Korean Professor Uses Twitter to Critcise Online Misogyny Trend

Screen shot of Chin Jung-kwon's Twitter account

Prof Chin Jung-kwon of Dongyang University, is a prominent South Korean cultural critic, and frequently appears as a panellist on Korean TV debate programmes. He is also known to be an avid Twitter user, sometimes using the platform as a debating ground. The following are some of his tweets with other users on the misogyny trends on the Korean Internet, from a male rights activist group to economics of dating. The netizen comments from Newbbang, one of the most popular and female dominated internet communities on Daum compares Prof Chin’s tweets with that of Mr Sung Jae-gi, the head of a male rights activist group, the Man of Korea. But it would seem that at least from female netizen’s point of view, Prof Chin seems to win by a landslide.

From Twitter:

Prof Chin’s Tweets on online misogyny trend

Chin Jung-kwon tweets on online misogyny trend in Korea.

You kids are still protesting. Hey, kiddos! Let me explain why you’re acting like this. Go abroad, and move around outside your comfort zone. You’ll realise the level of South Korea’s gender equality is pathetic. And the key of the inequality is economic. That’s the premise of my following comments on this issue.

The Korean social structure is cemented as such: men are bread-earners, and women the housewives. Even if women have jobs, they don’t get paid fairly for a job that’s equal to that of a man’s. In short, women are a vulnerable population in terms of economic status yet, absurd traditions like men paying all dating cost still persist.

However, as the economic recession is pressing everybody’s shoulder, men are pushed over the edge; they start getting ideas that they’re forced to compete with women, even for not so desirable jobs. This is where they start arguing over ‘extra credits’ for their military service when applying for a job. ‘We’ve fallen behind because of our two years of military service. Give us extra credits.’ They’re desperate.

In fact, the status of the men with economic vulnerability is not so different from that of women. So-called ‘gold misses’ have better lives than those guys. Guys with economic power still have women under their thumb, but for those guys dealing with harsher realities, gender equality seems to have already been achieved.

You guys are having hard time understanding it, saying, ‘Women are discriminated against men? What about me? Those boseulachis’ lives seem far better than mine, and they demand for women’s rights! This isn’t fair. It’s reverse discrimination.’ This is how you started asking for men’s rights and bitching about menstruation leave. How pathetic.

In fact, a lot of you guys feel burdened to pay for dating cost. In this case, just ask the girls to pay the half. They’ll understand. But you’re still too proud to ask women to pay. That’s why you’re ranting on the issue on the Internet after paying the whole thing.

As the gender gap closes, more men will fall behind the economic status of women; this brings fear about the end of male dominance for some men, especially for those with economic vulnerability. That is called ‘castration anxiety’ in psychology.

In other words, it’s the fear that boseulachis may castrate you. (And from that anxiety, the word Vagina dentata comes up to the surface as a symbol of the fear). This is where the Man of Korea’s misogynistic and childish acts are derived from.

Therefore you’ve collectively formed an enemy image, a negative image of women. In the west, it’s ‘femme fatal’ and in South Korea, it’s ‘bean paste’ girls. Even the enemy image sounds like chilli paste guys. Potayto, potahto.. Both femme fatal and bean paste girls are similar in the sense they are both holding power over men.

This is the underlying truth about your crap talking like ‘Once you’re in a relationship with a bean paste girl, you’ll ruin your life,’ savvy? Like what Socrates said, know your little self. To realise who you are is the foundation of knowledge. Now do you realise why you’ve been acting like that?

What’s the right solution for this issue, then? It’s not your fault for living pathetic lives: the blame should go to the rules of the game. Not all men are like you. Those men with power are way ahead of you as the economy becomes sluggish. Why? Those noms made the rules that way from the start.

In that sense, the Saenuri Party and the Democratic United Party are the same. That’s why I didn’t support either and went to a small liberal party. You should point the finger at those with power who have pushed you off the cliff. Those who made the rules to only serve themselves.. They deserve your curse and swearing. (That’s why Ahn Cheol-soo has become popular.)

Comments from Daum:

쑳펣:

Why is Sung Jae-gi bitching about women? He’s married to one.

아시아에 별이 5개:

His wording seems rough.

안녕하세요 준영이 여자친구입니다:

Oh… it’s not because I’m a woman, but am I the only one who thinks Chin Jung-kwon sounds more logical than Sung Jae-gi?

유승우 키우고싶다 진심…:

Yeah.. Mr Sung was really impossible. I guess Chin Jung-kwon holds the upper hand regarding speech techniques. And of course, he’s right about this issue.

음RAN마귀:

Mr Chin, run for the presidential election. To be honest, I don’t understand what Sung Jae-gi says. ke ke Reading Mr Chin’s tweets, now I understand Korean men’s behaviour on the internet. Persuasive.

희몽드:

‘Women are discriminated against men? What about me? Those boseulachis’ lives seem better than mine, and they demand for women’s rights! This isn’t fair. It’s reverse discrimination.’ This is how you started asking for men’s rights and bitching about menstruation leave. How pathetic. [repeating what Chin Jung-kwon said] It’s so freaking satisfying to hear that. ke ke ke I didn’t like Chin Jung-kwon, but he totally owned Sung Jae-gi and his pathetic followers in this debate. ke ke ke

마시게다:

It feels so good to read his tweets ke ke ke ke

뉴빵어린이:

Chin Jung-kwon is weirdly charming.. One day he’s likeable and the next day, I hate him.

쿄신대장:

What Chin Jung-kwon said sounds reasonable.

재범이의 찌찌월드:

I understand what Mr Sung Jae-gi tries to say, but his use of words doesn’t sound mature. He seems to target all women, so eager to spit out whatever he wants to say.. I get what he means, yet his words are simply dirty and wrong.

기분상쾌하지요섭:

Agreed.[agreeing to the comment above] His words are too harsh. ;;

엄청커다란모기가나의팔을물었어:

I think Sung Jae-gi is one of those bugs on Ilbe.

모른다니엘:

I don’t understand some of you saying Sung Jae-gi isn’t wrong. Once he started bitching about menstruation leave, everything coming out of his mouth sounds ridiculous. Though I understand some of his underlying thoughts, Prof Chin’s logic seems much more acceptable.

이히이히히이:

BTW, he talks really well!

동방신기 BEAST B1A4:

Wow, he sounds logical, as opposed to Mr Sung. Some of his words are mean, but it all comes down to the context.

바호구:

He’s so articulate.

유민규김영광방성준이수혁:

It doesn’t matter some of his words are mean. Once you know Prof Chin better, you’ll know whether he is trying to get his point across or simply talking like shit.

뉴빵끄고공부해미친냔아:

Prof Chin, answer me please [pleading him to answer her on Twitter]

썩은팥빵:

I realised Mr Sung only sees what he wants to see when he said that Korean women should be grateful that Korea is the only nation to have menstruation leave, even though the menstrual cycle is not limited to Korean women. I heard there’s no menstruation leave in Germany and Canada, but it’s not about whether women feel pain during menstruation; it’s easier for them to get a sick leave than us. That’s why they don’t need menstruation leave. On top of that, those men can easily get a sick leave, compared to Korean counterpart. Since Korean corporate workers have to watch their bosses’ Nunchi a lot, sick leave seems like pie in the sky. And we’ve got to admit that it’s harder for men than women to take a day off when sick. Therefore, I think the issue here is to revise the sick leave system to let men get a sick leave when needed, not to repeal the law on menstruation leave.

Niama:

I was taken aback by the comments on this community about Mr Sung’s writings. It was shocking to see a lot of you said ‘His words are mean, yet it seems right.’ I’m not sure the average age of this community, but agreeing to such remarks like ‘There are brain-less bitches, he’s right. If you’re not one of those bitches, don’t be upset about it’ seems so.. Oh dear.. Those kinds of comments are alarming, standing hand-in-hand with misogynists. Keeping those attitudes will not only fail to separate you from ‘those women,’ but ruin the women’s rights in Korea. Fitting your opinion to hard-line misogynists while trashing and insulting fellow women is what ‘female machos’ do, saying, ‘I’m not one of them. Those boseulachis, bean paste bitches deserve to get humiliated.’ I hope you think deeply about how insulting and depreciating such words are to women. With such attitude among women, there’ll be more and more ‘female machos.’ And you’ll have to deal with the repercussions of your distorted views and inconsiderate words when you graduate from college, get a job and married.

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  • Ruaraidh

    People who feel the need to blame their problems on the whole opposite sex have got their heads in the sand. It’s not about men vs women, how puerile. People are so complex and nuanced from one angle, and yet so alike from another. The differences between the sexes are dwarfed by the differences within the sexes. We’re snowflakes in a blizzard, organised chaos, orbiting around each other in social clusters.

    We adapt to our environment at the same time as influencing it, the great cultural forces that govern our lives are by tiny increments formed by each of us. It’s like a thousand minute ripples of air, each with its own properties, converging and aggregating to form a perfect sine wave.

    Forget one sex vs the other, it’s everyone vs everyone, and no one vs no one, all at the same time.

    • Snazzy_Brett

      You are bound to win the limerick contest. Hope you enter!

      • Ruaraidh

        I would enter, but unfortunately I’ve never been to Korea.

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

    Comparing bean paste girls to femme fatale? They could not be more different.

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

      I am curious, could you explain why you say so?

  • Snazzy_Brett

    I think @disqus_IYGF8inbGT:disqus already said what needs to be said about this, so I will leave it to my observations after working in a Korean office environment for 2 years.

    It is common knowledge that young, pretty, and single girls get hired much more often than a married woman. Actually, married women have a really tough time changing jobs in Seoul. Whether a man is single or married is not an issue, as long as he has work experience.

    Men start with higher salaries for the same positions. Sometimes, well over 50% higher than a woman of equal qualifications.

    Women are required to serve coffee and snacks to guests that come in for a meeting, while the men continue working.

    Women get yelled at far more often by bosses who wish to maintain gender imbalance in the office. Then the women are required to partake in the “회식”, and forced to drink far too much alcohol with the guy who treats them like crap.

    Women are far less likely to get promoted over a man of equal standing in the company. I have actually had a business partner tell me (regarding a female subordinate in his company), “It’s a shame that she is a woman… If she were a man, she would run this place”.

    I could keep going but I’m sure my point has been made. I could also link to supporting articles, but this is all common-enough knowledge that I didn’t think it was necessary.

    Preemptive strike against nationalists (aka Chucky): Of course these occurrences happen in other countries as well. This article is about Korea, and everything I have written about has been first-hand experience in Korea. Korean office life has been well-documented in both Korean and foreign news. A quick Google search could back up every one of my claims.

    • Kate

      I once had a Korean man refuse to directly speak to me, and would only speak to my husband because I was a woman and he saw me “below my husband”.

      And yes, I do know what you mean about women being yelled at far more often by bosses. My Korean boss would routinely make the Korean women I worked with cry. Alot. If the foreign teachers weren’t treated well, the Koreans were treated 10x worse by the owner and managers. I always felt really bad for them, cause my Korean TA was one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met and the Korean bosses would treat her like dog poo. Before I left, I told her she was far too decent and nice to be working for those people. I wonder if she ever left….

    • Kate

      And the whole thing about single women/married women, is so true. The owner would only hire women who were single, childless. He didn’t want “family” to distract from work. The main manager was 35 yrs old and not even a boyfriend, still lived with her parents. The other was 50, never married, no children. The Korean TAs were all single, unmarried women as well, except one, who got married while working there, and they fired her shortly after. In fact, during the interview process for Koreans, one of the first questions was “Are you married?”

      When I told my boss I was pregnant, they were levid about it. I mean really, really, really mad about me being pregnant. They acted as though I had just burned down the school. It was a horrible environment to be pregnant in. They were pretty mean to me about it and actually tried to fire me when I was about 6 months pregnant because (direct quote from manager) “I was getting bigger and wouldn’t be able to do my job”…..even though I was there 30 mins early every day, was the only foreign teacher to never have called in sick, never once asked for any special privileges, had no complaints against me, my children were making great progress, my kids were attached to me,I was even teaching full gym class.

      From what I understand about being a woman in Korea, is if you do become pregnant (most married women), then you are fired/asked to leave and while legally, maternity leave is in the law, it isn’t followed or the norm and pregnant women are expected to give up their job and stay home. That’s what I encountered there and from what Korean women have told me, so this stems from personal experience. I wasn’t the only case at my job, a Korean manager became pregnant and they told her to leave as well, despite her giving them years of great service.

      • Kate

        Oh, forgot to mention, the only reason I kept my job (I left at 8 months), was because my husband and father-in-law came into the school and talked to the owner (a man). He wouldn’t listen to me, and in fact would not speak directly to me. All questions directed towards me were first asked to ether my husband/father-in-law or the head teacher (a man) who was also asked to be there. I’m not even making this up. I seriously ended up feeling like a 5 yr old little girl, while the men sat around talked about me. Even though I was a 24 yr old, highly educated, professional, I was relegated to “little girl” status by the men there.

        • Kate

          Oh and I wasn’t allowed to speak directly to/make prolonged eye contact with the owner. I had to speak to my husband/father in law/male head teacher first.

          • Ruaraidh

            Was it even worth working there to go through that shit?

          • Kate

            No, in the end it wasn’t. They wanted to fire me 1 month before 6 months, which meant I would of had to pay back the plane ticket to Korea and 2 months before my kindergarteners graduated. While I absolutely despised the owner and managers, I actually did love my kids and was very attached to them and vice verse. I wanted to see them graduate. So I stayed 3 more months there. Though knowing what I know now about korean work environment, how people and especially women are treated, I would not work.in Korea again.

            Certainly sex discrimination happens in plenty of other places, but in the usa, pregnant women are protected by laws that are actually enforced. I think some day more Korean women will get to be professionals and mothers, but they have to fight for it.

            I think perhaps if Korea lowered the costs of child care products and clothes, schooling tuitions, set up good child care facilities for working parents, protected the working rights of mothers and pregnant women, offered more women services in the form of WIC, counseling, daycares, etc enforced fair pay for equal jobs, then their birth rate would go up.

  • Fire

    Femme fatale left their victims with much hate and love, after a few episodes of artistic ecstacy. Never as vulgar as for the reason of buying LV bag.

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

      I thought the derogatory term femme fatale also had more various meanings, such someone who hurts for economic reasons?

      • Fire

        Femme fatale is quite a compliment to women. They are seductive and
        dangerous. The thrill is in how they can push men to nothingness and
        pull them back into pleasure only they can provide. Their pleasure range
        from spiritual beauty to earthly needs, follow by emotional or physical
        abuse and back to pleasure. A contrast to the traditional female role.
        If the victims were hurt economically, it is a mean to an end. The more
        challenging the victim the more excited they become. Its a game.

        A Playwoman. Or a Catwoman.

        Are you prof Chin Jungkwon?

        • Kate

          I dont understand why/how he is saying western women are “femme fatales”? I mean what is he basing that on? I dont consider myself even remotely close to the idea of femme fatale…..And Ive never known a normal, regular woman like that. He is painting western women as some how drastically different then Korean women and in my experiences, that isnt even true at all. Western women are still not equals in society like korean women, still face an alarming amount of domestic/sexual abuses from men, have the same concerns for their families, etc. Women are pretty much the same everywhere.

          • Fire

            perhaps you should be one, your husband will be pleasantly surprise. There must be a femme fatale inside that boringly normal, regular woman. Life is a play, until you die, dont you want to play Kate? no one will begrudge you of it, its your life after all. Live the way you want.

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

            @disqus_4Jah1yg9eh:disqus This is a really inappropriate comment to make to @disqus_3ntu2nOx6o:disqus. At first you seemed to care about this debate, but clearly you just want to offend people rather than have a real discussion. What a waste.

          • Gabrielle

            @disqus_3ntu2nOx6o:disqus I think he doesn’t mean that femme fatale equals bean-paste girl, but rather that each society produce an image of an horrible woman/girl that is despised by both men and older women alike, and which is used to fuel hatred and fear from men in age of getting married and make sure they stick to “the good girl” (whatever “good girl” means in each society).

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

          Hi Fire, I do not understand your question, I do not know the work of Prof. Chin Jungkwon, do you have any recommended article to suggest?

      • Fire

        Luring us with your sweet questions, hm?

  • Commander-in-chief

    Albeit slightly off the point, I would like to point out about what I think he is misleading the public with respect to military service and subsequent additional points for would-be public officials in recruitment.   As a legitimate citizen of South Korean society in terms of completing two and a half years of grueling military service as a commissioned officer, I want to say that higher points in hiring assessment is the last thing men want to get.  What men in their 20s who serve the country spending precious time in manning outposts at countless nights, do really want is to get appropriate credit from society for his honorable service. In reality, men discharged from the military face frustration when they find themselves lagged behind social trend  and often meet embarrassing remarks from female counterparts who committed themselves to building theier career: “What did you do during the military service?” A real embarassment.  Many feminists claim that  women is the biggest victim of wars and male chauvinism in Korean society is being reproduced. They contradict themselves by putting the military service and tremendous stress it cause out of their concerns.   I want to ask what is called the leftist scholar of this: Have women in Korean society ever thought about the lack of dignity and credit men should have deserved, but not in the form of material compensation like shallow idea of higher points for men in emploment reviews? My answer is absolutely no, except for when women whose boyfriends are on military duty dump them or whose sons are doing the service are concerned about their health.   In short, the controversy over whether to give extra points for men who served his military duty is not the outcome of shrinking elbow room for men as more women is carving out their presence in firms, but the distorted expression of men’s frustration at the fact that their perseverence against dire conditions in the Korean military is discounted badly.   He should have given more consideration to this aspect.

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

      What do you think is the appropriate change? Should military veteran males get the credit, should the mandatory military service requirement end, or should women also have mandatory service?

      • Commander-in-chief

        With military threat from the communist North still formidable, a shift to recruitment from comscription in the military personnel is a distant dream that can be conceivable only the inter-Korean cold war ends.   For keeping honor for military service unhurt, two steps are necessary. First of all, the military should free their men from various labor work unrelated to vigilance and training.  The South Korean private soldiers spend more time doing sundry labor work than guarding their country. This will be possible by streamlining bloated army while supplementing cutting-edge military equipment. In short, the South Korean army is labor intensive, and its operational capabilities are restrained with loads of labor work assigned to its manpower. I can dare to say it is primitive.  The military’s failure to detect a North Korean soldier who crossed the heavily armed border is a cross-section of how the military is festering inside.  The creation of an improved military envrionment where soldiers keep focused upon the essential mission of guarding and training is a prerequisite for bringing back the military’s honor. A program to give higher marks to male vegerans when they apply for governemental posts, I think, hardly assuage trampled pride of millions of military veterans.   Second, women should be obliged to know what’s going on in the military and how serious, strenuous defending the country is. To that end, I think women should receive weeks of training and education, allowing them to respect their male citizens for their successful completion of military services. The first thing for the nation to do is return lost pride and honor to soldiers defending the nation in inclement weather.     The idea of handing out some benefits to men in employment is shallow and outrageous becasue men do guard the country for the sake of the nation’s security, not for personal gain.

        • http://twitter.com/null2j Summer

          So you’re saying that the Korean government should readopt the extra credit system when hiring public officials to boost the morale of the veterans and honor their work, and ultimately reinforce the national security.

          • Commander-in-chief

            No. I never said that. Accepting such a reward amounts to sell honor from defending the country at a cheap price.

            The preferred solution is to restore a sense of honor in soldiers who waste the time spent on military service.

          • http://twitter.com/null2j Summer

            Oh, I re-read your post and now I get what you meant. Sorry, I was listening to the radio while reading it. :(

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

            @disqus_9aTnVDd1Qy:disqus Is it only a problem of “all women” not appreciating this service? I get the sense that there is a lot of opposition to doing the military service, including among men. Seems even since the 1950s it has been difficult to encourage a military career path, so the mandatory service is really contentious. It is a really tricky issue but I don’t think it is only women in society that criticize the system, but since the system is mandatory for men, it is seen as a threat to male employment privilege to take away the points in assessments for employment/government office. How to restore honor to the system when a lot of men and women oppose it? I guess that is why I think the mandatory system is problematic, if many people view it as an unfair burden only for men, instead of seeing it as an honorable act of patriotism, the social attitude toward people in service can be negative (or unappreciative).

          • http://twitter.com/null2j Summer

            I think Korean women haven’t changed much in terms of the attitude toward the mandatory service, although I’ve seen a book criticising the system for ‘militarising’ the mentality of the nation. What have changed in my opinion are the economy and the youth unemployment rate which changed Korean men’s thoughts on the military service.

            With astronomical real estate price and ever-growing education fees, more and more Korean families have to rely on ‘two bread-earners’ these days. It should be empowering for women to have careers and in most cases it is. But in the case of South Korea, I think it is mostly emasculating men than empowering women. With decent jobs dwindling and men burdened by the conventional notion of bread-earner, Korean men are under tremendous amount of stress. That’s probably why many of them don’t even recognise the privilege that they are still holding in the hiring process in the private sector employment. The issues revolving military conscription seems just a tip of the iceberg.

            And regarding the volunteer military system, I bet most Korean men would oppose to it. Even though they resent the time spent in the military, they still believe the conscription system keeps the national security intact.

  • ShawnaKM

    About Professor Chin using the term “femme fatal”. The impression I get is that even though he is a well-versed professor, he may not know English slang so well…perhaps? I can’t think of a well-known English equivalent to “bean paste girls” though. Most of my family, including my man, know English as a second language (kinda technically me, too), so when I read that, I think, “Not exactly a perfect comparison, but I get the point he’s trying to make.”

    • Kate

      Maybe an Eng. Equivelant could be “Ramen girls” to describe girls who eat cheaply to save up for partying and expensive luxury goods like LV bags? Or maybe “potato girls”…

    • http://twitter.com/null2j Summer

      Yeah.. as far as I know, his English skills seem..more or less on the Korean average.

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

      I don’t know if there is an exact term, something derogatory like “Golddigger” has been used for similar economically-fueled criticism of women. However, listening to the Amy Winehouse song “F#*K me Pumps” also seems to have a similiar criticism. But besides trying to find the directly tied terms, why do these same debates and criticisms happen all over the world?

    • Golbinnom

      “femme fatal” is an /english/ slang? the things one learns in the internet…

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