All posts filed under: Feminism

[Documentary] Inside Korea’s Billion-Dollar Beauty Industry (i-D, 2016)

Episode 1 Grace faces Korea’s traditional beauty standards, and is wildly stared at by passers-by. She talks to a young Korean woman who embodies Korea’s obsession with beauty. “How would you feel if you could never wear makeup again?” “I will die” Episode 2 Grace talks to Korean tattoo artist Apro and gets passport photos of her made, heavily photoshopped so she looks ‘normal’ Episode 3 Grade sees Soljee, a young Korean woman, reveal her tattoos to her parents for the first time. Episode 4 Grace meets a gang member and asks about the relationship between gangs and tattoos in Korea. She also meets a young woman who’s getting her first-ever tattoo. After seeing the young woman’s tattoo, her father decides to get one.

Interview with BBC (August 15th, 2016)

South Korea gaming: How a T-shirt cost an actress her job I’ve been interviewed by the BBC for about thirty minutes regarding the recent Nexon incident and feminism in Korea in general. It’s interesting to see how news reporting works. I have to admit, the following quote isn’t what I’d have chosen to write out of that conversation, and it could use some elaborating, since the first sentence now makes it seem like I’ve had plastic surgery and that’s why I’ve taken my picture down – and it’s not clear why ‘Korean women are in such despair’. A blogger who writes under the pseudonym Emily Singh told the BBC she had taken her picture down from her own blog because she feared reprisals. She said that many Korean women were in such despair that they considered emigrating. But I’m happy to see the BBC is taking interest in feminism in Korea.

Feminists Protest Outside Nexon’s HQ Against Dismissal of Voice Actor Kim Ja-Yeon

  “All goods received at the protest against Nexon’s dismissal of CLOSER voice actor have been provided by feminist of feminist-friendly organisations. Nexon has only provided us with 20 bottles of water, and we haven’t touched any of them” (July 22nd, 16:36) Twitter user @imapine6 also stated earlier that “crowdfunded drinks and ice cream have been delivered to the protesters”, that “somebody has sent a coffee van and the protesters are enjoying cold coffee”,  and that the group were looking to close around 19:00, KST on Friday. My post on the Korean feminist movement Megalia has been referenced by a dozen online outlets over the Nexon incident – I hope to provide more insight on its impacts soon – such as the massive number of cartoonists and artists who have officially released support for dismissed actor Kim and/or Megalia and/or feminism. For now I’m travelling in Frankfurt, Heidelberg and Stuttgart. (Picture from Nexon Game Center)

Korean student speaks out against government hiring practice requiring interpreters to “look pretty”

“Why is it my duty to be pretty just because the President [of Korea] is coming to town? Image: JTBC News A Korean student currently studying in Paris has spoken out against absurd hiring conditions imposed at the 2016 KCON France held at AccorHotels Arena on June 2nd (the original message can be found on her Facebook account. A transcript is available via Kyunghyang Daily) Elodie Kim was hired as an interpreter at the KCON. But she was later demanded by KakaoTalk (equivalent of WhatsApp), to provide her measurements and a full-body photo. She asks whether they are indeed talking about the same job offer – that of an interpreter. The hiring agent replies “Yes, but looks are important”. Another student hired at the event is told that “You are hired as an assistant at an information booth for Korean SMEs. Looks matter as much as your [French] language skills”. Bibigo (Korea, US, UK), a Korean restaurant chain, has gone as far to highlight in red that their hiring requirements are “looks, French language skills, and …

Soranet officially shut down by owners

“We’re officially shutting down Soranet. The @soranet Twitter handle will also be closed. There are no plans to recover or to relocate our services, so do not let copycat websites trick you. We thank our users, who’ve shown so much love over the years” Soranet has officially announced that it will shut down its services, according to its official Twitter account (now closed). Read my coverage of  Korean women’s battle to shut down Soranet, which was not only Korea’s biggest porn hub, but also a breeding ground to underage prostitution, money laundering, extortion and most notoriously, revenge porn and gang rape. (Picture from Ize)

MAXIM Korea’s 2015 Blunder

In its September 2015 issue, MAXIM Korea’s cover depicted the images of a naked woman’s feet dangling out of a car boot, with the slogan “This is what a real bad man is like. How do you like me now?”. The photoshoot goes on to show the images, most likely of the female victim in the boot, looking up at the assailant, then being dragged in a plastic body bag. Korean women and the international media engaged in a fierce backlash against the magazine, who, following a drawn-out media battle, issued an apology. At one point, the Korean editor-in-chief posted a Facebook message saying “Jeez, if I wanted to glamourise sexual violence, we’d have cast So Ji-seop [instead of Kim Byeong-ook”, only to delete it after it caused further controversy. Only after an AVAAZ petition went viral and a spokesperson for MAXIM US issued a statement condemning their Korean affiliate did MAXIM Korea finally retract is defensive position. Link to Cosmopolitan UK coverage Link to Huffpost US coverage The Korean editor-in-chief promised to retrieve all copies of …

Facebook Korea and its gender-biased community policy: Kimchi Girl vs. Megalia

Facebook Korea turns a blind eye on misogynic Pages while constantly shutting down satire-based feminist movement Megalia The SNS giant’s actions are puzzling as complaints filed regarding both groups fall under the same Community Guidelines Korean feminist group Megalia has continuously spoken out against Facebook Korea ‘s actions as the social networking website’s Korean regional office continues to ignore user’s complaints regarding the maintenance of Kimchi Girl Facebook, a Page dedicated to promoting posts on ‘Meninism’ and on bashing women, in particular well-known female Korean figures and the Ministry of Gender Equality. Meanwhile, Megalia’s pages have been temporarily shut down several times and its images have been removed without consent of the Page’s administrators. Complaints filed against both groups fall under the Community Guidelines – under which the website should block hate speech and call to violent actions. Kimchi Girl and its affiliate pages qualify for both, but despite continuous reports by users, it continued to operate until it was hacked and taken over by an unknown user in December 2015, who has since kept the …

The Battle Against Soranet, Korea’s Biggest Porn Hub

I’ve previously written briefly about Korean women’s battle against Soranet. Today I’ll provide a more in-depth analysis. Soranet, Korea’s biggest pornographic website with over a million registered users, has come under fire several times during its 16-year history. The website, launched in 1999, has been crucial in distributing pornography, but also in encouraging and even brokering illicit activities. Its ability to keep avoiding legal action by constantly changing domains names and servers has kept it from being shut down, as it effectively stands outside the jurisdiction of South Korean law. The administrators announce its new domain name through Twitter – and so help tens of thousands of Koreans, mostly male, evade the Warning Window that blocks any pornographic website based in Korea (this system is highly ineffective, since most sites including Soranet have their servers in the US and VPN connections are on the go). The website and several of its members are currently facing charges for criminal activities ranging from ‘hidden cam’ videos illegally shot in public places, brokering underage prostitution and drug trafficking, violence against women including genital …