, 87 were women. A number of Comfort Women were among those who gave the money they had struggled to save as a way to get over their frustration of being excluded from education. The devotion of such women reminded me of the line from the end of Goethe’s Faust, “I have been saved by the fact that I will forever be a woman.”

On the other hand, there were also many readers who sent in their support, women who took strength from sharing their difficult experiences via email. After reading such response, it is clear that woman who enter the workforce all face a similar situation. “Every time there is an office party, they always make sure to bring along all of the female employees and sit them next to the boss. The people who harass us, either verbally or physically, are the ones who control the event and the person who points out the offending behavior or protests is called a stick in the mud, a prude, and a whiner. The more such behavior comes to light, the more it is clear that the losers are always women.” Another wrote, “when I say that I lack the confidence to return to the workforce after marriage, they tell me: ‘then you’re just going to drop out and not make any money?’ I take care of the house and the children, then I have to go to work and suffer there as well because I am a woman. They ignore those problems and tell me to be a ‘Super Mom’.

Why is it that a certain group of Korean men persist in calling these situations “reverse discrimination”? One can find the answer in a number of recent reports. Among the 34 member countries of the OECD, South Korea has the highest rate of suicide and the lowest birth rate. Presidential Candidate Ahn Cheol-soo has stated that “a majority of our citizens are extremely unhappy about the future and unsure of where we are going.” As can be seen from the creation of the word “Boseulachi” (made up of the derogatory word for vagina, “boji”, and the the Chosun period term for state official, the combination of which implies a sense of entitlement for having a vagina), men are looking for a scapegoat for the numerous societal issues and have decided to blame women, weak as they already are. Professor Chin Jung-kwon of Dongyang University recently published an incisive analysis of the situation on Twitter: “during an economic recession, men in difficult straits are lowered to the level typically occupied by female workers. Such men begin to feel that they are no better than so-called “gold misses”. Those who are economically successful remain superior to women, while poor men come to believe that gender equality is already a reality. As women gain more power, the foundation of male superiority begins to crumble. Fearing a loss of their own power, men turn to disparaging women.”

An even more disturbing aspect of the current situation is that many young men are also expressing sympathy for the “boseulachi” term. If you consider it carefully, they are the real victims of the preference for boys that emerged in the era of male superiority. Such young men grew up in a time when abortion of female babies was so common that doctors were forbidden from telling couples the gender of a foetus  According to predictions from the National Statistical Office, as of 2015 there will be 110.8 men of marriageable age for every 100 women. By 2031, that disparity will increase to 128.3 men. The result will be extreme difficulty for men born in a society dominated by male favoritism. In the end, frustrated by an inability to marry women their own age due to a severe population imbalance, such men will vent their feelings against the opposite sex.

Despite reports about an increase in international marriages and wives brought over from Southeast Asia, the regressive values held by Korean men do not change. So long as discriminatory attitudes against women remain, there will be no resolution of the marriage crisis. I have seen comments sympathizing with foreign wives who cannot stand their marriage to a Korean man and who flee their new homes, saying “I wonder why all of these twenty-year-old women who leave their impoverished homelands to get married in another country become gold diggers as soon as they get involved with a Korean man.” Of course, there will be some women who have malicious intentions from the very beginning. But it is also impossible to deny that there are many cases where foreign wives suffer from abuse, marital rape, and the assumption that they are merely a product that has been purchased. Such women have lost their hopes of a “Korean Dream”.

This imbalance and strife between the genders will not end with a marriage crisis, it will go on to create many different problems that affect the whole society. The Wall Street Journal quoted Unnatural Selection, a book by Mara Hvistendahl, when it reported that a preference for male children has resulted in the abortion of 1.63 million girls in China, India, and South Korea since the end of the 1970s. The newspaper warned of future disasters related to the gender imbalance. “Historically, men have had a more violent and destabilizing effect on society than women.” Rising rates of unmarried men will lead to increasing crime rates. In modern India, the factor most closely correlated with violence and crime rates is not income but gender imbalance.

Rising rates of sexual assault by men against women also offer evidence for the theory that gender imbalance is leading to societal problems. There are many men who express their tendency to violence by resorting to physical attacks against the weaker sex. It is still true that the majority of violent offenders are men and the victims are women. Violence against women has become so institutionalized that it rarely even makes the news anymore. A few weeks ago, the news reported a story about a civil servant who intervened to help a young woman being beaten by an older man. The assailant ended up turning his rage on the civil servant, beating him so badly that his eye was crushed into his skull. Were it not for such gory details, the story would have been ignored. Such a reality makes it difficult for parents of women to ever feel at ease.

Sweden is part of the group of northern European countries known to have the highest measures of equality between the sexes. It was the arrest of Julian Assange, creator of the investigatory website WikiLeaks, that brought Swedish laws on sexual crime to our attention. During one of Assange’s intimate encounters, his female partner told him that she would only consent if he used a condom. After finding a torn condom in the morning, the woman reported the encounter as sexual assault in order to compel Assange to take an STD test. It is part of Swedish culture to take incidents of sexual harassment both minor and those that are disruptive to the social atmosphere to the police. Such a significant trend of strict punishment of sexual crime is possible because of their popular culture. While relations between the sexes may be liberal, there is also a strong belief in keeping one’s body safe. Because of the different criteria for sexual crimes in Sweden it is difficult to compare its statistics with those of another country. In cases where perceptions are slow to change, it is necessary for laws to take the lead. In the case of Sweden, such legal protections are support by a culture accepting of unisex bathrooms, showers, and sleeping arrangements.

Boseulachi

Finally, on the 23rd of October (Swiss time), gender inequality made it to the main stage of the World Economic Forum. Out of the 135 countries in attendance, South Korea placed 108th on measures of equality between the sexes, dropping one position from last year. Looking at the individual measures of equality, Korean women place 116th in terms of economic participation and opportunities for participation. They are 99th in terms of education, 78th in health and safety, and 86th in political power, all low scores. According to the report’s findings, gender equality is not just related to human rights and general equality, it is also directly connected to economic effectiveness, “As an example of how gender equality contributes to economic growth and stability, during the past 10 years, the growth in the European economies was due to the shrinking gap between hiring of men and women.” Such a statement should be looked at closely in our society. It is not a coincidence that countless specialists have all said that use of female workers, particularly highly educated women, is a way forward for the Korean economy.

The negative conditions that I have described so far in addition to pay disparity and the glass ceiling all handicap women’s performance in the economy. The coalitions of men that now target women point at the low economic performance and call it another inequality that adds to their burden in providing for the family. In this way, discrimination leads only to more inequality. Women’s need for self-realization and empowerment in their life are being pushed aside by their professional obligations. Our nation’s political and economic situation is struggling, but our government ministries devote only minimal resources to combating discrimination against women. To make matters worse, current politics shies away from the topic of gender inequality, preferring to look at the “family”. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family is losing its original mission to reduce discrimination, all the while facing strong criticism for its policies. Less than 1% of employers offer menstruation vacation, while they all argue about veteran’s preference, (the overwhelmingly majority of veterans are men), a policy of questionable effectiveness.

Of course, this is not to say that I am unable to sympathize with young men who spend two years of their young lives in difficult military surroundings and who often feel that such a sacrifice is not recognized by society. While there are vague calls for women to be drafted alongside men, it is obvious that such a burden would only increase the cost of a woman’s menstruation and maternity obligations and aggravate the problem of a low domestic birth rate. Since it is still unclear how the current dominance of sexual violence and harassment develops under our strictly hierarchical military culture, instituting conscription for women would be a rash and difficult step. (There is the relevant case of the winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival this year: “The Invisible War”, a documentary about the fact that in the American military, more female soldiers are raped than die due to enemy fire).

It is critical that we point out and overcome the immaturity that points the finger at Korean women and accuses them of being the cancerous factor within our society that blocks progress. This juvenile attitude ignores the real need for reforms of government policy and political participation. So long as there is an absence of revolutionary changes in perception, it seems unlikely that our measures of gender equality, so long lagging behind international standards, will ever rise.

Despite the need for new laws to support the fundamental rights and interests of women, such decisive changes will remain impossible so long as conservative men’s groups are unwilling to come to any kind of an agreement. One way to possibly reach solutions in the long run is through education. Cultivating new values of gender equality must begin in schools and in homes. This would be fundamental instruction about human rights that teaches people to regard one another not as men or women, but as human beings. Sex education is also important. We must remove the theme within sex education that describes women as sexual objects.

As feminists have argued, it is also necessary to include the history of women into school curricula. Due to the trend of favoring men within historical documents and textbooks, it is hard to find any of the values created by women amidst the litany of male values. Such continuing education programs as couples’ counseling and Father School are also ways to realize the goal of teaching gender equality.

This discussion brings to mind a conversation I once had with an elderly man. After he had listed reasons why men are superior, I answered him, “do you think it would have been possible for you to get to this point in your life without the help and sacrifice of your mother and older sisters?” It was only then that he seemed to abandon his argument. For lack of any opportunity to reflect on the values of women, he had automatically formed the belief that men were the superior gender. It was at that moment that I saw hope.

Comments from Naver:

hoza****:

She’s such an extreme dogmatist, believing blindly that she’s right. Such extremists are prone to bossing around without courtesy.

sinn****:

Have you read those emails from guys thoroughly? She seems impossible, dismissing whatever guys criticise about her opinion.

hoza****:

She’s got big ego, thinking that she’s freaking enlightened. However rational what we say here doesn’t matter. She’ll just shrug it off. She’s rational on the outside, and completely emotion on the inside: so typical Aristotle type of woman. We can’t keep the conversation sensible with her.

21cp****:

This chick is ridiculous. I sent her an email opposing her article nice and logical. I wonder if she read those emails she got. She’s simply tarring all of them with the same brush. I bet she didn’t even read any of them. We have to take action: do not let her get away with this. Let’s send emails and make phone calls. NEWSis phone number: 02- 721- 7400 It’s okay to call the newspaper, as long as you keep conversation civil. It is us readers’ right to complain about such an absurd article.

hoza****:

Is Naver News her domain? Her article keeps coming up on it.

mkjillkjkj:

How could this rubbish article written by a psychotic lady end up popping up as a main article of Naver? Isn’t Naver supposed to have someone to correct this situation? And how could she claim herself as a ‘critic’? Critic my ass! Her articles seem full of same old absurdity that only supported by crazy femi-nazis. I think they equally qualify as a critic.

wina****:

Unbelievable. How come such a man-hating article written by a female-dominance supporter end up in a newspaper? She’s facing a lot of friction due to her faking being rational, even though her articles are obviously biased. She’s not doing a job as a critic, but showing her prejudice.

imcm****:

Huh huh This crazy bitch is writing a freaking novel. I knew you’d bring up that inequality index. You could’ve easily found articles that explains why it’s an absurd, biased figure. And this bitch doesn’t say a word about what females do wrong. Slimy boseul bitch!

ank2****:

Although the word boseulachi refers to beanpaste girls, it looks ugly when guys use the word for any unlikable females. But Kim Eri, you went too far! Your writing seems provocative and ego-centric. I couldn’t keep reading it after one or two paragraphs.

rbgu****:

Korean guys are not the ones who make comfort women grandmas shameful, but some Korean women who sell their bodies abroad are. What is she talking about?

east****:

Reading this article thoroughly, the point she is making is not clear. She may be content with her work, yet all I can see is her victim mentality. Her value system seems pathetic.

muhw****:

This article is solely written on females’ point of view. It’s not objective enough. Those referred internet comments only serve her point, scrap here and there as she pleases. So your article should go straight to a rubbish bin!! For the record, foreign females usually stand up for gender equality, whether that advantages them or not. On the other hand, Korean females raise gender card only when they manipulate the situation for selfish reasons. Otherwise they would say ‘men and women are different’!! Korean females and foreign females have completely different notion of gender equality.

miso****:

Oh boy.. She’s a so called critic..;; People like her remind me of extreme right wingers in Japan.

file****:

Isn’t she a secret agent from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family? ke ke They’ve got to scout her ASAP. She’s such a talent ke ke

gree****:

The summary of her last article: boseulachis have wisely adapted to the environment, foreign males don’t get whiny about conscription system, stop acting petty, and foreigners called Korean guys assholes. Her articles are preposterous! You generalise as much as you want and call it ‘logical.’

seaf****:

She’s fraught with inferiority complex. Her mother probably liked her brother more than her, leaving her felt mistreated. Or, she probably just hasn’t overcome the phallic phase.

ttl0****:

Even countries like the U.S. has less than 20 percent of female executives. Those executives earned their job because they work hard and socially adept. Read Carly Fiorina’s biography. Being American doesn’t guarantee such an important position for any women. Companies sometimes prefer foreigners over Koreans to maximise the profit these days; they don’t intentionally marginalise women for no good reason. Competent women don’t complain like this critic.

mua2****:

In short, women have been the underdog, and now it’s the time for guys to get fucked up.

heey****:

ke ke Do we need to talk about this article anymore? Whatever we say here will go in one ear and out of the other: her mind is unchangeable. Arrrrgh! ke ke

spc7****:

She doesn’t seem to get a full grip on the meaning and origins of boseulachi. Do men use the word for any random females?

Boseulachi

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  • Your Sexy Cousin Rex

    Koreabang comment section now a credible source of reference.

    • Andrew

      I wonder what Eri Kim would say if an opposing article used Naver comments as a point of reference? Obviously she would reject it since Naver is dominated by men (and therefore oppose HER view).

      But, since KoreanBANG agrees with her view, then it’s credible! Not to mention it has comments by ‘enlightened’ foreigners/ white people, who are obviously just better than Koreans… ;-)

      • wahosi

        bullshit.. are you saying that Nave is dominated by men? are you korean? how do you know that Nave is dominated by men? do you have any statistic of it? because there are more men in kor, it doesn’t mean that more men use that kind of shit.

  • holdingrabbits

    I agree with her essay 100%. My only question now is whether or not she’s Korean or if she’s actually a foreign English teacher.

    • Sillian

      There is a user named Eri Kim on kBang. She said she’s the writer. I don’t quite understand your question. Are you wondering if she’s a native Korean or an ethnic Korean English teacher of a non-Korean nationality?

      • holdingrabbits

        It was just a joke. I do agree with her essay, but it sounds like something a foreigner would write and then all the Koreans on the site would get really angry.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eri.kim.503 Eri Kim

      Thank you for your supports, I’m a native Korean. I was born, raised, educated and have worked as a journalist in Seoul.

      • http://twitter.com/null2j Noori

        It was a pleasant surprise to first see you on kB, especially it only took about a day or so for you to find the first article. Do you mind if I ask how did you manage to find it so fast?

        • http://www.facebook.com/eri.kim.503 Eri Kim

          I’m just subscribing the facebook page of this site.

          • http://twitter.com/null2j Noori

            Oh, then did you subscribe at kB even before your article was posted? That is even more impressive!

      • dk2020

        Have you ever lived outside Korea?

  • Ruaraidh

    What a lack of self awareness from the commenters, especially the first one. Irony of the highest order.

  • dk2020

    Good article, hopefully some of her solutions will be implemented in Korean society for gender equality. What’s sad is the crab mentality that is developing though through the gender divide.

  • PixelPulse

    A well thought article, as for the comments its just sad. Her article wasnt being psychotic in anyway, those guy that are getting their panty in a twist seem as if they cant handle the thought of them being in the wrong.

  • jon775

    The comments proves her point very nicely.

  • Gabrielle

    The article is nice and well-thought, not provocative at all. The commenters, on the other hand, mostly rant with no valid point. They don’t realize that power women gain doesn’t equate men losing power. Sad, sad, winner-takes-all society.

    • TrickyNishidake

      I’m not entirely certain, but Asian culture is usually a winner-take-all culture. We don’t exactly promote team work or shared rewards. Even though it may not be true in modern Asia, when my parents were young they were pressured to not have friends because friends would become competition. You have to take into consideration that less than 40 years ago, Korean, Chinese, and to a lesser extent the Japanese had almost nothing. The pace of which they they adapt to the changing world is unlikely to be any faster than when the West started a few centuries ago, when the majority of them at the time, didn’t have the comforts we’re accustomed to today.

      • dk2020

        Well another thing about back in the day is about our parents and grandparents generation, my grandma had 10 kids my mom had 4 .. I come from a big family ,, your kids was your insurance policy, hoping they will be successful to take care of you when you get older. Whatever happened to the sense of community, it takes a village to raise a child. Asians are burnt out from modernization, it’s too highly competitive and I’m sure there aren’t enough good paying jobs for everybody even if they are over qualified. The world economy is going in a slump ..

        • TrickyNishidake

          So what now? :) Answer it and save the world.

          • dk2020

            indeed ..

      • Gabrielle

        I’m well aware of how this society works.
        I’m living here. I see it every day.
        And I wasn’t criticizing Asian societies, merely pointing that because they changed so fast, some adjustement haven’t been made, and some people haven’t been given the time to adapt. Hence current societal issues.

  • x1sfg

    She makes some very valid points, but she’ll never be considered seriously if she uses Koreabang as a reference. It’s worse than trying be taken seriously using Wikipedia as a resource for a college paper… More like using Yahoo! Answers as evidence.

    And you have to realize that Koreabang only translated 20 out of 634 comments. I can read Korean and many of the above comments have negative comments and they are not representative of Korea as a whole. Actually, Korean internet convention usually dictates that you down vote anything and everything, even if you agree with it. There are idiots and trolls there, and you’ll find the same idiots and trolls in comments sections in BBC, CNN, Fox News, Washington Post, the Times, and so on. If I was a non-US reader reading the comments on CNN and Fox News, I’d think Americans were backwards morons too.

    Do I personally think there is gender inequality in Korea? If Afghanistan was a 1 and the Island of Lesbos a 10, Korea would be a 5 with most developed countries in the West being 6+.

    • Guest

      Such a poor man, you don’t even distinguish ‘fact’ from quotations of opinions.

      • x1sfg

        combined the two replies

      • x1sfg

        Reread my comment, I’m agreeing with you. My only suggestion is you use credible sources and not koreabang commentary if you want to be taken seriously in academia or the journalism world.

        You probably don’t even realize that when we write things that we want taken seriously, we use facts from credible sources. I don’t even know what you’re trying to imply “fact” from quotations of opinions, because YOUR ENTIRE POST is either opinion or anecdotes.

        As in “a foreigner says that women make 50% salary of men”

        “X foreigner said this about Y”

        That’s not fact, that’s like saying, “this guy with no credentials said this” or “my cousin’s sister on the internet said Y so it must be true”

        This will never be taken seriously. You want sources that you can CITE.

        http://www.oecd.org/korea/48225033.pdf

        a non-Korean example. this is more of an academic paper, so it’s probably not the style you’re looking for but the reason I wanted you to read it is the because of his citations.
        http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/www/external/labor/aging/rsi/Goldman-socineq.rand-aging.pdf

        You see how he cites his sources at the bottom from credible, well-established sources?

        If you want to go the informal blog route, I find the Grand Narrative is MUCH better well thought out and balanced than your article.

        http://www.thegrandnarrative.com/

        James Turnbull does make references to Koreabang, but he realizes it for what it is, just a gathering of netizens making comments and that it is not 100% reflective of society. He is able to critically extract valid portions to support his position. I may not always agree with him, but he writes an excellent blog.

        • http://www.koreabang.com/ James Pearson

          To be fair, she isn’t trying to write an academic paper on the subject, nor is she trying to present any of her work as investigative journalism. Everything you say is correct, supporting claims with a broad range of sources is obviously favourable but it’s a bit unreasonable to hold an op-ed, where the author is openly trying to share their opinion, to the same standards.

          She’s not trying to win a Purlitzer, it looks more like she’s just trying to get people to take a step back and frame their often reactionary views from another perspective. Offering anecdotal evidence to illustrate this is perfectly acceptable in journalism.

      • Andrew

        100% agree with x1sfg…I don’t think anyone here is denying that there are serious gender issues in Korea. But as a professional academic and researcher in Korea, I can attest that many Koreans (even professors who I work with) don’t know how to write or use logic effectively. The Eri Kim article is a prime example.

        First, it is not objective. Of course the issues she mentions are worth debate and I’m not denying women are disadvantaged here, but she doesn’t use any facts…at all. Like x1sfg said, they’re all anecdotes and frankly, they’re probably complaints she’s heard from her English teacher friends when she goes out with them in Itaewon and they are all having a beer and shooting the shit. Where is a male’s perspective here? Half of this country is male and you can’t simply dismiss their opinions by saying “such a poor man”…

        Second, where are the citations and resources? Follow James Turnbull’s lead at The Grand Narrative, who actually reads korean sources, articles, academic works and discusses them. Saying things like “Many foreign men also agree that Korean men are sexist” means nothing? That just tells readers that you put white men and white culture on a pedestal. There’s no substance to it and it carries no weight. So white guys say that…so what? Where’s the statistics? If you contact a white gender studies professor and he gives you facts, then that’s better…but all Eri Kim seems like here is another Korean girl who worships anything white. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot!

        This to me seems like another Korean woman who only hangs out with foreigners and now thinks she should complain to all of Korea. A “normal” Korean girl who doesn’t really know foreigners would NEVER write a series of articles like this because she would be too shy/ashamed. Obviously Eri Kim has gotten lots of positive reinforcement from her English teacher friends here to write articles like this, but has gotten a rude awakening…And frankly, the reaction is kinda deserved considering you are doing this through the internet(?). Why not attend conferences, interact with academia, etc? Then you gain credibility to actually make your claims and people will believe you because you have background to back it up.

        Full disclosure I’m born and raised in the states, but I just can’t let such a poor argument (even if I agree with her point) be passed off as logical.

        • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

          This is ridiculous and offensive. Right after giving a lecture about how someone else should write in order to be taken seriously, you should not generalize and write such things as “but all Eri Kim seems like here is another Korean girl who worships anything white” and “another Korean woman who only hangs out with foreigners and now thinks she should complain to all of Korea.” Those comments are totally out of line, hypocritical and show a quite disgusting attitude.

          • dk2020

            Of course that’s what you’ll say because you’re white. You don’t know what it’s like being a person of color. You deny there are sell outs and twinkies that are full of self hatred and have that crab mentality.

          • holdingrabbits

            To be fair, being white in Korea is like being a person of color in America, but with a lot more staring.

          • dk2020

            Not really, the big difference is I was born in the US, you’re on a visa .. white foreigners still get treated better than SE Asians and blacks, who live in the ghettos working the crappy factory jobs.

          • holdingrabbits

            Sure, white people get treated better, but not equal. I think in the states too this is true with different ethnicities in different places.

          • dk2020

            why would you think you would be treated equal on a visa? foreigners on visas in the states are treated differently too ..

          • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

            I am not white, not that your argument was strong anyway. http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/2012/10/korea-us-international-adoption.html

        • Patricks

          Just a small critique on your criticism of her logic. On facts. The anecdotes she used should be considered factual, unless you have reason to believe the stories never actually occurred and are fantasy. Some of the anecdotes were from males as well. Also she didn’t use all anecdotes. She started her story with those, but eventually added some statistics as well, from the World Economic Forum and a few others. They weren’t cited. That’s true. But I don’t think anyone is really calling into question those numbers which show general inequality here in Korea.

          I do agree that Eri would have been better off to have just used the anecdotes to show that in many cases inequality has been observed by foreigners, rather than suggest they were reflective of all Korean men, but I’m just reading the translation. “They, as outside observers, seem to rebut the arguments made by Korean men, accusing them of discriminating against women.” Still Eri makes up for this in other parts of her story with words like “many” and not all young men, so I understand her to mean that this does not hold true in every case either but is a problem.

          The last point I’ll make here just has to do with the criticism of her anecdotes, which I’ve already said should be considered factual. True, Eri did not provide any numbers to back up how many people had similar opinions and stories. And yes, they did not come from a white professor of gender studies. Still, we should not say they have no meaning. They serve their purpose as coming from an outside perspective on the topic, however limited it is. Perhaps, they don’t carry all that much weight, but they likely do tell true stories. Call it a very limited quantitative sociological survey if you will.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eri.kim.503 Eri Kim

      I really apologize that I used the word like ‘such a poor man’. Because of lack of my English, I might not know that it was too offensive.
      But it’s not academic research paper, I can use the reasonable comments for my column. It’s just a kind of sketch. The general outer’s view and opinions are very valuable for objective stance. Nobody can represent all the foreigners. A journalist or columnist just chooses some of them for their opinion. Column is also different from just ‘article’ that reports something.
      In fact, the average income of women is around 57% of men’s in Korea, so I chose that kind of reasonable comment.
      When you mentioned Wikipedia and Yahoo! Answers, It meant ‘wrong fact’ that was not confirmed. I felt a sense of outrage. I wonder you read full sentences of mine. I showed many objective resources from international organizations.

      • http://twitter.com/null2j Noori

        I understand why some of his comments might upset you a little, but he’s got a point. I assume you, as a journalist, would like to bring about changes in public discourse in which you’re interested by making compelling arguments. And as you can see from the netizens’ comments in your articles, your sketch of opinions doesn’t seem widely accepted by Koreans(though it’s mostly not your fault), which means you need to be more well-prepared to change their opinions.

      • DZ

        hello and greetings,

        on a seemingly unrelated subject, i’d like to recommend to you looking up ‘code for america’ and jennifer pahlka in particular:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4EhJ898r-k
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmj_VBlfXVg

        i believe the ‘code for america’ concept fits into the needs of korea extremely well given the issues raised during the election so that its surprising it is not yet fully adopted.

        but in particular, from a recent interview of ms pahlka it became clear this idea (and the reinvention of the government tech industry more broadly) can really boost the conditions of women in korea. the second video is a bit distorted but i’d really recommend watching it anyway, there is a great potential here to solve the kind of problems you clearly care about.

        i hope this helps in anyway, and looking forward to seeing a ‘code for korea’, to the benefit of korea and the world.

  • One for all

    The question still remains…..How will Korea address this gender issue. The final picture in the comments section nicely summarizes what I see regularly in Korea. The imbalance of power between the sexes is what is driving the Boseulachi phenomenon along with other issues such as prostitution.

    What is Korea willing to do about it?

  • ggoma

    Maybe if Korea would give women a chance to grow up and stop infantilizing them, Korean women would become the way they are today. But no, they cannot have a successful career, if they do manage to be pretty enough to get a decent job they are then forced to pour coffee and be treated like artwork within the office, then are forced or pressured into staying home and taking care of a man and kids if they get a little too old or get pregnant, they grow up being told that beauty and catching a rich husband is the only way to happiness. And Korean men wonder why Korean women end up that way? Hmm.

    • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

      You might really like this article, it is similar to your argument. Here is one quote: “In response to family and socio-economic insecurities women turn to “self-care”
      in order to ensure their competitiveness in the job and marriage markets.”

      [See Cho, Joo-hyun. 2009. “Neoliberal Governmentality at Work: Post-IMF Korean Society and the Construction of Neo-liberal Women” Korea Journal 49(3)]

    • David K.

      Actually, if Korean women were legally and structurally deprived of economic access at every turn, the argument would be more accurate, but in reality there are ample opportunities for Korean women to advance their status. Korean women have access to every academic opportunity afforded men, and consequently many similar career paths. It is true that there is still a formidable glass ceiling to pierce at Korean corporations, but at every turn I have witnessed Korean women themselves conform to the dictates of the institution rather than challenge the existing norms. “Korea” doesn’t infantilize women, the women do it themselves. “Infantilizing” is seen as an affirmative strategy to manipulate men and exploit existing stereotypes of women. Men don’t coerce women into adopting these strategies, women opt for it themselves. It’s women themselves aborting their own daughters. It’s mothers-in-laws nagging them to do it, and other women cheering it on. It’s legions of women lining up to endure all sorts of torturous surgical procedures to achieve whatever look they think will help them conform to whatever norm they think it is they need to conform to. I have worked in the airline industry and seen groups of expatriate Korean women–no Korean male in sight for 5000 miles–enforce the same rigorous and ridiculous “infantilizing” norms upon each other. When the boyfriend back home says “time to marry come back home” rather than refuse or debate the issue 9 out of 10 girls hang their head, resign and troupe off back home without even a fight. It’s utterly pathetic. The Korean gender war is at the point where women are their own worst enemy. If women want any change in their status, they’re going to have to effect it themselves.

      Yes, Korean society has a consider gender inequality, but at this point, Korean women have no one but themselves to blame or the status quo.

      • ggoma

        This is totally unfair. You, yourself, admit that there is a glass ceiling. But to be honest, most women are even hired based on their looks in the first place. If women could get a decent job and weren’t taught by advertising, parents, etc that they were only worth their looks and aegyo and actually held them up to those standards, there would be this much of a struggle. Truth is, Korean men don’t have it fair, but Korean women have even less opportunity. The reason they get married is because they have no future in a career unless they want to continuously fight and struggle in a workplace that will always treat them like they are there to pour coffee or to look at. There is enormous social pressure and it’s not always easy to face alone. Women in Korea have internalized sexism because if they step out of the norm they are punished severely for it. You can’t say that is not true. Korean women cannot fight that on their own because they simply don’t have enough power in high places. They can’t get into the position to make real changes. To say otherwise a complete lie. Korea needs a lot of social changes in term of fairness toward men who work themselves to death and women who literally have no opportunities after marriage or pregnancy. If both could be changed Koreans of both genders would experience a much easier life. Of course, this is up to Koreans to figure out a way that fits their culture, but women only act the way they are brought up. It’s nurture over nature.

  • RegisterToPost

    Sweden a beacon of gender equality? If she means a beacon of misandrism throughout the world, she’s right on the money.

    • dk2020

      Oh snap that’s the word for the hatred of men, like misogyny is the hatred of women. Well isn’t the younger generation more progressive to change? While the old conservative ajusshis still have political power. I think it’s a more complicated issue too. The chaebols are still owned by the same families and there’s nepotism involved in the hiring process. The IMF bailout didn’t do much to change this system like Wallstreet in the US. Korean women have to get more political power to bring about more gender equality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

    There are so many push and pull factors that aren’t even going into analysis here. As a general rule, since more men rely on economic status in the mating game, when the economy does well, it puts more pressure on women, and when it fares poorly, it puts more pressure on men. When there are more men than women in society, it also puts more pressure on men. Since women are seen as marriageable only in an 8 year window and men are seen as marriageable as long as they have money, that puts pressure on women. There are many environmental details like these to take into account, and people’s attitudes toward gender are often a product of these environment factors.

    • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

      To be fair and add a detail here, women are pretty pressured in a poor economy because companies fire them first in order to “save” jobs for male breadwinners.

      • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

        While that can certainly happen, and may be the norm in less developed countries, in the 2008 economic crisis, more males than females lost their jobs.
        Typically, when a company downsizes, they close entire branches, offices, and business segments. Downsizing is rarely done by selective firing.
        Furthermore, all sectors of an economy are not affected equally in a recession. Since low-skilled male roles are usually those that can most easily be outsourced, and low-skilled female roles are typically in the service sector, when the economy of a developed country fares poorly, it will have a greater impact on men. For example, manufacturing and construction tend to require general economic growth, but health care providers and grocers tend to depend much less on the overall health of the economy. So I would say that your assessment is probably much more true for the past.

        • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

          That does not hold true for the 1997 economy in South Korea, where there were widespread cases of females losing their jobs, including even government agencies firing women (especially in cases where both husband and wife worked for the government, women were strongly ‘encouraged’ to quit at 2-3 gov agencies). In 2008 Lee Myung Bak specifically said that women should give up their jobs to save jobs for working men. Let me know if you would like some articles on this topic (I can recommend citations written in Korean).

          • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

            South Korea is considered to be a developing country, so the 1997 crisis could be expected to turn out that way. As for the 2008 crisis, women were certainly pressured to forfeit their jobs in Korea, but on the whole, more men lost jobs than women. The net change in pressure to provide was on men. Furthermore, looking only at the mating game, women in South Korea have almost no out-of-pocket expense to date, thus losing a job or taking a pay-cut does not add significantly to the pressure placed on women, as it does on men.

          • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

            To your point 1: Could you explain the “developing country” status relationship to government policy to fire women first… Why would that make sense? Additionally, if we look at government policies in Korean history, this was actually a reversal of policies in previous administrations to put women to work, so there is more at play than just economics, this is policy (and in other times of economic struggle, the policy was quite different… and 1997 and 2008 economic conditions in Korea were quite different – so why was the same “fire women first” policy in place?). It might make more sense in terms of democratic transition theories that say that early on democratization entrenches men’s role in party politics (comparisons have been drawn between East Asia and Latin America to argue that immediately before democratization there were more women in office than in early democratic period – See Lee & Clark, Democracy & the Status of Women in East Asia, 2000) but again, different leaders different parties, similar outcome “fire women first” so I hesitate to fully embrace a developing country, economics only (without considering policy or history), or democratic transition explanation. However, I think there is some interesting analysis in Chang’s compressed modernity, perhaps as in the article that I recommend below.

            To your point 2:
            Regarding the dating game, I think this assessment that ‘men pay all’ is just too simplistic, and ignores 1) the costs women incur in the marriage/education/social/work markets (which your assessment is ignoring), 2) the dual construction of feminine and masculine roles, 3) ignores the powerful norms in the socialization of dating. I recommend a few articles for more insight to the dating game looking at data the pushes beyond the ‘receipt’ at the end of the meal, these are great articles with useful analysis:

            Cho, Joo-hyun. 2009. “Neoliberal Governmentality at Work: Post-IMF Korean Society and the Construction of Neo-liberal Women” Korea Journal 49(3).

            Cho, Uhn. 2005. “The Encroachment of Globalization into Intimate Life: The Flexible Korean Family in “Economic Crisis”” Korea Journal 45(3): 8-35.

            Chang, KS and MY Song. 2010. “The stranded individualizer under compressed modernity: South Korean women in individualization without individualism” The British Journal of Sociology 61(3): 539-564.

          • http://www.facebook.com/noah.altman Noah Altman

            Responding to the first part of your comment, the reason why it is important to differentiate between developing economies and developed ones is precisely because government objectives in developed countries are held to much stricter standards of scrutiny, both at home and abroad. That may suffice to explain the change in rhetoric from the Korean government as it goes through the same growing pains as other developing countries (and it is worth noting here that a change in rhetoric does not necessarily portend to a change in policy).

            Responding to the second part of your comment, I recall saying “net change in pressure” — I am well aware of the costs women incur to compete in the dating and marriage markets, but they pale in comparison to the costs men incur on the same. As per the costs women incur, they are largely capitalized, which means they benefit the women in future periods (including future dates with other men), whereas the costs men incur in dating are almost entirely expensed, which means in this context that they serve no future benefit to the payor. That is to say, the accrued expenses women incur in a single date, allocable to that date (which includes depletion of her make-up/etc supplies and pro rata amortization of that portion of her book capital which is attributable to the activity of dating), are a literal drop in the bucket compared to the accrued expenses her date will pay (which includes the meal, movie tickets/etc, depreciation of his car in excess of depreciation over such a car that he would have purchased if not for the status it capitalized to him/etc, and pro rata amortization of that portion of his book capital which is attributable to the activity of dating). Please excuse the jargon; it is necessary.

            I appreciate you taking this topic on, as I can see that you care a great deal about it, but beyond the points outlined above, additional intricacies to the environmental factors we have discussed are immaterial.

          • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

            The jargon doesn’t intimidate or confuse me, it’s just that it still more or less basically boils down to an expense accounting, rather than a structural or policy analysis – which is what I urge you to consider. We can’t ignore that no individual woman or man decides in a vacuum to follow these patterns. Hence I highly recommend the article by Chang and Song (listed above) for analysis of the social structural influences underlying the set of social decisions that yield these patterns in dating, and suggest historical inquiry of the many moments when policy makers make a temporary but big shift in mobilizing a shift in the structure of the family (Park Chung Hee and the nuclear family, for instance) or in women’s education and employment (this isn’t a linear progression to the present but rather marked by shifts for followed by limitations on education and employment).

            I wish it were easier to find this conversation when I come to the site, I have to scroll down quite a ways to find it *^^*

  • Fire

    Uncertain whether gender inequality in Korea is really this serious or the author is on a crusade/jihad against men. Is there any article that reply to this one? we need to read both side. Hm so its not like in K-drama at all. Did you know, that women in my country dream to find a Korean lover? its a symbol of status and high class romance especially among the Chinese ethnicity, because of K-pop and K-drama. That’s all they like to talk about. Korean men are popular here as sensitive and gentle.

    • holdingrabbits

      The reality of Korea is much different than a K-Drama. Most people will never drive those cars, go to those places, live in those houses, wear those clothes, etc. They must put something in the water to keep the masses from rioting.

      • Fire

        I know, the people here dream of those lifestyle with the Korean actor in the show. They associate Korean drama with Korean. They enjoy writing hwaiting and fighting and doing that love sign thing with their hand. Recently just notice one colleague laugh with ke ke ke. To them Korea is very much like K-drama. Suppose because of less exposure or refusal to taint the dream.

        • dk2020

          Well it’s the same with any entertainment on tv and movies, it’s an escape from reality. I think the old ajjushis that are assholes give all Korean men a bad reputation. I am really surprised at how big Kpop has gotten worldwide. Latina women love it, my gf who’s Mexican watches kdramas all day long lols.

          • Fire

            Yeah the case describe in this article, i wonder if its common or just extreme rare cases picked for the purpose to influence others with negative view of Korean men. The Korean entertainment prevail over others, there are also Spanish-speaking drama and J-drama, though they are not hitting the right button with the university student. My colleague is watching K-drama right now beside me, a female.

          • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

            Hi @disqus_4Jah1yg9eh:disqus I think it is good to balance pop culture with some other sources of media or news or studies, at my blog I am trying to do that but at the same time have discussion about gender in Korean society, you are very welcome to join the conversation *^.^* I thought this short piece might be useful for you:
            http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/2012/08/compressed-modernization-for-gender.html

          • Fire

            interesting read, interesting blog

          • Guest

            Thanks, I’d love to have more conversation on the topics you are bringing up. Maybe it would be interesting to analyze these issues. I have a friend doing some kind of research about perceptions about Korean dramas in other countries, etc.

    • Kate

      You know that’s ironic that you say women in china dream of a marrying a korean man cause of how different korean men are perceived here in the good ole usa. When I first started dating my Korean husband, I can’t tell you how many times I had friends, male and female, express their concern that my then boyfriend might just be trying to marry into a green card to the usa and how “aren’t asian men known to be violent and isn’t domestic abuse normal in asia?”

      The foreign wives section that Eri wrote about doesn’t apply to korean men/western women because western women are already empowered and generally most are highly educated and aren’t fleeing a poor village and poverty. I didn’t marry up with my husband, truth is I have had far wealthier boyfriends and have been persued by more wealthy and professional men but I didn’t care, I married my husband for love.

      • dk2020
        • Kate

          Lol cute. Doesn’t reflect my personal relationship, I’m actually quite submissive and traditional and my husband is the man but yeah I can see some women doing that, but most no. Actually I think the type of western female asian men are most attracted to actually are more like the stereotyped asian women qualities of submissive, feminine, and traditional.

          As I’m sure you know not all western women are like the woman in the video. One thing I learned about men along time ago is that they like to feel manly and protective and needed and women should let men feel like that.

      • Fire

        Sorry for the confusion, I meant women of my nationality but that of Chinese descent, not Chinese in China. What you say, I agree. The situation of Korean women in Korea might actually be different.

        … I thought you are British.

  • A Lu

    Having a vagina undoubtedly gives a lot of power in most advanced societies. But guys, get over it and take it easy!

  • Snazzy_Brett

    She quoted one of my posts lol. Uh oh, I hope my boss doesnt see.

    • dk2020

      wb to cyber hell brett ..

      • Snazzy_Brett

        Thanks, I missed you guys.

        • http://www.koreabang.com/ James Pearson

          I hear you’re now a proud father? Congrats!

          • Snazzy_Brett

            Yea, thanks James! She’s beautiful!!

            This is how she fell asleep last week.

          • Kate

            OH MY GAWDZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ I JUST WANNA SNUGGLE HER!!!!! She looks like a korean version of you Brett! What a beautiful doll she is and looks so happy :) Totally worth the sleep deprivation and null sex life for a bit :) Makes me want another one……your little one has more hair then mine altho she has black hair mine has light brown but still soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooookooolloookkkkkoooo adorbs ^_^♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

            Mine just turned 7 months a few days ago :)

          • PixelPulse

            You both have the cutest kids ; o;

          • Brett

            Hahaha, tell me you made that hat!

          • Sillian

            Beautiful baby. Congrats!

          • Brett

            Thanks Sillian, I really enjoy being a dad so far!

    • Patricks

      She quoted one of mine too. Yippee. Less smoking, more work needed:)

  • Koreabang

    Korean and Asian society overall is indeed very chauvinistic.

    • dk2020

      what country isn’t chauvinistic?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=47602094 Carolyn Kaschak

        haha indeed..good question..

      • jon775

        Most western countries has very little male chauvinism. Especially the nordic countries.

        • dk2020

          you take credit for that?

          • jon775

            Why would I? It’s not because of me.

        • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

          I think we shouldn’t say that gender equality is a “mission accomplished” in any country, but there might be some areas in which there are some improvements or different challenges. One example, rape rates in Nordic countries – are they high because there is more rape, or are they high because there is less shame in reporting rape? Or what about Sweden’s policy on sex work and then the rapid rise in sex tourism (and lack of regulation of sex tourists)? Just some examples.

          • jon775

            Rape rates are high because of immigration from Africa/Middle East (like in most parts of western Europe) in combination with a somewhat extreme definition of what rape is. What’s the problem with Sweden’s policy on sex work? Prostitutes are almost always victims and should not be punished further. Not sure about sex tourism. If people go to other countries they are subject to their judicial system, not their home country’s.

          • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

            Good question, here is the argument from a sex worker who points out why criminalizing clients is bad (essentially because it hurts sex worker income, and in cases when there IS abuse of someone forced/coerced, the client cannot go to the police and report it because they are vulnerable to being arrested for purchasing sex): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D7nOh57-I8

            Why do you say the definition of rape is “extreme?”

            So, countries should not be responsible for what their citizens do abroad?

          • jon775

            Yeah, sure, there are always some problem with all laws. But it is not related to the original topic which was about chauvinism and women’s rights.

            With extreme, I don’t necessarily mean bad, but it’s way broader than in other countries where martial rape and rape of males isn’t seen as rape. Another thing is that any kind of penetration is considered rape. For example, if you put a finger up someone’s vagina, it’s rape, even if it’s just for a second.

            No, they shouldn’t. Laws should never cross borders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/IsThatSolyaris Chris Wagner

    My girlfriend generalized it this way: Korean men are good boyfriends, but bad husbands. Western men are bad boyfriends, but good husbands.

    Maybe she’s trying to say something about me…

    • dk2020

      dumb generalizations ..

    • PixelPulse

      That doesnt make a lot of sense to me…

      • Guestess

        Generally speaking, Korean guys are kind of expected to do a lot for their girlfriends, but it switches once their married. Western guys don’t do as much as Korean guys during courtship, but they thought of as not minding helping around the house and with kids and stuff that Korean guys are supposed to not even think of doing. I think it’s more on the perception of the dating cultures, not necessarily the groups of men themselves.

  • Snazzy_Brett

    First of all, I can understand why some men are calling Korean women “over-empowered”… at least, in relationships.

    Women have always been the backbone of a household throughout Korea’s long history. Like most of the world, women in Korea have only (relatively) recently began working as career women. It is obvious to anyone willing to accept the truth that Korean women are NOT over empowered in the workplace. The reality is quite the opposite, actually. Women really are paid less to do the same work, are treated as servants, and a whole laundry list of other inequalities.

    Until women are treated equally in the office, I think it is fair to let them be the “queens of the house”. They deserve it.

    Next, men argue that women want everything served up on a silver platter. Maybe true. But isn’t it their (the men’s) own fault? Men comply. Why? The same reason men everywhere will bend over backwards for a woman- they want sex. Men pay for dates, buy gifts, carry pink designer handbags, and answer every text message/call as soon as it arrives, sometimes dropping whatever it was they were doing to meet the girl. (Okay, okay, I carry my wife’s handbag too, but c’mon, she’s put up with me for 5 years. She deserves it.) I know a girl who told me that whenever she went out to drink with girlfriends, she would call any one of a few “oppas” to meet for the last bottle and pay the bill. The guys freaking did it over and over again! Their own fault. She didn’t even have to put out, they did it hoping that she would later.

    I’m not much for teaching other people how to live, but my philosophy was always “date with the intention of marriage”. I never expected anything more than friendship from girls until “the sparks flew”. Even after that, I never once wasted money in exchange for getting some at the end of a night. As long as guys are out to, excuse me, bang hotties, they shouldn’t be surprised when a girl wants something in return. Sheesh, the massage places are probably cheaper than 2 rounds anyways and the happy ending is guaranteed… use your common cents.

    The problem with looking at the netizens’ comments is that we don’t know if these are all adult men or kids, with or without dating experience and work experience with women. I hope, for mankind’s sake, that they are mostly bitchy teenagers having fun on teh interwebs.

    A man much wiser than myself wrote “woman is the nigger of the world”, and the lyrics ring just as true today as they did 40 years ago. Let’s not take the one permanent advantage girls still have (you figure out what that is) away from them. We still reign in almost every aspect of society.

    • http://twitter.com/null2j Noori

      Hear, hear! Brett, we missed you!

    • dk2020

      Well, it is customary for oppas to buy dongsengs food and drinks, I have, where our relationships are strictly platonic. It’s fucked up your girl is using them then ridiculing them behind their backs, she a ratchet. I think Koreans have lost their sense of jeong.

      • Brett

        Yes, it is customary for old Korean friends to pay for coffee or dinner if they start the meal together.

        Is it customary for oppas to be at home, answer a phone call from a dongseng out with friends, rush over to meet them for the last round and then pay 60,000won plus? I don’t think so. Guys do that so they can get some. I don’t know anyone that would just pay for their friends’ nights out without participating, unless the friend was in a bind with no money, or if there was a chance, however slim, to get sex out of it.

        This isn’t about customs, its about guys being idiots and complaining about it.

        • dk2020

          I hear you .. I feel sympathy for the guys being played for fools but they should know better ..

          • Brett

            Glad we see eye to eye. I kinda feel bad for them too, but I think of girls like that as smart business women. Us guys, however, like to think with the wrong head… woops

    • Sillian

      That was fun to read. There is nothing much that brings attention to gender inequality during school days. Then guys do the military service and notice many male ‘servants’ are pampering their female peers. No wonder some young guys believe girls have it so good until that point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eri.kim.503 Eri Kim

    I’d like to recommend new book ‘The end of men and The rise of women’ written by Hanna Rosin. I think that the author, actually journalist emphasized the reality. The successful specialists out of women are not majority until now.
    But she has a good sense as a trend catcher. One chapter of this book is for ‘Gold Miss’ in Korea, I admire her insight. I also wonder the reviews of non-Koreans who live in Korea, you can send me e-mail at erikim0214@gmail. But please don’t send me swear words. Of course, I know there are silent normal majority, but I was enough suffered by hundreds of e-mails and thousands of comments. One of them called a threatening call to my editor. They makes me nervous even if I got used to evil comments while I have worked as a journalist.
    You can also refer my new column if you can read Korean.
    http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=102&oid=003&aid=0004809543&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
    I’m really afraid that some men who frustrated revel the violence to women like rape because of that kind of misogynous phenomenon. I’d like to warn that it could be a violent party as neo-Nazists do. Fortunately, the evil comments reduced remarkably after new column was published.

    • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

      Hi @Eri Kim, I want to share a quote and link with you, too. This is the quote from the article link below (with interesting political postcards and intro analysis of view of women in 2012 US presidential election): “We operate with this zero-sum mentality, which is, if women gain rights, men lose them,” Palczewski says. “You see the same sort of idea that if people of color or ethnic minorities make gains, whites therefore lose something. So if men only understand their identity in relationship to being bigger than women, then it’s a trade-off. You see it in dozens of anti-suffrage postcards, showing men being hurt if women advance. Human beings seem to operate with this mentality where if you expand the rights of some, it diminishes the rights of others, instead of collectively expanding the rights of all of us as a people.” http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/war-on-women-waged-in-postcards-memes-from-the-suffragist-era/
      I like your article, looking forward to the next one!

  • skippy

    Since this comment section is following the Reddit format, shouldn’t the journalist provide some proof of identity when she comments here?

    • Snazzy_Brett

      Is there any reason to doubt that it isn’t the real her?

    • lemon224

      The journalist included Koreabang in her article… isn’t that enough verification?

  • Paul M

    I’m glad that the hat tip to KoreaBang in the article didn’t galvanise the ultra-nationalists into spewing out tripe like “Foreign bastards have spoilt Korean women”.

    Though the classy comments from the netizens have furthered my resolve to stay away from PC bangs lest I end up sitting next to one of these trolls.

    • chucky3176

      “Foreign bastards have spoilt Korean women”.

      You should complain when it actually happens. It hasn’t happened, then you sound like a whiner with a victim complex. Even if it didn’t happen, of course, in your mind, it did, because you’ve just convinced yourself that it did happen.

      • Paul M

        Now come on Chucky. I’m sure you know how Joseon era women who were sent to serve in the court of the Chinese Emperor were treated when they came back to Korea. Also the pejorative ‘yang-gongju’ aimed at women who are seen associating foreigners in public. With these two facts giving an insight to the mindset of the less savoury members of Korean society, the kind who post on naver, I was merely surprised that the references to comments by foreigners on this issue didn’t bring this sentiment to the surface. But of course in your rose tinted view of Korea and Koreans such sentiment doesn’t exist.

        Now looking at some of the stuff you’ve written on here and over at JapanCrush you sound like a petty minded hypocrite with real anger issues.

        • Snazzy_Brett

          “petty minded hypocrite with real anger issues.”

          Really? You are just figuring this out now?

          • dk2020

            Angry Korean chicken wings ..

          • Paul M

            Well, I’ve known for quite some time. Thing is, does Chucky know?

        • chucky3176

          Oh great, an angry expat who think the world rotates around them, telling me I have anger issues… what’s next?

          • Paul M

            Seriously, is that the most constructive thing you can say about my reply to you?

          • chucky3176

            I only give out constructive opinions on opinions that are worth my constructive opinion.

          • Paul M

            More like your limited nationalistic mindset was unable to think of anything better to say.

          • chucky3176

            Not really, I’ve been asked to tone down the replies to all the race baitings. So I’m trying to comply here. But you’re not helping.

          • Paul M

            “Oh great, an angry expat who think the world rotates around them”
            What was that you said about race baiting? You seem to have this twisted stereotype of western expats that you just love projecting on everyone in this forum.

          • Digitalsoju

            Glad to see people dislike Chucky’s opinions as much as I do lol.

            He seems to be a gyopo version of the Korean PC bang’ers..

  • chucky3176

    Here’s my two piece. If Korean women wanted true equality, they can have it, if they truly wanted it. Korea is a democracy where people protest on the streets daily to get what they want, and do get. But I can assure you, most Korean women don’t. Do they want to have jobs and work like the man? Do they want to be drafted into the military like the man? I can comfortably say, no to all of the questions. Korea is a society that has distinct gender roles. Most Koreans, either women or men, accept these roles. The Korean feminists want to change this, but they need to convince their fellow Korean women first. But good luck to them.

    Foreign Western men, be careful what you wish for. If you want similar feminism in Korea as the west, be prepared to sexually attracted to butched up, pants wearing, tough talking, I-don’t-act-like-women type women that you commonly find in Western women.

    • PixelPulse

      Wearing pants means Im butched?

    • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

      I bet you love these outdated ideas from 100 years ago, striking how similar your description is to the postcard at the bottom of the page. http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/war-on-women-waged-in-postcards-memes-from-the-suffragist-era/

    • Kate

      Yeah I was almost agreeing with you until your last statement about western women. Have you even been to a western country? Have you ever been to the usa? You are so quick to generalize westerns but have you even left korea and lived in the western hemisphere? Seriously I would like to know if your comments are based on real life experience and observation. Or you are just talking out your ass about what you think western people are like.

      Chucky, korean women do not have a monopoly on beauty, femininity, or any other positive female attribution. Far from it actually. Most american women dress like women and more then not most take very good pride in their looks and there are tons of gorgeous, super feminine classy women here too and everywhere else in the world. I for one ALWAYS wear girly dresses and heels and keep my appearance very well groomed and pretty. I am far from any of the demeaning qualities you described western women as and I’m a typical woman.

      Seriously please get your head out of your ass and go see other places in the world and other women of the world. How would you like it if someone posted ” well you know those korean guys are all short, flower boys that have 2 inch penises and can’t grow body hair cause their pussies prevent them” Gross mean generalizations of an entire group of people that conprise millions is wrong. Most western women are far from extreme feminism, butch man haters thst spit and fight and swear. Really if you have ever been to the usa you would se most women are actually very pretty, diverse, polite, classy, and very feminine and great wives and mothers.

      You just come off as such a beephole sometimes.

      • chucky3176

        It looks like I’ve touched upon a sensitive area.

      • Patricks

        He’s clearly talking about East Coast Canada.:)

    • Brett

      I’m sad that you think Korean women should have to fight for equality. Why can’t men just, I don’t know, treat women equally?

      I mean, I understand your sentiment, but I don’t think I can agree with it. Especially not when you end your post with an insult… what the heck is that about?

      And actually, chucky, aside from wearing skirts/dresses and heels, Korean women don’t necessarily “act like women” either. After marriage, most stop wearing dresses and heels completely, so “dressing like women” goes out the window, too.

      I’m not trying to nitpick everything you wrote but you are comparing apples and oranges, without ever having eaten an orange.

      • dk2020

        Chucky that is pretty extreme .. well all I can do is hope for a better future because it can’t get any worse, its progress. With gender equality and racism I think it is getting better .. well it is better than 10 years ago right? Change is gradual the problem is y’all want change now. But articles like these do bring up the conversation which is good .. The only country that is comparable to Korea and it’s social problems is Japan.

      • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

        GOOD POINT: “I’m sad that you think Korean women should have to fight for equality. Why can’t men just, I don’t know, treat women equally?”

  • Adrian

    Korea is still the TOP TWELVE talked about and influential countries in the WORLD. Thats pretty good considering that Korea was as poor as AFRICA and worse than China in the 1950’s.

    But, South Korea is heavily dependent on the U.S, so in a sense, Korea won’t grow much more.

    According to Kwon Young-sun, an economist at Nomura Securities, “Korea is more vulnerable than others Asian countires because it is entirely linked to western credit markets and commodity prices.

    So due toeconomic crisis the sexual assault/violence against the women and prostitution in Korea tends to increase much more.

    • dk2020

      As of this morning, South Korea’s debt reaches 2.75 trillion. If the economy takes a nosedive like in ’97 you’re saying it’ll get worse for women?

      • Adrian

        Well, violence is an energy, violence against women is associated with multiple factors such as poverty, gender inequality and cultural characteristics. The debt is not the threat, this is a very open economy, this means that national wealth is left entirely exposed to the fluc]tuation of foreign markets.

        • http://koreangendercafe.blogspot.kr/ Chelle Mille

          I’m curious, do you have some source or evidence to share (a link, article name) on this topic? Associating violence with economic growth.

  • Adrian

    Anyway, most of the Korean American guys I know, go for non-Asians. I think Chinese guys are just doormat wimps~ Korean wife beaters and Chinese wussies, Chinese and Korean women would be better off going for Westernm, Singapore or Japanese men.

    A while ago, my Asian friend said “When I travel in Asia i don’t want people to think that I’m Korean. Unfortunately, Koreans have a bad reputation in Asian countries to the point that I’ve had friends tell me not to tell people that I’m Korean.”

    Koreans definitely DO have a bad rep – largely thanks to the population being hugely xenophobic/racist/ignorant due to what they’re taught in public school. I see Koreans openly laugh in the street when they hear migrants speaking Thai or Vietnamese, and dark skin is equated with dirt…from what my (Korean) bf has told me, a lot of south-east Asians like the music, but resent the Korean public due to the awful way that they treat south-east Asian immigrants in South Korea.

    And Russian women have a bit of a reputation/stereotype in Korea for being prostitutes. I’ve met many very lovely Russian women who are just 100% normal, awesome chicks. Korean people are so rude.

    • dk2020

      Damn Koreans, why do they have to be so Korean? Those are a whole lot of generalizations where it’s all bad .. I do wish the SE Asians who outnumber Westerners in SoKo to become more empowered, with more numbers they will ..

    • chucky3176

      That is quite strange.. when I was in South East Asia last year, the local people couldn’t get anymore excited that we were from South Korea. All they wanted to talk about was to how to get Korean girlfriends and boyfriends. I never felt I wasn’t welcomed nor was I left to feel that being a Korean was disadvantageous in any way. On the contrary! Our group felt like stars..lol…

      • Sillian

        Of course that sounds strange because Adrian is most likely Drake’s sock, the Japanese nationalist troll spotted in this thread, or his wingman.

        http://www.koreabang.com/2012/stories/tv-hosts-too-sexy-for-morning-show-netizens-disagree.html

        Despite his crystal clear agenda, he even had the audacity to say “I’m not Japanese, but in this case support the japs.” in one of the threads on JC. Cute how he used the word ‘Jap’ to convince people that he is not. It seems he typically pretends to be someone else. Adrian is a more subtle version. If you check Adrian’s posting history, his very first comment was right on that KB thread to defend Japan.

        “The westerners is also a great land grabber and carver all over the
        world, robbed and ruled Russia, China, India and many others, they are
        robbers and killers of millions.”

        Now here he said “Anyway, most of the Korean American guys I know, go for non-Asians. I think Chinese guys are just doormat wimps~ Korean wife beaters and Chinese wussies, Chinese and Korean women would be better off going for Westernm, Singapore or Japanese men.”

        If you read this paragraph earlier, it was originally ‘American or Japanese men’ at the end but he changed it to ‘Western, Singapore or Japanese men’ to make it a little bit less obvious.

        Then there comes the convenient anecdote that starts with “my Asian friend said”. He even claims his imaginary female character has a Korean bf and then goes on an irrational Korea-bashing rampage. He basically stalks Koreans to collect ammo and when given the chance or even randomly, he pours it out with the machine gun of negative hearsay, generalizations and lies. Be aware of his existence and games.

        —-PS: I have nothing against ordinary Japanese people. I just can’t stand these sneaky trolls. At least, don’t hide behind a facade.

  • sudo kun

    im currently watching family outing ep 49, why do the man act so gay ? and the woman like old hags ? confusing but i love the show :p

  • Pingback: Korean Gender Reader, November 3-9 2012 | The Grand Narrative()

  • Fire蓝日

    kbsw is playing a pretty good movie right now, this girl were rape now shes taking revenge on all of her friends.

  • Pingback: Male Rights Activist Commits Suicide on Han River Bridge - koreaBANG()

  • estscreationxx

    Recently I was REALLY low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this.. – 1rWp

  • omgwtfbbqhax1

    Korean feminists are cancer to korean society

  • omgwtfbbqhax1

    Korean females are some of the most well sheltered and protected females of any country, even more so than any industrialized or highly feminist western countries. They do not even have to serve in the military. Most women can afford to quit their jobs after they find themselves a wage-slave husband. They earn high levels of education in universities and graduate schools, even though many of them never expect themselves to work after being married. Most korean women admit they study hard and attend prestigious universities for sole purpose of finding a high earning husband (WTF?), not to improve their own career prospects.

    Not only that, many of these korean ‘housewives’ do ZERO house work, hire nannies with their husbands money, take advantage of free government sponsored childcare services originally meant for working mothers (few that even exists), and spend most of their time shopping, watching drama/ or dining at luxury restaurants with fellow ajummas while complaining about how little their husbands earn.

    In Korean socioeconomic system,, men produce, females consume. Korean feminists have ZERO right to complain about the gender wage gap, since this is the reality of average korean women.

    Life of a typical korean female is so dull and boring with zero work, challenge or responsibilities as men do or pay everything for them. Add in the toxic effect the cancerous korean drama have on them, it is not surprising why many korean females turn batshit crazy, or why the country has number one female suicide rate of any country.

    • omgwtfbbqhax1

      Ahh and on the Korean dating culture:

      Not only are Korean men complete white knighting doormats who are socially conditioned to open their wallet for any women, they do so with ZERO expectation of getting sex afterwards. At best end of the spectrum, there are some females willing to eat at a sub $10 USD restaurant while bitching at a guy for buying her cheap food. At the worst end of the spectrum, there are some korean females that force men into treat them at expensive luxury restaurant son a first date, then proceeding to order literally every one of 20 or so dishes on the menu.

      It is tragic to see millions of young korean men being forced to go through this, considering the dismally low salaries (under 20k USD for early to mid 20s Koreans) young koreans earn due to the seniority based wage system in korean corporate culture. They have no real other options either – even if they refuse to be one of these doormats, the said female can simply look for another one of millions of beta korean males who are willing pay everything for her, groveling at her feet for an exchange of minimum amount of cis gender social interaction.

      In fact some ridiculous koream females claim that first kiss should be reserved until a guy spent at least 1000 USD, and first sex after several thousand USD. Such outlandish bullshit is unheard of in any country except South Korea.

      To add insult to injury, most of these same korean females would sleep with American or European foreigners for FREE, in some cases even paying for the motel LOL. Getting sex as even an ordinary caucasian beta male in Korea is like taking candy from a baby – just walk into any nightclub, and within an hour he will have an above average korean pussy with zero money and effort spent. It is unthinkable these females would stoop to that level with men of their own ethnicity – while they literally turn themselves into comfort women for men of other races. It is as if Korean females intentionally masquerade themselves as prude, demanding, hard to get women towards Korean men, while relieving their pent up sexual frustration with foreign men. Korean females like these have zero honor.

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