SEOUL, April 6 (Korea Bizwire) — Controversy has sparked over the new interior design for cars on Line 4 of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway that features a light pink seat immediately next to the dark pink seats reserved for pregnant women.
Some online communities stepped up in criticism as rumors spread that the light pink seats are for ‘women only’.
Seoul Metro explained that the light pink seats are intended for the elderly, disabled, and other vulnerable groups, and that the color seems to have caused misunderstandings.
Behind the scenes of this issue lies the decade-old dispute over reserved seats for pregnant women.
It has been known for many years that the policy of reserving seats for pregnant women, practiced by most local authorities, has been criticized for ‘imposing solicitude’ or ‘discriminating against men’.
“There is a widespread perception that it goes against what is fair. We all pay the same price to get on the train, why can’t I sit there? That’s what they think,” said Prof. Kim Bum-soo from Seoul National University.
Others, however, describe the dispute as the ‘growing pains’ of settling culture of traffic safety for vulnerable groups, and that it is best to give it time.
“Due to certain stereotypes we have against certain colors, whenever we used the color pink, people tend to associate it with gender,” said Choi Hye-yeong, a social work professor at Changwon National University.
“We need to develop a new symbol that carries social consensus.”
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)