All posts filed under: News You Don’t See

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.

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.

“I Am a North Korean Millennial”

  Young North Korean defector Yeonmi Park gives an informal talk at LiNK. She talks about the Jangmadang Generation – the NK millenials who grew up with the illegal but widespread market system. The elder generations experienced the “good times” – The North was much better off than the South after the Korean War (1950-53) since it experienced fewer bombings. Within years, the North collapsed and its communist distribution system failed, leaving the people hungry – while the South rebuilt all its infrastructure, becoming the world’s 12th biggest economic power today. Here is a short summary of Yeonmi’s talk: North Korean millennials have little, if any, loyalty to the Kim regime. They have access to foreign media, including South Korean and Hollywood movies. They see the regime as an obstacle to private wealth and are starting private businesses. Yeonmi’s family was part of the social elite and of the Communist Party in North Korea, and she was only 13 when she escaped. She currently studies Economics at Columbia University.   Edited on June 15th for …

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 …

Korean Feminism Reins In the Collective Power of the Internet

, Korean feminism takes advantage of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure and satiric humour to combat misogyny An emerging Feminist movement finds power in the collective power of the Internet Founded on August 6th, 2015, the independent website Megalian.com brands a new type of feminism – one that uses the country’s world-class ICT infrastructure to promote gender equality and to humorously bash misogyny on the Korean web. The name, currently filed for trademark registration by one of its users, is a neologism combining ‘MERS gallery’, the web forum where the movement was born, and ‘Egalia’, of Gerd Brantenberg‘s satiric novel ‘Egalia’s Daughters‘. Megalian.com operates strictly on an anonymous basis, with all members posting under the same nickname, except for notices regarding server maintenance by the site’s administrators, who nevertheless remain anonymous (As of December 2015, the few interviews conducted with its members or admins have not revealed any personal information). The collective movement began in June 2015, when women began to ‘mirror’ the misogynic comments made by male members on DCInside.com, a popular web forum. What was conceived as a minor page dedicated to sharing …

Umberto Eco’s Middle Age History: For Men Only, says leading Korean publisher

Sigongsa publicly apologises for ‘not having thought the event through’ Yesterday, leading Korean publishing house Sigongsa published an official apology. The apology concerned the release of a new two-volume translation of Umberto Eco‘s “Introduction to the Middle Ages“. The publisher announced that they would hold a special event – a writing competition whose prize included copies of the Middle Ages translation as well as the opportunity to write an all-expenses-paid book review. Women need not apply. The event, as advertised on Sigongsa’s Naver blog As soon as the event was published, female aficionados of Eco, Middle Age history, and of  Sigongsa demanded an explanation regarding their discriminative attitude – what’s the link between Umberto Eco and misogyny? Sinagong is a highly influential and well-reputed publishing house in South Korea whose range includes both domestic and international authors. They publish translations of many famous foreign authors’ works, including Fifty Shades of Grey, British magazine Cereal, Ito Junji’s horror comics, The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, the John Grisham collection, and a series of classics by Jane Austen, Cervantes, Dumas, Goethe, Saint-Exupéry, Shakespeare,  and Virginia Woolf. The unforeseen attack …