Delayed marriages drag down fertility rate
South Korea’s increasing number of delayed marriages is one of the biggest factors behind the country’s low birth rate, a report has shown.

According to Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, the out-of-wedlock birth rate in South Korea in 2010 was 2.1 percent, which was dramatically lower than the rate in countries such as Ireland and Norway.

Norway’s out-of-wedlock fertility rate was 55 percent, while Ireland’s was 64.1 percent in the same year. Meanwhile, Japan’s rate was 2.2 percent.

“South Korea and Japan are countries where most people do not choose to have children unless they are married,” said researcher Cho Sung-ho from KIHASA.

“This is why marriage is a very important factor in the countries’ fertility rates.”

The number of Koreans who put off marriage has increased dramatically.

According to Statistics Korea, 50.2 percent of Korean men born between 1976 and 1980 were single for the period of 2006 to 2010, while only 13.9 percent of those born between 1956 and 1960 were single when they were the same age.

On the other hand, only 5.3 percent of Korean women born from 1956 to 1960 were single in their early 30s, while 29.1 percent of those born from 1976 to 1980 were unmarried at the same age.

One of the main reasons many here are delaying their marriage is the high cost of housing and weddings.

According to the local wedding consulting firm Duowed, Korean couples spent an average of 238 million won ($216,000) on their wedding ceremonies and housing in the past two years. On average, men shouldered 64 percent of the total cost.

Cho mentioned in his report that modern South Korean demographics ― a low fertility rate and an aging society ― are similar to those experienced by Japan.

According to Cho, about 20 percent of all Japanese men, and 10 percent of Japanese women, were single as of 2010.

“Japan’s two-decade-long period of economic stagnation resulted in a growing number of people who chose to live alone,” he said.

“As the South Korean economy is expected to experience slow growth, we may be following in Japan’s footsteps.”

According to Cho, Japan tries to help young, single job seekers find jobs as part of its measures to boost its fertility rate. South Korea’s demographic policies, on the other hand, have mostly focused on married couples who do not have children.

“It is necessary to support young people so they can experience dating, marriage and childbirth without too many difficulties,” Cho wrote.

“In order to do that, creating quality jobs and support programs for job seekers must be introduced as part of measures to tackle the country’s low fertility rate.”

South Korea’s birthrate stood at 1.18 children per woman last year ― the lowest among OECD member countries.

If the current birth rate remains steady, almost 15 percent of the population will be 65 or older by 2018, and the figure will rise to 50 percent by 2100, according to KIHASA.

By Claire Lee (
Korean-birthrate  Korean-marriage  Korean-demographics 
Porn from the 1920s Was More Wild and Hardcore Than You Could Imagine - VICE
The movie is one of thousands of stag films, a species of hardcore movie shot from the dawn of cinema until it petered out in the Golden Age of Porn, which started in the late 60s and flourished through the 70s. Stags were silent black-and-white films of about five to ten minutes, which featured brief narrative scenes bracketing a near-random jumble of penetration, thrusting, “meat shots,” and, at times, snippets of oral and ejaculation. Which may seem odd. There’s a widespread and understandable belief that sexual openness moves in a linear fashion, says Albert Steg, a film collector familiar with stag movies. As a result, hardcore stag films are novelties of cognitive dissonance. They feel like they shouldn’t have been made in the 1920s.
pornography  sexuality 
4 days ago
Why Youth Unemployment Is Higher in Korea Than in Japan - The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - Business > Business
December 06, 2018 13:31

One reason for Korea's high youth unemployment despite a shortage of workers in smaller firms is the vast wage gap between big and small businesses.

Workers in Japan's small and mid-sized businesses earn 80 percent of what staff at large conglomerates make, and starting pay is about the same. But in Korea, workers in SMEs earn just half of what their counterparts in big conglomerates make, and starting pay is only 60 percent.

This is why young Koreans compete so hard for the limited job openings at major conglomerates, and why the snob value is so much higher, which has ended up exacerbating youth unemployment.

Unemployment among Korean men in their late 20s reached 11.6 percent last year and among women 7.1 percent. In contrast, unemployment among Japanese men and women in the same age group stood at just 4.3 and four percent.

Baak Saang-joon at Waseda University in Japan and Kim Nam-joo and Jang Keun-ho at the Bank of Korea in a report on Wednesday showed how the wage gap between big and small businesses is one of the main culprits for high youth unemployment here.

Not only do large businesses in Korea offer higher starting pay, salaries also increase at a faster rate than in SMEs. Also, militant unions spearhead wage negotiations, resulting in wages growing faster, while they in turn squeeze their smaller suppliers to save costs.

SMEs in Japan have been able to maintain pay levels equivalent to 80 percent of wages at big businesses over the last two decades, while in Korea they were equivalent to just 55 percent.

Permanent staff at major Korean conglomerates earned W3.98 million a month as of 2017, while their counterparts at SMEs make W2.64 million. Starting pay at big businesses stands at W40.8 million a year compared to W25.3 million at smaller firms. Over the last five years, wages at SMEs and big businesses in Japan grew at about the same pace. But in Korea, wage growth at big businesses was a whopping 3.5 times faster than in small and mid-sized companies.

Analysis by the Korea Small Business Institute shows that wages grew 12 percent at big businesses in Japan and 10 percent in SMEs from 2010 to 2015. But in Korea they grew 29 percent at big businesses and just eight percent at smaller firms. That meant Korean staff earned on average W4.37 million a month after five years in the job at at large conglomerates, but in SMEs their salaries rose to just 2.27 million in that time.

"This is why young jobseekers prefer to wait until they can land jobs in big conglomerates," the researchers said.

But only 14 percent of total jobseekers find employment at big businesses, while in Japan the ratio is over 32 percent. Kim at the BOK said, "In Korea, not only is there a huge wage gap between small and big businesses, but the number of jobs offered by big companies is limited resulting in a lengthy period of unemployment among young jobseekers."
Korean-economy  Korean-jobs  Korean-SMEs  chaebol  Hell-Joseon  Korean-unemployment 
5 days ago
Physics explains why time passes faster as you age — Quartz
According to Bejan—who reviewed previous studies in a range of fields on time, vision, cognition, and mental processing to reach his conclusion—time as we experience it represents perceived changes in mental stimuli. It’s related to what we see. As physical mental-image processing time and the rapidity of images we take in changes, so does our perception of time. And in some sense, each of us has our own “mind time” unrelated to the passing of hours, days, and years on clocks and calendars, which is affected by the amount of rest we get and other factors. Bejan is the first person to look at time’s passage through this particular lens, he tells Quartz, but his conclusions rest on findings by other scientists who have studied physical and mental process related to the passage of time.

These changes in stimuli give us a sense of time’s passage. He writes:

The present is different from the past because the mental viewing has changed, not because somebody’s clock rings. The “clock time” that unites all the live flow systems, animate and inanimate, is measurable. The day-night period lasts 24 hours on all watches, wall clocks and bell towers. Yet, physical time is not mind time. The time that you perceive is not the same as the time perceived by another.

Time is happening in the mind’s eye. It is related to the number of mental images the brain encounters and organizes and the state of our brains as we age. When we get older, the rate at which changes in mental images are perceived decreases because of several transforming physical features, including vision, brain complexity, and later in life, degradation of the pathways that transmit information. And this shift in image processing leads to the sense of time speeding up.

This effect is related to saccadic eye movement. Saccades are unconscious, jerk-like eye movements that occur a few times a second. In between saccades, your eyes fixate and the brain processes the visual information it has received. All of this happens unconsciously, without any effort on your part. In human infants, those fixation periods are shorter than in adults.

There’s an inversely proportional relationship between stimuli processing and the sense of time speeding by, Bejan says. So, when you are young and experiencing lots of new stimuli—everything is new—time actually seems to be passing more slowly. As you get older, the production of mental images slows, giving the sense that time passes more rapidly.

Fatigue also influences saccades, creating overlaps and pauses in these eye movements that lead to crossed signals. The tired brain can’t transfer the information effectively when it’s simultaneously trying to see and make sense of the visual information. It’s designed to do these things separately.

This is what leads to athletes’ poor performance when exhausted. Their processing powers get muddled and their sense of timing is off. They can’t see or respond rapidly to new situations.

Another factor in time’s perceived passage is how the brain develops. As the brain and body grow more complex and there are more neural connections, the pathways that information travels are increasingly complicated. They branch like a tree and this change in processing influences our experience of time, according to Bejan.

Finally, brain degradation as we age influences perception. Studies of saccadic eye movements in elderly people show longer latency periods, for example. The time in which the brain processes the visual information gets longer, which makes it more difficult for the elderly to solve complex problems. They “see” more slowly but feel time passing faster, Bejan argues.
A lifetime to measure by

Bejan became interested in this topic more than a half century ago. As a young athlete on a prestigious Romanian basketball team, he noticed that time slowed down when he was rested and that this enabled him to perform better. Not only that, he could predict team performance in a game based on the time of day it was scheduled. He tells Quartz:

Early games, at 11 AM, were poor, a killer; afternoon and evening games were much better. At 11 AM we were sleepwalking, never mind what each of us did during the night. It became so clear to me that I knew at the start of the season, when the schedule was announced, which games will be bad. Games away, after long trips and bad sleep were poor, home games were better, for the same reason. In addition, I had a great coach who preached constantly that the first duty of the player is to sleep regularly and well, and to live clean.

Now he’s experienced how “mind time” changes over the much longer span of his whole life. “During the past 20 years I noticed how my time is slipping away, faster and faster, and how I am complaining that I have less and less time,” he says. It’s a sentiment he hears echoed by many around him.

Still, he notes, we’re not entirely prisoners of time. The clocks will continue to tick strictly, days will go by on the calendar, and the years will seem to fly by ever faster. By following his basketball coach’s advice—sleeping well and living clean—Bejan says we can alter our perceptions. This, in some sense, slows down mind time.
time  perception  psychology  aging 
5 days ago
How K-pop Turned Bohemian Rhapsody Into A Viral Phenomenon In Korea - MTV
But these explanations all fall short of answering the core questions: Why Queen, and why Bohemian Rhapsody? For it is not the case that every music-themed movie succeeds in Korea. The N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton, is the second-most successful music biopic ever (trailing Bohemian Rhapsody), and earned far more critical praise in the U.S., depicting a group that is no less iconic than Queen. Yet it did merely fine in Korea, never reaching the same level of virality, despite being released just three years earlier than Bohemian Rhapsody. And while Queen was indeed popular in Korea in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it does not explain the movie’s appeal to the young Koreans who were too young or too not-yet-born to see the band in action.

Ultimately, the answer is simple: the movie is popular in Korea because Queen’s music and performance resonate with the major themes in Korean pop music. For a comparable example, consider PSY’s "Gangnam Style." Although PSY was a complete cipher to the U.S. audience in 2012, "Gangnam Style" took America by storm. Of course, PSY’s humorous looks, his signature horsey dance, and absurdist music video are all a part of the reasons why "Gangnam Style" became a viral hit. But "Gangnam Style" also presented something familiar: an EDM tune reminiscent of LMFAO, the mainstream U.S. sound at the time. Americans liked "Gangnam Style" because it was a twist on something familiar. The same is true with Koreans and the Queen biopic: Koreans like Bohemian Rhapsody because it presents something familiar, because there is something about Queen that reminds them of Korean pop music.

And Queen presents something familiar to Koreans because a significant part of Korean pop music was shaped after Queen’s music and frontman Freddie Mercury’s stage presence.

The foundation of today’s K-pop was laid in the late 1980s, which opened an era that came to be known as the "golden age" of Korean pop music. In many ways, this era serves as the wellspring of inspiration for today’s K-pop idol groups as this era's tunes are the ones in which they grew up, and the ones their producers had been making. South Korea’s democratization in 1987, followed by the Seoul Olympics in 1988, opened the field for all types of pop music to flourish. A hugely diverse array of genres, ranging from pop, ballad (soft rock), hip-hop, trot, and adult contemporary, all had a meaningful presence in the mainstream. For the Korean pop musicians of the late 1980s and 90s who considered themselves rockers, the contemporary U.K. progressive rock musicians such as Pink Floyd and Queen were the gold standard to emulate. Deulgukhwa, for example, is considered one of the most iconic rock bands in Korean pop music history, and it is impossible to listen to their "Oh You are a Beautiful Woman" ["오 그대는 아름다운 여인"] without being reminded of Queen’s "Love of My Life."

Queen’s music found popularity in Korea as it collected an eclectic genre of music and presented through the format of pop-rock. This methodology behind Queen’s music is the same as the one behind modern K-pop’s inclination toward genre-bending music. Queen’s influence was particularly pronounced in Shin Hae-chul, one of the most important figures in Korean pop music history. Having debuted in 1988 as a member of a college band, Shin led an illustrious 26-year career as musician and producer, primarily in rock music. Shin’s emulation of Queen goes beyond his band N.EX.T's album jacket art or one of the albums being titled "Space Rock Opera." Shin’s innovative use of synthesizers is directly traceable to Queen, and in turn influenced the K-pop artists and producers who followed his path.

But arguably, Queen’s stage performance exerted an even greater influence on K-pop’s development. The glam rock trend led by David Bowie, in which music is presented not only through sound but also through stage design, choreography, costume, hair, etc., has significantly influenced Korean pop music, leading to the modern K-pop trend that focuses on the visual presentation as much as the aural. Freddie Mercury’s charismatic stage presence — an apotheosis of the glam rock trend — left a deep impression on Korean pop musicians in the early 1990s, as they were beginning to put on arena shows of their own. Shin constantly sought to emulate Queen’s stage for his own concerts. PSY has said Freddie Mercury was his inspiration.

This trend has traveled down in the development of Korean pop music, and can be seen today in modern K-pop as well. Unlike their counterparts in, say, Japanese pop music, the idol groups in K-pop tend to focus on daring visual presentation. In particular, K-pop idol groups from SM Entertainment such as EXO and SHINee have been the faithful followers of the glam rock tradition — with gender-bending makeup and costumes, all while emanating charisma throughout a large arena. The same is true with BTS, who also make effective use of the baroque and mythical visuals that Mercury often favored. In fact, these idol groups' lush visual presentation has been a major factor in modern K-pop’s international success.

Not frequently appreciated, however, is how the K-pop idols are finding success as heirs of Freddie Mercury.
K-pop  Queen  Bohemian-Rhapsody 
5 days ago
The link between polygamy and war - The perils of polygamy
Plural marriage, bred of inequality, begets violence

IT IS a truth universally acknowledged, or at least widely accepted in South Sudan, that a man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of many wives. Paul Malong, South Sudan’s former army chief of staff, has more than 100—no one knows the exact number. A news website put it at 112 in February, after one of the youngest of them ran off to marry a teacher. The couple were said to be in hiding. To adapt Jane Austen again, we are all fools in love, but especially so if we cuckold a warlord in one of the world’s most violent countries.

Men in South Sudan typically marry as often as their wealth—often measured in cattle—will allow. Perhaps 40% of marriages are polygamous. “In [our] culture, the more family you have, the more people respect you,” says William, a young IT specialist in search of his second wife (his name, like some others in this article, has been changed). Having studied in America and come back to his home village, he finds that he is wealthy by local standards. So why be content with just one bride?

Few South Sudanese see the connection between these matrimonial customs and the country’s horrific civil war. If you ask them the reason for the violence, locals will blame tribalism, greedy politicians, weak institutions and perhaps the oil wealth which gives warlords something to fight over. All true, but not the whole story.

Wherever it is widely practised, polygamy (specifically polygyny, the taking of multiple wives) destabilises society, largely because it is a form of inequality which creates an urgent distress in the hearts, and loins, of young men. If a rich man has a Lamborghini, that does not mean that a poor man has to walk, for the supply of cars is not fixed. By contrast, every time a rich man takes an extra wife, another poor man must remain single. If the richest and most powerful 10% of men have, say, four wives each, the bottom 30% of men cannot marry. Young men will take desperate measures to avoid this state.

This is one of the reasons why the Arab Spring erupted, why the jihadists of Boko Haram and Islamic State were able to conquer swathes of Nigeria, Iraq and Syria, and why the polygamous parts of Indonesia and Haiti are so turbulent. Polygamous societies are bloodier, more likely to invade their neighbours and more prone to collapse than others are. The taking of multiple wives is a feature of life in all of the 20 most unstable countries on the Fragile States Index compiled by the Fund for Peace, an NGO (see chart).

Because polygamy is illegal in most rich countries, many Westerners underestimate how common it is. More than a third of women in West Africa are married to a man who has more than one wife. Plural marriages are plentiful in the Arab world, and fairly common in South-East Asia and a few parts of the Caribbean. The cultures involved are usually patrilineal: ie, the family is defined by the male bloodline. And they are patrilocal: wives join the husband’s family and leave their own behind. Marriages are often sealed by the payment of a brideprice from the groom’s family to the bride’s. This is supposed to compensate the bride’s family for the cost of raising her.

A few men attract multiple wives by being exceptionally charismatic, or by persuading others that they are holy. “There may be examples of [male] cult leaders who did not make use of their position to further their personal polygyny, but I cannot think of any,” notes David Barash of the University of Washington in “Out of Eden: The Surprising Consequences of Polygamy”. However, the most important enabler of the practice is not the unequal distribution of charm but the unequal distribution of wealth. Brideprice societies where wealth is unevenly distributed lend themselves to polygamy—which in turn inflates the price of brides, often to ruinous heights. In wretchedly poor Afghanistan, the cost of a wedding for a young man averages $12,000-$20,000.

By increasing the bride price, polygamy tends to raise the age at which young men get married; it takes a long time to save enough money. At the same time, it lowers the age at which women get married. All but the wealthiest families need to “sell” their daughters before they can afford to “buy” wives for their sons; they also want the wives they shell out for to be young and fertile. In South Sudan “a girl is called an old lady at age 20 because she cannot bear many children after that,” a local man told Marc Sommers of Boston University and Stephanie Schwartz of Columbia University. A tribal elder spelled out the maths of the situation. “When you have 10 daughters, each one will give you 30 cows, and they are all for [the father]. So then you have 300 cows.” If a patriarch sells his daughters at 15 and does not let his sons marry until they are 30, he has 15 years to enjoy the returns on the assets he gained from brideprice. That’s a lot of milk.

Valerie Hudson of Texas A&M University and Hilary Matfess of Yale have found that an inflated brideprice is a “critical” factor “predisposing young men to become involved in organised group violence for political purposes”. Terrorist groups know this, too. Muhammad Kasab, a Pakistani terrorist hanged for his role in the Mumbai attacks of 2008, said he joined Lashkar-e-Taiba, the jihadist aggressor, because it promised to pay for his siblings to get married. In Nigeria, Boko Haram arranges marriages for its recruits. The so-called Islamic State used to offer foreign recruits $1,500 towards a starter home and a free honeymoon in Raqqa. Radical Islamist groups in Egypt have also organised cheap marriages for members. It is not just in the next life that jihadists are promised virgins.
The deepest deprivation

In South Sudan, brideprices may be anything from 30 to 300 cows. “For young men, the acquisition of so many cattle through legitimate means is nearly impossible,” write Ms Hudson and Ms Matfess. The alternative is to steal a herd from the tribe next door. In a country awash with arms, such cattle raids are as bloody as they are frequent. “7 killed, 10 others wounded in cattle raid in Eastern Lakes,” reads a typical headline in This Day, a South Sudanese paper. The article describes how “armed youths from neighbouring communities” stole 58 cows, leaving seven people—and 38 cows—shot dead “in tragic crossfire”.

Thousands of South Sudanese are killed in cattle raids every year. “When you have cows, the first thing you must do is get a gun. If you don’t have a gun, people will take your cows,” says Jok, a 30-year-old cattle herder in Wau, a South Sudanese city. He is only carrying a machete, but he says his brothers have guns.

Jok loves cows. “They give you milk, and you can marry with them,” he smiles. He says he will get married this year, though he does not yet have enough cows and, judging by his ragged clothes, he does not have the money to buy them, either. He is vague as to how he will acquire the necessary ruminants. But one can’t help noticing that he is grazing his herd on land that has recently been ethnically cleansed. Dinkas like Jok walk around freely in Wau. Members of other tribes who used to live in the area huddle in camps for displaced people, guarded by UN peacekeepers.

The people in the camps all tell similar stories. The Dinkas came, dressed in blue, and attacked their homes, killing the men and stealing whatever they could carry away, including livestock and young women. “Many of my family were killed or raped,” says Saida, a village trader. “The attackers cut people’s heads off. All the young men have gone from our village now. Some have joined the rebels. Some fled to Sudan.” Saida’s husband escaped and is now with his other wife in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. Saida is left tending five children. Asked why all this is happening, she bursts into tears.

“If you have a gun, you can get anything you want,” says Abdullah, a farmer who was driven off his land so that Dinka marauders could graze their cattle on it. “If a man with a gun says ‘I want to marry you’, you can’t say no,” says Akech, an aid worker. This is why adolescent boys hover on the edge of battles in South Sudan. When a fighter is killed, they rush over and steal his weapon so that they can become fighters, too.

Overall, polygamy is in retreat. However, its supporters are fighting to preserve or even extend it. Two-fifths of Kazakhstanis want to re-legalise the practice (it was banned by the Bolsheviks). In 2008 they were thwarted, at least temporarily, when a female MP amended a pro-polygamy bill to say that polyandry—the taking of multiple hubands—would be allowed as well; Muslim greybeards balked at that.

In the West polygamy is too rare to be socially destabilising. To some extent this is because it is serialised. Rich and powerful men regularly swap older wives for younger ones, thus monopolising the prime reproductive years of several women. But that allows a few wives, not a few dozen. The polygamous enclaves in America run by breakaway Mormon sects are highly unstable—the old men in charge expel large numbers of young men for trivial offences so they can marry lots of young women themselves. Nevertheless, some American campaigners argue that parallelised polygamy should be made legal. If the constitution demands that gay marriage be allowed (as the Supreme Court ruled in 2015), then surely it is unconstitutional to disallow plural marriage, they argue. “Group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism,” writes Fredrik deBoer, an academic, in Politico, on the basis that long-term polyamorous relationships deserve as much legal protection as any others freely entered into.

Proponents of polygamy offer two main arguments beyond personal preference. One is that it is blessed in the Koran, which is true. The other is that it gives women a better chance of avoiding spinsterhood. Rania … [more]
polygamy  marriage 
5 days ago
South Korea’s Speedskating Community Faces Reckoning After Rape Allegations - The New York Times
When the #MeToo movement started gaining traction in South Korea last year, many people here looked to the country’s sports communities, which have long been dogged by allegations of corruption and physical abuse. But few victims spoke out.

That changed this month, when Shim Suk-hee, 21, a member of South Korea’s national short-track speedskating team and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, said she had been repeatedly raped by her former coach, Cho Jae-beom, since she was 17.

Mr. Cho, 38, was fired as national team coach shortly before the start of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, last year on allegations of violent abuse against athletes. In September, he was sentenced to 10 months in prison for physically assaulting four athletes, including Ms. Shim, between 2011 and the run-up to the Pyeongchang Games.

If Ms. Shim’s accusation of sexual assault is corroborated, it would add more weight to the long-held allegation among sports analysts that South Korea’s glory in short-track speedskating has been built on a brutal training regimen that included beatings and other forms of violence.

Other countries have also been addressing allegations of abuse against elite athletes, including the United States, where Lawrence G. Nassar, a former doctor for the American women’s gymnastics team, was sentenced last year to decades in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting numerous young women.

Mr. Cho, speaking through his lawyers, denied raping Ms. Shim. The police said that they had confiscated his cellphone and computers to look for criminal evidence.

Ms. Shim’s accusations against her former coach have sent shock waves through the country’s sports community.

South Korea is particularly proud of its short-track speedskating. The country has won 24 Olympic gold medals, more than any other country, since the sport became part of the Games in 1992. Ms. Shim herself has won more than 20 gold medals in international competitions since 2012, including a gold in the 3,000-meter team relay at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She won the same medal in Pyeongchang.

“This unveils the humiliating underside of our country’s glorious facade as a sports powerhouse,” President Moon Jae-in said on Monday.

Mr. Moon called for a thorough investigation, urging his government to help other victims feel safe enough to speak out.

His remarks came as more than 260,000 people signed a petition to his office demanding a longer prison term for Mr. Cho.

Mr. Moon’s government was caught off guard by Ms. Shim’s allegations.

Only hours before Ms. Shim’s accusations were first reported in the local news media last Tuesday, the country’s Korean Sport and Olympic Committee reported making strong progress in its campaign to protect athletes against sexual and other types of abuse. In a survey of 1,201 athletes, including all 791 national team members, the committee said it had found only four cases of sexual violence. In a similar survey in 2010, almost 27 percent of respondents reported sexual abuse.

The government said it would open a more comprehensive investigation of sexual crimes in the sports community, vowing to expel perpetrators from the profession permanently and take steps to prevent schools and other teams from hiring them.

“One of the problems has been that the perpetrators were not properly punished and they often returned to their old jobs,” Vice Sport Minister Roh Tae-kang said last week.

Encouraged by Ms. Shim’s accusations, a former judo player named Shin Yoo-yong, 24, publicly accused her former coach of repeatedly raping her since she was a high school student. Her coach had once tried to silence her with a $445 payoff after his wife began suspecting him of having a sexual relationship with her, Ms. Shin said in a Facebook post and in an interview with the Hankyoreh newspaper published on Monday.

The police said they were investigating the case.

Solidarity for Young Skaters, a group of current and former ice skaters and coaches, said at least two other victims planned to speak in public. Other victims of sexual violence were afraid to speak out because whistle-blowers in the past had been vilified and ostracized in their profession, which is ruled by a rigid, hierarchical relationship between coaches and athletes, said the group’s leader, Yeo Jun-hyung, a former national team coach.

The government’s efforts to encourage whistle-blowers by opening hotlines for victims have not worked, critics said.

“If Shim Suk-hee were not an Olympic gold medalist, her case too could have been buried,” Chung Yong-chul, a professor of sports psychology at Sogang University in Seoul, the South Korean capital, said at a news conference last week.

Sports experts had long said that abuse was widespread in South Korea, where winning Olympic golds justified physical assaults. In South Korea, athletes often live together in dormitories and routinely skip other classes, leaving them with few other career choices. Such a system gives coaches exceptional power over athletes, sports commentators say.

Mr. Cho, who had coached Ms. Shim since she was in primary school, regularly inspected her cellphone to see who she was talking to, her lawyer, Lim Sang-hyuk, told reporters. When she was in the fourth grade, Mr. Cho broke her finger bone with a hockey stick, Mr. Lim said.

Ms. Shim could not protest this behavior because of fears that Mr. Cho would end her career, Mr. Lim said. The coach once tinkered with Ms. Shim’s skate blades in a competition to favor other athletes, Mr. Lim added.

Ms. Shim’s troubles first came to public attention last January, when she left the national team training facility in the run-up to the Pyeongchang Games because of physical abuse.

Mr. Cho was quickly removed as coach after an investigation. He was briefly hired to coach the Chinese national team after he was banned from working in South Korea, but he later returned home to face trial.

Testifying at Mr. Cho’s appeals trial last month, Ms. Shim said Mr. Cho used to punch and kick her until “she felt she might die” during training for the Pyeongchang Games. Ms. Shim claimed that a fall she had during a Pyeongchang competition was because of a concussion she suffered at Mr. Cho’s hands.

“I came here so that there will be no more victims like me,” Ms. Shim said.
Korean-hierarchy  Korean-sports 
5 days ago
Why Puffer Jackets Are at the Centre of Korea’s Class Divide | Global Currents | BoF
With temperatures now hovering at single digits, followed by reports of first snowfalls, a curious trend is taking off in South Korea: the puffer jacket. Its presence is ubiquitous and is worn by everyone across the country, from elementary school children in Busan to K-pop celebrities like Suzy Bae and BTS in Seoul. But the jacket is more than just a piece of practical cold-weather wear; it’s a vital fashion statement that has become a marker of class divide.

A few years ago, the craze was specifically for North Face jackets. They’re often referred to as “spine breakers,” because “parents’ [financial] backbones are ‘broken’ by having to buy these ridiculously high-priced jackets for their children,” explains Celine Hong, a Korean photographer and videographer whose clients include Vogue Korea, Dazed, Hypebeast and MM6 Maison Margiela.

While the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics this Feburary helped boost the recent trend for puffers, it is also a cultural issue with meaning that goes far deeper. “It’s a syndrome phenomenon beyond fashion. [It] starts with the middle school and high school uniform culture of Korea; students who wear the same clothing all the time began to wear padded jackets,” says Mo Kim, general director of the multi-brand concept store Rare Market.

The type of puffer jacket someone chooses to wear is important. “Each brand, style and colourway signifies a certain social subgroup,” he continues, explaining that playground hierarchies are determined by the choice of puffer jacket worn. It’s similar to how consumers in need of status use loud luxury goods to signal to the less affluent that they are not one of them.

In recent decades, Asia has become a region of extremes: as of 2018, four of the world’s five most expensive cities are in Asia, with Seoul coming in fifth place. Yet, a wealth gap, driven largely by wage disparity and differing levels of access to education, has opened up. It has in turn led to a hugely popular phrase among young people in South Korea, which is "hell joseon (헬조선)," roughly translating as “Korea is close to hell and a hopeless society.”

While the country has often been championed as an economic success story, thanks to the global popularity of South Korean culture known as hallyu, income equality in Korea is the worst in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a 2016 report by the International Monetary Fund, dispelling the myth that everyone here is affluent, when in fact, there is a system of hidden social strata and wider income disparity issues that are not noticed from a cursory trip to the capital city.

Similar to Japan, there are ancient codes of social hierarchies that determine a lot in Korean life. Therefore, anything that highlights this — like the status symbol of a coat — can be powerful, because it shines a light on a topic and emotions that are rarely discussed openly but that people feel. According to local media, the puffer jacket fad has caused problems in schools like theft, aggressive bullying, counterfeiting and money extortion. Some parents are even said to have bought their children expensive puffer coats to boost their self-esteem, but merely end up competing with other parents.

While change is afoot — President Moon Jae-in was elected on a wave of outrage over this growing inequality and has begun work to reverse the trend — the fact of the matter is, “every teenager I know has at least one puffer jacket,” says Hong. “It’s the most popular item in the winter season.”

But what’s really driving this trend?

It’s no secret that K-pop, K-dramas and K-beauty have become wildly popular over the past decade in Seoul and overseas. Many individuals look to their favourite Korean stars for inspiration, so when the boy-band members of BTS step out in Puma’s down padded coats, it’s likely that a legion of fans will follow. “You see celebrities on TV shows; when they’re shooting outside it’s very cold and they have to stay outside for a long time, so they wear these puffers and it becomes a big trend,” says Jung Kuho, executive director of Seoul Fashion Week, held at the Zaha Hadid–designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza. “My nephew is 13 and he really wants a long puffer jacket this winter. It’s become like a uniform for that generation.”

However, for the older generation, the puffer’s appeal has less to do with following K-pop trends and more to do with finding comfort in conformity rather than individuality in South Korea’s culturally homogeneous society. “Many parents here teach their children ... that by not standing out too much in a group, they’ll be safe,” says Jung. “It’s why Koreans tend to look alike. People here love to follow trends, whichever way it goes, and a majority of people go after the same thing: they go to the same restaurants, listen to the same music.”

“There is a tendency for people here to follow key trends en masse,” agrees Caroline Kim, chief operating officer of Solid Corporation, an export-trading company in Seoul, but also added that “apart from the obvious reason of freezing temperatures during the winter, Koreans are generally very influenced by global trends. The popularity of streetwear and street brands has led to increased customer demand for [puffers] in Korea.”

Hip-hop and associated visual representations have recently exploded into Asia’s mainstream, prompting a hip-hop-influenced, high-end streetwear obsession. But it's a phenomenon that isn’t restricted to the continent. (Earlier this year, rap overtook rock as the biggest music genre in the US for the first time.) Now, it’s starting to take over airwaves in South Korea, even though the country is better known for its monumental K-pop scene.

The first widely recognised Korean song containing rapping appeared in 1989, courtesy of Hong Seo-beom, a moderately popular rock musician. Then emerged Jinusean, a pioneering Korean hip-hop duo backed by YG Entertainment — the talent agency of Big Bang, G-Dragon and 2NE1 — and rappers Tiger JK and DJ Shine of Drunken Tiger, who emulated prevailing black music trends in America. However, Korean hip-hop — abbreviated as K-hop — caught global attention in 2016 when Coachella announced it would host a Korean group for the first time in its 17-year history. To the surprise of many, the invitation was not extended to leading pop idol groups like EXO or Girls' Generation, but to alternative hip-hop group Epik High.

“When you watch Korean TV, it’s all about R&B and hip-hop. Rap is super popular right now,” says Jung, citing popular South Korean TV show "Show Me The Money," a competition show where everyone from underground rappers to mainstream artists battle it out to bring home a cash prize. (The programme’s popularity has extended to neighbouring countries like China, leading to successful spinoffs like “The Rap of China.”) “When you look at rappers, their style and how they dress, they love big puffer jackets,” Jung continues.

The South Korean market presents a major opportunity for fashion brands, with designer apparel and accessories approximately worth $5 billion and growing 7.2 percent on average each year. And the puffer jacket phenomenon has been a boon to outerwear brands in the country.

In the first nine months of 2018, Moncler’s sales in Asia grew 39 percent, a spokesperson at the company told BoF, noting that China and Korea were the strongest performers. “Moncler’s down jackets are a luxury must-have … specifically for the Korean market. This style is currently one of our most popular categories.” The Italian label currently has 24 directly operated stores in the country.

Canadian outerwear brand Nobis opened shop in Korea six years ago and today, it has 33 direct retail stores across the country. “We launch two to six new styles, exclusive to the Korean market each season,” says Nobis co-founder Robin Yates, who formerly served as vice president of Canada Goose. Today, it counts Korea as among its top five performing markets.

According to a spokesperson at, Moncler, Canada Goose, Herno, Burberry and Prada are among the luxury retailer’s best performing puffer brands and the style is among its top five categories in Korea. Brands such as The North Face, K2, Descente, D-Antidote, Youser, This is Never That and Ienki Ienki have also been popular with Korean shoppers.

Launched in 2016 by Kiev-based Dmitriy Ievenko, who also co-founded Asthik Group, one of Ukraine’s fastest growing luxury retail companies, Ienki Ienki’s down jackets begin at around $700 and go up to $1,500. Yet, the high price tag hasn’t dented demand. “In our store, Ienki Ienki sold out straight away in its first season,” says Rare Market’s Kim.

Today, the Ukrainian outerwear label is stocked in 315 stores across 30 countries — in Seoul, it can be found in 10 Corso Como, Rare Market, Breaker, Boon the Shop, Cherbebe and Space Mue. “Each season, our orders in Korea rise about 20 percent,” founder Ievenko adds.

The puffer is also Korean menswear label D-Antidote's bestseller for the Autumn/Winter season. "For Autumn/Winter 2018, we presented four to five puffer styles and 3,000 pieces were ordered from international retailers," says D-Antidote designer Park Hwan-sung. The brand launched in 2014 and today has over 35 stockists worldwide.

Many Koreans are willing to spend on a brand name because of its perceived value, says art director Gary Bradnick, who has spent a lot of time in the country. “A middle class demographic has been forming over a few years ... in this instance, the price tag becomes more important, as it becomes less about how cheap did you get it for, but more how much you paid to own an authentic item, which of course is a statement of one’s wealth."

“It’s interesting because Koreans buy puffer jackets to fit in, but also to stand out and differentiate [themselves],” says Kim… [more]
Korean-class  Korean-fashion  Korean-economy  Korean-conformity  Korean-inequality  Korean-schools  Korean-hierarchy  Korean-consumerism 
7 days ago
Bald Guys Are Hot: Fact
Yesterday in The New York Times Magazine, the Wisconsin writer Barrett Swanson made a reluctant case for balding: “Accented by my equally unkempt beard, my visage now resembles that of a[n] 1840s prospector or some obscure founding father, as if I had just stepped out of a daguerreotype to pontificate on matters of virtue.”

To which I say, objectively, why would any man resist going bald? It’s so attractive, it boggles my mind. If I were a guy, I’d be excited. I’d kneel beside my bed at night and pray for it. Baldness signals testosterone (well, complicatedly), wisdom, and manliness; why would anyone fight that? I know we’re all different, but honestly why would anyone have any other opinion on this topic?

Bald guys are hot. Bald guys are no-nonsense, bald guys have other things to think about. Bald guys aren’t using a bunch of hair supplies, bald guys have more time to spend doing attractive and useful things, like building houses and making jokes. Bald guys are magnificent. Bald guys seem to have seen something more of life. Bald guys know things, if you know what I mean.

Guys with beautiful hair are wonderful, but they remind me of myself. Not because I have beautiful hair, but because I also want beautiful hair, and there cannot be two of us. You guys can have the amazing forearms, I can have the nice hair.

Similarly, why would anyone use Just For Men Gel? Why do we let these strange myths perpetuate? To end on a dark note, the baldness myth reminds me of this upsetting Medium story about how an anonymous man’s mind and body were permanently “ruined” by an anti-balding drug.

Baldness is fantastic, we all know it, what the heck!
7 days ago
Sex and Physiological Cycles Affect the Automatic Perception of Attractive Opposite-Sex Faces: A Visual Mismatch Negativity Study - Shu Zhang, Hailing Wang, Qingke Guo, 2018
In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that the attractive opposite-sex faces can be perceived automatically and the allocation of attention can be adaptively modulated by observers’ own physiological factor. For males, in order to gain high-quality mate, attractive female faces tend to trigger more intense and earlier ERP responses. For females at different stages of physiological cycle, their hormone level and reproductive ability change accordingly, so does their visual preference over male faces. Meanwhile, females also show the high and later automatic perception of attractive opposite-sex faces during ovulatory period. These findings can be explained by the fact that ovulating females have two different motivations: The motivation to avoid the genetic staining and the motivation to reproduce, with the former taking precedence over the latter. And based on the breeding motivation, FOs crave for good genes that they pass on to their offspring, as males do. The perception of high-attractive opposite-sex faces is commonly regarded as adaptations, which have evolved in the course of biological history. This feature not only has evolution significance but also sociological significance.
faces  periods  menstruation  attractiveness  male-mating-strategies  female-mating-strategies 
7 days ago
S. Koreans Increasingly Likely to Forego Marriage | Be Korea-savvy
Amid South Korea’s rapid decrease in the number of marriages, the rate of unmarried people in their mid-30s and under has already surpassed that of Japan, which has already experienced a surge in celibacy.

A new study conducted by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs reports that rate of unmarried individuals has rapidly increased in South Korea for the last 20 years.

The rate of unmarried men in their mid-20s jumped from 64 percent in 1995 to 90 percent in 2015.

During the same period, the number of unmarried people aged 30 to 34 has risen significantly, from 19 percent to 56 percent. Other age groups show similar increases.

The rate of unmarried women also shows a similar tendency. Specifically, the share of unmarried women aged 25 to 29 rose from 30 percent to 77 percent. For those aged 30 to 34, the rate rose from 7 percent to 38 percent.

In Japan, where the social environment is similar to South Korea and where significant social phenomena often occur earlier than in South Korea, the rate of unmarried men and women in most age groups was higher than that of South Korea until 2005.

However, since 2015, South Korea has surpassed Japan’s rate of unmarried individuals. In particular, the rate of unmarried men aged 25 to 29 was 17 percent higher than that of Japan.

While the marriage rate is dropping significantly, fewer people are engaging in relationships.

According to a 2012 survey, only 33 percent of men and 37 percent of women were in a relationship. This result can be interpreted as a sign that South Korea is following in Japan’s footsteps when it comes to marriage.

There is a growing tendency to equate romantic relationships with marriage. Thus, people give up or have difficulties initiating a romantic relationship for they have to get a job and be chosen by the opposite gender.

Finances also play an important role in relationships. The rate of people in a relationship was high for those with jobs, and men with high incomes were more likely to date.

South Korea is dominated by tacit norms that people don’t give birth without getting married first and romance being a precondition for marriage.

Therefore, the government needs to push for policies that guarantee economic stability to help young adults to get married.

D. M. Park (
Korean-marriage  Korean-singles  Korean-single-households  Korean-demographics  Korean-birthrate 
8 days ago
A Better Way of Talking About Beauty - Pacific Standard
If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, then what is the function of writing about beauty? Does beauty not exist to be observed, celebrated, memorialized?

The answer, argued persuasively by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano in her new book, Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women’s Lives, is both simple and paradoxical: We talk about beauty too much, and we don’t talk about it enough.

More specifically, Whitefield-Madrano argues that, when we talk about beauty in the modern era, we tend to do so in largely reductive, unhelpful ways. From ancient civilizations to the present, we’ve found ourselves obsessed by beauty, in thrall to its power and to those who wield it. Beauty colors our relationships with one another and with ourselves in ways we have only begun to explore — and so we have an imperative to talk about it, to tell stories about beauty that reflect our experiences and that undermine wrong-headed conventional wisdom. But it is also true that we often scapegoat beauty in order to avoid touching upon deeper matters. We say, “I feel unattractive today,” when really we mean, “I’m worried about how work will go today” — or “You look lovely” when we mean, “I am drawn to your kindness.” In our appearance-obsessed world, it’s no surprise that beauty talk has become a universal stand-in for discussions of what ails us, and what brings us joy.

Whitefield-Madrano has spent the past decade writing about beauty with nuance, humor, and erudition, on her long-running blog The Beheld, and in Salon, Jezebel, the Guardian, and elsewhere. If contradiction lives at the heart of beauty, then Whitefield-Madrano, a lifelong reader of teenage beauty magazines who also has a solid grounding in second-wave feminism, is well poised to untangle its knots.She weaves together practical wisdom and academic theory in order to help readers — particularly, though not exclusively, women — navigate the ins and outs of contemporary beauty culture, which has grown exponentially in breadth and complexity even within the last decade.

Whitefield-Madrano casts a skeptical gaze on all totalizing ideologies of beauty, avoiding prescription and condemnation, instead paying close attention to the particulars of women’s experiences across race, sexuality, and gender expression.

Face Value, a themed meditation on beauty in contemporary life, delivers on the promise of Whitefield-Madrano’s previous work. It is smart, even-handed, and personal, the last of which I mean as pure praise: The author makes no bones about having lived her life wrapped up in the theory and practice of beauty culture, often drawing on anecdotes and conversations to illustrate her ideas. We realize, as we read, that for Whitefield-Madrano to refrain from implicating herself would do a disservice to her subject; for beauty is personal, and we should not try to deceive each other that when we talk about it, we are not also talking about ourselves.

Beauty is a bit of a discursive minefield—like sex or class—and demands a sensitive, agile approach to do it justice, especially as beauty culture is still largely the purview of women, who have already endured so much at the hands of the beauty industry, media, and a certain strain of separatist feminism that excommunicates women who shave their legs and wear make-up (good feminists, this line of thinking goes, should shun these burdens of patriarchy-enforced femininity). Whitefield-Madrano casts a skeptical gaze on all totalizing ideologies of beauty, avoiding prescription and condemnation, instead paying close attention to the particulars of women’s experiences across race, sexuality, and gender expression.

Beauty is a teeming nest of contradictions. It is both compulsory — we must engage in a measure of personal beauty work in order to observe social norms — and expressive, a form of play that makes visible our notions of who we are or could be, allowing us to try on and cast off identities as easily as the swipe of a smudge brush. It is both objective — we generally agree on, for instance, who is the most beautiful person in the room, or on the idea that symmetry is important to beauty — and subjective, widely variable based on relationship with the beauty object, perceptions of “inner beauty,” as well as culturally defined beauty ideals, specific to region, era, and class. Whitefield-Madrano seeks not to resolve these contradictions — which are, for the most part, insoluble — but to inhabit them, as a means of perpetual re-negotiation with beauty culture. She frames our relationship with beauty not as “something we must overcome,” but rather as “a powerful portal to a stronger relationship with the world,” a bundle of threads that can lead us toward a better understanding of how we relate to ourselves and each other. If we learn to live with the tensions intrinsic to a beauty-soaked womanhood, then we can let go of guilt and shame around our own desire to feel and be seen as beautiful, and re-purpose the vast reserves of energy presently devoted to these emotions toward more productive, nourishing uses of our time.

Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women’s Lives. (Photo: Simon & Schuster)

The book reaches its peaks when it approaches surprising, even heretical conclusions on a subject. The chapter “The Prettiest Girl in the Room” explores the manifold ways beauty mediates relationships between women: how, for instance, the insider-language of beauty can bond us together (like when we implicitly know the difference between foundation and concealer), but also aid in policing of each other’s bodies (like when we snicker at someone’s “cankles”). By teasing out the ways that beauty language encodes social relations, Whitefield-Madrano heightens our consciousness of how judgments about appearance shape every one of our interactions.

But here, as elsewhere, beauty also always points beyond itself. Whitefield-Madrano probes the root causes of beauty-centered friction between women, and finds that appearances can be deceiving. In the case of beauty envy, for instance, she suggests that, when we envy someone’s looks, it isn’t primarily her beauty we covet. Her appearance functions as a surrogate for what we’re really after: her charisma, or intellect, or confidence. And these feelings of longing for some facet of another woman usually contain tendrils of longing for, well, her. “Jealousy,” Whitefield-Madrano writes, “will be little more than fleeting unless it’s paired with fascination — and where there’s fascination, more often than not, there’s something resembling affection.” When we zoom in on ostensibly negative emotions like jealousy and competitiveness, we often find grains of affinity and desire, which point the way to a collective, rather than divisive, beauty culture. If we are honest with ourselves about why we envy other women, we find that the reasons have more to do with our similarities, our shared struggles and goals, than our differences. After all, we tend to envy those who most resemble us, because they offer a realistic vision of who we could be if we were just a little taller, a little sexier, a little smarter. Acknowledging the element of admiration in jealousy may help us let go of the animus.

Whitefield-Madrano does not shy from such observations, even when they challenge powerful ideological currents: The revelation that we can look at a beautiful woman and feel something other than resentment and self-hatred still rocks feminist boats, even a quarter-century after the publication of The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf’s book on the physical and psychological harm women suffer under the influence of ubiquitous, unattainable beauty ideals. These ideals, espoused by the fashion and beauty industries, have established an “iron maiden,” a standard of perfection that punishes women who fail to achieve it — which is all of us.

The Beauty Myth became an instant classic because women recognized the truths in its portrait of a punitive, appearance-obsessed society. But it was never the whole truth. In 1991, iconoclastic intellectual Camille Paglia gave a speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she famously said: “We should not have to apologize for reveling in beauty. Beauty is an eternal human value. It was not a trick invented by nasty men in a room someplace on Madison Avenue.” Paglia argued that feminism, like any liberal political ideology, cannot account for visual pleasure because beauty — by its nature anarchic, irrational, wild — defies liberalism’s quaint Enlightenment faith in reason and good behavior. But this species of pleasure exists nonetheless. When confronted with a beautiful woman, Paglia says, she does not feel despondence at her own ordinary looks, but delight in a specimen touching the heights of human loveliness.

A woman’s appearance can function as a surrogate for what we’re really after: her charisma, or intellect, or confidence.

Whitefield-Madrano proposes a sort of synthesis of the Wolf-Paglia dialectic, with an eye toward advancing beauty talk beyond its either-or terms. Yes, she agrees, beauty culture restricts women’s self-presentations, encroaches upon their daily thoughts, and taxes their wallets (her emphasis on the literal cost of beauty provides a refreshingly materialist alternative to narratives around oppression and empowerment). But are women losing it quite as badly as Wolf would have us believe? No, Whitefield-Madrano ultimately concludes. Beauty media, ever savvy to trends among their consumer base, have incorporated the feminist critique of the image into their own advertising strategy. Think of the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign, which featured white-undied women of a broader range of shapes and colors than one usually sees in beauty ads — though still no larger than, say, a size 14, and therefore … [more]
Autumn-Whitefield-Madrano  beauty-ideals  Face-Value  books  Camille-Paglia 
8 days ago
Lisa Yuskavage Doesn’t Want to Be a “Good Feminist.” Her Paintings Are Better for It - Artsy
A hint of a misconception that nudes and sex appeal can't be feminist

It always takes me a while to warm up to Yuskavage’s paintings, and this one is no exception. The nudes that she’s painted since the early 1990s—for which she’s become famous—often possess doll-like bodies with cute button noses and wrinkle-free skin. (Around the same time, painters Elizabeth Peyton
and John Currin
—a fellow Yale University graduate and one-time roommate of Yuskavage’s—were also embarking on new brands of figurative art.) In Home, the lean, toned female figure gazes seductively at the viewer, tilting her sunglasses at us. My gut reaction, each time I’ve seen a show of Yuskavage’s, is to wonder why we still need such objectifying paintings of nude women—no matter whether the source material is real, imagined, or photographs of pin-ups. Who really has anything new to say about the subject?

I’m not convinced that Yuskavage’s paintings are countering stereotypes about women, or helping any feminist program. (To be fair, when she speaks about her work, she frequently focuses on her process, not her politics.) Indeed, they connect less to our contemporary world than to some nostalgic, gold-lit version of the 1970s, with its reverence for bad taste: giant necklaces on a man’s hairy chest, beaded panties, scenes that seem cribbed from dirty magazines. The longer I look at these paintings, though, the more I allow myself to get caught up in these deeply bizarre fantasy worlds; the paintings’ weirdness, and their divorce from reality, become their true strengths. Yuskavage’s bodies—soft and sketchily defined—are often beside the point.

...While speaking about her work at Zwirner, Yuskavage offered an enlightening anecdote regarding the fraught gender politics in her work. She discussed visiting a magazine shop on 11th Street, scanning Penthouse for inspiration. “This guy comes over to me and said, ‘Are you doing research?’ Because of course I’d be doing research. I was a woman,” Yuskavage recalled. She answered with brash confidence: “I said ‘I’m doing whatever you’re doing.’ I didn’t want to lose the right to be a creep. I want the range. I don’t just want to be a good feminist doing research.”
Being a “good feminist” isn’t interesting to Yuskavage—her practice is too multifaceted for such a classification. Consider her 2016 painting Stoned, on view at Zwirner’s downtown venue. It presents one of Yuskavage’s most potent characters—a pale woman in a gray, unbuttoned jacket and flowered cap emerging from a gray background. She stares directly at the viewer, lit cigarette pressed between her lips. Her sex appeal is central to the work, certainly. But she also couldn’t care less what you think.
feminst-art  art 
8 days ago
Want to Make a Lie Seem True? Say It Again. And Again. And Again | WIRED
You only use 10 percent of your brain. Eating carrots improves your eyesight. Vitamin C cures the common cold. Crime in the United States is at an all-time high.

None of those things are true.

But the facts don't actually matter: People repeat them so often that you believe them. Welcome to the “illusory truth effect,” a glitch in the human psyche that equates repetition with truth. Marketers and politicians are masters of manipulating this particular cognitive bias—which perhaps you have become more familiar with lately.

President Trump is a "great businessman," he says over and over again. Some evidence suggests that might not be true. Or look at just this week, when the president signed three executive orders designed to stop what he describes—over and over again—as high levels of violence against law enforcement in America. Sounds important, right? But such crimes are at their lowest rates in decades, as are most violent crimes in the US. Not exactly, as the president would have it, "American carnage."

"President Trump intends to build task forces to investigate and stop national trends that don’t exist," says Jeffery Robinson, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He's right that the trends aren't real, of course. But some number of people still believe it. Every time the president tweets or says something untrue, fact-checkers race to point out the falsehood—to little effect. A Pew Research poll last fall found 57 percent of presidential election voters believed crime across the US had gotten worse since 2008, despite FBI data showing it had fallen by about 20 percent.

So what's going on here? "Repetition makes things seem more plausible," says Lynn Hasher, a psychologist at the University of Toronto whose research team first noticed the effect in the 1970s. "And the effect is likely more powerful when people are tired or distracted by other information." So ... 2017, basically.
Brain Feels

Remember those "Head On! Apply Directly to the Forehead!" commercials? That's the illusory truth effect in action. The ads repeated the phrase so much so that people found themselves at the drugstore staring at a glue-stick-like contraption thinking, "Apply directly to MY forehead!" The question of whether it actually alleviates pain gets smothered by a combination of tagline bludgeoning and tension headache.

Repetition is what makes fake news work, too, as researchers at Central Washington University pointed out in a study way back in 2012 before the term was everywhere. It's also a staple of political propaganda. It's why flacks feed politicians and CEOs sound bites that they can say over and over again. Not to go all Godwin's Law on you, but even Adolf Hitler knew about the technique. "Slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea," he wrote in Mein Kampf.

The effect works because when people attempt to assess truth they rely on two things: whether the information jibes with their understanding, and whether it feels familiar. The first condition is logical: People compare new information with what they already know to be true and consider the credibility of both sources. But researchers have found that familiarity can trump rationality—so much so that hearing over and over again that a certain fact is wrong can have a paradoxical effect. It's so familiar that it starts to feel right.

"When you see the fact for the second time it's much easer to process—you read it more quickly, you understand it more fluently," says Vanderbilt University psychologist Lisa Fazio. "Our brain interprets that fluency as a signal for something being true"—Whether it's true or not. In other words, rationality can be hard. It takes work. Your busy brain is often more comfortable running on feeling.

You are busy, too, so let me get back to Trump's latest executive orders, which are mostly symbolic. They certify that the government will do what it can to keep law enforcement officers safe. They contain vague language that civil rights advocates worry could lead to the criminalization of protest. But while perhaps unnecessary, the orders are hardly pointless—they reinforce the idea that America is unsafe, that law enforcement officers are at risk, that the country needs a strong "law and order" president. Data be damned.

As with any cognitive bias, the best way not to fall prey to it is to know it exists. If you read something that just feels right, but you don't know why, take notice. Look into it. Check the data. If that sounds like too much work, well, facts are fun.
psychology  Trump  social-media  fake-news 
8 days ago
[Interview] Sexual assault of national athlete is “not individual issue” : National : News : The Hankyoreh
“The state should sense its responsibility.”

“This happened because there was no reporting center? What difference does it make if they increase education or permanently expel him? The damage is already done. [The state] should keenly sense how this is their responsibility. The reason things have arrived at this point is because they’ve been irresponsibly ducking things [so far], acting like it’s enough to chop off the lizard’s tail and attributing the whole thing to corruption by the specific individuals.”

Speaking in the offices of the law firm Shin & Kim in Seoul’s Jung (Central) district on Jan. 9, attorney Im Sang-hyeok, 50, insisted the state was “nowhere to be found” in the case of national short-track speed skating team member Shim Suk-hee, 22, who suffered repeated sexual assaults by her former coach Cho Jae-beom, starting in her second year of high school.

“Legally, there is the matter of the managing director. Members of the national team are representatives of state, and the state sends them to international competitions as needed,” Im explained.

“They put athletes in this controlled system and demand good performance, while turning a blind eye to the crimes that take place within that system,” he continued.

“That is not an individual issue. It can’t be rooted out until the state first recognizes it as the state’s issue.”

Im became Shim’s attorney in summer of last year. The athlete found herself in need of support as the case of her assault by Cho at the Jincheon national training center in North Chungcheong Province ahead of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics escalated into a courtroom battle. In the first trial, the court placed Cho in custody with a 10-month prison sentence last September on charges including habitual injury.

“It felt really close to home for me as a parent to know about the abuse Shim Suk-hee suffered,” said Im, the father of two sons in elementary and middle school.

“Seeing [athletes like] Shim Suk-hee or Kim Yu-na, parents develop dreams of [their children] becoming athletes and entrust them to teachers,” he continued. “When I heard that [Shim] had suffered sexual assault too, I couldn’t fathom how it was true. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe Shim Suk-hee – I was shocked that such a thing could happen in the Republic of Korea in the year 2019.”

Shim remained quiet on sexual assault until perpetrator refused to acknowledge responsibility

Shim did not open up about the sexual assault, which left a lifetime’s worth of scars on her psyche. Even during her legal battle with Cho, she remained quiet. It was only after the detained Cho refused to acknowledge his responsibility that she finally summoned the courage.

“During the second trial, we heard that with Cho submitted a settlement and other factors, the assault issue could end up resulting in a suspended sentence,” Im explained. “We also went back and forth about reaching a settlement and getting what we could get. That’s when Shim told her father about the sexual assaults.”

It was a huge shock to Shims’ father, who had supported his daughter throughout her life.

“After all his support for his daughter over the year, the father was tremendously shocked and angry after learning about this,” Im said. “Right now, he’s holding up by taking medications for the stress.”

As soon as Shim revealed the sexual assault she had suffered, Im appointed a female attorney for in-depth one-to-one meetings with Shim. By working around the clock and on weekends, he was able to lodge additional accusations for the sexual assault case in December.

Im lauded Shim for her courage here.

Assault trial could have ended up as minor incident if not for Shim’s resolve>

“Based solely on the assault, the trial could have easily ended up something minor,” he said. “[The sexual assault] could have ended up buried if as the victim, she had thought something like ‘What can I do?’ or ‘Some people think he was hitting me to improve my competitive capabilities’ or ‘Maybe I’m overreacting.’ But she was resolute. She showed truly great resolution and bravery.”

In the past, it has often been the athletes who have ultimately suffered in cases involving abuse or sexual assault by trainers. In 2015, a luge athlete surnamed Kwon won a case claiming damages from a coach accused of habitual assault. But the athlete was unable to prepare for the competition to select national team members (which takes place annually), and was unable to fulfill the dream of competing on the national team.

“You can make an accusation and even go to trial, but the verdict is meaningless. There’s a widespread belief that athletes will only suffer if they speak out,” Im said.

Lack of protection from federation for abused athletes

“In [Kwon’s] case, there was no protection at all from the federation. The Korean Sport and Olympic Committee also turned a blind eye,” he added. “It gets treated as an individual problem rather than a structural one.”

In short-track speed skating and other ice events, athletes are typically trained by individual coaches. Barring conflicting interests, those relationships may last a lifetime. Shim began training under Cho Jae-beom in her first year of elementary school; by middle school, she was leading nationally. But rather than the joy of victory, she was left with a deeper burden of nightmarish memories she would prefer to forget.

Im also blasted Second Vice Minister Roh Tae-kang’s announcement of the lifetime expulsion of sexual assault perpetrators and other measures at an Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism emergency press conference that day, which the attorney called “nothing new.”

“There’s no substance [to the measures]. It’s irresponsible,” Im said. “It does no good after the damage done, when they didn’t prevent the problem from happening in the first place.”

“The victimization took place in the university locker room and the women’s locker room at the national training center, which is under the state’s direct supervision,” he continued. “If they really viewed this as their responsibility, they should have visited those darkened rooms and paid attention to what was going on.”

“Was this really none of their business? This incident will need to be an occasion for examining how far the legal liability extends for management and oversight and how much responsibility the people up the line should bear.”

“Whenever an incident like this happens, there are people who want it to go away quickly. They want to duck their responsibility. The problem will only be solved when all those people are gone,” Im insisted.

Shim still training hard for next competition

Shim Suk-hee is currently training at the Taereung national training center as she prepares for the World Cup and national team selection this February.

“Shim Suk-hee’s facial expression looks a lot brighter than it was before. She’s training hard too,” said an official with the Korean Skating Union.

Im explained, “She’s been dealing with this all alone, thinking about things like the additional damage she would suffer as a woman, retribution from the perpetrator, and her own family.”

“The physical and mental consequences have been enormous. But she’s drawing strength now from all of the encouragement and support she is getting from many people,” he added.

Kim’s strong comeback holds great significance. She also has more time left in her career as an athlete.

“For Shim Suk-see to compete better, the public has a necessary role,” Im said. “They need to support and root for her and provide encouragement so that capable athletes can show their ability.”

By Kim Chang-keum, staff reporter
Korean-hierarchy  Korean-sport 
8 days ago
[Editorial] State and athletic authorities responsible for sexual abuse of athletes : Editorial & Opinion : News : The Hankyoreh
“Shocking” is the only word for it. On Jan. 9, the South Korean government announced a long list of measures in response to allegations that former national short track speed skating team coach Cho Jae-beom committed repeated sexual assaults against athlete Shim Suk-hee. But as Second Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Roh Tae-kang himself said, it is clear that “all of the institutions and measures the government has developed in the past have proven basically ineffective.”

Now that Shim has summoned her bravery in the “earnest hope that such things never again happen in the sports world,” this is a moment that calls for a just response from South Korean society.

On the evening of Jan. 8, Shim’s legal representatives with the law firm Shin & Kim announced that they had lodged charges against Cho – who is currently serving time for habitual assault against four athletes – accusing him of violating the Act on the Protection of Children and Juveniles from Sexual Abuse. In their accusation, the attorneys claimed that Cho had sexually assaulted Shim multiple times since she was 17 years old.

Cho’s side has denied the charges – but there should be no reason for Shim to dredge up painful memories that could end up causing secondary damages themselves. As horrifying as it is to witness this clear-cut abuse of authority to sexually victimize an athlete Cho himself had selected and nurtured since her youth, it is all the more shocking to hear that such crimes were committed around the time of major tournaments in places directly managed by the state, including the locker rooms at ice skating facilities in the Taereung and Jincheon national training centers.

This is an incident that lays bare a widespread South Korean phenomenon of people abusing their power to commit sexual assault. But we also should not overlook the specific elements here – namely the state-led elite sports training system and the insular culture in the athletic community. Most South Korean athletes begin elite training in elementary school. If they fall out of their trainer’s favor, their athletic career is basically done for. Even when athletes summon the courage to speak out, the ones responsible for disciplinary action are athletic federations, and their punishments are often a slap on the wrist. This is why the primary responsibility can be said to lie with the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee and the Korean Skating Union. Results announced the day before from a KSOC survey on abuse in the sports world showed only 1.7% of respondents reporting experiences of sexual abuse – but it is difficult to take those findings at face value.

On Jan. 9, the government announced plans to increase punishments for sexual assault in the sports community and prevent perpetrators from working with related groups in South Korea and overseas or finding employment abroad. It also announced possible measures including enlisting human rights experts to revise related regulations, conducting a full-scale study under private sector leadership, improving camp training conditions, and increasing support and protections for victims.

This is nowhere near good enough. In addition to holding the KSOC and the relevant officials sternly accountable, we also need to fundamentally examine the current elite sports development system. Beyond a stern judicial judgment against the perpetrator, we also urgently need a response from the National Assembly on the currently dormant #MeToo legislation. Emerging from the courtroom on Dec. 17 during Cho’s trial, Shim said, “Before, I couldn’t imagine setting foot in the courtroom because I was afraid to face him, but I made the difficult decision to appear because I felt it was necessary to state the truth so that he would be sternly punished.”

South Koreans remember Shim from her performances at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where she came from behind with half a lap remaining in the women’s 3,000m relay, and the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, where she shrugged off a painful loss in the individual event to successfully fight for a gold medal with her relay teammates. The bravery she showed today will also be long remembered.
Korean-hierarchy  Korean-sport 
8 days ago
Why Vulnerability Can Be So Attractive - The Atlantic
To find out why this gap exists, Bruk and her team tested a theory about how the human mind processes information. They found that when we think about our own vulnerability, it’s more concrete and real, because we are so close to it. Under that magnified perspective, our imperfections are clearer, and it’s easier to identify everything that might go wrong. But when we think about another person’s vulnerability, it’s more distant and abstract. We can take a wider perspective that allows us to see not just the bad, but the good as well.

Research beyond Bruk’s and Brown’s generally supports the notion that people tend to admire vulnerability in others. When people show vulnerability at school or work, such as by asking for advice and help, they appear more competent to their advisers and supervisors—and opening up in personal relationships can even make people fall in love with each other. But there are times when being vulnerable can backfire—when it comes across less as beauty and more as straight-up mess.

A classic example is a 1966 experiment led by the psychologist Elliot Aronson. Aronson and his colleagues had students listen to recordings of candidates interviewing to be part of a quiz-bowl team. Two of the candidates appeared smart by answering most of the questions right, while the other two answered only 30 percent correctly. Then, one group of students heard an eruption of noise and clanging dishes, followed by one of the smart candidates saying, “Oh my goodness—I’ve spilled coffee all over my new suit.” Another group of students heard the same clamor, but then heard one of the mediocre candidates saying he spilled the coffee. Afterward, the students said they liked the smart candidate even more after he embarrassed himself. But the opposite was true of the mediocre candidate. The students said they liked him even less after seeing him in a vulnerable situation.

In psychology, this is known as the “pratfall effect.” Responses to someone’s vulnerability largely seem to depend on how others perceive that person beforehand. If she appears strong and capable before showing vulnerability, people are sympathetic; the vulnerability is humanizing, like that time Jennifer Lawrence tripped on her way to accept the Best Actress award at the 2013 Oscars. But if the person doesn’t seem competent, people are repelled; she really does seem like a mess, nothing beautiful about it.

The pratfall effect can be especially pronounced in the workplace, where, in America at least, there’s been an overall push for people to open up and be “authentic.” But if you haven’t established your competence first, showing vulnerability can damage your credibility, says Lisa Rosh, a management professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York. For example, at one company Rosh studied, a woman introduced herself to her colleagues not by mentioning her credentials and education, but by talking about how she’d been awake the previous night caring for her sick baby. It took her months to reestablish her credibility. Being overly familiar at work, Rosh says, can overwhelm others and make the vulnerable person appear needy and unstable.

Whether at work or on a date, it seems safest to show vulnerability within a relationship that has some history—in which there is reciprocal sharing and the connection between two people grows in tandem with the disclosures. And yet, the truth is there’s nothing really ever safe about being vulnerable—and that’s precisely what allows for a special connection in the first place. When someone shares his hopes and anxieties on vellum paper, or admits to a mistake, or professes love to a friend at a café, that person is doing something risky, but the possibility of being hurt helps open the door to a more genuine, intimate interaction. Things might not work out in the person’s favor, but there’s still something rare and, indeed, beautiful about the gesture.
psychology  vulnerablity  beautiful-mess-effect  pratfall-effect  authenticity 
9 days ago
More Speed Skaters Come Forward with Sexual Abuse Allegations - The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - Sports
Olympic short track speed skating champion Shim Suk-hee's allegation that her former coach had sexually assaulted her since she was 17 have opened the floodgates of similar charges from other skaters.

A group of Olympic skaters and skating coaches issued a statement on Wednesday saying, "We have learned through an internal probe that other athletes have been victims of sexual abuse and assault" by their coaches.

One female skater said, "We undergo tough training by a coach from childhood, and there are many cases where athletes can't put up resistance and remain silent for fear of ending their sports careers."

One short track speed skater told the Chosun Ilbo, "For every 10 cases of sexual abuse that sports authorities uncover, there are probably 200 more cases that remain hidden."

There is a rape hotline for athletes, but the problem is that coaches do not face serious consequences. Some are simply transferred to instruct other athletes or go overseas for a coaching job if they are found guilty. And it is not easy for athletes who blow the whistle to prove their case in court or overcome their fear of being blackballed.

Meanwhile, Shin's former coach Cho Jae-beom (38) categorically denied the allegations. "I met him in prison and he is extremely surprised by her allegations and insists he did not do that," Cho's lawyer told the Chosun Ilbo.

Cho, who was sentenced to 10 months behind bars for violently assaulting Shim, has appealed the ruling and reached an out-of-court settlement with three other victims.

But two of them told the court they wish to renege on the settlement after Shim's fresh allegations.

Cho has sent 22 handwritten letters to the judge apologizing for the assaults. One legal expert said, "Cho is technically a first-time offender and settled with other athletes who accused him, so there's still a chance that he may walk free on a suspended sentence. This is probably what drove Shim to make further allegations."
Korean-hierarchy  Korean-sexual-assault  Korean-sport 
9 days ago
Michael Hurt - Good girls go to Sookmyung Women's University.
Luke Hambleton My wife went there and still tries to project that same good girl student image

무비줘...이제 2019잖아....
‏ @susi_habgyuk_

숙대 앞 페미니즘 광고도 멋있지만 이번 홍보포스터도 너모 머싯다구~~!! 당당하고 자신감넘치는 표정~~!!! 이예이~
Translated from Korean by Microsoft

Feminism ads in front of the ladies look great, but this publicity poster is also your Mother ~~~~-in-the-face!!!! This example ~
Korean-universities  Korean-women'-universities  Sookmyung-Women's-University. 
11 days ago
[no title]
Jihye Lee 이지혜
‏Verified account @TheJihyeLee

SKorea's obsessed with forcing women to give more birth. But as @womenlink says, the key to solving a low birth rate is to solve an inherent gender discrimination/misogyny so so so deeply rooted in our "culture" and society

There's this approach from the older generations that millennials are selfish, and we don't care about the future, that's why we're not having babies. I'm personally terrified of having a daughter in a place where she'll be victim-blamed and be treated like a baby machine too.

‘저출산’ 문제의 해법은 성차별 해소다

9월 5일 김성태 자유한국당 원내대표가 원내 교섭단체 대표연설에서 ‘출산주도성장’이라는 시대착오적이고 성차별적 주장을 했다. 이는 ‘저출산’ 문제에 대한 제1야당 원내대표의 저급한 현실 인식을 여과없이 드러낸 발언이다. 여성을 비롯한 우리 사회 현실과는 무관하게 ‘저출산’ 문제를 돈으로만 해결할 수 있다는 그의 인식이 개탄스럽다.

‘저출산’ 현상의 근본적인 원인은 성차별적인 사회구조에 있다. 임신, 출산, 양육의 전 과정을 여성에게만 그 책임을 부과하고 있으며, 그것이 일터에서의 성차별로 이어지고, 여성을 비롯한 사회 전반의 성차별과 불평등이 출산을 할 수 없게 만들고 있는 것이다.

갈수록 심각해지고 있는 양극화와 과도한 노동시간 또한 사회구성원들의 재생산 권리를 침해하고 있다. 고용, 교육, 주택 등 사회 전반에서의 차별과 격차가 사라져야 비로소 ‘아이를 낳아 기를 수 있는’ 사회로 전환될 수 있다. 이러한 현실에서 최저임금과 법정 근로시간 단축을 자율에 맡기고 ‘저출산’ 문제 해결을 돈으로 해결하자는 김성태 원내대표의 발언은 여성들의 현실에 대한 무지에서 비롯된 빗나간 대안이다.

출산을 비롯한 사회구성원의 재생산을 정치‧경제‧사회‧문화 등 전 사회구조적으로 고려해야 할 통합적 사안으로 보지 못하고, 여성을 출산의 도구로 보는 시각은 최근 보건사회연구원의 ‘전국 출산력 및 가족 보건 복지 실태조사’ 과정에서 개별 가구의 현관문에 ‘전국 출산력 조사 대상자’ 메모를 붙여놓은 것과 궤를 같이 하고 있다.

성차별적인 사회 전반의 구조를 바꾸지 않는 한 인구절벽은 해결할 수 없다. 지금이라도 제1야당 대표는 여성들의 현실을 직시하고 여성들의 목소리를 대변하라. 정치권과 정부 또한 제대로 된 현실 인식으로 성평등한 사회를 위해 힘쓰라.

2018년 9월 6일

한국여성단체연합 7개 지부 28개 회원단체
Korean-demographics  Korean-marriage  Korean-birthrate 
11 days ago
Early Jobs Lead to Early Marriage | Be Korea-savvy
If young job seekers find job a year early, their first marriage is likely to occur three months earlier, according to a report from the National Assembly Budget Office.

The report is based on a youth panel survey, which tracks approximately 10,000 young adults aged 15 to 29.

The number of participants with a job and number of married participants confirms that the earlier a young adult gets a job, more financially secure they become for marriage.

With recent social problems of youth unemployment and late marriage, the report suggests that measures should be taken to foster early employment.

Last year, the average age of first marriage for men was 32.9, compared to 30.2 for women.

The later adults postpone marriage, the more likely they will have fewer children, making an already low birthrate even lower, which could eventually hamper economic growth.

******The report further confirmed that young adults are employed more quickly if their first job is stable and at a larger corporation.

This analysis is due to the tendency of job seekers who prepare to find jobs at large corporations lower their standards to temporary and small businesses when they fail to get a job.

Thus, the report concludes that for young South Koreans to get married early, stable employment is required and preferred jobs should be available on the job market.******

D. M. Park (
Korean-jobs  Korean-marriage  Korean-demographics  Korean-chaebols  Korean-birthrate 
11 days ago
What’s Up with the Idol-Turned-YouTuber Trend? – seoulbeats
YouTube is now the most used smartphone app in Korea, surpassing names like Naver, Kakao Talk, and Facebook. The statistics are impressive: in October of this year, Korean users spent a total of 33.3 billion minutes on YouTube, while the record for September was 23.4 billion minutes. And there’s more: research done by local pollster Embrain revealed that 4 out of 10 South Koreans who use YouTube spend more than an hour watching videos in the platform every day. The study, conducted in September, also disclosed that 55.9% of the interviewees primarily watch user-generated content.

While the platform is a staple to the industry and one of its main distribution channels, these blooming statistics seem to reflect yet another recent trend in the K-pop scene: the YouTuber idol. Even though some foreign names like Ailee and Eric Nam were discovered first through the platform, and others like f(x)’s Amber have been vlogging for a few years, 2018 saw an unprecedented surge in personal channels run by idols or ex-idols. Former Rainbow member Hyunyoung, former Miss A member Fei, Black Pink’s Lisa, Girls’ Generation’s Yuri and VIXX’s N all launched their channels in the past few months, just to name a few. There’s even a Reddit topic attempting to keep up with the ever growing list.

Idols who speak English seem to have taken the lead on this trend, since the longest-running accounts are theirs. As mentioned before, f(x)’s Amber is part of this group, as well as Day6’s Jae, BtoB’s Peniel and CLC’s Sorn. YouTube also offers a chance for fans to see these idols interacting freely with each other—a rare thing in the industry—like in the videos of Amber and Jae, Sorn and Jae, and Peniel and Amber. Perhaps because of their versatility with languages, they took advantage of YouTube’s global audience earlier than their peers.

But language barriers are hardly a problem nowadays, as even those who only record videos in Korean, like f(x)’s Luna and AkMu’s Suhyun, usually offer English subtitles. On the same note, this new generation of YouTubers explores a vast amount of topics, way beyond their K-pop personas. They create their own content, ranging from makeup tutorials to ASMR to Q&A’s, and take it as a chance to reveal hobbies, hidden talents, or interesting information that wouldn’t normally reach the public.

Sorn’s Produsorn is a great example of this. Although her videos are uploaded inside of Cube’s official channel, she seems to have decision power on what is shared, as well as a willingness to openly talk about controversial topics. Her episodes on the difficulties of being a trainee and life as part of a girl group were particularly enlightening. Unpretty Rapstar 3 contestant Grace, much like Sorn, has also used her personal channel to reveal more about the backstages of the industry, as well as her career as an independent artist and what it entails. In her own words: YouTube is a “must” these days, and its importance in her branding is evident.

More recently, the trend seems to have taken off for older generation idols as well, bearing names like 2NE1’s Dara in DaraTV, Choa and Way from Crayon Pop, and MBLAQ’s G.O (who shares the channel with his girlfriend, actress Choi Ye-seul). After a disbandment and other dark prospects that former idols have to face, the platform shines a hopeful light at the end of the tunnel. Taking advantage of the popularity and accessibility of YouTube is a chance to build on new audiences and explore potential sources of income, without depending on company restraints and other obstacles.

Even with the existence of V Live—Naver Corporation’s live stream service aimed to reach international audiences— YouTube still stands as the most reliable option for idols who want to create personal (and often solo) videos. V Live is great for amping up fandom engagement, but it’s mostly used by companies to promote group content, not to mention that its users are primarily Hallyu fans. YouTube, on the other hand, offers a diverse audience that cannot be reached elsewhere—fans of mukbang and fans of A Pink aren’t necessarily related, but both can arguably enjoy Bomi’s channel, for example.

It’s surprising how the idol-turned-YouTuber trend didn’t bubble up earlier, given how much it benefits both makers and viewers alike. User-created content has the power of building intimate experiences, and fans rejoice getting to know their favorite celebrities in a more personal way. Idols who pursue this path open themselves to possibilities that generations before did not have, develop new skills, and can even carve out a sustainable, rewarding career on their own. In an industry that heavily relies on bonding between stars and fans, personal channels are the perfect gateway to new standards of connection. As long as YouTube is still a thing, at least.
K-pop  Korean-girl-groups  Korean-boy-bands  Korean-celebrities  Korean-YouTube  YouTube  Korean-media 
11 days ago
S. Korea drops star director's sex abuse defamation complaint
South Korean prosecutors have rejected complaints by famed film director Kim Ki-duk of criminal defamation against an actress who accused him of physical and sexual assault, and journalists who reported other allegations.

Kim, 58, is one of South Korea's top directors whose awards include the Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Film Festival for "Pieta" and Berlin's 2004 Silver Bear for Best Director.

But an actress in 2017 accused him of sexual and physical abuse, saying he forced her into unscripted sexual scenes and slapped her repeatedly while shooting his 2013 award-winning film "Moebius", before replacing her with another actress.

Prosecutors dropped the sex abuse charge citing lack of evidence but fined Kim five million won ($4,600) for physical assault under a procedure to settle minor cases out of court.

Several other actresses came forward afterwards, anonymously accusing Kim of raping or sexually abusing them in an investigative television programme, "PD Notebook", that aired last year as the #MeToo campaign against violence against women took off in South Korea.

Kim denied the accusations and asked prosecutors to investigate the "PD Notebook" journalists for defamation, and the "Moebius" actress for defaming and false accusation.

He was able to do so under South Korea's defamation law, which makes libel a crime and provides that stating the truth can still be an offence if it is deemed to have tarnished others' social reputation.

Seoul prosecutors told AFP on Friday that they had dismissed all of Kim's complaints, saying the actress's sex abuse accusation was only dropped because they were unable to find enough evidence, and there was no proof she was purposefully lying.

- 'No evidence' -

According to reports the prosecutors said they saw "credible reasons" the interviews with other actresses aired on "PD Notebook" were true.

"The production crew had no intention to slander him and there is no evidence that the testimonies were false," the prosecutors said in a statement quoted by multiple media reports.

The "Moebius" actress -- whose name has been withheld -- hailed the latest decision and slammed Kim for trying to muzzle abuse victims with so-called "revenge accusations", a tactic used by a growing number of alleged sex abusers.

"Kim tried to silence me -- and perhaps other victims who wanted to come forward -- through counter-lawsuits of false accusation and defamation, but we will never be silenced again," she told AFP.

"It was so painful to face criminal investigations when I was a victim... but I have never regretted speaking out, not for one second."

Kim claimed that the "Moebius" slapping had been part of an "acting lesson".

The director has won a global following with his bloody, allegory-rich movies but has also faced accusations of misogyny over gruesome scenes of sexual and physical abuse of female characters, mostly prostitutes.

Women in South Korea's movie industry, both on screen or behind the camera, shy away from making open accusations against senior staffers or directors for fear of permanently damaging their careers, campaigners say.
Korean-defamation  Korean-libel  Korean-law  Korean-Me-too  victim-blaming  Korean-victim-blaming 
11 days ago
Sex and Physiological Cycles Affect the Automatic Perception of Attractive Opposite-Sex Faces: A Visual Mismatch Negativity Study - Shu Zhang, Hailing Wang, Qingke Guo, 2018
General Discussion

Although the detection of attractive face has been investigated, the brain mechanism of attractive facial perception in females with different physiological cycles and males is unclear. The central aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of attractiveness perception under unattended condition with a modified cross-modal delayed response paradigm. In the two experiments, the attractiveness vMMN could be obtained for all groups but occurred in different time courses for different groups.

Overall speaking, the pronounced attractiveness vMMN on posterior scalp distribution (posterior-occipital and occipital areas) demonstrated that all participants can visually detect attractive faces automatically in the context of unattractive face stimuli. From an evolutionary perspective, perception of attractiveness serves as the adaptation result for seeking mate with good quality. As we know, facial attractiveness is a reliable cue of the owner’s biological quality and mate value because attractive people have better parasite resistance, physical and reproductive fitness, longevity, less mutational load, higher intelligence, and better mental health. Thus, people with the capacity of automatically perceive high-attractive opposite-sex face have good chances to get erotic access to an opposite sex and thereby to increase their reproductive success. Based on the adaptation-oriented explanation, it posits that this automatic perception of attractive faces is an evolutionary adaptation and the result of natural selection.

Specially, we found that the amplitude of vMMN in males was much larger than FMs in Study 1 but similar as FOs in Study 2. Previous studies found that males in short bond prefer females with fertility characteristics, while males in the long bond prefer females with high reproductive value (Buss & Barnes, 2015; Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Hooff et al., 2011; Young, Critelli, & Keith, 2005). Both fertility and reproductive value can be reflected in females’ faces. Taken together, the results indicated that attractiveness is of the most importance for males in many mate choice criteria, no matter in long bond and the short bond. Good genes theory holds that attractive face is considered the symbol of healthy genes, sound immunity, and reproductive advantage, hinting more successful reproduction (Rhodes, 2006). Therefore, males may have the capacity of automatic attractiveness perception and have larger ERP effects produced by female face. Otherwise, the face that, the amplitude of N170 in males for attractive female faces was larger than unattractive female faces, can also support this, which is consistent with other studies (Lu, Wang, Wang, Wang, & Qin, 2014; Marzi & Viggiano, 2010; Zhang & Deng, 2012).

In consistent with other studies, we found that males and females showed differences in the preferences for highly attractive opposite-sex faces: FOs and males were similar but FMs are different (Aharon et al., 2001; Choi et al., 2015; Cloutier et al., 2008; Iaria et al., 2008; Ishai, 2007; Kranz & Ishai, 2006; Penton-Voak et al., 2004; Senior, 2003). More importantly, the amplitude of vMMN in FOs was as big as the males, but much larger than the FMs. These findings indicated the automatic perception of high-attractive opposite-sex faces in FOs may be underpinned by the breeding motivation. It can be explained in two ways. First, as FOs can realize their own genetic inheritance and are driven by a strong motivation for breeding, they have more intense incentives to pursue and attract sexual partners in order to have higher quality offspring. Under the motivation of breeding, ovulating females will conduct more frequent sexual behaviors, and even seek short-term sexual partners, so that they tend to invest more psychological resources in case of the opposite sex with high attractiveness (Gueguen, 2009; Röder, Brewer, & Fink, 2009). Therefore, FOs prefer highly attractive male faces (which signal good genes), which is similar to males (Gangestad, Thornhill, & Garver-Apgar, 2005; Johnston, Hagel, Franklin, Fink, & Grammer, 2001; Little, Jones, Burt, et al., 2007; Little, Jones, Pentonvoak, Burt, & Perrett, 2002). That is why the amplitude of vMMN in FOs was similar as the males. Second, the amplitude of vMMN in FOs is much larger than FMs, reflecting that FOs may be more interested in high-attractive male faces than FMs. The possible explanation is that the opposite-sex facial preferences in females are related to the menstrual cycle and based on the breeding motivation. FOs are more likely to have higher levels of sexual arousal than FMs. So that they tend to be more sensitive to male’s facial feature (Gangestad & Thornhill, 1998; Little, Jones, Burt, et al., 2007), even considered the masculine and symmetrical males were more attractive (Little, Jones, & Debruine, 2008; Penton-Voak et al., 2003; Welling et al., 2007). By comparison, the amplitude of vMMN in FMs is the smallest of all groups, so the vMMN of attractive opposite-sex faces in FMs is less automated. This indicated that the reproductive motivation is weak in this stage, and the perception of the attractive opposite-sex faces has a small effect on mate selection. Therefore, from the perspective of evolutionary psychology, females in the high fertile period (the ovulatory period) would pay more attention to the high genetic quality represented by the attractive opposite-sex face, in contrast, females in the low fertile period (the menstrual period) are interested in characteristics indicating parental investment.

Another interesting phenomenon was that the vMMN of FOs appears latest compared with the males and FMs in both the experiments, which was related to FOs’ other proliferation motivation—the motivation to avoid being tainted by genes, a danger that is most significant only in ovulation period. In this period, females are most likely to have their genes contaminated in the whole reproductive process (Navarrete, Fessler, Fleischman, & Geyer, 2009). And they may also be confronted with huge personal costs in the case of forced pregnancies (Garverapgar, Gangestad, & Simpson, 2007; Thornhill & Palmer, 2000). Under this motivation, they would prudently overestimate the opposite sex as a sexual aggressor regardless of wrong judgment and even dodge out-group to avoid the risk of being sexually assaulted (Mcdonald, Asher, Kerr, & Navarrete, 2011; Navarrete et al., 2009). This motivation can also be supported by the face-sensitive component N170, which showed differences between FOs and FMs about perceiving the attractive and unattractive opposite-sex faces. The amplitude of N170 in FOs was much higher than FMs, but there were no difference between perceiving the attractive and unattractive male faces in FOs and FMs, which have not been found in previous studies. This indicated that, in order to distinguish whether the opposite-sex face’s owner is an out-group or carrying a faulty gene, they allocate more attention resources, which were reflected in the largest amplitude of N170 and the longest latency of vMMN in FOs. In addition, through analyzing the latency of N170 and vMMN in FOs, we can see that the motivation to avoid the genetic stain takes priority over the breeding motivation. Hence, what females do first lies in ruling out the risk of gene pollution, on the basis of which they will further screen high-quality genes to breed their offspring. This is similar as some other behavior studies (Gangestad, Thornhill, & Garver-Apgar, 2010; Little, Jones, & Burriss, 2007).

In terms of neural mechanism, the attractiveness vMMN obtained in this study was distributed at posterior areas (parieto-occipital and parieto areas). These results are consistent with previous studies investigating the process of attractive facial information. Attractive faces will stimulate some cerebral regions related to reward and emotion, such as orbitofrontal cortex, amygdaloid nucleus, basal ganglia. (Ishai, 2007; Wilson & Daly, 2004; Winston et al., 2007). Some research made changes to experiment tasks with attractive and unattractive faces, but no matter how the change was, VTA would invariably be automatically activated by attractive faces (Chatterjee et al., 2009). Meanwhile, the attractiveness vMMN provided more convincing evidence about the automatic processing of the attractive faces. Meanwhile, the standardized low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography method might help us to explore the cortical generators of attractiveness vMMN (AMMN) in future studies.

In addition, even though a lot of studies do not consistent with the conclusion, the female perception to male attractive faces differs with menstrual phase, drawn from this study (Harris, 2011, 2013; Jones, 2018; Muñoz-Reyes, Pita, Arjona, Sanchez-Pages, & Turiegano, 2014; Wood & Carden, 2014; Zietsch, Lee, Sherlock, & Jern, 2015). These controversies should be studied in future. However, this study has revealed in the time course of attractive facial perception, which may provide sounder evidence showing that females’ automatic perception of facial attractiveness varies across the menstrual cycle.

This study had some limitations. First, previous studies indicated that the traditional vMMN in the oddball sequence indeed confounds standard stimuli refractoriness reflected by the changes of early visual ERP components such as the temporo-occipital N1 component (Astikainen & Hietanen, 2009; Chang, Xu, Shi, Zhang, & Zhao, 2010; Stefanics, Csukly, Komlósi, Czobor, & Czigler, 2012; Susac, Ilmoniemi, Pihko, Ranken, & Supek, 2010; Susac, Ilmoniemi, Pihko, & Supek, 2004) and N170 component (Japee, Crocker, Carver, Pessoa, & Ungerleider, 2009; Vlamings, Goffaux, & Kemner, 2009; Wronka & Walentowska, 2011), due to its similar latency and scalp topography with vMMN (Luck, 2014). Astikainen, Cong, Ristaniemi, and Hietanen (2013) found two separate components for the emotional faces in both the oddball and equiprobable conditions by independent component … [more]
ovulation  attraction  sexual-attraction  faces  periods  female-mating-strategies  male-mating-strategies 
11 days ago
In Asia, nascent men's make-up market starts drawing big brands | Reuters
In South Korea, spending per head on men’s skincare - seen as a small leap away from using concealers and make-up - already beats other countries hands down, with consumers splurging more than 10 times more than their U.S. or French peers, according to Euromonitor.

“The pressure to look youthful is very, very strong in South Korea. In jobs, you have to look like a 20-year-old - but have 20 years’ experience,” said Michael Nolte, creative director of cosmetics trend forecasting company BeautyStreams. “It’s a cultural thing too, boyish good looks are in.”

That brings opportunities, but also some hurdles, for the brands in a fiercely innovative and competitive local cosmetics market where non-male specific make-up is already becoming popular with men.
Korean-cosmetics  Korean-men's-cosmetics  men's-cosmetics  Korean-specs  specs  Korean-resumes  Korean-jobs  Korean-beauty-ideals 
11 days ago
The boozy, narcissistic culture shock of working in South Korea
Frank Ahrens was director of global p.r. for Hyundai, based out of their Seoul, South Korea, headquarters. One day, his employee Eduardo gave him shocking news.

“Sir, I got a hair transplant!”

Eduardo, in his mid-20s, had “a full head of hair worn long enough to touch his collar and cover his ears and his forehead. If you looked at Eduardo’s head, there was no place you could think of to put more hair,” Ahrens writes.

As Eduardo proudly showed him the stitches from the transplant, which cost almost $3,000, an incredulous Ahrens asked why he did it.

Eduardo explained that he’d seen hair come out in the shower and thought he noticed his hairline begin to recede just slightly. He added that everyone he’d spoken to — from his team members at work to his parents, who paid for the procedure — agreed this was the right thing to do.

Welcome to South Korea.

In his new memoir, Ahrens, a former Washington Post journalist, tells of the three years he spent in Seoul working for Hyundai and his rough adjustment adapting to a culture that is, in many ways, the polar opposite of how we live in America.

When Ahrens’ wife, who worked for the Foreign Service, received a posting in Seoul, Ahrens was hired by Hyundai to head up their global p.r. effort. But almost two decades in a Washington, DC, newsroom hadn’t prepared him for his new home.

For one thing, Korea’s culture of personal improvement would make a Kardashian blush, as plastic surgery is far more pervasive than in the US. This obsession with appearance is known there as “lookism.”

“South Korean women use on average three times as many daily skin-care products as Western women,” Ahrens writes, noting that plastic surgery is so common, it’s regarded as a major economic engine.

“There is a medical-tourism booth in Incheon International Airport. Korea has the highest number of plastic surgeons per capita and the world’s highest rate of cosmetic surgery. Buses and subway ads all over Seoul show highly graphic, often gruesome before-and-after photos.”

While liposuction and breast augmentation are the most popular types of cosmetic surgeries in the US, Korean plastic surgery is most often centered on the face, with procedures on chins and eyelids (for making the eyes appear more Caucasian) among the most popular.

The motives for this go beyond narcissism, speaking instead to the intense competitiveness of Korean culture, where résumés include headshots, Ahrens writes.

“Job applicants know that in Korea, as everywhere in the world, the better-looking of two equally qualified job seekers will likely get the position,” he writes.

“So instead of being hypocritical, as Koreans would say Americans are by pretending looks don’t matter, Koreans understand the system and try to succeed within it . . . to not choose plastic surgery, if it will improve your employment and life prospects, would be considered . . . ill-advised.”

Appearance is so important to Koreans that many couples “rent strangers to be wedding guests — it’s an actual business — so their real guests will be impressed by the size of their weddings.”

As obsessed as Koreans are with appearance, they are equally driven, somewhat ironically, by alcohol (which rarely improves anyone’s looks once the booze wears off). After a hard day at the office, corporate Koreans are expected to socialize with their co-workers, drinking like frat boys with something to prove.

Ahrens, normally a two- or three-beer drinker at best, writes that he had “been warned and had read about the Korean drinking culture,” which is so omnipresent he was asked about his drinking in his first job interview with the company.

“I was asked, ‘Do you drink alcohol? Your team will want to show respect to you by giving you drinks.’ ” He mentioned that while he can “enjoy a good beer,” he was sure “there were other ways my team could demonstrate their respect.”

He was wrong.

Koreans, it turns out, drink “more alcohol than anyone on Earth.” One study found that the typical Korean “downed an average of 11 shots of alcohol per week.”

That’s more than double the average Russian, who comes in at No. 2 with a measly five.

Korea’s national drink is soju, “a clear alcohol, typically made from rice or barley,” with an alcohol content of about 20 percent and a government-mandated price of about $1 per bottle, “so all Koreans can afford their birthright; constant access to a momentary escape from their hard lives.”

Soju is considered more than just a drink in Korea; it’s a corporate bonding agent believed to lead to “closer teamwork, better productivity and the creation of real affection between colleagues.”

At one business dinner, a high-level executive made a toast. Raising his glass, he said, “Is this soju?”

“ ‘No,’ they shouted back.”

“ ‘Is this our spirit?’ ”

“ ‘Yes!’ they replied.”

This isn’t to say that Koreans are totally freewheeling. Ahrens was often stymied by Korean traditions of respect and unwittingly insulted or discomforted those around him.

Korea in general, and Korean corporate culture in particular, follows dictates of Confucianism, which leads to bosses calling employees by their first name but employees always referring to their bosses by title and last name.

Ahrens committed a cardinal sin against the culture when, at the start of his tenure, he told his employees, “Call me Frank.”

He later realized he had tried to “establish a Western workplace in an Eastern culture,” and caused all sorts of problems.

“ ‘Call me Frank’ made some of my team members uncomfortable and drained me of some of my rank and status,” Ahrens writes. “They didn’t want to call me Frank . . . it made them feel like they were working for someone of lesser status than all the other directors.”

Ahrens was constantly blindsided by Korean traditions. Normally a formal, suit-wearing environment, he was taken aback when he arrived at work one day to discover “every non-executive male employee was wearing a short-sleeve button-up shirt, in white or light blue, with no tie and no jacket.”

No one had said a word. The change occurred as if by osmosis or some sort of psychic communication. He later learned the company allowed cooler clothing in the summer but found the way it happened “disorienting,” as no word had been shared. Everyone — except for him — just knew.

Ahrens even made his employees uncomfortable while trying to praise them. Anytime he’d single one person out for a job well-done they were “mortified,” replying instead, “It was a team effort.”

“Boldly expressing individuality for the sake of it was not a sign of independence and accomplishment, as it was in the US,” he writes. “It was rude and inconsiderate to all those around you.”

Ahrens tried to bust through the culture, including throwing a party at his house with people from work and others. But his employees viewed it as an obligation. They spoke to no one there but their fellow co-workers, and spent the night serving drinks to their superiors.

When Ahrens asked his team leader about this, the reply was, “Sir, we don’t go to parties where we don’t know everyone.” Ahrens said that parties in America were often for meeting people but was told that Koreans “make their friends for life in school.”

“How do you make friends as an adult?” Ahrens asked.

“We don’t,” was the reply.

Ahrens got a taste of this extreme hierarchy while representing the company at a car show.

The chairman of Hyundai dropped by, throwing employees into a panic. When he decided to walk the convention floor, Confucian custom declared that his top aides follow along behind him. But it also meant that their top aides had to follow them — leading to a ridiculous trail of people that left onlookers stunned.

“I climbed to the second floor of our booth,” writes Ahrens. “There was the chairman making his way through a parting motor-show crowd, at least 20 dark-suited men following, some taking notes. The effect was that of a long, black eel snaking its way through a crowd of startled media.”
Korean-workplace-culture  Korean-drinking  Korean-hierarchy  Korean-alcohol 
12 days ago
A full bladder can make you more decisive | 1843
You have a big decision to make. Whether to put in an offer on a house, say, or change jobs. Which of the following will help you make the right choice: being in a state of sexual excitement or having a full bladder? Most likely, it is not something you have pondered. Psychologists, however, have long studied the ways that external factors such as these influence our decision-making.

A full bladder, apparently, helps us take more rational, long-term decisions. At least that was the finding of a study carried out by Mirjam Tuk, a professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. In an experiment, Tuk tested two sets of participants. The first was told to drink five cups of water; the second to take just five sips. After 40 minutes, they were tested on their decision-making abilities. Tuk says that the group who were, by now, crossing their legs, were better able to exercise self-control and hold out for larger rewards.

If true, Tuk’s findings are interesting because they challenge an established psychological theory called “ego depletion”. This states that we only have a finite well of self-control. Each time we deny ourselves something—whether going to the bathroom or choosing a salad for lunch, rather than the sausage sandwich we really wanted—we use up some of our reserves. The theory of ego depletion was developed by Roy Baumeister, a psychologist at Florida State University. In practical terms, he says, this means that if you have an important decision to make, you shouldn’t draw from your well of self-control beforehand. Reserves, he says, can be depleted in all sorts of ways: “Even things like trying to look interested at a boring meeting, trying to pretend your boss’s jokes are funny or not saying something unkind to your spouse when you are angry.”

Decision-making ability can be thought of as akin to a muscle, Baumeister says, in that it is liable to be worn out with overuse. For some, this effect can be life-changing. A recent study by Israeli scientists found that judges were much more likely to grant a convict parole if they had just eaten a meal than if they were at the end of a session. At first, the scientists thought that falling sugar levels might be making the judges grumpy. But in the end they concluded that making too many decisions was tiring the poor things out. So, as a sitting wore on, they were more likely to take the easy option—in this instance returning the prisoner to chokey.

People also react in surprising ways to their physical surroundings. Josh Ackerman, a psychology professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that a decision can be affected by something as trivial as what we are touching at the time. His research has shown that our choices can depend on whether we are holding something heavy or light. He carried out an experiment in which participants conducted mock job interviews. Sometimes the interviewers held a heavy clipboard, sometimes a light one. When holding a heavy clipboard, the interviewer was more likely to view the applicant as having gravitas. Those interviewed by someone holding a light clipboard were seen as more flaky. It seems our minds take many such physical metaphors literally. Other studies have found that sitting on a hard chair when negotiating the price of a car will make you negotiate harder, and that holding a hot cup of tea when meeting someone will make you more warmly disposed towards them than if you are holding an iced drink.

The reason, Ackerman believes, is that touch is the first sense that we develop after birth. “People learn how to make decisions about the world by understanding what they’ve already experienced, and that means the physical world.” The ability to think in the abstract, of course, comes much later.

Another area of interest to the study of decision-making revolves around sleep deprivation. Professor Michael Chee, a neuroscientist at the National University of Singapore, says that most of us already realise that making decisions when we are exhausted is not advisable. Yet the effect that tiredness has on us is counter-intuitive. Chee says that we tend to believe that we become overly cautious in order to compensate. But the truth, he says, is that a lack of sleep makes us much too optimistic in our decision-making.

Chee’s research has implications for those who make some of the most important decisions of all. He says that he has evidence that surgeons at the end of a long shift can become too gung-ho, attempting risky treatments in the belief that they have found a genuine shortcut. (This is also something long understood by casino operators in Las Vegas. It is one reason why they go to such lengths to keep punters at the tables until the early hours, by pumping oxygen into the gambling halls and having no windows or clocks on the walls.)

To return to the original question, being sexually aroused, alas, is not an aid to decision-making. Studies have shown that it can make us impetuous, much as you’d expect. But what is striking is that we greatly underestimate its effect. When Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University in America, and author of “Predictably Irrational”, experimented on his undergraduates, he found that they had no idea of the extent to which they were being led by their libidos. One reason, Ariely believes, is that we have only a limited mix of emotion and cognition to draw upon. Increase one and you automatically detract from the other. So Robin Williams may have been making a valid psychological point when he said: “God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”

But if all our decisions are so influenced by external factors, that raises an inevitable question: to what extent are we involved in our own decision-making? Professor Ackerman believes the answer is very little: “All of these subtle influences suggest that most of what is causing our behaviour we are really not aware of. People are just very good at post-hoc reasons for their behaviour.” Which means that next time you reach for that sausage sandwich, you can reasonably lay claim to the excuse that you couldn’t help yourself. Unless you are desperate for the loo at the time.

Bill Ridgersis the business-education editor of The Economist and the editor of Gulliver, its business-travel blog
decision-making  psychology 
12 days ago
Forced drinks after work takes life of new recruit-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily
Forced drinks after work takes life of new recruit
Apr 21,2018
The death of a 27-year-old new hire at Hyundai Glovis following a night of drinking during a company workshop in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, has brought renewed attention to South Korea’s corporate drinking culture.

According to Hwaseong Police, the employee, whose name was withheld, was discovered dead by one of his colleagues in his hotel room at 7 a.m. on April 12.

He had apparently drunk beyond his level of tolerance at a company dinner the night before and returned to his hotel room by 11 p.m. The employee had been hired in February and was undergoing seven weeks of new employee training. He was about to be officially assigned to a post at the company before the tragedy.

The police said there was no evidence of foul play but is investigating the exact cause of death. Hyundai Glovis, a parts and service company in the Hyundai Motor group, remains hushed about the incident, but the deceased man’s colleagues are demanding a thorough inquiry.

Drinking alcohol is deeply enmeshed in South Korean corporate culture. It is believed to be a way of strengthening relationships and promote solidarity, and many corporate veterans believe drinking skills correlate with better work performance. New recruits are often initiated into the corporate lifestyle by being forced to drink as a rite of passage.

Some are trying to change that culture of overdrinking. The catchphrase “A life with dinner” has become popular, standing for a healthier work-life balance in which employees are allowed to go home to eat after work. The government is also encouraging a healthier balance through its shortening of the work week in February to 52 hours.

Some companies have launched campaigns like the “119 plan,” which restrict employees to one kind of drink after work (accounting for the first numeral 1), at one venue (the second 1), and dictates that company dinners end by nine o’clock (the 9). “More people are deciding to have dinners with their families,” said one human resources employee at a finance firm, “and company dinners focused on drinking are being replaced by group trips to the movies or searches for local delicacies.”

But the ritual of making newbies drink to excess after work remains a customary practice at many workplaces.

Kim, a 28-year-old Hyundai Motor Group employee, remembers well his days as a new recruit and doesn’t think it’s different now. “Times may have changed,” he said, “but the mindset of old guys at the company remains unchanged.”

“Company dinners are often seen as extensions of work,” said Lee, a 29-year-old worker at a construction company, “and senior employees often pressure subordinates to drink. Sometimes they prefer that we vomit at work the next day rather than decline alcohol at a company dinner.”

A study performed by online recruiting company JobKorea found that among 456 office workers, drinking was the primary purpose of 80.5 percent of all company dinners.

Korean-workplace-culture  Korean-drinking  Korean-alcohol 
12 days ago
bottoms up?<br>Corporate Korea distorts historic drinking culture-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily
‘To show commitment to one’s company, old traditions evolved into a peculiar drinking culture here involving boilermakers and group binge drinking.’
Feb 23,2011


When new employee Choi declined a shot of soju during a company night out, she had no idea of the ramifications the decision would invite.

“My immediate boss commented snidely that I would someday regret refusing the alcohol,” said the 24-year-old, who got a job at a local finance company a year ago. She asked that her full name not be disclosed.

“What really got to me though was that all my co-workers at that restaurant sat there in dead silence, like mindless robots,” she said.

Choi ended up drinking the shot of soju and got a small allergic rash the next day. Even after her compromise, however, her boss often makes fun of her about being “high maintenance.” She said that she still couldn’t shake the feeling that refusing the soju has hurt her career at the company.

Lee’s story isn’t a unique one in Korea, where a modern corporate culture has somewhat distorted the country’s traditional, etiquette-based drinking culture that stems from its Confucian influences.

A typical hoesik, or company outing, in Korea starts at a grilled meat restaurant, where work colleagues wash down their food with soju. Afterward, the group usually goes to icha (a second round), oftentimes a bar. Samcha (third round) usually involves a Korean karaoke bar, where boilermakers of whiskey and beer are offered. Those who survive the third round go onto a fourth round, which often involves haejangguk, or hangover soup, accompanied by more beer or soju. The aim is to push their limits in order to bond with co-workers and form “team spirit.”

Korea’s corporate culture is so dependent on alcohol that according to the Korean Alcohol Research Foundation - the country’s foremost authority on drinking culture - more than 90 percent of company outings revolve around booze.

Three out of 10 workers said they were dependent on alcohol to succeed at the workplace, according to a recent survey by Incruit, one of the biggest online job recruiting agencies in Korea. It added that one out of 10 workers in the survey of 684 male and female workers thought they needed counseling due to an “addictive” reliance on alcohol.

Ugly side effect of corporate life


The problem for many professionals like Choi is when corporate loyalty is warped into peer pressure to drink, regardless of one’s personal tolerance for alcohol.

Michelle Farnsworth, an American who has lived in Korea since 2002, said it was the pressure to prove she is “one of us [Korean]” by drinking that has puzzled her. When working at a local beef import company, Farnsworth recalled that she had to attend a hoesik on the 30th of every month.

“I like drinking, but it’s not fun when you are not drinking at your pace. And because of the peer pressure here to drink, you just can’t say no,” the 31-year-old said. “What’s different from my culture is that back home, you never want to drink with your boss, let alone drink out of their glass.”

In her new job as a foreign client manager at a local bank, she tells colleagues she doesn’t drink when out at hoesik.

Korean managers using their position of power to force underlings to drink has emerged as a major social problem.

In 2007, the Seoul High Court ruled that a manager at an online game company had to pay $32,000 to one of his subordinates for forcing her to drink alcohol during a hoesik - the first ruling of its kind. The court said that the manager violated his subordinate’s human dignity and said that forcing her to drink alcohol was illegal.

An Irish man who heads the Korean branch of a global industrial company described Korea’s drinking culture as “almost savage.”

“In Ireland, I would be able to go to a pub, stay there for four hours and go home not being drunk at all, but in Korea, that is impossible,” he said, declining to be named. “Forcing drinks on people and pushing glasses into their hands, and this being the norm, is quite shocking for a foreigner like myself.”

A historical connection


“In Korea, there is a long tradition of sujak [sharing drinks], which is the tradition of pouring drinks for one another and sharing the same glass,” said Kim Dong-hak, a director at the Korean Alcohol Research Foundation.

Kim explained that along with sujak, the tradition of guneum, or drinking in groups, is unique to Korea, stemming from before the Three Kingdoms period (57 B.C.-676).

One theory of guneum’s origins points to the country’s agricultural roots. “Unlike neighboring countries like Thailand or Indonesia where you can grow anything at anytime of the year, in Korea, we had to plant and harvest only at certain times of the year. Because of time constraints, farmers tended to work together in groups to get the most yield during harvest season,” said Lee Jong-ki, head of Liquorium, a liquor museum in Chungju, North Chungcheong.

Lee, also a food engineering professor at Hankyong National University, explained that farmers tended to enjoy their leisure time together as well.

The Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897) is often cited as the golden age for Korean liquor. Documents and literature from the period show that there were around 340 varieties of Korean liquor. “Even as the drinking culture flourished at this time, there was a strict set of manners required for drinking, including holding up your glass with two hands and turning away from your elder when taking a sip,” said Kim.

“These respectable traditions are still prevalent today, but more on a shallow, surface level, without thought on what these manners really represent,” he added.

A changing drinking culture

Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945) altered Korea in many ways, and the country’s drinking culture was no exception.

A liquor tax law in 1916 effectively banned the making of any Korean liquor in households as well as outlawing Korean-style taverns.

The decline of the traditional drinking culture was further accelerated when, in 1965, an agriculture protection law prohibited the use of rice in making alcoholic beverages. Production of high-quality, distilled liquor - as opposed to liquor made by diluting ingredients - like Andong soju became illegal.

Professor Lee said it was right after this time, during the 1970s, when imports of Western liquor, including whiskey and beer, skyrocketed. The trend is still going strong today. According to data from the Fair Trade Commission, the best-selling alcoholic drink in Korea is beer, making up 46.3 percent of the alcohol market. Traditional liquor took up less than 1 percent.

The Korea Alcohol and Liquor Industry Association reported that Korea imported $3.84 million of whiskey, wine and beer in 2009 and that, including domestic liquor, the country was the world’s ninth-biggest market for whiskey.

“During the 1970s and 1980s, Korea’s industrialization took off, during which the drinking culture we know today began to take form, centering around large conglomerates like Samsung, Daewoo and Hyundai,” he said.

“In order to form strong group solidarity and show commitment to one’s company, the old traditions of sujak and guneum evolved into a peculiar drinking culture here involving boilermakers and group binge drinking. It was a fast, easy way to bond.”

Binge drinking is the problem

On the whole, Koreans consume slightly below the average amount of alcohol per person, compared to countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

According to the most recent OECD report on alcohol consumption, the average Korean drank around 8 liters of pure alcohol in 2007, compared to the OECD average of 9.7 liters per head. This is in contrast to the 13 liter average in France, 11.2 liters in the United Kingdom and 8.6 for the United States.

But the real problem for Koreans’ drinking habits, according to local experts, lies in binge drinking, which medical experts stress can be fatal.

“Modern day Koreans like to drink a lot, all at once. Especially in company settings, they drink to get drunk together, instead of enjoying the drinks, which is totally different from how our ancestors drank,” said Lee Sang-hee, former minister of home affairs and author of a series of books titled “Korea’s Drinking Culture.”

Over the years, this kind of drinking habit has catapulted the number of deaths in the country from diseases related to alcohol consumption. Data from Statistics Korea show that 494 Koreans per every 100,000 died from alcohol related diseases in 1983, mainly from liver failure. By 1992, this number rose to 2,023 for every 100,000 people. By 2009, deaths doubled to 4,417 people per 100,000.

Lee Yeong-suk, a medical professor at the Catholic University of Korea, warned that the body’s ability to process alcohol varies from person to person.

Binge drinking, he said, creates a much higher risk of liver disease for those whose bodies cannot breakdown the byproducts of alcohol.

“The drinking culture here has become twisted, in that Koreans are so forgiving and lenient of binge drinking,” said Kim, from the Korean Alcohol Research Foundation. “Even if a drinking session turns into what some might call mild sexual harassment, in Korea, it is overlooked or brushed off, with a sort of ‘boys will be boys’ sentiment.”

A push for change

A handful of alcohol-related harassment cases in recent years have started to change things.

As one of the first companies to address irresponsible corporate drinking, Posco, the nation’s largest steelmaker, has been limiting employees at its Pohang mill to two hours of hoesik per outing since 2005. Since last year, local home appliance giant Woongjin Coway Co. has banned its executives from using the company card to pay for drinks… [more]
Korean-workplace-culture  Korean-drinking  Korean-alcohol 
12 days ago
Korean women reject 'drink or be fired' culture | The Independent
Tired of being forced to down corrosive combinations of beer and rice wine to climb the career ladder, Korean women are fighting back against the business binge-drinking culture.

The recent High Court victory of a 29-year-old female subordinate forced to get drunk by her boss has set the ball rolling. He was found guilty of a "violation of human dignity" and she won damages.

Three more cases are soon to start and on Monday the Korean United Women's Association is calling people on to the streets in Seoul to protest against the drinking culture and the sexual harassment that can accompany it.

The South Korean capital remains one of the few places in the world where blasting the brain with booze is a business practice that is encouraged and enforced, with sanctions for those who refuse to drink - who more often than not are women.

These alcohol-sodden rituals begin in a restaurant with boilermakers (rice alcohol mixed with beer) and fried pork. The binge-drinking, often described as a team-building event, then moves on to a mandatory second round in a bar followed by a third in a karaoke club. There is only one goal - to get paralytic.

"I wish I'd sued my boss," says a 35-year-old woman who used to work for one of Korea's leading conglomerates and was sexually harassed at a mind-bending drinking session. It started with boilermakers," said the woman. "You have to drink everything in one go and then a senior colleague pours another. I was crazy drunk within 30 minutes."

The evening left her incapacitated and locked in a bathroom with a male colleague. She refuses to discuss what happened next but she quit the company within a month, suffering from a traumatic mix of shame and embarrassment.

"This woman's story is so common," says Chung Woo-jin, a social welfare professor at Yonsei University in Seoul who has studied the phenomenon. "In adapting to the work environment women are being forced to smoke and drink more to be accepted."

Korea's binge-drinking culture began during the economic hardship of the Seventies and its rituals were codified in the Eighties, during the military dictatorships, when rules of army life seeped into the corporate world. For that reason, booze is most deeply entrenched in Korea's sprawling public sector.

In Korea, a junior employee is expected to accept a drink from a senior colleague. "Koreans think that binge-drinking helps business relations," says Cho Surnggiei, a researcher at the Korean Alcohol Research Foundation, which is financed largely by the drinks industry. "When drinking, people become irrational - it's easier to control the will of employees when they become alcohol-dependent."

Cass, a Korean beer company, recently released a new product with twice the alcohol of average brews after it realised sales of its other products were falling because they took too long to get people drunk. To walk through Seoul after 10pm on a weeknight means an encounter with waves of drunks, almost all in dark suits. They are often followed by groups of women who look just as unsteady, but seem far less comfortable with their condition.

But women in executive positions are trying to change the culture from the inside. In companies where there is a significant female presence, groups of women have begun trying to replace team-building binges in bars with theatre outings or dinners in European-style restaurants. However, changing a deeply entrenched tradition will not happen overnight.

"At a recent interview, for an executive job in government, I was asked if I was a good drinker," said Kim Hae-won. "When I told the all-male panel that I didn't drink the senior interviewer expressed disappointment." Ms Kim got the job and has encouraged her female colleagues to rebel against the drinking culture. But that has sparked much hostility towards her: "When I refused to take any more drink a top official said I should be fired."
Korean-workplace-culture  Korean-drinking 
12 days ago
How have universities responded to #MeToo incidents? | ILDA
How have universities responded to #MeToo incidents?

Victims who report sexual crimes face barriers every step of the way

By Park Ju-yeon
Published Nov. 23, 2018
Translated by Marilyn Hook

At the beginning of this year, cries of “#MeToo” began to ring out from university campuses across the country. The accused were professors, and the victims were students. Some of these incidents received a lot of attention, while others didn’t. But there’s one thing they have in common: the victims and their supporters still feel as if their cries have not been properly answered.

To address this problem, the Women’s Human Rights Institute of Korea hosted a forum entitled “After #MeToo: How Have Campuses Responded?” on Nov. 13 at the Seoul NPO Center. The event featured student speakers from Cheongju University, Pusan National University, Dongduk Women's University, and Ewha Womans University, and provided an opportunity to discuss the kinds of incidents that are happening, how universities have responded to calls to investigate them, protect victims, and punish perpetrators, and the larger effects of those responses.

Reporting centers are poorly staffed and underfunded

Students first revealed that even properly reporting an incident was difficult. They described cases in which “the advising center said they were busy and didn’t respond”, “the victim’s information was leaked during the advising process”, or “I gave up because I didn’t feel like I could trust the advisor”.

Why are victims facing difficulties even in getting advice [on how to deal with incidents] and making reports? The Korean Women’s Development Institute carried out a survey of universities nationwide and conducted interviews with victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault and their supporters, and the results of this research give us some clues.

The average number of advising sessions on on-campus sexual harassment/assault conducted at universities in several regions in 2017. (Data source: “A Study of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in Universities and Recommendations for Systematic Improvements”, Korean Women’s Development Institute) © Ilda

Researcher Lee Mi-jeong of the Korean Women’s Development Institute (KWDI) presented the institute’s report, titled “A Study of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in Universities and Recommendations for Systematic Improvements”, pointing out, “There are fewer advising sessions taking place on-campus than you’d think.” The 312 universities that participated in the 2017 survey on which the report is based saw an average of 5.29 individual in-person sessions, 4.04 e-mail/online sessions, 2.93 phone sessions, and 0.22 group in-person sessions.

In the case of the most popular type, individual in-person sessions, the average number was 1.01 for regular universities and 0.03 for technical schools; 18 for national universities and 2.92 for private ones; and by region, most sessions took place in Seoul. In other words, larger numbers of sessions happened at regular universities, national universities, and Seoul universities. Ms. Lee explained, “You could interpret lower numbers of advising sessions as the result of fewer incidents, but they could also reflect a lack of advising centers or an unfavorable environment for receiving advising.”

In addition, the names of the relevant on-campus bodies – “Student Counseling Center”, “Career & Personality Counseling Center”, “Student Human Rights Center”, “Sexual Violence Counseling Office”, “Gender Equality Counseling Office”, “Gender Culture Counseling Office”, etc. – are all different, which can make it difficult to understand what their exact role is. At 44.9%, the largest amount of staff’s time is spent on student counseling and advising (advising on everyday issues, psychological counseling, and career counseling), but they also spend 18.2% of their time on education (violence prevention education, faculty training), 17.8% on administrative tasks (general paperwork, personnel management, management of student organizations), and 12.3% on student support (student welfare support, support for students with disabilities and international students). The wide variety of names given to advising centers reflects the wide range of functions they’re expected to perform.

However, only 38.8% of the staff of these centers are permanent workers. Most importantly, most universities allocate less than 5 million won (4,400 USD) per year for the centers’ sexual harassment/violence advising and reporting activities (see graph below). You can’t help but be suspicious of what and how much the centers can accomplish with such a budget. According to the KWDI’s report, staff reported “a lack of expert personnel, excessive workloads, [and] poor treatment” among the difficulties they face.

Universities’ budgets for sexual harassment/sexual violence prevention and incident response. (Data source: “A Study of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Harassment in Universities and Recommendations for Systematic Improvements”, Korean Women’s Development Institute) © Ilda

Ms. Lee argued, “The Ministry of Education needs to take a leading role in preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence.” She also recommended that, along with a suitable name, counseling centers be accorded a higher status, and that support for the protection of victims be increased. She added, “Universities must conduct surveys (on sexual violence).”

Protect victims’ “right to know”

Other problems that many students pointed out were that victims’ identities are not being properly protected and that “victims are excluded from the investigation and disciplinary process to the point where they aren’t even informed of its outcome”.

Attorney An Ji-hui (Wimin Law Firm), who assists with campus sexual assault cases through the Women’s Human Rights Institute of Korea, said that disclosure to other parties of the victim’s identifying details in the reporting and investigation process is a serious problem. She revealed, “There have been no concrete discussions of safeguards that would keep the reporting party’s identifying details secret during the disciplinary process.” Therefore, it is necessary to “amend the law so that investigations can take place without disclosing victims’ identifying details”. She also mentioned that “National Assembly member Park Ju-min proposed an amendment to the Civil Procedure Code (on Dec. 13, 2011) that would provide grounds for courts to prevent the disclosure of victims’ identifying details in civil proceedings, but it has still not been adopted”.

Ms. An also demanded a change to conditions in which “victims’ right to participate (to testify and to be kept informed) in disciplinary processes are not protected as they are during criminal proceedings”. To this end, she argued that we must “provide legal grounds for victims of sexual harassment who report incidents to public institutions to receive legal aid and assistance with their testimony”, “add content to the State Public Officials Act and the Local Public Officials Act that stipulate that those who report sexual violence be informed of resulting disciplinary measures upon request, and enable the victim, as the major witness, to participate sufficiently in the proceedings with legal assistance and the status of a related party”.

Ms. An also shared that “from Apr. 17, 2019, the State Public Officials Act will stipulate that victims be informed of whether and what disciplinary actions are taken”. However, she pointed out two limitations: “This regulation will apply only to national universities, not private ones, and the law only requires the reporting of the results of the disciplinary process, not the process as its taking place.” This means the Private School Act will need to be amended as well, and the State Public Officials Act will need to be strengthened.
Pusan National University’s Kwon Yeon-hwa and Lee Min-hui, Dongduk Women's University’s Mun Ah-yeong, MC Gwon-Kim Hyeon-yeong, Cheongju University’s Kang Yun-ji, and Ewha Womans University’s Kim-Jeong Han-kyeong at the roundtable discussion “After #MeToo: Barriers Faced on Campuses”, part of the Nov. 13 forum hosted by the Women’s Human Rights Institute of Korea. (c) Ilda (Park Ju-yeon)

In addition, Ms. An criticized universities for delaying the internal disciplinary process by referring matters to the police and using the claim of waiting for the outcome of the investigation as an excuse for inaction. She explained that in the government / civil servant disciplinary measures casebook, as long as reason for disciplinary action against a civil servant is recognized, such action may be taken even if a related criminal investigation is ongoing or a not-guilty verdict is reached in court. She said, “Universities can move forward with their own disciplinary processes separate from criminal proceedings.”

Student victims just want to go back to class

Lee Hyeon-suk, a representative from advocacy group Tacteen Nail, said, “We need to consider educational programs to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence, as well as measures to improve school cultures.” She added, “Preventive education is mandatory for professors, but it is often carried out cursorily,” and, “What we need is not simple violence prevention education but integrated (comprehensive) education that comes from a gender-sensitive human rights standpoint.”

According to “A Study of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Harassment in Universities and Recommendations for Systematic Improvements”, the category of support that most victims say they want is “protection of the victim’s right to learn and academic support”. More than legal assistance or support during the investigative process, students are asking to be allowed to continue to be students.

The … [more]
Korean-universities  Korean-academia  Korean-Me-too  Korean-students 
12 days ago
Youth Unemployment Worse Than During Financial Crisis - The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - Business > Business
January 07, 2019 11:45

Korea's overall employment has improved steadily since the global financial crisis, but youth unemployment is still worse.

The main reason is a failure by big manufacturers to create jobs while the young working population has increased.

The Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade said in a report on Sunday that the employment rate among people in their 20s stood at 57.8 percent from January to October last year, which is 0.6 percentage point lower than in 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

The employment rate is calculated by dividing the economically active population by the number of employed people.

Overall employment rate recovered from 63 percent in 2009 to 66.7 percent in 2017, but the report said growing youth unemployment stems from a weakening economy leading to fewer new jobs compounded by a surge of people in their 20s into the job market.

People now in their 20s are children of the baby-boomer generation who felt emboldened to have children themselves. KIET said youth unemployment will get worse for the next few years as more children of baby boomers are expected to graduate and enter the job market.

In 2018, the economically active population in their 20s increased by 266,000 from 6.7 million in 2013.

The employment rate among people in their 50s recovered at the fastest rate, from 70.2 percent in 2009 to 75.1 percent last year, and the rate among people in their 30s and 40s also rose 4.3 and 1.4 percentage points.
Korean-jobs  Korean-employment  Korean-youth  Hell-Joseon 
12 days ago
[no title]
Exactly. The last one exemplifies the lingering orientalism in the today’s Western Gaze very much.

Seems like South Korea is only four things to the West: North Korea, BTS, Comfort Women (which usually involves and inability to understand SK-Japan relations), and dog meat. The onslaught of dog meat stories during the Olympics was unbearable. Can we move on now?
Orientalism  Western-gaze 
12 days ago
The secret to a long, happy, healthy life? Think age-positive - CNN
Japan, South Korea and Argentina are the three lowest-ranking countries when it comes to respect for the elderly, according to World Values Survey carried out between 2010 and 2014, despite their large elderly populations. These respect estimates -- recorded in 2014 -- paint a changing picture of perceptions.
Korean-elderly  Korean-hierarchy  Korean-ageism 
12 days ago
'Blatantly sexist': backlash against South Korea's sex education | World news | The Guardian
Finding the perfect life partner can be difficult, but South Korean students are taught from an early age the ideal method for attracting a spouse is really quite simple.

“Women have to work on their appearance and men have to work on improving their financial capabilities,” say the government guidelines for high school pupils.

When dating begins, the guidelines carry a warning: “For men who spend a lot of money on dates, it is natural he would want to be compensated for the money spent. In such cases, unwanted date rape can occur”.

The guidelines, developed by the education ministry at a cost of 600m won (£420,000), instantly sparked controversy when they were first released in 2015. The texts were criticised for reinforcing gender stereotypes, ignoring reality and being “blatantly sexist”.

Despite the backlash the ministry initially stood its ground, simply removing the material from its website and out of public view. While the education ministry declined to provide a copy, the Guardian was able to review the guidelines in their entirety.

Following continuing outcry, the government pledged to review the guidelines in March, however, the current guidelines are still in use and there is no timeline for updated material, according to Cho Myung-yeon, head of the ministry’s student health policy department.

Cho said changes to the material can’t happen overnight.

“Revamping the guidelines isn’t simple because it requires an entire process like researchers exchanging opinions,” he said. “It’s difficult to say whether the ones we came up with in 2015 were problematic.”

In the meantime, amid a growing feminist movement in South Korea, teachers and parents are turning to after-school discussions groups and private lessons to help students unlearn the material they are taught in school.

“The guidelines are forcing students to be female or male according to the standards the government came up with,” said Kim Sung-ae, a high school teacher and vocal critic of sex education as practiced in South Korea.

“They set out the narrative of students’ lives: that they are born, meet a man or woman they love, they get married, have babies and raise kids. Assuming everyone should live this way doesn’t reflect reality and ignores people’s diverse lifestyles.”

Starting in elementary school, students are required to sit for 15 hours of sex education a year. In middle school they are taught they should never be alone with someone of the opposite sex. In high school, the guidelines explain: “Females sexually respond to one specific male, whereas males can have sexual intercourse extensively with women they are only sexually attracted to”.

As South Korea grapples with an epidemic of harassment in public – most often in the form of illegal filming – women are also told that if they are sexually harassed on public transportation they should “step on the perpetrator’s foot as if by mistake”.

In response, some parents have opted to send their children to private classes. One school in Seoul saw their enrolment more than double this year, with parents spending about 50,000 won (£35) for each two-hour session.

Teachers have also started to rebel, holding outside discussion groups that cover everything from sexual harassment to menstruation to LGBT issues. Yim Yi-rang, a high-school English teacher, has spoken with about 150 students since she started one such group about a year ago.

“Students are interested in gender issues,” she said. “But not only are these issues not discussed in the classroom, some teachers even make sexist remarks to students.”

Correcting sexist attitudes in education is a daunting task in a country where many believe “feminist” is a dirty word. Yim says she was shouted at by fellow teachers for hanging posters raising awareness about sexual harassment. Students in Yim’s discussion club rejected using the word feminist in the group’s name for fear the appearance in their academic file would harm future prospects and their male classmates would berate them. Instead it is known as the “human rights club”.

But teachers are not hopeful the revised guidelines will tackle the problems they see every day.

“The education ministry itself lacks sexual sensitivity,” Yim said. “I don’t have high expectations because the same people who came up with the current ones are working on the news ones.”
12 days ago
Bring on the women’s porn revolution - The F-Word
With more young people watching porn Jody Docherty thinks it’s time for more women to get behind the camera to create feminist, women-centred content

Porn has a cultural influence on our society that we cannot ignore. Its previously underground existence and reputation as a sleazy habit for isolated men has gone. Today it is a just over £75 billion industry that receives more regular traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. The audience for porn is vast and despite repeated attempts to block underage viewers the content is still easily accessed, meaning that many teenagers are watching these videos and, in some cases, are learning about sex through viewing them. It is getting to the stage where we may have to face the fact that porn is becoming the modern-day sex education.

However, the content of many of these videos is far from ideal for teenage viewers in the way it teaches them to express themselves and treat their sexual partners. The majority of adult filmmakers are men meaning that the ideas and content are mainly from the male perspective and pander to what they believe a male audience would like to see. The result is an overwhelming amount of online content which could be seen as degrading towards women and shows teenagers an unrealistic and unhealthy way to act during intimate situations.

A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that in the top 50 most popular videos: 88% contained physical aggression and 48% contained verbal aggression, overwhelmingly towards the woman co-star. Many porn studios and directors have even been criticised for making videos that are viewed as rape fantasies. In 2014, the UK government created legislation making porn that depicted rape illegal. However, this only affects porn that is produced and sold in the UK so porn containing this content is still legal here if it was made in another country and is streamed online. Young people who are watching this sort of content are becoming desensitised to what they are watching. A lot of the time mainstream porn normalises a certain way of treating your sexual partner and often also sets a very rigid standard of the way women should look and behave during sex.

Women have always been involved in porn in front of the camera and for many the experience could be liberating and empowering. Women not being involved in porn behind the camera has possibly grown from a common misconception that women do not watch porn. This is of course untrue and the industry has begun to catch onto this in recent years. One of the most popular pornography sites Pornhub recently attempted to tap into their women’s demographic by launching a new part of the site called “popular with women”. Although certainly a way of welcoming women to their site, it could also be seen as problematic. By segregating what the site classes as the content women would enjoy, it suggests that men and women cannot enjoy the same erotic content and something that is ‘woman friendly’ cannot possibly be enjoyed by men. This downplays the talent of the people who make these videos and seems to exclude women and their content from the mainstream porn content.

Women directors such as Erika Lust are already leading the way with ‘feminist friendly’ porn. Like many women she was unhappy with the available content she found online because she believed women weren’t always being treated well and the desires of women were not being properly portrayed. Her feminist pornography site is filled with videos that have been inspired by fantasies told to her by real women. Lust films the videos with a crew made up of 90% women – something previously unheard of in the industry.

Perhaps, before mainstream porn can be changed, there first needs to be a breakout out of feminist porn made by women elsewhere. Girls Out West is an Australian-based porn site created by women which rejects mainstream porn and aims to show honest, compelling and sincere content of women enjoying their bodies and their sexuality. Similarly, Selena Mooney who founded the site Suicide Girls in 2001 stated that the purpose of the site was to give women control over how their sexuality is depicted (it’s worth noting that Suicide Girls has faced criticism regarding working practices in the past, however). Both these sites have accumulated an audience that shows the popularity of alternative women-centred content.

We need more women to lead the porn revolution. Rather than simply protesting, we should be trying to get more women behind the camera and creating. This is not only so women can enjoy more realistic porn which depicts what they want to see and demonstrates how women should be portrayed and treated but, with more young people of all genders viewing this content and learning how to express their sexuality through it, it is important that porn is created from diverse perspectives and portrays women as sexual beings in their own right. When it comes to current mainstream porn: it’s time for the objectified to object.

The image is used under a creative commons license with thanks to M.Verlarde on Flickr. It is a very sensual black and white image showing a person with their hand pushed into their underwear. Only the person’s thighs, hand and underwear are visible.

Jody Docherty is a student journalist currently living in Glasgow
pornography  female-gaze  feminist-pornography 
12 days ago
Why we still need John Berger’s Ways of Seeing | Dazed
But it’s Berger’s discussion of how we look at women which resonates most strongly in our current image-obsessed society. Today, the idea of the male gaze may seem well established, and Berger and his all-male team didn’t claim to invent the concept which would later be christened by film critic Laura Mulvey. But this was 1972 – the Sex Discrimination Act was still three years away, contraception wasn’t yet covered by the NHS, and it would be almost a decade before women could take out loans in their own names without a male guarantor. And yet, here they were, on one of only three channels on mainstream television, sitting in a group and discussing issues such as agency, empowerment, and their relationships to their own bodies and to men. Of course, not everyone was pleased about it – according to the Guardian, Ways of Seeing was derogatorily compared to Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book “for a generation of art students”.
male-gaze  art  John-Berger  Ways-of-Seeing 
14 days ago
Mating Effort Predicts Human Menstrual Cycle Frequency - Jeffrey Gassen, Hannah K. Bradshaw, Sarah E. Hill, 2018

Past research demonstrates considerable variability exists in the length and regularity of the human menstrual cycle (Chiazze et al., 1968; Creinin et al., 2004). Explanations for this have mostly focused on the proximate role of disease states and health issues, neglecting to consider adaptive reasons for why such variability exists in healthy women. Here, we proposed that variability in the human menstrual cycle may arise as a function of the projected payoffs associated with investment in mating effort. Accordingly, we predicted that women whose life history strategies or environments favored greater mating effort would report shorter, more regular cycles. We hypothesized that both cycle length and regularity would be influenced by mating effort, as these characteristics each determine cycle frequency—and the number of total conception opportunities—over time.

The results of the current research supported our hypothesis. Women with faster life history strategies and those expecting more favorable mating outcomes reported investing more effort in mating. Increased mating effort, in turn, predicted shorter, more regular cycles. Importantly, these results were robust to controlling for covariates that have previously been found to impact cycle length and regularity, such as age, BMI, and exercise. Using model fit as a guide, we also statistically explored the alternative possibility that cycle frequency better represented a predictor, rather than an outcome, of mating effort. This alternative model was a poor fit to the current data, lending support for the hypothesis that cycle frequency is calibrated to mating effort and not vice versa. In sum, our results provide some of the first empirical evidence that human menstrual cycle length and regularity may vary as a function of mating effort.

Prior research investigating the factors that influence human menstrual cycle characteristics has found that longer, more irregular cycles are often associated with predictors of poor health: rapid weight change, stress, and disorders such as diabetes (Kato et al., 1999; Matteo, 1987; Solomon et al., 2001). Although not previously considered in this light, research such as this provides additional support for the hypothesis that the human menstrual cycle changes in response to cues that increase or decrease the projected payoff from investing energetic resources in mating effort. When energetic resources are constrained or the costs of investing in mating are high and the benefits low (e.g., when one is ill), longer, more irregular cycles should result. Conversely, when the costs are relatively low and the benefits high, shorter, more regular cycles should occur. Exceptions to this pattern of health problems predicting longer, more irregular cycles are the incidence of relatively shorter cycles found in women with endometriosis, as well as those with a history of psychiatric disorders, particularly anxiety (Barron et al., 2008; Rowland et al., 2002). These exceptions, however, are not inconsistent with our predictive framework. Endometriosis, for example, is associated with greater exposure to estrogens, which play a critical role in women’s sexual desire (Cappelletti & Wallen, 2016). Additionally, research has identified anxiety as a psychological characteristic of faster life history strategies (e.g., Chua et al., 2016), lending further support for the hypothesis that life history characteristics influence cycle frequency.
Limitations and Future Directions

The current research has several limitations. Although the results of our alternative model supported the proposed directionality of our hypothesized model, the conclusions drawn from the current study are limited by the nature of our cross-sectional data. Future research would benefit from tracking women’s cycles over time, as longitudinal designs are necessary to confirm the causal chain from investment in mating effort to adjustments in cycle frequency. Such studies examining the relationship between these factors might also include measurements of health and somatic effort to examine whether increases in mating effort are accompanied by trade-offs in other domains of energetic investment. It should be noted that all women in our study were nulliparous. Given that nulliparous women are found to have shorter, more regular cycles than women with children (Kato et al., 1999), the present findings may not extend to women who have been pregnant. Longitudinal studies would also be able to examine whether pregnancy influences relationships between mating effort and cycle characteristics.

Next, our study was limited by our use of only one measure of mating effort (i.e., sociosexual orientation). More research is needed to examine relationships between cycle frequency and mating effort across a broader range of variables representative of one’s energetic investment in mating. Although sociosexual orientation has been shown in previous research to be closely related to important facets of mating effort, including one’s lifetime number of sexual partners (Ostovich & Sabini, 2004) and others (Kruger, 2017), future studies should assess whether cycle frequency is also predicted by other aspects of mating effort, such as sex steroid production, reproductive timing, or costly mate attraction displays (e.g., luxury brand signaling, conspicuous consumption; Griskevicius et al., 2007; Sundie et al., 2011).

We only collected one measure of participants’ life history strategies, the Mini-K. While some research has found convergent validity between the Mini-K and other life history measures (e.g., Dunkel & Decker, 2010), it should be noted that others have recently suggested that this scale incompletely captures the life history strategy construct (e.g., Richardson et al., 2017). The results of the current research provide some evidence for the validity of the Mini-K, given that it significantly predicted mating effort—another indicator of one’s life history strategy (Del Giudice et al., 2015). Nonetheless, critiques of the Mini-K should be considered when interpreting the results of the current research.

Additional research is also needed to explore the hormonal shifts underlying changes in mating effort and cycle characteristics. Identifying the hormonal mechanisms involved in these effects would make an important contribution to both researchers and clinicians interested in the biological correlates of sexual behavior, fertility, and overall reproductive health. Ovulation status, in particular, might be of particular interest to future work given that longer cycle lengths are associated with infertility (Rowland et al., 2002).

Finally, it should be noted that we asked women to self-report the length and regularity of their cycles. Although multiple studies have successfully used self-reporting to measure estimated cycle length (e.g., Barron et al., 2008; Rowland et al., 2002; Wesselink et al., 2016), others find that such methods are less accurate for those with very long or very short cycle lengths, as well as those reporting high variability in cycle lengths (Small, Manatunga, & Marcus, 2007). Future research would benefit from validating self-reported cycle characteristics with more objective measures, such as period tracking phone applications or hormone analysis. These studies might also collect a broader range of measures regarding factors that potentially impact cycle length and regularity. Although we accounted for many of these factors in our analyses and recruitment (i.e., health, smoking, BMI, relationship status, age, and exercise), there are others that may influence relationships between mating effort and cycle characteristics (e.g., stress).

Despite these limitations, the current research provides an important first step in establishing a general evolutionary theory that accounts for cycle length and variability observed between and within human females. These findings represent some of the first empirical evidence that human menstrual cycle characteristics are influenced by investment in mating effort. Future work applying this predictive framework may advance our understanding of the human menstrual cycle and its relation to overall health.
Menstruation  periods 
14 days ago
Why are so many teenage girls appearing in gender clinics? - Trans parenting
Lisa Littman, an assistant professor of behavioural and social sciences at Brown University, was curious about what was causing these changes. She had come across reports from parents on online forums describing a new pattern of behaviour: adolescents without a history of childhood gender dysphoria were announcing they were transgender after a period of immersing themselves in niche websites or after similar announcements from friends. Her study suggests that these children may be grappling with what she calls “rapid-onset gender dysphoria”.
For the study, Dr Littman recruited 256 parents of children whose symptoms of gender dysphoria suddenly appeared for the first time in adolescence. These parents—Ms Miller among them—took part anonymously in an online, 90-question survey. Dr Littman’s findings suggest that a process of “social and peer contagion” may play a role. According to the parents surveyed, 87% of children came out as transgender after spending more time online, after “cluster outbreaks” of gender dysphoria in friend groups, or both. (In a third of the friendship groups, half or more of the individuals came out as transgender; by contrast, just 0.7% of Americans aged between 18 and 24 are transgender.) Most children who came out became more popular as a result. Rachel, Ms Miller’s daughter, says that when she told her friends, all of whom she had met online, they congratulated her: “It was, like, welcome home.”
Dr Littman thinks that some adolescents may embrace the idea that they are transgender as a way of coping with symptoms of a different, underlying issue. Almost two-thirds of the children had one or more diagnoses of a psychiatric or developmental disorder preceding the onset of gender dysphoria; nearly half had self-harmed or experienced some trauma. This is consistent with other studies of gender dysphoria when it sets in during puberty. Some people distract themselves from emotional pain by drinking, taking drugs, cutting or starving themselves. Dr Littman suggests that, for some, gender dysphoria may also be in this category.
The study has attracted heavy criticism. Some is reasonable. Though it is a solid first attempt to describe a recently observed phenomenon, it is qualitative rather than quantitative, and relies solely on interviews with parents, not children. Dr Littman posted links to her survey on three websites where parents and clinicians had described the abrupt appearance of adolescent gender dysphoria: 4thWaveNow, Transgender Trend and youthtranscriticalprofessionals. Referring to these sites as “anti-trans”, Diane Ehrensaft, the director of mental health at a gender clinic in San Francisco, has written that “this would be like recruiting from Klan or alt-right sites to demonstrate that blacks really are an inferior race”. Dr Littman replies that 88% of the parents in her study said transgender people deserve the same rights as others, which is in line with national opinion. Similar methodology is frequently used in social research, particularly into children.
The reaction to publication of the study has gone beyond what might be expected in a regular academic dispute. Brown removed from its website a press release advertising her research, noting that PLOS ONE, the journal in which the study was published, was seeking “further expert assessment”. In a later statement, the university said: “There is an added obligation for vigilance in research design and analysis any time there are implications for the health of the communities at the centre of research and study.” Parents and academics have in turn attacked Brown for caving to pressure from trans activists.
Squashing research risks injuring the health of an unknown number of troubled adolescent girls. Rachel, now 21, believes she latched on to a trans identity as a way of coping with on-off depression and being sexually abused as a child. After receiving therapy, her gender dysphoria disappeared. Had her mother affirmed her gender identity as a 16-year-old, as several gender therapists urged, Rachel would have embarked on a medical transition that she turned out not to want after all.
transsexuals  SJWs  gender-dysphoria 
14 days ago
When respect for diversity is taken to crazy extremes - Open Ideas
EVERY year the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts a gala. A single ticket costs $30,000. New York’s A-listers and wannabes deck themselves in overwrought garments designed for the party’s theme. Three years ago “China: Through the Looking Glass” inspired dresses with dragons (pictured), hair held in place with chopsticks and, from a few sartorially confused celebrities, kimonos.

The attire prompted an outcry over “cultural appropriation”—an elastic, ill-defined gripe. No such furore arose over the outfits at this year’s gala, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”, even though they included a stilettoed and sequinned pope, Jesus Christ in a gold tiara, and a spectacularly winged angel. Why not?

It is not as though the concept of cultural appropriation has fallen out of use. Gonzaga University issued a firmly worded statement warning “non-Mexican individuals” against celebrating Cinco de Mayo; the campus multicultural centre published a minatory infographic ordering, “Don’t you dare try on that ‘sombrero’.” About a week earlier an 18-year-old white student in Utah received hundreds of hostile comments after she wore a Chinese-inspired dress to her school prom.

The accusation is great at stirring up Twitter outrage. But what is cultural appropriation?

There is no agreed definition. Generally speaking, it’s the idea that a “dominant culture” wearing or using things from a “minority culture”—say, white American college kids in Brazilian bombachas or baggy trousers—is inherently disrespectful because the objects are taken out of their native context.

It’s not a completely new idea. More than two centuries ago it was popular for upper-class British and French to have their portraits painted dressed as Turkish sultans, which the historian Edward Said called “orientalism”. More recently some black Americans griped when Elvis Presley filched classic rhythm-and-blues riffs and sold them back to white, mainstream society.

Yet today the idea has expanded to new extremes—and obstructs free expression. In American colleges and universities, a vocal minority of students are pushing for official policies banning the practice—by, for example, disciplining students who wear Halloween costumes deemed inappropriate.

The threat here is quite overt. Offence is inherently subjective; university bureaucrats should not punish one student simply because her clothes hurt the feelings of another. Beyond the threat of punishment lies the threat of social stigma—that students, fearful of being accused, will censor themselves or feel themselves censored.

Had the Met gala opted for an Islamic theme (say, “Arabian Nights: Magic and Islam”), accusations of appropriation would have surely followed. This year Jared Leto, an actor, dressed as Jesus; had he dressed as Muhammad, even if in a plain and historically accurate thobe and turban, he would provoke all manner of disgust and denunciation. One can conjure any number of nightmare scenarios for galas themed around Judaism, blackness or, say, Aztecs—none of whom remain alive to be offended—no matter how sartorially sensitive the dresses.

That is because cultural appropriation is less about cultural disrespect or intolerance—for which much clearer terminology already exists—than about reinforcing the oppressor-oppressed binary through which social-justice advocates see the world. Because Christians and whites are groups deemed to have power, all manner of borrowing or parody is intolerable. And the inverse gets a free pass: nobody is upset when Asians wear European clothes, for instance.

The remedy for the selective application of the cultural appropriation label is not its expansion—as this would sweep in all manner of innocuous social interactions—but its retirement. The phrase stigmatises the beneficial cultural exchanges that happen in art, music, dance, cooking and language. The very idea is self-defeating. To declare black culture off-limits to non-blacks, for example, is to segregate it.

The term also fundamentally misunderstands the process by which all cultures form and progress: through creolisation and intermixing. To appropriate the words of John Donne, no culture is an island entirely of itself.
cultural-appropriation  SJWs 
14 days ago
Welcome To The Paradoxical World Of Korean Christmas
here's Not Much 'Christ' In Korean Christmas

To figure this all out, I caught up with sociologist Gil-Soo Han, an associate professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and Sung-Deuk Oak, who is an associate professor of Korean Christianity at University of California, Los Angeles. Considering how fervent Korean Christians are about their religion, I would think there would be a backlash against this version of Christmas that’s more about sex than salvation. Not really.

In some ways, Christmas reached Korea before Christianity. A measly 2% of Koreans were Christian in 1945, the year that the Japanese colonization of Korea ended and the U.S. military began its three-year governance. But that year, Christmas became a federal holiday. “The foreign culture of the Christmas as a secular and commercial culture arrived in Korea and settled well before Christianity or the spirit of Christianity has settled as an essential part of the Christian lifestyle,” Han wrote in an e-mail.

Oak added that the Korean government maintained a nationwide curfew that was lifted only on the springtime Buddha's birthday and Dec. 24 and 31. "The natural consequences were the general understanding of Christmas as joyful holiday (놀고 즐기는 날) for the youth, and the commercialization of Christmas by companies and stores," Oak wrote in an e-mail.

Korea was still an impoverished country until the 1970s. Christmas represented a sort of Western ideal of consumerism and abundance; even today, Christmas celebrations are often European- or American-themed, with turkeys and green beans aplenty. The holiday “reflects a feature of the American society, freedom, desire for the western modernity and an extreme commercialism involving expensive brands and upmarket department stores,” Han wrote.

Protestantism and Catholicism alike boomed alongside Korea’s economy in the latter half of the 20th century. Since 2000, the zealous conversion has slowed, and Christianity has held at around 30% in Korea for the past decade. That sector of the population still makes their impact with ubiquitous churches and trucks blaring Bible verses to sway partygoers in Seoul’s clubbing district.

So, what do Korea’s Christians do on the 24th and 25th? They go to church, listen to the church choir and watch the congregation’s children perform a Christmas play. There’s no family dinner. It’s just another public holiday.

Valentine's Day, But With Santa Claus

The idea of Christmas was borrowed from the U.S. and Europe, but Korea missed what’s arguably the main point of a secular Christmas (besides, of course, presents): that ooey-gooey feeling of family and togetherness. On that day, one sees their partner or friends.

That’s because Korea already has two family holidays — Chuseok and Seollal. The former occurs in October, and it’s dubbed “Korean Thanksgiving.” Seollal, which celebrates the lunar new year, is in January or February around the same time as Chinese New Year. The celebrations are similar — have a feast with your family, bow to deceased ancestors or grandparents and get some cash in return. (Korean Christians don’t celebrate these holidays to their full extent as it involves bowing to ancestors, but the gathering of the family and feasting remains. It’s celebrated as a cultural rite.)

There’s no need for yet another family holiday with Chuseok, Seollal and a few other celebrations already filling the role. But Korea is always eager for another couple’s day, even though there are three other major romantic holidays.

The retail sector is also keen to shift its focus from the family onto lovers. The birth rate in Korea has tumbled to record lows, with the government taking drastic measures to encourage more baby-making (such as a map showing how many fertile women are in each region).

But, even cutting out nagging parents, drunk uncles and screaming babies doesn’t make for a perfect Christmas. GQ Korea just published a list of their readers’ worst Christmas fights with their girlfriends. “I found a small Japanese pub in a neighborhood where my girlfriend lives,” said office worker Son In-hyuk. “Even though it didn’t not have a Christmas atmosphere, I thought it would be better than a busy place. However, from the moment she entered the bar, she had no words or expressions. It was obvious that she did not like the dating place. In the end … we went to our own separate houses.”
Christmas  Korean-Christmas  Korean-holidays  Korean-couples  Korean-religion  Korean-Christians 
14 days ago
#NotYourAsianSidekick is a civil rights movement for Asian American women | Yoonj Kim | Opinion | The Guardian
I get it. After my last time in Seoul, I decided I would never go back – barring deportation or a major crisis. When I was there this spring, my uncle and I got into a huge fight over our clashing values. As an Asian man who grew up in post-second world war South Korea, he has immensely patriarchal values, whereas I'm an Asian American woman who believes anyone supporting women's rights is a feminist. The argument erupted when I dared question his decision in front of relatives – I had merely pointed out a faster route we could take. The issue wasn't that I knew a better alternative, but that I had even pointed something out in the first place, in front of other people. The cherry on top was that I was a woman contradicting a man.
14 days ago
[Interview] Entrepreneur finds an embarrassment of riches-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily
“People care so much about what ingredients make up the cosmetics they put on their faces these days,” said Park Ji-won, a 33-year-old graphic designer and CEO of the roughly 10-month-old start-up, as she sat down for an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily last month in Seoul. “But if you think about it, condoms actually go into your body.”

Park admits she had not bought or thought seriously about condoms until she was in her late 20s.

“That seemed natural to me being born and brought up in Korea, but as I began teaching design as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin in 2013, I was shocked to see students openly discussing issues related to condoms and unprotected sex during class,” she said. “I felt kind of embarrassed for not knowing much about a product that is so related to women’s health.”

Park decided to challenge traditional views on condoms by making them friendlier to women’s bodies and by designing cool packaging to make condoms look more like daily cosmetics people can carry around without shame or stigma.

Light pink is the dominant color for SAIB condoms, unlike many other products already in the domestic market that are covered in black or other dark colors. Some even have a male figure with a wicked smile on the packaging. The start-up was the winner of the brand design award at this year’s Red Dot Awards, one of the largest design competitions in the world.

“We are starting out with condoms, but I hope to empower women in various ways through our business,” Park said.

The following is an excerpt of the interview with Park.

Q. Why did you name the company as SAIB? Is there a special meaning attached to the word?

A. It’s actually an inversion of the word bias. Though using condoms is the easiest way to have safe sex, the rate of condom usage in Korea stood at a mere 11.5 percent in 2015, the lowest among all member countries in the OECD. The reluctance to use condoms is rooted in cultural bias, especially in Korea where the society is still patriarchal and conservative. This makes it hard for women to carry condoms or ask their counterpart to use condoms.

So our first goal actually was to increase the overall use of condoms for contraception. And by making them look more desirable and pretty, we want women to be able to become strong purchasers of condoms for their own protection. We also tried to take out all the materials that can be harmful to women’s body.

You talked about your teaching experience in 2013. Why were condoms mentioned in class?

The first design project I assigned to students was to come up with an idea to address or tackle social problems using design methods, and one student made artwork using free condoms distributed by the university to address the issue of unprotected sex. In Korea, that kind of presentation could have created a very awkward atmosphere.

Did that project motivate you to start the company?

Well, it was a good trigger, but I didn’t immediately think I should make condoms myself then. It was early last year after a meeting with acquaintances who were working in the cosmetics industry I finally decided to launch my own brand. At the meeting they - who were both male - talked about how cosmetics market in Korea is saturated and they need new breakthrough products. Then one of them said recent market trend in Japan is to create completely new cosmetics segment by making women feel shameful about their body, such as by pointing out the color of nipples and sexual organs should be whitened. I was frustrated with them trying to make profit out of women’s anxiety. Those whitening creams probably do no good for women’s health. So I told them “Do you know what’s really necessary? A good selection of safe and well-made condoms for women.”

What ingredients in condoms are good or bad for the body?

Well, there are many ingredients applied to condoms to increase pleasure during relationships, but are better taken out when considering health. Special products made for a longer sexual experience, especially, may contain materials harmful to a women’s body. So what I focused on was to take out as many unnecessary additives as possible, like glycerin, synthetic fragrance and artificial pigments.

Making a new type of condom was harder than expected because they are categorized as medical devices, not cosmetics. It takes three to five years to fix something and get approval for sales. Also in Korea there are only two major condom manufacturers, though there are numerous condom brands. This dominance puts start-ups like us in a difficult position to make special requests, like taking out certain materials from the condoms. When I went to the factory to explain my condom designs they weren’t happy with a young woman trying to challenge the mainstream condom industry.

Where can we find SAIB condoms?

At 7-Eleven and Pierrot Shopping offline stores in Korea, as well as the SAIB and the Ten by Ten online websites. Some offline adult product shops also have them. We were lucky to enter the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, because according to our market research about 90 percent of people buy condoms at convenience stores.

How do you market your products?

We are slowly establishing offline sales networks. There are limitations to marketing our products online, actually, because in Korea condoms are strictly categorized as adult products, and teenagers can’t even find search results on condoms on dominant portal sites like Naver. I was kind of surprised because I thought IT companies, at least, would be more open.

This means teenage students who need to be educated about condoms don’t get that because they can’t even find information. I don’t think blocking people from access to condoms is the best way. Rather, condoms should be more widely provided for safe contraception.

I heard you will use 10 percent of your earnings into running campaigns for gender equality and women empowerment.

Yes. Selling prettier condoms cannot solve the problem we have in our society right away. People’s perception needs to change for women to have a stronger voice in protecting their body while having sex. According to research by Seoul National University Borame Medical Center, more than 60 percent of Korean women do not use any form of contraception and rely on their partners for birth control. I hope to run various campaigns in partnership with women rights groups and other interested parties to empower women in the long run.

Do you have anything to say about feminist movements in Korea?

I think Korea is a developed country considering its economic level and IT infrastructure, but in terms of feminist movements and discussions on diversity, the country is still at its infancy. When I look at feminist activities in Korea, it reminds me of 70’s in the United States, when female workers had very weak standing compared to male workers. Then, activists were aggressive in making their voices heard and they tried to reject femininity. I think Korea, too, is going through a transition period right now.

I personally am a feminist, but it doesn’t mean I want to give up femininity to be treated equally as man. I would hate to give up femininity. I don’t think the goal of feminism is to make every female become like a male. The real goal is for females to be respected for who they are. I hope the feminist movements in Korea become more open and develop in a way that they can embrace femininity.

Korean-sex-shops  Korean-sexuality  Korean-sex-education  Korean-contraception  Korean-condoms 
15 days ago
Anne Brigman, a Pioneering Photographer of Nude Self-Portraits - Artsy
Some art historians believe that Brigman was the first woman in America to photograph herself nude. Her trailblazing, yet long-neglected work is now the subject of an expansive retrospective at the Nevada Museum of Art. “For Brigman to objectify her own nude body as the subject of her photographs in the early 1900s was radical,” writes curator Ann M. Wolfe. “To do so outdoors in a place perceived as an unoccupied and near-desolate wilderness was revolutionary.”

Pairing the retrospective with the exhibition “Laid Bare in the Landscape,” the museum provides a vital link between Brigman and the feminist art of the 1970s and after—works by women such as Ana Mendieta, Cindy Sherman, Mary Beth Edelson, Judy Chicago, Barbara Kruger, and Hannah Wilke that reclaimed the representation of the female body from patriarchal art history. These works often amount to a reversal of gazes: If art history traditionally centered on the female-as-model, an object for male consumption, these women artists challenged that convention in their depictions of their own naked forms. By staging her photographs against such dramatic scenery, Brigman, according to Wolfe, was practicing an early form of performance art.
nude-art  nudity  female-gaze  male-gaze 
15 days ago

January 1 at 10:30 AM ·

[Tips for Korean learners] It is possibly awkward to call random men by '오빠(Oppa)‘

[Please note that I did partly translate quotes below into English, not all quotes. If you find some translation errors, please leave comments. Thanks in advance]



Some random Korean beginners talked to me, saying '안녕 오빠 Anyeong Oppa.‘ which sounded awkward, so I asked if they knew how and which situation they can use 오빠. They said that they watched K-dramas and K-pop songs that used the word 오빠 very often and came to think that it was a natural way of greeting and calling random older males. That motivated me to write this post to inform Korean learners why it is possibly awkward to call random men by 오빠.



-1) The dictionary meaning of 오빠

- elder brother

: 여자가 형제나 친척 형제들 중에서 자기보다 나이가 많은 남자를 이르거나 부르는 말; 여자가 자기보다 나이 많은 남자를 다정하게 이르거나 부르는 말.

: A word used only by a girl to refer to or address her male siblings or cousins older than herself; A word used only by a girl to refer to or address endearingly another male who is older than she.



2. The sociological interpretations of 오빠 / 오빠에 대한 사회학적 해석

(1) As the time passed, the meaning of 오빠 has changed. In the past, 오빠 was only used to refer to an elder brother. There were certainly a group of people who didn't want to be called by 오빠 and didn't like someone to call others by 오빠. The extended meaning of 오빠 for a friendly elder man appeared in 70~80's. However, it is hard to determine that the word 오빠 completely referred to an elder male, because words like 형, 선배 were generally more used to refer to an elder male by females.

Starting late 90's, lots of songs with the word 오빠, which exactly meant 'an random elder male' , have been released, like 왁스 - 오빠 / 현숙 - 오빠는 잘 있단다 / 오빠 잘 할 수 있어 - 노라조 / 오빠 사랑해 - 하늘 / 오빠의 일기 - 서연주




이광수의 ‘재생’(1925년)에 등장하는 윤 변호사가 자신의 약혼녀 선주에게 “여보시오, 인제부터 그 사람더러 오빠라고 마시오! 오빠는 무슨 오빠란 말이오? 그 사람이 무슨 친척이란 말이오? 나는 그 말이 듣기가 싫소!”라고 말하는 대목이 나온다.

The main character of a novel, 재생, which was written by 이광수 in 1925, didn't want his fiance to call someone by 오빠. So, he said "Hey! Stop calling him by 오빠. What kind of brother is he?(liberal translation)? Is he your relative? I don't like to hear 오빠!‘


1980년대 초반까지만 해도 이 땅의 수많은 여자 대학생들은 조용필 오빠를 제외하면 아무한테나 오빠라는 호칭을 사용하지 않았다. 나이 차가 많이 나는 남자 선배는 '선배님'이라고 불렀다. 서너 살 차이가 지는 선배한테 즐겨 쓴 호칭이 따로 있기도 했다. 바로 '형'이었다. 남자들끼리 쓰는 그 '형'이라는 말을 여자들이 쓰기도 했다.

In early 80's, lots of female college students didn't tend to use 오빠 to call anyone except 조용필 오빠. They called seniors a wide age gap by 선배님, and called men who were 3~4 years seniors by 형.



(2) There are some assertions that the word 오빠 can function as a word to help younger females build intimacy with males.


In general, the most Korean females don't call random males by 오빠. Korean adults call each other by 이름(name) + 씨 in the first place or til they reach a mutual-honorific agreement like

"이제 서로 씨라고 부르지 말고, 그냥 형/오빠, 언니/누나 할까요? Shall we call each other by 형/오빠/언니/누나 instead of calling by -씨?”


"이제 형/오빠/언니/누나라고 불러도 될까요? 저보다 나이 많으시니까요. Can I call you by 형/오빠/언니/누나? You are older than me."

This kind of mutual agreement mostly requires a certain level of intimacy/closeness OR the situation that either one wants to be close to the other one. In the most Korean companies, people call each other by 이름 + 씨 or 직책(position/status), like 김수영씨 / 수영씨 / 김 대리님 / 김 대리.



The quotation of the abstract of the thesis

- 한국외국어대학교 대학원 국어국문학과 김승화 - 한국어 친족 호칭 '언니/누나', '오빠/형'의 의미 연구

(The study on meanings of Korean kinship terms of address '언니/누나', '오빠/형')

= The prototypical meaning of '오빠(oppa)' is 'a term of address which is used when a female sender calls the older male receiver who has the same parents as the sender'. The extended meanings of '오빠(oppa)' are 'a term of address which is used when a female sender calls the older male receiver who is close to the sender', 'a term of address which is used when a female sender calls the older male receiver as the opposite sex' and 'as the antonym of '아저씨', a term of address which is used when a female sender calls a male receiver who looks young'.

= There are four factors - the gender factor, the age factor, the intimacy factor and other factors - related to extension of the prototypical meaning of 언니/누나/오빠/형. The gender factor is classified into gender of a sender and receiver, gender of a receiver and gender of a reference. The age factor is classified into an age gap and age of appearance. The intimacy factor is classified into intimacy, intimacy to the opposite sex and a strategy intending to make intimacy. The other one is the job or position factor applied only to 언니.


- 남자의 여자인 친구가 그를 오빠라고 부른다면 나중에 남자친구 될 가능성이 있다는 사람으로 본다는 뜻일 수도 있고, 아니면 최소한 그를 신뢰할 수 있는 사람으로 보고 친숙한 호칭을 쓸 만큼 친한 친구로 본다는 의미이다.

-> Calling a male by 오빠 implies that a female regards the target male as a boyfriend who will possibly become a boyfriend or at least as a trustworthy person.



(3) According to an YTN news clip, 오빠 also refers to a husband these days.



=> 남편을 부르는 호칭이 '자기야 / 여보'에서 '오빠'로 변하가고 있음



(4) There are sociological assertions that 오빠 is a type of sexist word.

A group of males who sexually harassed females had something in common: they were addicted to the word'오빠' and one of the sexual harassing actions that they committed was to force innocent females to call them by 오빠 even though the females didn't want to do it. Given that they felt superior to the females, by being called 오빠, it is hard to deny that the word 오빠 is being used for males to take initiative in a relationship with females.



There are criminal cases. You can find the word '오빠' and how the word was used in these articles easily.









- 또한 두 사람 사이에서 오빠라는 말의 사용은 성별의 범주가 해당되는 남자가 여자보다 나이 많은 관계를 지칭하는 것이다. 한국 사회는 많이 변해 왔는데도 아직 남아 있는 전통・유교적인 세계관에서 남자는 우선이고 사람 관계에서는 나이가 서열을 결정하는 것이었다. 물론 나보다 나이 두 살 쯤 많은 친하고 정말 친오빠 같이 느껴지는 남자를 오빠라고 부를 때에 중요하지는 않다. 그러나 이 호칭을 사용함으로써 여자가 하위 입장에 놓이게 될 위험성도 있고 그에 따라 그 보다 나이 많은 남자의 제안들을 다 받아들어야 되는 상황이 될 수도 있거나 남자가 그의 ‘여동생’을 항상 대접해야 되는 부당한 상황이 벌이지게 될 수 있다. 그래서 진짜 친하고 편한 사이가 아니라면 오빠라는 말을 안 쓰는 것이 훨씬 좋고 깔끔하다.

=> In Korean society where traditional ideas and Confucian conventions are dominant, males are priorities and ages defines a status in the hierarchy structure. If females use the word '오빠‘, they will be able to be placed in a low position and accept all requests from older males. So, It is better not to use 오빠 unless having a close relationship.


오빠라는 호칭 안에는 여자는 남자에게 보호받고 의지해야 한다는 남성의 잠재의식이 자리하고 있다. 관계의 평등성은 이미 기울어진 것이다. “오빠만 믿어. 오빠 빼고 사내들은 다 짐승이고 나쁜 놈이야. 그러니 오빠하고 사귀자”는 설득은 일견 달콤하다. 그런데 그건 기실 자기는 이상한 남자가 아닌 척 구는 ‘착한 오빠’ 코스프레의 혐의가 짙다. 듬직하고 자상한 얼굴을 한 가면 속에 수컷의 욕망을 감추고 있는 것이다. 당신이 계속 오빠에 집착한다면, 계속 오빠 코스프레를 하고 싶다면 당신은 철들기 어렵다. 그런 오빠는 직장에선 ‘마부장’이 되기 쉽고, 사회에선 ‘개저씨’로 몰락할 소지가 크다.

=> The term "오빠" suggests the male's subconsciousness that females should be protected and depend on males… [more]
Korean  오빠  Oppa 
15 days ago
South Korea’s problematic sex ed spurs private sex-ed industry — Quartz
“Students are interested in gender issues,” she said. “But not only are these issues not discussed in the classroom, some teachers even make sexist remarks to students.”

Correcting sexist attitudes in education is a daunting task in a country where many believe “feminist” is a dirty word. Yim says she was shouted at by fellow teachers for hanging posters raising awareness about sexual harassment. Students in Yim’s discussion club rejected using the word feminist in the group’s name for fear the appearance in their academic file would harm future prospects and their male classmates would berate them. Instead it is known as the “human rights club”.

But teachers are not hopeful the revised guidelines will tackle the problems they see every day.

“The education ministry itself lacks sexual sensitivity,” Yim said. “I don’t have high expectations because the same people who came up with the current ones are working on the news ones.”

“Students are interested in gender issues,” she said. “But not only are these issues not discussed in the classroom, some teachers even make sexist remarks to students.”

Correcting sexist attitudes in education is a daunting task in a country where many believe “feminist” is a dirty word. Yim says she was shouted at by fellow teachers for hanging posters raising awareness about sexual harassment. Students in Yim’s discussion club rejected using the word feminist in the group’s name for fear the appearance in their academic file would harm future prospects and their male classmates would berate them. Instead it is known as the “human rights club”.

But teachers are not hopeful the revised guidelines will tackle the problems they see every day.

“The education ministry itself lacks sexual sensitivity,” Yim said. “I don’t have high expectations because the same people who came up with the current ones are working on the news ones.”

In response, some parents have opted to send their children to private classes, and teachers are hosting after-school discussion groups to address topics like menstruation and LGBT issues, the Guardian reports.

Tutoring companies are also cashing in on the outcry: Per the Guardian, a private sex-ed school in Seoul saw its enrollment more than double in 2018. Each two-hour session costs parents about 50,000 won ($45).
16 days ago
'Blatantly sexist': backlash against South Korea's sex education | World news | The Guardian
Finding the perfect life partner can be difficult, but South Korean students are taught from an early age the ideal method for attracting a spouse is really quite simple.

“Women have to work on their appearance and men have to work on improving their financial capabilities,” say the government guidelines for high school pupils.

When dating begins, the guidelines carry a warning: “For men who spend a lot of money on dates, it is natural he would want to be compensated for the money spent. In such cases, unwanted date rape can occur”.

The guidelines, developed by the education ministry at a cost of 600m won (£420,000), instantly sparked controversy when they were first released in 2015. The texts were criticised for reinforcing gender stereotypes, ignoring reality and being “blatantly sexist”.

Despite the backlash the ministry initially stood its ground, simply removing the material from its website and out of public view. While the education ministry declined to provide a copy, the Guardian was able to review the guidelines in their entirety.

Following continuing outcry, the government pledged to review the guidelines in March, however, the current guidelines are still in use and there is no timeline for updated material, according to Cho Myung-yeon, head of the ministry’s student health policy department.

Cho said changes to the material can’t happen overnight.

“Revamping the guidelines isn’t simple because it requires an entire process like researchers exchanging opinions,” he said. “It’s difficult to say whether the ones we came up with in 2015 were problematic.”

In the meantime, amid a growing feminist movement in South Korea, teachers and parents are turning to after-school discussions groups and private lessons to help students unlearn the material they are taught in school.

“The guidelines are forcing students to be female or male according to the standards the government came up with,” said Kim Sung-ae, a high school teacher and vocal critic of sex education as practiced in South Korea.

“They set out the narrative of students’ lives: that they are born, meet a man or woman they love, they get married, have babies and raise kids. Assuming everyone should live this way doesn’t reflect reality and ignores people’s diverse lifestyles.”

Starting in elementary school, students are required to sit for 15 hours of sex education a year. In middle school they are taught they should never be alone with someone of the opposite sex. In high school, the guidelines explain: “Females sexually respond to one specific male, whereas males can have sexual intercourse extensively with women they are only sexually attracted to”.

As South Korea grapples with an epidemic of harassment in public – most often in the form of illegal filming – women are also told that if they are sexually harassed on public transportation they should “step on the perpetrator’s foot as if by mistake”.

In response, some parents have opted to send their children to private classes. One school in Seoul saw their enrolment more than double this year, with parents spending about 50,000 won (£35) for each two-hour session.

Teachers have also started to rebel, holding outside discussion groups that cover everything from sexual harassment to menstruation to LGBT issues. Yim Yi-rang, a high-school English teacher, has spoken with about 150 students since she started one such group about a year ago.

“Students are interested in gender issues,” she said. “But not only are these issues not discussed in the classroom, some teachers even make sexist remarks to students.”

Correcting sexist attitudes in education is a daunting task in a country where many believe “feminist” is a dirty word. Yim says she was shouted at by fellow teachers for hanging posters raising awareness about sexual harassment. Students in Yim’s discussion club rejected using the word feminist in the group’s name for fear the appearance in their academic file would harm future prospects and their male classmates would berate them. Instead it is known as the “human rights club”.

But teachers are not hopeful the revised guidelines will tackle the problems they see every day.

“The education ministry itself lacks sexual sensitivity,” Yim said. “I don’t have high expectations because the same people who came up with the current ones are working on the news ones.”
16 days ago
Women’s bodies now at center of gender debate: Cheerleaders speak out about harassment they face everyday-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily
Go to almost any sporting event in Korea and you are likely to find cheerleaders smiling and dancing while wearing short skirts and crop tops in front of the crowds. While their job requires them to hype up the fans, they are often subject to harassment just for doing their jobs, and for some in the industry, it’s gotten to be too much.

A recent round of Me Too revelations from young cheerleaders has fired up the gender debate once again, this time centering specifically on the objectification of the female body.

On Dec. 10, Samsung Lions cheerleader Hwang Da-goun posted a screen capture on her Instagram account, calling out an anonymous post uploaded to Ilbe, or Ilgan Best, an infamous far-right website.

The Ilbe post included a picture of Hwang taken from the crowd and a message that described her body using obscene language.

“Being a cheerleader is fun, but is this the price that I have to pay?” read Hwang’s post. “I can’t even look at the comments because they are too filthy. Who are you to mock me like this? People send me messages describing the details of [having sexual] intercourse, and even send me pictures and videos. Please. It’s unbearable. It’s all I can think about when I see something like this and it ruins my day. I’m scared and feel so powerless. I’m just so sorry for my parents who have to see this.”

Hwang quickly deleted her post after it drew a heated response from the public. But she wasn’t alone. Her colleague Shim Hye-sung of the same team posted on her Instagram a message reading, “You ask us whether we’re going to continue the next year, but then tell us so easily to quit if we can’t do it,” read her post uploaded on Dec. 11, the following day. “You put all the blame on the victims by saying, ‘You should wear clothes that don’t show [your skin] if you don’t like sexual harassment. Get a job that doesn’t make you expose yourself.’ We are the ones that have no portrait rights, no right to say that we were harmed, no right to be a victim, no human rights … We can’t say anything because [people] might call it noise marketing, but we still have to fill your sexual desires.”

Another Samsung Lions cheerleader named Park Hyun-young posted a comment in agreement, saying, “I hope you know that people become cheerleaders [because we] like to dance and be on stage, not because we want to expose ourselves.”

Though all the posts and comments are deleted, it was enough to spark a public gender debate. An online petition was uploaded to the Blue House online petition board titled, “Regarding sexual harassment towards cheerleaders, please get rid of cheerleaders in sports games.”

The petition urges for all cheerleaders to be removed from sports games, as they not only become victims of unwanted sexual harassment but also objectification.

“They are not even necessary at professional sporting events, and a lot of active cheerleaders are teenagers,” reads the petition. Over 1,000 people have signed the petition as of Thursday, which is not enough to get an answer from the government but enough to get the conversation going.

There are over 20 other petitions regarding cheerleaders - most of them asking for them to be abolished, but others in their defense as well.

Having young women as celebratory or decorative figures at events has long been controversial in the world of sports. For instance, Formula 1 racing banned the use of “Grid girls” starting with the 2018 World Championship season on the grounds that the “custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern-day societal norms.”

“Most athletes are men, and women have existed as auxiliary means to cheer the male players on,” said Lee Na-young, a sociology professor at Chung-Ang University. “I wouldn’t say it’s right to abolish cheerleaders at this moment because of the sexual harassment, but [they should be abolished] in the long term.”

According to an owner of an agency that represents cheerleaders who wish to remain anonymous, arguing over whether cheerleaders should be eliminated is the wrong conversation to be had.

“Sexual harassment is crime, and we should be placing the blame on those committing those crimes - not talking about whether the job should exist,” said the insider.

According to Prof. Yun Ji-yeong of the Body & Culture Institute at Konkuk University, cheerleaders themselves are not the problem, but rather, there is a problem with way they are forced to cheer at games.

“They have a military band in the
Army who is there to cheer on soldiers without being sexy or provocative,” said Yun. “Cheerleaders were forced to be sexy and seductive for the male audience, [and that] should be the focus of the discussion. They should be able to carry on their jobs without having to surrender to unfair requirements.”

In a similar vein, singer Hwasa of girl group Mamamoo caught the eye of K-pop fans during a performance at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) ceremony performance on Dec. 12, wearing a red swimsuit-like costume. Hwasa’s powerful performance of her song “Don’t Give It To Me” became the center of attention, after she appeared on stage with much of her body exposed and dancing among half-naked male dancers. Her provocative dance moves aroused an online debate over whether it is appropriate for performers to expose so much of their bodies.

“The men are more exposed than she is, and she has all the necessary parts covered up; so what’s the deal?” reads one comment on a video of the performance on YouTube. On the other hand, one tweet read, “This is not right. Let’s please stop women from becoming sexual objects with performances that call themselves sexy.”

Professor Yun explains that the two issues are closely linked together. “Women should be able to expose themselves and feel free about their bodies, but they shouldn’t be forced to do it in a way that’s deemed as sexy by the men,” said Yun.

“For instance, feminists expose their bodies, but in a way that doesn’t touch on the sexual demands of the male desires. Women should be able to have a profession and show their bodies regardless of the male gaze.”
cheerleaders  Korean-cheerleaders 
16 days ago
Korean textbook improvements
I'm not qualified to evaluate the textbooks in their total treatment of Korean history and culture, but there are a few areas in which I have personally conducted research where I think I can offer some suggestions for improvements.

First, in the area of understanding Confucianism, there is almost no mention of Korea's transformation into a classic ― maybe the best example on the planet ― patrilineal society, better known in Korea as bugye society ― or in simple terms a male-dominated society. What is meant by the sociologists jargon "a patrilineal society" is often called "the patriarchy" and it refers to control of society and family by males. This implies subjugation of women and denial of opportunities of equality for women.

The male-dominated society is often referred to as "Confucian society" and Confucianism gets the blame for supporting men and disadvantaging women in social action, such as property ownership and inheritance rights and even rights to perform rituals.
But there is another Confucianism.

The Confucianism of the last 300 years was a kind of "perfected" Confucianism ― the most fundamentalist and orthodox practice of Confucianism of any on earth ― compared to any other time or any other place. Certainly more orthodox than ever practiced in the homeland of Confucius ― China. It is this Confucianism that is generally thought of as Korean Confucianism. It is this Confucianism that gets the "bad rap"―the criticism today.

But there was another Confucianism in Korea ― that practiced from the earliest days when Confucianism came into Korea in the Three Kingdoms Period (about the fourth century) until the orthodox reform movement of the late 17th century.

For over a thousand years, actually thirteen hundred years, Korea practiced a form of Confucianism that was "compromised," "adapted," ― a Korean-style Confucianism. How was it different? Basically, the role of the oldest son; it was only after the late 7th century reform that Korea utilized the oldest son of the family as the primary official at ceremonies and as the primary heir in the household. But for over a millennium under Korean-style Confucianism, inheritances were equally distributed between all the sons and the daughters, and Confucian ceremonies were hosted in rotation between the children of the father and mother after their deaths.

Textbooks ought to cover this.

There were two forms of Confucianism practiced in Korea. The Korean-style, egalitarian Confucianism of the Three Kingdoms period, the Unified Silla period, the Goryeo period and the first three centuries of the five-century Joseon period ― 1,300 years. And then the orthodox, patrilineal, fundamentalist Confucianism of the last two centuries of the Joseon era and the transformative 20th century ― 300 years.

So, what was Korean Confucianism? It depends on the era you are looking at.

And what do the Korean textbooks say?

I am calling on the Korean textbook establishment to make clear that there was an orthodox Confucian transformation in the late 17th century. It is a knowable fact. It should be in the textbooks. But it is not.

In the orthodoxy movement Confucianism in Korea came in line with the teachings of Confucius in the ritual texts (the Chou Li [Jurye] and the Li Ji [Yeji]) which came out of Confucius' time and society, a society that was "patrilineal" ― with an emphasis on the oldest son.

In the transformation to orthodox Confucianism, daughters lost their inheritance rights and were omitted from the ceremonies. This impacted marriage practices ― there was no longer the option of marrying and living at the wife's home, but now, all marriages became patrilocal ― at the husband's home. This impacted the organization of the villages with the appearance of the "lineage village" where all the men are related to each other. And this all shows up in the style and content of genealogical books (jokbo) that were published.

These social changes are all documentable. These facts are all knowable.

But the textbooks ignore it. Confucianism, unjustly, is treated as a monolith over all time, and the fundamentalist reform that had such large impact on Korea remains obscure and students and society are kept in the dark.

It is time for the textbooks writers to wake up and include the story of Korean Confucianism in the textbooks.

Mark Peterson ( is professor emeritus of Korean, Asian and Near Eastern languages at Brigham Young University in Utah.
Confucianism  Neo-Confucianism  Korean-history 
16 days ago
Ladies & The Law: The Murder That Resulted in Japan's Anti-Stalking Act - Savvy Tokyo
Savvy Tokyo's series "Ladies And The Law" digs back in time tracing the catalysts for change in Japanese laws that directly or indirectly affect women and their families. If you have a topic you would like us to cover through a real court case, contact us at

At a little before 1 p.m. on the afternoon of October 26, 1999, Shiori Ino, a 21-year-old university student, was stabbed in the chest while entering JR Okegawa station in Saitama. She bled to death while being rushed to a nearby hospital. Ino’s assailant was a local heavy who had been hired by Kazuhito Komatsu, a 26-year-old man Ino had briefly dated earlier in the year after meeting him at a neighborhood game center.

When they met, Komatsu had given Ino a false name and lied about his age. After just a few dates, he began to simultaneously lavish her with expensive gifts and emotionally abuse her. Ino tried to break up with him, but Komatsu would not accept that she no longer wanted to see him and became even more abusive. He began to phone her home and make threats to both her and her family.
Lack of police involvement

After three months of this, culminating in Komatsu and his friends forcing their way into the Ino home in mid-June with further threats — which Ino recorded — she filed a police report, including the recording she had made. The police told her she had no claim.

When the family endured further threatening phone calls that night, Ino and her parents went together to the police the next day and were again told the police could not, or would not, aid her. Both the police and the free legal clinic they sent her to opined that she was responsible for the problem because she had accepted some of Komatsu’s gifts. No one would help.

Ino tried to break up with him, but Komatsu would not accept that she no longer wanted to see him and became even more abusive.

After Ino sent everything Komatsu had ever given her by courier to his known address, Komatsu and his brother put out the murder contract on Ino that ultimately led to her death. They also continued to make harassing phone calls and other threats to the Ino family and even began to distribute slanderous posters and fliers in her residential neighborhood. Although this continued for several months, still the police refused to act, with the tragic result of Ino’s untimely death.

Even sadder, immediately after Ino’s death, the police reaction was to try to smear the young woman, releasing information that further victimized her by portraying her as a gold-digging slut and implying that she had brought the attack on herself.
Toward the Anti-Stalker Act

It wasn’t until an investigative journalist named Kiyoshi Shimizu reported the true situation that the police finally acted, identifying and arresting the hired murderer, Komatsu’s brother, and the other accomplices in December 1999. (They were subsequently tried and convicted, each now serving time in prison.) Komatsu himself fled to Hokkaido, where he escaped justice by committing suicide in January 2000.

Once the full facts of the case became public, there was a public outcry, leading to an inquiry over the police response, as well as the drafting and passage of an Anti-Stalker Act in November 2000. In that sense, Ino did not die in vain.

[T]he police and the free legal clinic they sent [Ito] to opined that she was responsible for the problem because she had accepted some of Komatsu’s gifts.

Under the Act, two kinds of behavior are prohibited: “pursuit” and “stalking.” Pursuit is any act pressuring another person to go out or in revenge for being rejected, while Stalking is repeated acts that cause the victim to feel endangered.

One hurdle imposed by the Act is that the victim must file an actual criminal complaint in order for the police to act. While this doesn’t sound so difficult, neither is it straightforward. It is a longstanding police practice in Japan (and many other countries) to stay out of domestic or inter-personal disputes, instead urging the parties to resolve the problems themselves or to accept personal responsibility for whatever is happening to them. It is therefore regrettably common for the police to ask victims intimidating questions or making assumed statements such as, “You must have done something to cause this” or “Are you sure you want to file a formal complaint?”

In the Japanese context, this kind of questioning can often result in the victim leaving without taking any official action, choosing instead to endure the situation a little longer, possibly with unfortunate results.

Another potential shortcoming is that the first action the police are authorized to take in “pursuit” cases is a verbal or written warning to the stalker, resorting to a restraining order only if the warning is ignored. Neither of these measures seems likely to adequately protect victims. Indeed, research in Japan has shown that a quarter of stalkers don’t fully recognize that their actions even constitute stalking and instead believe they are justified in their actions.

Notwithstanding these difficulties, the number of reported stalking cases has risen pretty steadily in the years since the creation of the law:

Source: National Police Agency website

Of course, this is not necessarily because the incidence of stalking is increasing (although that is also possible), but rather, because of greater awareness of the existence of the law, resulting in more of the cases that occur being reported.
Cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying

Since the original 2000 law, the world has changed significantly through the advent of social media. And with it has come cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying — sending multiple unwanted messages to someone via social media, or similarly leaving multiple comments on someone’s blog or social media site. This is particularly a problem for public figures such as entertainment idols, although anyone with an Internet presence could become a victim. Thanks to the ease of electronic communication, immature or maladjusted individuals may grow to believe they have established some kind of relationship with someone they’ve never actually met, and then grow frustrated, hostile or angry when there is no reciprocation.

Research in Japan has shown that fully a quarter of stalkers don’t recognize that their actions even constitute stalking and instead believe they are justified in their actions.

This is what happened to pop singer Mayu Tomita, who was stabbed more than 20 times by a male fan in May 2016. Her attacker had posted more than 300 public messages to her Twitter account professing his love for her and later threatening her life when she did not respond. Fortunately, Tomita survived the attack. But like Ino, she had been to the police after receiving the death threats, and the police declined to act, taking the view that the threats were not serious, possibly because they were made via social media.

After the Tomita incident, the Anti-Stalker Act was revised in January 2017 to include cyberstalking and online harassment such as what Tomita endured. The revisions also increased the criminal penalty for stalking from six months to one year and allow prosecutors to act even without a victim filing an official criminal complaint, at least in circumstances where the victim fears retaliation.

The Anti-Stalker Act was revised in January 2017 to include cyberstalking and online harassment.

As the police are becoming more accustomed to the provisions of the Anti-Stalker Act, and perhaps because they are increasingly coming under criticism when they don’t act to protect victims of stalking, they are becoming more responsive. Still, it appears that only about 10% of complaints filed actually result in official police action.

In nearly 90% of reported stalking cases, the victims are women. The more the society and its institutions provide the means for victims to be brave enough to report stalking rather than suffering in silence, the more people will become aware of what constitutes stalking and why it is inappropriate and unacceptable to society. Calling out and stopping this unacceptable behavior is an obligation we all have, because no one is immune to danger.

Vicki L. Beyer is a Professor of Law at the Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law Business Law Department.
Japanese-law  Japanese-stalking  Japanese-stalkers  Japanese-sexual-harassment 
16 days ago
Ghosn’s detention puts Japan justice system under microscope:The Asahi Shimbun
Since his arrest on suspicion of falsifying financial reports, Nissan's former Chairman Carlos Ghosn has been sitting in a humble cell for more than a month, interrogated day in and day out, without a lawyer present.

His case is drawing attention to the criminal justice system in Japan, where there is no presumption of innocence and the accused can be held for months before trial. The system, sometimes called "hostage justice," has come under fire from human rights advocates.

When a court denied Tokyo prosecutors' request to detain Ghosn another 10 days on Dec. 20, it was so unusual that the Japanese media reported he might be released. But such speculation was dashed when prosecutors rearrested him a day later on suspicion of breach of trust, tagging on a new set of allegations centered on Ghosn's shifting personal investment losses of some 1.8 billion yen ($16 million) to Nissan Motor Co.

But his plight is routine in Japan. People have signed confessions, even to killings they never committed, just to get out of the ordeal.

A trial could be months away and could drag on even longer. And his chances aren't good: The conviction rate in Japan is 99 percent.

Those close to Ghosn and his family say he is asserting his innocence. But it is unclear when release may come for Ghosn, who led a two-decade turnaround at Nissan from near-bankruptcy. Tokyo prosecutors consider Ghosn, a Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese ancestry, a flight risk.

Other nations may have legal systems that are criticized as brutal and unfair. The United States, for instance, has its share of erroneous convictions, police brutality and dubious plea bargains. But, in the United States, a person is presumed innocent, has the right to have an attorney present and gets freed within 72 hours if there is no charge.

Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond's School of Law, said such a longtime detention is highly unusual in the United States.

"Each time the government reaches a deadline where Ghosn might be released, the government files new allegations and rearrests," he said.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Shin Kukimoto said prosecutors are merely doing their job of "trying to carry out a proper investigation."

When asked by a reporter about "hostage justice," he replied: "We are not in a position to comment on how the law has been designed."

Under such a system, those who insist on innocence end up getting detained longer. Once the rearrest processes run out and a suspect is formally charged, bail is technically possible but often denied until the trial starts because of fears about tampered evidence.

"It is good that the world will learn how wrong Japan's criminal system is through the case of this famous person. It is something even many Japanese don't know," says Seiho Cho, a lawyer in Tokyo and an expert on criminal defense. "Countless people have gone through horrible experiences."

A famous case is Iwao Hakamada, a professional boxer, who served 48 years in prison, mostly on death row after he signed a confession under questioning and was convicted of killing a family of four. He was freed in 2014 after DNA tests determined blood at the crime scene wasn't Hakamada's, and a court ruled police had likely planted evidence. Boxing champions had rallied on his behalf.

A true-life story of a man who refused to sign a confession that he groped a woman on a crowded commuter train became a popular 2007 movie "I Just Didn't Do It," directed by Masayuki Suo. The film depicts a five-year legal battle for exoneration, highlighting the burden of proof of innocence was on the accused.

In the United States, defense lawyers tend to be vocal, but in Japan, it is fairly standard--as in the case of Ghosn--for them to stay silent, especially before trial, because that's considered better for the suspects. Lawyers are allowed to visit clients in detention.

Ghosn has been formally charged in the initial set of allegations, underreporting his income by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) for five years through 2015. The maximum penalty for violating Japan's financial laws is 10 years in prison, a 10 million yen ($89,000) fine, or both.

Greg Kelly, an American Nissan executive who was arrested with Ghosn, has been similarly charged with collaborating on underreporting Ghosn's income. Kelly was not rearrested on the latest breach of trust allegations. Kelly's U.S. lawyer says he is innocent and abided by company policy.

Nissan has also been charged as a legal entity, but no person besides Ghosn and Kelly has been charged or arrested. Nissan executives repeatedly say an internal investigation that began in the summer showed clear and serious wrongdoing, which went unnoticed for so long because of complex schemes "masterminded" by Ghosn and Kelly.

They went to the prosecutors, resulting in the surprise Nov. 19 arrests, and are cooperating closely with the investigation.

Being accused of a crime is devastating in a conformist insular society like Japan. Family members also become targets of discrimination, spurned for marriage and ostracized. Some commit suicide.

Cho, the lawyer, said the long detention and trial mean people lose their jobs, reputation, sometimes their families. But he still had this advice: Whatever you do, don't confess to anything you didn't do as that just makes it worse.

"Don't ever compromise on your innocence," he said.
16 days ago
Lovelyz’s Mijoo & Jiae harassed at fanmeeting by guy who supposedly does this all the time – Asian Junkie
At the tail-end of a recent fansign event, Lovelyz‘s Mijoo was sexually harassed by a male fan, who yelled “lift up your leg” at her while she was wearing a short dress.

Jiae noticeably heard the fan and her mood visibly changed immediately, while Mijoo herself didn’t seem to take to it kindly and glared at the fan for a while. After turning her back to the fans for a bit, Jiae only resumed smiling after a female fan called out and told her to eat well.

While that’s creepy enough as it is, apparently this fan is infamous for doing this to Lovelyz members, which makes one wonder just how much money he’s spending on them that Woollim Entertainment seemingly doesn’t give a shit.
K-pop  Korean-girl-groups  ajosshi-fans  samcheon-fans  uncle-fans 
16 days ago
How gender stereotypes are built into Mandarin - The Economist explains
GENDER bias in language is exercising Europe’s linguists. A French grammar book published last year ignited debates about an old grammatical rule that holds that masculine forms of words trump the feminine. In similar vein, Spanish politicians have proposed editing the constitution to include a reference to female workers (“workers” in the masculine, and therefore universal, form are already mentioned). And German grammarians are mulling an update to dictionaries to include new genderless versions of words. In China, however, the debate is rather quieter. Yet Mandarin—spoken by 70% of Chinese people—has gender bias, too. It shares some issues with other languages: female bosses, for example, are typically identified as such (eg, woman-boss), whereas male ones are not. But unlike some European tongues, Mandarin does not assign genders to nouns. It has a different—and inaudible—issue: some of its written characters ascribe negative stereotypes to women.

Chinese characters are made up of smaller components, called radicals, that come in two forms. Phonetic radicals give clues about a character’s pronunciation; semantic ones give clues about its meaning. For example, the radical for “speech” (讠) is semantic and is found on the left side of characters associated with speech: “language” (语), “words” (话), “to request” (请), “to chat” (谈), “to thank” (谢) and so on. Chinese dictionaries are often sorted by radical, so these characters are listed together. Similarly, the Chinese radical for “woman” (女) is found in the characters for “mother” (妈), “sister” (姐), and “aunt” (姑).

But the “woman” radical is also found in the characters and words for “jealousy” (妒), “suspicion” (嫌), “slave” (奴隶), “devil” (妖) and “rape” (强奸). It appears in some more positive instances, such as “good”(好)and “safety” (安), but even these characters rely on stereotypes: “good” depicts a woman next to a child, and “safety” is represented by a woman under a roof. The woman radical itself (女) is throught to derive from an image of a woman bending over with her hands clasped together. The word for man (男), by contrast, is made up of radicals meaning “field” (田) and “power” (力). Chinese grammar, especially word order, can also be said to favour men. The word for “parents” is “father and mother”, in that order; “children” is sometimes depicted as “son and daughter”. Most ironically, as one linguist has noted, the phrase for “gender equality” (男女平等) puts the male character before the female one.

Progress is possible. In 2015 curators used the traditional character for illicit sexual relations (姦—three women radicals, one on top of two others, to suggest multiple affairs by a man) as the name of an exhibit on violence against women. A year later a group of female typographers published a book of characters that they had made up. One put the radicals for “walking” and “woman” together to convey the idea that women’s roles can be outside the home. Inventing new characters is rather easier than abolishing existing ones, though. China’s written language is a source of national pride, persisting despite the difficulty it imposes. Anyone who spends hours learning Chinese characters will also learn the stereotypes built into them.

Correction (September 6th 2018): This article has been amended to make clear that the exhibition referred to in the final paragraph took its name from the traditional character representing illicit sexual relations
Hanja  Chinese-characters 
17 days ago
Female Idols Drinking in the Public Eye – seoulbeats
To humanize idols, some have gone on-camera intoxicated for promotional purposes. For example, the Wonder Girls performed their 2016 single, “Why So Lonely,” under the influence. Dingo has several other tipsy videos dating back only a year, starting with Roy Kim. It’s a rather new phenomenon and only five girl groups have featured out of about the 20 tipsy videos.

In the video, Hyerim appears completely out of it. She’s at the point she’s barely audible and barely participates. Sunmi is on the same planet as Hyerim. She flails around unconventionally to the music as Yubin and Yeeun carry the song.

The video was seen as cute by much of the commenters on the video — and it is hard to deny the cuteness of a drunk Sunmi. Part of the acceptance of their inebriation might lie in the Wonder Girls’ legacy throughout the years. It also gave the fans a chance to see the girls perform in a completely new setting. In this case, it was in a warm environment with a recognizable brand of soju and the women obviously have their guard down. It wasn’t something fans got a chance to see on a daily basis, and for many groups, fans never get to see their idols with their guards let down like this.

...The way female and male idols interact with alcohol can paint the elements of a patriarchal history in South Korea. Searching through the Entertainment section of Naver or Nate for “party,” “partying,” and “drink” brings up very few hits of male controversies. In fact, the biggest one seems to be of actor Im Changjung. His “crime”? His then-pregnant wife picked him up from the bar. Female idols post on Instagram while intoxicated and face backlash; on the contrary, male idols generally only face controversy when they’re doing something as life-threatening as drunk driving like Super Junior’s Kangin and Lee Seung Chul.

The influence drinking has on Korean culture and entertainment is undoubted. It’s okay for female idols to talk about themselves drinking in the comfort of their rooms; it’s acceptable and cute to use soju as a beauty product. It’s especially okay for females to advertise alcohol to a primarily older, male market. Female idols, in fact, make up the bulk of soju advertisements. IU, the most notable, has advertised for soju brand Chamisul for years. It was figure skater, Kim Yoona‘s advertisements for Hite that finally prompted the South Korean government to step in in an attempt outlaw celebrities under the age of 24 from advertising alcohol in the media; not because of the overly sexualized nature of the advertisements, but because they gave the impression it was cool for young people — especially young women — to drink.

There is a clear double standard in how women and men are able to interact in the public spotlight when alcohol is involved. Women are expected to behave a certain way, and for young, female idols, those expectations include endorsing alcohol, but not publicly consuming it. These spokesmodel idols are portrayed as pure and something to strive for, and alcohol consumption doesn’t fit in that equation. Instead, they are asked to hold up the bottles and look enticing, while the men handle the actual drinking.
K-pop  Korean-alcohol  soju  soju-advertisements  Korean-entertainment-companies  Korean-netizens  Korean-celebrities 
18 days ago
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