Growing Anti-Feminism Sentiment in South Korea | Be Korea-savvy

Growing Anti-Feminism Sentiment in South Korea


Reports that Irene had read the novel provoked a series of unexpectedly hostile reactions, including comments from men threatening to give up on supporting the group, and expressing their wish to not see the singer on TV again. (Image: Yonhap)

Reports that Irene had read the novel provoked a series of unexpectedly hostile reactions, including comments from men threatening to give up on supporting the group, and expressing their wish to not see the singer on TV again. (Image: Yonhap)

Anti-feminism sentiment is growing among South Korean men, particularly online where an increasing number of posts expressing disapproval towards the movement and targeting feminists are being shared.

SEOUL, March 27 (Korea Bizwire) — Last week, a furious male K-pop fan took to the internet to share his frustration after his favorite idol Irene, a member of the girl band Red Velvet, said she read ‘Kim Ji Young, Born 1982’, a popular novel that centers around the treatment of women in South Korea.

“Are you taking male fans for fools when we are spending so much on you”, the fan wrote in an online post.

The book, which has sold over 100,000 copies since its release in 2016, has been hailed as the ‘guidebook of feminism’ by many feminists, having resonated with many women in the country who have experienced deeply entrenched sexual discrimination in society.

But reports that Irene had read the novel provoked a series of unexpectedly hostile reactions, including comments from men threatening to give up on supporting the group, and expressing their wish to not see the singer on TV again.

Son Na-eun, a member of the popular K-pop group Apink, was also subject to similar criticism from some fans after being seen using a phone case that said ‘Girls can do anything’ in capital letters.

K-pop singer Son Na-eun was subject to similar criticism from some fans after being seen using a phone case that said ‘Girls can do anything’ in capital letters. (Image: Instagram)

K-pop singer Son Na-eun was subject to similar criticism from some fans after being seen using a phone case that said ‘Girls can do anything’ in capital letters. (Image: Instagram)

Experts say the retaliatory behavior against female idols who advocate or are associated with feminism is caused by the ambivalent attitudes towards women that some men have.

“People who leave malicious comments are likely to hold a dichotomous view of women. They divide women into two groups, those they see as ideal who are kind and submissive, and others who are defiant which they see as a threat. Feminists often fall under the latter,” says researcher Ahn Sang-soo at the Korea Women’s Development Institute.

“They imagine their favorite idol singers as their ideal type of women. When the object of their fantasies shows behavior that goes against the imagination, such as reading a book associated with feminism, it provokes a strong reaction,” Ahn added.

Adding to the animosity is the anonymous nature of the internet, behind which people can hide and express extreme levels of anger and aversion.

One subtitled video of an interview with Jordan Peterson, a famous critic of feminism in the West, has attracted over 300,000 views so far.

Similar to the comments section of the original video, which was featured on Channel 4’s YouTube channel, many comments resorted to name calling, delegitimizing the feminist movement as a whole.

The rise of anti-feminism comes at the height of the #MeToo movement, which is sweeping across the country. (Image: Yonhap)

The rise of anti-feminism comes at the height of the #MeToo movement, which is sweeping across the country. (Image: Yonhap)

The anti-feminism sentiment isn’t exclusively online. The Anti Feminism Association, a controversial group boasting nearly 2,800 online members, took to City Hall in Seoul last December, calling for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family to be dismantled.

“Feminists are teaching women to hate men and feeding a distorted version of feminism,” the group said during the protest.

Members of the group have caused controversy in the past for protesting in public with pickets that compared feminism to Nazism.

The rise of anti-feminism comes at the height of the #MeToo movement, which is sweeping across the country.

Earlier this month, President Moon Jae-in reiterated his support for the #MeToo Movement.

“The movement is leading Korea toward a society in which sexual equality and women’s rights are realized and the dignity of all people is respected.

“We are now reflecting how deeply the structure of sexual discrimination is entrenched in our society and are facing up to the reality that this is by nature about routine discrimination and oppression against vulnerable people,” Moon said.

Hyunsu Yim (hyunsu@koreabizwire.com)

10 thoughts on “Growing Anti-Feminism Sentiment in South Korea

  1. slope

    What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this site daily, this website is in fact pleasant and the viewers are in fact sharing good thoughts

    Reply
  2. gush

    As always feminists have to resort to strawmaning their opposition as if it would prevent the idea from spreading.

    Reply
  3. Stijn Klessens

    So even in South-Korea people obsess over women and try to smear dirt on those who stand up for equality and fight against feminism.

    Reply
  4. Vanessa

    Of course men are threatened when there is an expectation of them to ACT LIKE MEN! When men dont fit their own gender stereotypes women will pull around them and take the lead.
    Why are they so threatened? They probably frequent porn sites as well as lust for those females paraded in front of the nation in those ridiculous short skirts looking like anime characters. It is difficult to fetishize when the female you lust after doesn’t fit the image sold to you. They become angry and lash out because now what will they “rub it off” to if not the false image they grown to know and lust? God forbid they promote homosexual behavior.

    Reply
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  7. Slipperyslope

    This article fails to appreciate that what happens in Korea is anti-”radical feminism,” not anti-feminism.

    This article is intentionally choosing the pictures of beautiful women to portray this movement as positive. But, even dressing in any ‘feminine’ way is what Korean feminists are arguing against.

    At the same time, this article is doing its best to ignore what is actually happening in the streets. The writer will enjoy walking to work, passing by the feminist protestors shouting insulting slogans involving sexual organs and making fun of males who have committed suicide.

    Reply
    • Sss

      Clearly, another Korean man who doesn’t care abpit sexual equality. You are conveniently omitting the context context of how so-called “radical feminism”(which is not even that radical) started in Korea in the first place. Most of the performances are merely mirroring what Korean men have done for years, (demeaning sexually abused women, forcing women to be “feminine” and submissive,etc.), just to show how demeaning it feels to live as a female in Korea, because no one cared to listen when people tried to say “STOP DISCRIMINATING WOMEN” nicely. You should be ashamed of yourself.It is ridiculous how women are treated less human than men in Korea, a developed country they say. I hope more and more foreign press digs out story like these, because Korean press refuses to deliver any news related to feminism, trying so hard to shush is down.

      Reply
      • Really

        Really? Talking about raping little boys snd posting naked boys picture. Posting dead baby ang laughing about it being a parasite from her body vecause he was a boy is not a radical idea?

        Reply
  8. Sss

    And what makes you to decide what’s “beautiful” It’s absurd how you try to associate “positive” with “feminine” or “beautiful”. Women are just human beings, not dressed-up dolls to impress people like you. You’re embarrassing yourself

    Reply

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