Pinboard: bookmarks for thegrandnarrative
Porn for women is something I watch when I'm not in the mood to see the woman get slapped, spat on, choked, spanked or get their hair pulled, all of which happens with monotonous regularity in "regular" porn.

BDSM is fine. Anyone who thinks that all BDSM is degradation obviously knows nothing about it. Likewise people thinking that 50 Shades represents the actual practice are just as mistaken as people who think the 19th Century was a simply delightful time to live because they've read some Jane Austen. BDSM porn and BDSM as practiced by a loving couple is just as different as porn sex vs real sex. If you think the two are the same then you're doing sex badly, badly wrong.

More women watching porn is only a good thing, because it might make demand swing more away from routine degredation as part of sex in porn shoots. It might also encourage couples to try new and different things in the bedroom, which is again, only a plus.
pornography  pornography-for-women  female-sexuality 
8 hours ago
The First Moral Panic: London, 1744 | JSTOR Daily
Moral panics are instances of mass fear of something said to threaten the very basis of society, whether that’s witchcraft, an unconventional aspect of sexuality, crime, or something else. Twentieth-century examples include the juvenile delinquency and comic book scares of the 1950s and the alleged satanic child abuse cases of the 1980-1990s. Such panics are fostered by mass media and exploited by self-appointed moralists and politicians.

...According to Ward, experts have outlined six stages of crime wave moral panics. Those stages are:

1) A crime or series of crimes garner(s) media attention.
2) The media hypes the threat.
3) As a result of more news about crime, more crime gets reported to the police.
4) The crime rate is therefore judged to be higher than thought by media and law enforcement.
5) “New and heavier control and punishment measures are introduced.”
6) The panic fades away in a couple of months, but the new methods for controlling and punishing become the new norm.
moral-panic  media  history 
8 hours ago
Critical Korean Studies

'Hot Pants" by Limb Eung Sik (1912-2001), Myeongdong, 1971. The social changes quickly going through Korea, which were greatly focused and symbolized around gender, didn't sleep by one of Korea is most famous documentary photographers. Is this "street fashion?"

In 1970/71, there seemed to be a BIG social conversation about women's short attire again.

Matt VanVolkenburg Such "exposure" reminds me of the miniskirt crackdowns of the time. Many accounts link the first long hair crackdown in August 1970 with the crackdown on miniskirts, but news reports from that time only bring up a handful of arrests in Busan (One was publicized later in Seoul but arrests didn't seem to be a trend there in 1970). Fittingly, the Gukje Sinmun - a Busan paper - had the only cartoon referring to miniskirts (in which a shorn hippie told police to stop cracking down on only them, and surmised police left women showing lots of skin alone because they liked looking at them).

Damn "modern girls" and their sexy shenanigans.

Matt VanVolkenburg I've been going through 주간경향 from 1969 and 1970, and one thing that becomes obvious is that, wow, was it ever a lad's magazine. There's a section (usually credited to AP or AFP) with scantily clad or even nude western women in it, as well as translated reprints of cartoons from Western publications (many of them shockingly sexist). And the west is depicted as a decadent, salacious place full of hippies, nudists, a veritable 프리섹스지대.

Here are a few covers:

Matt VanVolkenburg This one is interesting since it's a Korean woman who may be naked under the body paint. While the late August 1970 crackdown focused in action on long-haired men, rhetorically one of the main targets was avant-garde art in various forms, including body painting. Though almost no one was arrested under the broad art category, it served to taint youth culture by association with the lewdness such art was said to represent.

Matt VanVolkenburg, how would you link in these covers to the idea of keeping women within a set social role? (I'm just truing to keep comments going on other posts here)

Matt VanVolkenburg I'd move beyond the covers to include what's inside as well, and when you consider how woman are portrayed there, it's generally as eye candy and not to be taken seriously (again - it's clearly a lad's magazine). For a more interesting discussion of women's social roles, 여원 would be the place to look (published 1956-70). Charles Kim's book 'Youth for Nation' uses it as a source, and his book is well worth reading for those with an interest in 4.19, Korean society in the late 50s, and the history of student protest; his examination of 'wholesome modernization' (in part selective adaptation of Western culture) is useful in understanding everything from the crackdowns on youth culture and marijuana in the 1970s to the anti-English teacher wave of the last decade or more.

For those with an interest in 여원's contents, they're listed here:
한인발행미디어DB 1 페이지 | 동아시아역사연구소
Korean-history  Korean-fashion  Korean-skirt-police  Korean-youth  Korean-art  1970s 
11 hours ago
Korean hierarchy soccer Hiddink
What Hiddink meant was impartiality in player selection, which was long based on school pedigree, coaching contacts and regionalism. Park Ji-sung, who went on to play for Manchester United, probably never would have made the team if it weren't for Hiddink
Korean-hierarchy  soccer  Hiddink  Park-Ji-sung 
13 hours ago
How to Really Find Your Passion - The Atlantic

Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, remembers asking an undergraduate seminar recently, “How many of you are waiting to find your passion?”

“Almost all of them raised their hand and got dreamy looks in their eyes,” she told me. They talked about it “like a tidal wave would sweep over them.” Sploosh. Huzzah! It’s accounting!

Would they have unlimited motivation for their passion? They nodded solemnly.

“I hate to burst your balloon,” she said, “but it doesn’t usually happen that way.”

What Dweck asked her students is a common refrain in American society. The term “Follow your passion” has increased ninefold in English books since 1990. “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is another college-counseling standby of unknown provenance.

But according to Dweck and others, that advice is steering people wrong.

“What are the consequences of that?” asked Paul O’Keefe, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale—NUS College. “That means that if you do something that feels like work, it means you don’t love it.” He gave me the example of a student who jumps from lab to lab, trying to find one whose research topic feels like her passion. “It’s this idea that if I’m not completely overwhelmed by emotion when I walk into a lab, then it won’t be my passion or my interest.”

That’s why he and two co-authors—Dweck and Greg Walton of Stanford—recently performed a study that suggests it might be time to change the way we think about our interests. Passions aren’t “found,” they argue. They’re developed.

In a paper that is forthcoming in Psychological Science, the authors delineate the difference between the two mind-sets. One is a “fixed theory of interests”—the idea that core interests are there from birth, just waiting to be discovered—and the other is a “growth theory,” the idea that interests are something anyone can cultivate over time.

To examine how these different mind-sets affect our pursuit of different topics, the authors performed a series of studies on college students—a group that’s frequently advised to find their passion in the form of a major or career path.

First, students answered a survey that would categorize them as either “techy”—slang for interested in math and science—or “fuzzy,” meaning interested in the arts or humanities. They also filled out a survey determining how much they agreed with the idea that people’s core interests don’t change over time. They then read an article that mismatched their interests—a piece on the future of algorithms for the fuzzies, and a piece on Derrida for the techies. The more the participants endorsed a “fixed” theory of interests, the less interested they were in the article that mismatched their aforementioned identity as a techy or fuzzy.

The authors then repeated a similar procedure, but they had students read first about either the fixed theory of interests or the growth theory. Again, those who learned that interests are fixed throughout a person’s life were less captivated by an article that mismatched their interests.

The authors believe this could mean that students who have fixed theories of interest might forgo interesting lectures or opportunities because they don’t align with their previously stated passions. Or that they might overlook ways that other disciplines can intersect with their own.

“If passions are things found fully formed, and your job is to look around the world for your passion—it’s a crazy thought,” Walton told me. “It doesn’t reflect the way I or my students experience school, where you go to a class and have a lecture or a conversation, and you think, That’s interesting. It’s through a process of investment and development that you develop an abiding passion in a field.”

Another reason not to buy into the fixed theory is that it can cause people to give up too easily. If something becomes difficult, it’s easy to assume that it simply must not have been your passion, after all. In one portion of this study, the students who thought interests were fixed were also less likely to think that pursuing a passion would be difficult at times. Instead, they thought it would provide “endless motivation.”

Dweck, one of the paper’s authors, has previously studied different types of mind-sets as they relate to intelligence. People who have a growth mind-set about their own intelligence tend to be less afraid of failure, according to her research, because they believe smarts are cultivated, not inherent. Interests are related to, but distinct from, abilities, the study authors told me: You can be interested in something but not very good at it. “I’ve been playing guitar for 25 years, but I can’t say that my abilities have gotten that much better in the past 10 years,” O’Keefe said.

Dweck told me that “find your passion” has a laudable history. “Before that, people were saying, ‘Find your genius,’ and that was so intimidating. It implied that only people who were really brilliant at something could succeed,” she said. “‘Find your passion’ felt more democratic. Everybody can have an interest.” But this study suggests that even the idea of finding your “true” interest can intimidate people and keep them from digging further into a field.

The authors also had students learn about either fixed or growth theory and then exposed them to a new interest: Astronomy. First, they had them watch a video made by The Guardian for a general audience about Stephen Hawking’s ideas. It was easy to understand and entertaining. Then the authors had the students read a highly technical, challenging article in the academic journal Science about black holes. Despite saying just moments ago, after viewing the video, that they were fascinated by black holes, the students who were exposed to the fixed theory of interests said they were no longer interested in black holes after reading the difficult Science article. In other words, when you’re told that your interests are somehow ingrained, you give up on new interests as soon as the going gets tough.

This study was a preregistered replication, meaning the authors stated at the outset what their hypothesis and methods would be. This process is meant to prevent p-hacking, a shady data practice that has cast a shadow over many psychology studies in recent years.

K. Ann Renninger, a professor at Swarthmore College who was not involved with the study, has researched the development of interests and said that “neuroscience has confirmed that interests can be supported to develop.” In other words, with the right help, most people can get interested in almost anything. Before the age of 8, she said, kids will try anything. Between the ages of 8 and 12, they start to compare themselves with others and become insecure if they’re not as good as their peers at something. That’s when educators have to start to find new ways to keep them interested in certain subjects.

Though the authors didn’t examine adults, they told me their findings could apply to an older population as well. For example, people’s interest in parenthood tends to escalate rapidly once they have a real, crying baby in their house. “You could not know the first thing about cancer, but if your mother gets cancer, you’re going to be an expert in it pretty darn quick,” O’Keefe said.

A different study done on adults’ views toward passions suggests that people who think passions are found tend to pick jobs that fit them well from the outset. They prioritize enjoyment over good pay. People who think passions are developed, meanwhile, prioritize other goals over immediate enjoyment at work, and they “grow to fit their vocations better over time,” the authors of that study write. “In conclusion,” they add, “people who have not found their perfect fit in a career can take heart—there is more than one way to attain passion for work.”

How to cultivate a “growth” mind-set in the young, future-psychology-experiment subjects of America? If you’re a parent, you can avoid dropping new hobbies as soon as they become difficult. (Your kids might take note if you do, O’Keefe said.)

Beyond that, there’s not a clear way to develop a growth mind-set about interests, other than knowing that it’s a valid way to think, and that your passion might still be around the corner.

“We’re just trying to pull the veil back on the hidden implications of things like, ‘find your passion,’” Walton said. “Is that really how things work? A little bit of knowledge is power.”

We want to hear what you think. Submit a letter to the editor or write to
Olga Khazan is a staff writer at The Atlantic.
psychology  advice  passion  10000-hours 
2 days ago
Gusts Of Popular Feeling: The Anti-Refugee Protests: Xenophobia, the media, and citizens groups
Two things are worth noting: One is the inclusion in these debates of a number of groups which are clearly not fond of foreigners living in Korea. The other is that, with appearances at two debates held on the premises of the National Assembly two days in a row, the anti-multiculturalism group Love for Our Culture Citizens Solidarity seems to have made some high-profile political connections and may be seen as a "go to" group when dealing with these issues (though I'm not familiar enough with them to say for sure). These were the kind of connections that Anti-English Spectrum made with politicians who later sponsored bills the group favored, and that got them invited to the Immigration policy meeting which decided the drug and HIV tests for E-2 visa holders.

One of the key articles Anti-English Spectrum contributed to which promoted their message of foreign teachers as AIDS threat was this Chosun Ilbo article (titled "White English instructor threatens Korean woman with AIDS" in its Korean version). Another article they contributed to was this one by KBS, titled "Out of Control Foreign English Teacher' Molests [someone] While High During Lesson," which conflates two different events to invent, in the title, an incident that never occurred. A post at this site provided a link to a Chosun Ilbo article from last week that does the same thing for Yemeni refugees. The headline and sub-headlines read:

Korea is not free from Khat, the hallucinogen that ruined YemenYemeni refugee applicant who took drug committed molestation in a club
Court commuted [sentence because it's] "legal in Yemen"
90% of Yemeni men enjoy 'khat'

The article explains how a Yemeni who came to Korea in 2014 and claimed he couldn't return because he had fought against Al Queda but was judged not to be in such danger and was eventually ordered to leave Korea after a grace period. During that period he was arrested for touching women in a club, and then arrested months later for staying in Korea past the grace period and possession of khat, a plant chewed for its psychoactive properties in Yemen. His prison sentence was reduced somewhat since the court later accepted that it was legal in Yemen and that he had not taken something he knew to be illegal. The article then talks about the use of khat in Yemen and how Korea is no longer a "khat-free zone." Between the sub-headlines that suggest he was high when he touched the women and digging up a year-old case at this time, the Chosun Ilbo's stance on the refugee issue seems clear enough.

The petition and the June 30 protest seem to have gotten results. Politicians are falling over each other to submit bills to the national assembly or, as seen above, to host debates on the topic. And in a "let's get this out of the public eye as quickly as possible"-type solution, it has been announced that "Yemini asylum seekers who have arrived on Jeju Island this year will start receiving the results of their refugee status applications in two weeks’ time."

While the experience of a decade of media bias against foreign English teachers and the actions of Anti-English Spectrum can be compared usefully to some aspects of the anti-refugee movement, not all of it applies. The media manipulation of AES, and its use of those reports to influence the government, seem less important when citizens have a means of reaching out to the president - a president put into power through the concerted action of citizens - directly. The populism of the current administration both supports and upsets these activists, as we will see.

Update, July 18:

The fact that overworked public servants dealing with these applications are speeding up the processing of the Yemenis' applications, as mentioned two paragraphs above, should be worrying considering that the Chosun Ilbo has just reported that an Arabic interpreter hired by the Justice Ministry, who had "no professional qualifications but was a[n undergraduate] student of business administration with Arabic as a minor subject," and who was likely hired to save money, "habitually misrepresent[ed]" "stories of asylum seekers, often making them appear in an unfavorable light that may have damaged their chances of staying."

In one instance, a review showed that an asylum seeker told the court in Arabic that he suffered political repression in his home country, but Chang [the interpreter] rendered it as, "I came here to make money." [...] It is unclear whether he was simply incompetent or motivated by malice. [...]

Chang translated in more than 100 asylum application cases over the past two years. As a result of an internal investigation, the ministry voided 55 of its own decisions against asylum seekers where he was involved, and has already reversed two and granted the applicants asylum.

It goes on to note that "only a handful" of contract or regular translators in government offices have proper qualifications, and that Jeju lacks properly qualified Korean-Arabic translators.

It would seem I was wrong to conclude that the Chosun Ilbo article I mentioned above indicated a stance on the Yemeni refugees. Mind you, the possibility that an article portraying Yemenis as drug-addled molesters was not written for any political purpose but was just a par-for-the-course article isn't exactly reassuring.

Oh, and this seems like a rather badly-timed article.
Korean-demographics  Korean-immigration  Korean-xenophobia  Korean-refugees  Korean-bloodlines 
3 days ago
Feminism’s Firework That Never Goes Dark | ILDA
-The controversial pictures that were unilaterally removed from Facebook were from the “Free the Nipple” performance at the Menstruation Festival. How did that even come about?

Ga-hyeon: Some of Fire Fem’s members had gotten together and taken a topless picture before, after the Matchless Armpit Hair Competition at last year’s gay pride parade. We planned to do an armpit hair competition at the Menstruation Festival and people were saying it’d be good to do a “Free the Nipple” activity too. Some people wanted to do it.
From the Free the Nipple performance at the Menstruation Festival on May 26. © Ilda (Park Ju-yeon)

-Did you expect such a big reaction to the Free the Nipple performance? When you [later] protested by showing your breasts in front of Facebook’s Korean headquarters, a ton of press outlets covered it.

Si-won: We had no idea that would happen. When I was in a taxi heading toward the protest, people who got there first were sending messages saying, “There are a ton of reporters here.” We didn’t know it would become such an issue. And it wasn’t really until we appeared on the real time search rankings that I wondered, ‘Have we done something huge?’

Ga-hyeon: Actually what I expected was that no press would come, so we’d just take off our shirts and take pictures by ourselves, put them on Facebook again, and be deleted again. (Laughs)

Si-won: I was hesitant before we first did it at the Menstruation Festival. Like, ‘How can we take... how can we take them off?’ (Laughs) I thought I would just stand by for support, but on the day of the event there was a great feeling in the air. Starting with the armpit hair competition, people were yelling, “You’re so cool, you’re real women!” and being really supportive and friendly. I think that environment gave me the courage to go through with it after all. And I saw the Facebook protest as an extension of the Menstruation Festival, so I wasn’t really worried about it—but then suddenly the police swarmed us and covered my chest with a blanket... Suddenly I felt like a hot-blooded activist.

-Aside from the group’s name suddenly becoming famous and being reported on in the press, have there been other changes that you’ve felt?

Han-sol: I think my mindset has changed. When I was going about my normal life without a bra before, I felt self-conscious. But when I did Free the Nipple, it wasn’t embarrassing, it was refreshing. I felt like, ‘This is easy.’ So then I went to work without a bra for the first time. I was thinking, ‘Pictures of my breasts have already made the rounds, so who cares about not wearing a bra under my shirt?’ (Everyone laughs)
Han-sol at this year’s Menstruation Festival. © Fireworks Femi-Action

Si-won: I did a press interview this time, as you know. My parents didn’t know that I’m an activist, and I was worried that someone they knew would recognize me and call them. So I took the initiative and posted the link in our family messenger chat. Surprisingly, they didn’t really react much. It was about the level of, ‘Oh, you do that kind of activism?’

I didn’t personally feel much of a change, but this whole thing has reminded me that many people sexually objectify women’s breasts.

Ga-hyeon: My friends are saying, “Ooh, you’ve really done something,” sending me little mobile gift cards and cheering me on. A high school friend got in touch and was like, “You’re working hard. You’ve found your path!” (Everyone laughs) So that kind of thing has happened.

-There’s also been some negative reactions. Some people are posting cruel comments on articles about the event.

Ga-hyeon: Some evaluate our bodies. They mention our stomach fat and back fat, and under pictures where you can see a face, they write things like, “Are we sure this is a woman?” At first I just thought, ‘That’s annoying’ and deleted them [if they were on our page], but as they kept coming, they definitely got to me. I’m having trouble eating, and when I do, my digestion isn’t great. My friends in Femi-Dangdang [another feminist group] said that they’ve also had experience with mean comments, and they recommended eating ice cream and spicy food. (Laughs) So I had tteokbokki.

Si-won: The body and face critiques, which were probably written by men, didn’t bother me much. But I was a little hurt by the ones that said, “They’re ggwon-femi[2] so they’re just trying to advertise their group.”
“My body hair, hold your head high!” At the Menstruation Festival. © Fireworks Femi-Action

Han-sol: I also was a little more hurt by those kinds of comments. But they happen because there are different points of view. And in some ways, they’re points that make you reconsider your opinions. Actually, this was the first I’d heard about Fireworks Femi-Action being ggwon-femi. (Laughs) In university, I used to interview people on the topic “people without flags”[3] for the university newspaper. I was actually criticized a little then for being irresponsible and opportunistic. So the criticism this time is kind of strange.

Si-won: I hadn’t been in the group for very long, so I thought, ‘I’m not that seasoned!’ (Laughs)
Korean-breasts  nipples  free-the-nipple  Korean-free-the-nipple  Korean-feminism 
3 days ago
Nearly 90 pct of Troops in Favor of After-work Mobile Phone Use | Be Korea-savvy
Nearly 90 percent of troops, including senior service members, favored the idea of military draftees being allowed to use mobile phones after work, a survey showed Thursday,

In a poll of 596 troops that the defense ministry conducted earlier this month, 89.6 percent of the respondents said that they were in favor of conscripts’ use of mobile phones at barracks, which has been banned for security reasons.

Among the respondents were 166 senior members who are able to carry mobile phones. In the survey, 72.9 percent supported the phone use.

The draftees surveyed said that mobile phones can help them keep in touch with their parents and friends, continue their academic studies and search for various types of information, including about employment.

“Being able to use cell phones after work helps ease our sense of isolation and helps reduce the charges that accrue for my use of public phones or video phones,” a soldier said, declining to be named.

Since April, the defense ministry has allowed draftees in four units to use mobile phones on a trial basis. The ministry is expected to make a final decision in December on whether to allow all conscripts to use phones.
Korean-military  Korean-conscription 
3 days ago
answeroad comments on TIL that over 23% of South Korean men lost their virginity to a prostitute
A Korean here.

You usually serve for the national service just when you hit about twenty in age, heading off into millitary. Its compulsory, and every able Korean men are to, unless you are lucky enough(or unlucky - since it means you are unable).

Now imagine spending about 2 years with a lot of guys who just hit their 20s, with no women around. A lot of horny talks happen, especially on weekends after lights out. Also imagine being a virgin among them.

So there's a hell of peer pressure to "just go and experience it" if you are a virgin then. So this whole thing happens right before(for those who fear this) or during(who got sick of it) national service, in their early 20s.

Now being a virgin in their early 20s isn't as rare as it sounds, especially in a highly competitive educational system like we have here.

Plus as a conscripted there's a very little chance of finding a good lady willing for a relationship, since you will be meeting the guy just ONCE every 2~3 months or so / without any means of properly communicating with them (personal cell phones not allowed).

Also just needed to say that my girlfriend kept me for the length of service (up until now as well) so I am of 77%.

Edit : relationship paragraph
Korean-military  Korean-concscription  Korean-sex-work  Korean-sexuality 
4 days ago
South Koreans Learn to Love the Other – Foreign Policy
Despite the success of the government’s multicultural campaign, there has been some backlash in recent years. Between 2011 and 2015, the Korean Identity Survey polling data revealed an increase in public concerns about multiculturalism, with support dropping to 49.7 percent. The data also showed that many Koreans associated foreigners with crime, job losses, or a greater tax burden. Academics and activists have criticized the government for reinforcing the sexist stereotype that multicultural families mean a Korean man and a foreign woman.

Lee, the country’s first foreign-born lawmaker, says she generally supports the government’s overall approach but the presence of mixed-race Koreans themselves will be what ultimately transforms society. She points to the Korean-African-American football star Hines Ward, who plays a powerful role in improving public perceptions, and adds that if there were more internationally renowned athletes from multicultural backgrounds, they would further improve ordinary people’s image of multiculturalism.

A majority of South Koreans now see immigration as essential to their country’s future — both as a thriving economy and as a modern, advanced nation. Other aging nations looking to ensure their future economic health would do well to consider making similar efforts to convince their citizens that the best path to success stems from diversity.
Korean-bloodlines  Korean-multiculturalism  Korean-nationalism  Korean-demographics 
5 days ago
Mark Russell ‏ @themarkrussell
I'm always fascinated by contrasts between Korean and Japanese movie markets. Ex: Despite having 150% more people than Korea, Japan sells about 17% fewer tickets -- 217M in Korea vs. 180M in Japan in 2016.

(But because Japan tix much pricier, annual revenues are 30% bigger).
10:53 PM - 19 Jan 2018

New conversation
Mark Russell
‏ @themarkrussell
Jan 19

Also, Korea's KOBIS constantly tracks national box office, updated every day just after midnight.

Japan's EIREN ( …) still only goes to 2016. And weekend box office reports come out very slowly, with just partial information.
1 reply 4 retweets 4 likes
Mark Russell
‏ @themarkrussell
Jan 19

But Japan is also enjoying an impressive movie revival these days. In 2016, their box office was 63% domestic films, just behind 2012's 65%, and the most since 1969.

And 2016 ticket sales up were 8% from 2015. In fact, their 180M admissions was by far the most since 1974.
0 replies 3 retweets 4 likes

End of conversation

John Lee (The Korean Foreigner)
‏ @koreanforeigner
Jan 19

Replying to @themarkrussell @AskAKorean

Another thing that makes those numbers more surprising is that digital piracy is more rampant in Korea than it is in Japan. I'm flabbergasted, really.
0 replies 0 retweets 0 likes
Korean-media  Japanese-media  Japanese-movies  Korean-movies 
6 days ago
For both young and old, white-collar career dreams dying in South Korea
The common saying “Some things never change” does not always apply. Particularly in South Korea. When I first came to South Korea back in 1972, the country was in the midst of the mighty industrialization program that the president at the time, the autocratic general Park Chung-hee, had launched after he seized control in 1961. As the economy surged on the back of industrialization, there were jobs aplenty.

Granted, discrimination based on gender was rife, and women were able to find work mostly in panuljil kongjang – which literally translated means “needlework factories,” but actually meant textile plants, many of them sweatshops – that were common in many cities. Women who were university graduates did take jobs in teaching, but those who did not achieve that level were destined at best for work in textile mills, in other light manufacturing jobs, or as farmworkers.

Men who had university degrees had much better options in the job market than women, since they could take managerial jobs in the manufacturing plants. They could also work in education, at schools and universities, and even those schools and universities that were exclusively for female students relied heavily upon male teachers and professors.

Males who lacked degrees did almost all the manufacturing jobs in the nascent steel, shipbuilding and automotive-sector jobs, as well as clerical jobs in industry and in the public sector.

Economically if not politically, those were good times for Korean men. Anyone who had a primary-school education could get a job at a factory; those with tertiary education could walk straight from their graduation right into a managerial career in the family-run conglomerates that came to dominate the economy. And back then, these were all seen as “jobs for life.”

Fast-forward to today, and things have changed radically.

In today’s South Korea, nearly 80% of all students are in higher education. This has created a far higher percentage of students in higher education than in the United States or the United Kingdom. The downside is that, for all too many, finding a job after graduation that fits their career aspirations is nearly impossible. Because of the lack of careers – and lack of futures – many young people have taken to characterizing their nation as “hell.”

The difficulties for young graduates can be summed up in the experience of one of the baristas at the Starbucks in my neighborhood in Seoul. “Charlie” – his English nickname – was downbeat.

“Although I am a university graduate, I am working full-time at Starbucks because finding a job at a chaebol without baek [connections or influence] is next to impossible.”

His colleague on the morning shift was a young university student working at Starbucks on a part-time basis, but was equally discouraged about the possibility of stepping on to a career path after graduation.

Older people face a different problem. They enjoyed decent white-collar careers but now that the “jobs for life” concept no longer pertains, find themselves forced into retirement in their mid- to late 50s. Back on the job market, they find their employment prospects equally bleak: Many operate mom-and-pop stores, or drive taxis.

An owner-driver cabbie described the situation. “We older Koreans do have employment opportunities in driving cabs or in owning or managing convenience stores,” said Woo Pan-cheol. “But it is difficult to find a regular job with a company, and many have to rely upon their savings to invest in a small business.”

Every Seoul cabbie to whom I spoke this week echoed Woo’s lament that older Koreans – much like new graduates – are shunned in the job market.

Then there is the gender divide. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Korea has one of the lowest female workforce participation rates. Korean companies tend to hire men first; women form a distinct minority of employed Koreans (bar in the education and civil-service sectors).

One plus side is that foreign employers who do not have the gender prejudices of many Korean employers have the pick of a highly educated female workforce.

“We like hiring women at our firm because we have seen that they are highly motivated to succeed and prove that they can do a good job for us,” said Eric Thorpe, co-managing director of Edge Communications, a public relations agency. “In part, that might be because local employers have overlooked them in the past.”

One female executive, Ji-Yeon Kim, a director at IRC Consulting in Seoul, said: “Women in Korea often prefer to work for government entities because they offer more opportunities to be hired in the first place, and then afterwards a better chance to develop their careers than they would have at many private Korean companies, including chaebol-related companies.”

Peter Underwood, the managing director of IRC Consulting and an expatriate with many years of experience in Korean business, said: “Many Korean graduates fail to find employment and then wind up starting graduate studies in Korea or abroad as a result.” This becomes a financial burden on their families, who have to continue supporting these students with tuition payments and living expenses.

In the 1970s and ’80s, the choices and options available to young Korean graduates were so abundant that it was reflected in their attitudes. I recall asking one university student back then why he wore a jacket and tie to class every day. He answered, “Because I don’t want people to think that I work in a factory.” Although it was only a part-time job, he did not want to be seen as a blue-collar worker.

In the intervening years, South Korea’s economy has matured, chaebol have offshored, and the supply of jobs has slowed, even while the number of graduates has risen.

This has made huge differences in terms of professional and social expectations. The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s leading newspaper, recently ran an article about a group of recent graduates who are learning tiling and wallpapering in order to work as professionals in the construction sector. This would have been unthinkable previously.

Likewise, today, countless students are eager to take part-time work in restaurants, coffee shops and elsewhere, jobs their predecessors would have sniffed at.

The hope is that work experience, however basic, is advantageous when applying for a more aspirational position. The question is how many white-collars careers now exist to service South Korea’s massively increased pool of graduates, and its rising class of underemployed seniors.
Korean-economy  Korean-jobs  Korean-history  Hell-Joseon 
7 days ago
[Herald Interview] ‘Sexual harassment is not personal, but social problem’
When Silvia, not her real name, finally mustered up the courage to report sexual harassment by her work senior to her company, she expected the problem to be resolved, even if there was some awkwardness.

But after a long battle, it was she who quit at STX.

As for Katharina, who was a member of a church choir, it was not “insane” to ask her choir director to stop making sexual remarks.

But when she raised the issue with Myeongdong Cathedral, it was her who faced opprobrium, for making a big deal about nothing.

Dominica was a victim of dating violence, the perpetrator a member of a left-wing political party that was vocal about gender equality. While she hoped the party’s feminists would support her and take appropriate measures against her abuser, some of the members viewed her claims merely as an attempt to bring him down.

All three women were harassed and assaulted in different ways, in different circumstances and by different people, but their cases developed similarly.

“By talking to each other, we realized there were many common features to our cases, in the actions of the harasser, the ways each organization has dealt with the issue and the difficulties victims face,” Dominica told The Korea Herald.

Silvia, Katharina, and Dominica, who are still fighting for their cases, told The Korea Herald that the festering sores caused by sexual harassment should not be considered personal matters, but should be seen as a social phenomenon that must be changed.

Victims get cold shoulder

When victims manage to summon the courage to speak out about their experiences, they are often met with indifference. This causes serious secondary suffering to the victim, the three women said.

“I followed the principle steps, to tell the abuser directly about my discomfort. When it did not stop, I reported the case to the chief of the team, then the human resources department of the company and in the end the labor administration body,” Silvia said.

But when the investigation started, she had to fight not only her harasser, but the company and her coworkers.

“To other workers, I was the one making a big fuss. And though we held about the same position in the company, I was an outsider from another company. When the male senior spread insulting rumors about me, it had the power to impact my private life and work performance,” she explained.

She was shocked to find what other workers had written in the witness statement. It was filled with disparaging descriptions of her, such as how she wore dresses that revealed her figure.

“You would expect such a statement to at least contain information about the relationship between the male senior and me.”

Katharina experienced a similar reaction when she complained about her choir conductor making sexual remarks to choir members.

“They would point out the way you raised the issue, in the first place,” said Katharina, who had no doubt the harasser was at fault. Before she officially requested action by church officials, she had emailed the choir conductor directly. When she filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission, the conductor threatened that it was against church regulations to do so.

“Where does it say it is unlawful? But the funny thing is, everyone, even those who said they were ‘neutral’ said I had not taken the right steps,” she said. “While the primary wrongdoing was done by the conductor, people easily side with the abuser.”

The legal system also makes it hard for victims to reveal the name of the harasser in the first place.

“Often victims are sued for defamation and so it is hard to say the name of the abuser. And there are also cases in which a harasser wins a defamation case and claims innocence,” Dominica said.

She also added that while revealing these experiences is an ordeal in itself, the reactions the victims face sometimes affect them more severely than the original harassment.

Perspective on heinous crimes

Once a case is made public, the abuser often portrayed as a capable person, and the victim as someone trying to bring him or her down by creating a scandal.

“All of a sudden the choir director acted as if he were a very capable man suffering from slander,” Katharina said. “I have seen many similar cases. People deeply care about the future of the harasser, as the child of the society, but neglect the future of a victim.”

While Dominica expected the members of the political party to which the perpetrator belonged to sympathize with her, she instead heard some of them, who claimed to feminism and women’s rights advocates, saaying she was trying to bring down the man.

“I had faith in their sincerity about women rights. But some of the members from whom I sought help said I was trying to take advantage of them to gain public support for my case,” she explained.

“And I even heard one of them asking if it was a big deal to share obscene conversation in a relationship, when they all happened without my permission.”

According to Silvia, such reactions occur, ironically and precisely because sexual harassment is seen as a serious crime.

“The social perception against sexual misconduct is so bad that it inversely makes the people think it is too harsh to report those acts, and undermines the feelings of the victims as ‘trivial,’” she explained. “In the minds of many, a sexual assault case has to look sufficiently criminal, involving serious violence and force.”

Language of attackers

Often, organizations deal with these issues by shifting responsibility onto the victims. According to a survey by Seoul Women Workers Association, 72 percent of the sexual harassment and attack victims leave the workplace, and among them, 82 percent quit within six months.

The three women’s cases illustrate these figures.

Katharina was suspended from the church choir for a year, and was told she would have to audition again if she wanted to come back. Silvia was also subjected to disciplinary measures, along with her harasser.

“I did think it would be hard for me to work for a while for opening up. But an official warning from the company? Never thought that would happen,” Silvia said. “While they are afraid to punish the perpetrator, they do not have any pity or sense of guilt for getting rid of the victim who raised the issue.”

While she was not given any work, her harasser was moved to a law firm to do the same work for the company, she added.

“Any kind of blame for a sexual misconduct is often directed at the victims -- such as the underlying sentiment that a victim has been ‘contaminated’ after they are sexually assaulted,” Dominica said. “This is the language of the attackers. Unfortunately, society has long been confronting sexual harassment with such language.”

Project A

The three, who have been writing about their experiences and feelings on SNS, are to start “Project A” to deliver their message that sexual misconduct is not the fault of the victims.

“I thought I was one of the people who knew how to deal with these situations. But I was powerless when I raised the accusation against the attacker,” Silvia said. “I thought others who are in a more difficult position than me, maybe younger, or less aware of legal procedures, would lose without a chance to put up a fight.”

They also seek to raise awareness of secondary damages, by showing how sexual harassment cases develop.

“It will not be serious, but more intuitive and light, for people to easily understand and be careful about their behavior,” Silvia added.

They will first start with a series of writing and a podcast channel in the second half of this year.

“By pointing out the common features of these incidents, we hope to change the perspectives so that the perpetrators get the criticism they deserve and the victims are protected,” Dominica said.

By Jo He-rim (
Korean-Me-too  Me-too  Korean-sexual-harassment 
7 days ago
The real reason the sound of your own voice makes you cringe | Science | The Guardian
Most of us have shuddered on hearing the sound of our own voice. In fact, not liking the sound of your own voice is so common that there’s a term for it: voice confrontation.

But why is voice confrontation so frequent, while barely a thought is given to the voices of others?

A common explanation often found in popular media is that because we normally hear our own voice while talking, we receive both sound transferred to our ears externally by air conduction and sound transferred internally through our bones. This bone conduction of sound delivers rich low frequencies that are not included in air-conducted vocal sound. So when you hear your recorded voice without these frequencies, it sounds higher – and different. Basically, the reasoning is that because our recorded voice does not sound how we expect it to, we don’t like it.

Dr Silke Paulmann, a psychologist at the University of Essex, says, “I would speculate that the fact that we sound more high-pitched than what we think we should leads us to cringe as it doesn’t meet our internal expectations; our voice plays a massive role in forming our identity and I guess no one likes to realise that you’re not really who you think you are.”

Indeed, a realisation that we sound more like Mickey Mouse than we care to can lead to disappointment.

Yet some studies have shown that this might only be a partial explanation.

For example, a 2013 study asked participants to rate the attractiveness of different recorded voice samples. When their own voice was secretly mixed in with these samples, participants gave significantly higher ratings to their voice when they did not recognise it as their own.

What’s more, a complete explanation can be found in a series of early studies published years before the plenitude of reports offering the sound frequency and expectancy explanation.

Through their experiments, the late psychologists Phil Holzemann and Clyde Rousey concluded in 1966 that voice confrontation arises not only from a difference in expected frequency, but also a striking revelation that occurs upon the realisation of all that your voice conveys. Not only does it sound different than you expect; through what are called “extra-linguistic cues”, it reveals aspects of your personality that you can only fully perceive upon hearing it from a recording. These include aspects such as your anxiety level, indecision, sadness, anger, and so on.

To quote them, “The disruption and defensive experience are a response to a sudden confrontation with expressive qualities in the voice which the subject had not intended to express and which, until that moment, [s]he was not aware [s]he had expressed.”

Their following study showed that bilinguals who learned a second language after the age of 16 showed more discomfort when hearing their recorded voices in their first language – a fact not easily explained a lack of bone-conducted sound frequencies.

The complexity of vocal coordination is enormous and we simply don’t have complete, conscious, “online” control. Indeed, the vocal larynx contains the highest ratio of nerve to muscle fibres in the human body. Moreover, when hearing a recording, we have none of the control of our speaking that we usually do; it’s as though our voices are running wild.

Marc Pell, a neuroscientist at McGill University, specialises in the communication of emotion. He stands by the Holzemann and Rousey studies, saying: “when we hear our isolated voice which is disembodied from the rest of our behaviour, we may go through the automatic process of evaluating our own voice in the way we routinely do with other people’s voices … I think we then compare our own impressions of the voice to how other people must evaluate us socially, leading many people to be upset or dissatisfied with the way they sound because the impressions formed do not fit with social traits they wish to project.”

So, even though we may be surprised by the “Mickey Mouse” quality of what we actually sound like, it is the extralinguistic content of what our voices may reveal that could be more disconcerting. Yet it is unlikely that others are similarly surprised by a high-pitched aspect of your voice, and moreover others probably aren’t making the same evaluations about your voice that you might. We tend not to be critical of other people’s voices, so the chances are you’re the only person thinking about your own.
voice  psychology  self-image 
7 days ago
35% of Korea’s couples are sexless, survey says-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily
Mr. Kim, a 59-year-old office worker in Busan, says he and his wife have a lifestyle they don’t talk about much, especially to outsiders.

They have a sexless marriage.

The Kims haven’t had sex in two decades. Kim says he lives a completely sexless life.

“At first, I know my wife struggled with the idea,” Kim said. “But as her body changed in her 40s, her desire for physical relations naturally subsided. We haven’t had much of an issue with it since then.”

Kim said he doesn’t have any medical problem and never considered consulting a doctor to get some help.

The couple are anything but unusual. More than three out of 10 couples in Korea have sexless relationships, according to research by the private polling firm Research & Research commissioned by the Kang Dong Woo Institute for Sexual and Couples’ Health.

In a poll of 1,090 male and female adults nationwide, 784 married and 306 unmarried, 38.2 percent of respondents said they have sex once a month or less. An adult that has sex that infrequently is considered “sexless.”

For married respondents, the sexless percentage was slightly lower at 35.1 percent. Married people who have sex twice or three times a month comprised 30.4 percent of the respondents, followed by 19.2 percent who have sex once a week.

For married people in their 50s, 43.9 percent said they have no sexual relationship with their partners.

And yet nearly all respondents - 93.9 percent - said intimate physical interaction was a vital aspect of their lives and relationships with others.

Mr. Yoon, a 39-year-old office worker, is also in the sexless category, which he finds kind of natural.

“Since my wife gave birth a year ago, I haven’t had sex,” said Yoon, who lives in Seoul and has been married for three and a half years. “I would say the biggest reason is her pregnancy as she needed time to recover from giving birth.”

Yoon said such a way of life is common among his friends, especially after five years of marriage, and some even within two years, he said.

“My mother-in-law lives with us to take care of the baby, and that also hampers our ability to have sexual contact,” Yoon said.

The percentage of sexless couples in Korea lags behind Japan’s 44.6 percent, according to Dr. Kang Dong-woo, who heads the Institute for Sex and Couples’ Health. But it is the second highest percentage in the world, he said.

The percentage of married couples in the U.S. who have not had sex in a year was 6 percent, according to a survey by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture.

“The average percentage of sexless couples worldwide is about 20 percent,” Dr. Kang said.

The survey asked people whether they were satisfied with their sex lives, and 22.8 percent of the respondents, both married and unmarried, said they were not.Of those who said they were not, 24.5 percent blamed physical fatigue, while 17.3 percent complained their partners were not caring enough, 13.9 percent cited a lack of variety and 10.5 percent attributed it to stress.

“With the wide use of smartphones and social media, a culture of individualism has swept young people,” Dr. Kang said, “leading in some part to reduced interest in sexual relations.”

Korean-marriage  Korean-sexuality  Korean-parents 
8 days ago
In portion of sexless couples, South Korea second from the bottom : National : News : The Hankyoreh
Posted on : Jul.1,2016 09:35 KST Modified on : Jul.1,2016 09:35 KST

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Only Japan has a higher percentage of couples who get it on once a month or less
South Korean married couples report the second lowest frequency of sexual intercourse in the world, a survey shows.

“Heyday,” a lifestyle and health magazine published by LINA Life Insurance, reported findings on June 29 from a survey on the sex lives of 1,090 adult men and women. The results of study, conducted with the Korean Institute for Sexual and Couples’ Health (KISCH), showed 36.1% of the 743 married individuals to fall in the “sexless” category, saying they had sex once a month or less. The category is typically applied to people whose frequency of intercourse is once or less a month over the past year.

When both married and unmarried people were considered together, the “sexless” rate for all men and women jumped to 38.2%. Rates also climbed with age, with 43.9% of married people 50 and over falling in the category. The sexless rate was found to increase from 30.7% for couples married 11 to 20 years to 37.2% for those married 21 to 30 years and 53.9% for those married 31 years or more.

“According to papers overseas, the global percentage of married couples who are not having intercourse is around 20%. South Korea’s rate is very high in comparison, second only to Japan,” said KISCH director Kang Dong-woo.

Japan’s reported sexless rate stood at 44.6% in 2014.

The tendency for couples to sleep in separate rooms was identified as the chief factor in decreased frequency of intercourse. The sexless rate for couples sleeping in separate rooms was 64.9%, or nearly triple the 23.3% reported for couples sleeping in the same room. Couples sleeping in separate rooms also showed a 44.3% rate of dissatisfaction with their sex life - again nearly three times the 13.5% reported when couples sleep in the same room.

On average, sexless couples rated their overall satisfaction with married life at 5.8 points out of ten. In contrast, couples who still have sex gave a rating of 6.6 points. LINA Life interpreted the findings as showing that sex between married couples is not merely a form of pleasure, but an important part of relationship satisfaction.

The highest reported frequency of intercourse for adult South Koreans was two to three times a month, cited by 30.4% of respondents. Once or fewer times was the second most highly reported at 24.2%, followed by once a week (19.2%) and two to three times a week (12.8%). Males and females in their fifties reported having their first experience with sexual intercourse at an average age of 22.71 and 25.03, respectively, while respondents in their twenties gave ages of 20.91 for males and 21.09 for females.

By Yu Sun-hui, staff reporter

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Korean-marriage  Korean-sexuality  Korean-parents 
8 days ago
Evolutionary Psychology and Feminism Are Natural Allies – The Evolution Institute
In the last half of the 19th century, “hysteria” was a ubiquitous mental health problem (Micale, 1993). Hysterical behavior has been strongly associated with the female sex or womanliness. Hysteria has even entered common knowledge as a special, extra insanity, to which women are especially susceptible (Chodoff, 1982).

But did most of those diagnosed as “hysterical” actually possess a mental disorder? Perhaps not. Its use as a diagnosis has, if not disappeared, at least declined precipitously (Micale, 1993). Perhaps non-coincidentally, when it was commonly diagnosed, there was a dearth of female diagnosers—psychologists and doctors. That is, in the main, members of only one sex determined when the mind of a member of either sex was disordered. So, what if each sex’s perception differed somewhat on average, without those differences constituting a mental disorder? Would the non-diagnosing (female) sex more often get diagnosed than the diagnosing sex would when there was actually no mental disorder present? Would (male) diagnosers have even been likely to suspect these differences might be normal? I posit that both feminism and evolutionary psychology have gotten us to the point at which such a potential ‘blind-spot’ in the perceptions of one sex regarding the other, has been reduced.

I am not a feminist scholar—I have only published in psychology (and law). But there are very few feminist scholars who are also evolutionary psychologists. So as someone with some background in feminist thought, I wanted to share my views on how feminism may have assisted evolutionary psychology in particular. I do so, in the hopes of perhaps achieving discussion or reconciliation between the two fields. And to argue the two are absolutely not incompatible.

Many women currently complain some men (who aren’t psychologists or doctors) call them “crazy” unjustly. They also complain they are called this because they are female and the “caller” is male (e.g., O’Malley, 2014). Some women (also unqualified to diagnose) have also been guilty of attributing a degree of insanity to men. I’ve seen women do this when hearing that neutral male observers report significantly greater sexual interest on the part of women they observe than do neutral female observers (Haselton and Buss, 2000). It also happens when women laugh to hear that in Clark and Hatfield’s (1989) famous study in which men and women were approached by opposite-sex strangers for either a date or sex, more men said ‘yes’ to sex than to the date. And when they hear that about three-quarters of the men – and none of the women– said ‘yes’ to sex.

Instances of each sex’s possible misapprehension of reality, on average, do exist. Haselton and Buss did not just find that men and women perceive women’s level of sexual interest differently. They also found that women and men perceive men’s level of relationship commitment intention differently. Perhaps there are more such average differences in perception between the sexes yet to be discovered. But where perceptual ‘disagreements’ between the sexes exist, is one sex always right? Is one sex right about each individual issue about which they tend to disagree– and researchers just need to discover which sex is right in each case? Neither of these possibilities need be the answer, of course: Differences in average perceptions do not have to reflect lesser sanity (the ability to correctly perceive reality) in one sex. They may also be adaptive (Haselton & Buss, 2000).

There is evidence of some strong, average, psychological differences between males and females in particular areas. These areas, such as interest in more short-term sexual relationships, are those in which men and women must have dealt with very different selection pressures during evolution. Evolutionary psychology, foremost among the social sciences, hypothesizes and has found evidence for such psychological differences. Because it posits these differences, evolutionary psychology (perhaps uniquely within the social sciences) may even posit a slightly different male and female average perceptual reality. Again, these perceptual realities, if they exist, would be predicted to be mainly or only in domains in which males and females faced different selection pressures during evolution.

But a large difficulty exists with the study of sex differences and of relating to the other sex, perhaps evolutionary psychology’s two most contentious aspects to many feminists. That difficulty: no one has ever been both solely male and solely female. There are, of course, intersex individuals (perhaps 1.7% of the population: Fausto-Sterling, 2000), and others, including some who give their gender as somewhere between male and female, who feel they are simultaneously members of both sexes. Some of these individuals might allow us invaluable insight into what it is like to be or feel to be, a member of both sexes at once. Yet over evolutionary time the large majority of humans have been, apparently (to themselves and others), solely one sex or the other. And there was never human male without human female nor human female without human male. These two poles of humanity have always coexisted and co-evolved: each sex in response to the other, at least partly due to sexual selection.

No one researcher can understand on a personal level what it is to be (solely) male if she is female, nor (solely) female if he is male. And each sex has always exerted selection pressure on the psychology of the other. These two factors complicate sex-difference research. I use a hypothetical scenario of the simplest possible sex difference in perception to illustrate: Imagine one sex had a perceptual bias compared with the other—and that other sex’s perception was verified by solid, outside sources to be true to reality. Because that other sex co-evolved with the first, that other sex exerted selection pressure on the first that may have led to its perceptual bias. Thus, both sexes should be studied in order to fully understand an average sex-based perceptual bias, even where only one sex perceives reality wrongly. (Of course there is no solid, outside arbiter of reality, so even if a sex-based perceptual bias — or difference, as it would have to be assumed before study determining which sex, if either, had the ‘correct’ perception – is sometimes this simple, we couldn’t know that before studying it in both sexes.)

And the situation can be considerably more complicated. Consider, for example, what may be the driving force behind Haselton and Buss’ finding that men tend to overestimate women’s sexual interest, and that women tend to underestimate men’s relationship commitment intent. Under these authors’ (and W. T. DeKay’s) Error Management Theory, the missed opportunity cost to men if they fail to perceive true sexual interest on the part of women, would be greater than the cost to them of over-perceiving female sexual interest. And the cost to women of over-perceiving male romantic commitment would be greater than the cost to women of under-perceiving it. So under this theory, each sex’s average perception is biased (at least relative to that of the other, although Haselton and Buss additionally provide some evidence of objective bias). Why does the theory posit this happened? Because of the interests of that sex, and the interests and actions of the other. And it may be even more complicated. What if, for example, women tend to underperceive male romantic commitment in part because males are more motivated to pursue more short-term sexual relationships, and thus have an incentive to overstate their own interest in a romantic commitment? Women who did not tend to (mis)perceive male romantic commitment as not existing in ambiguous situations, might be at a disadvantage relative to women who did. Thus, an average perceptual difference might represent some members of one sex bettering their competitive stance versus others of the same sex, all the better to interpret potentially-deceptive signals of the other sex (see Haselton & Buss, 2000). (And we could even envisage a scenario in which such signals were partly selected for increasingly artful deceptiveness by the first sex, etc.) I can’t imagine trying to determine how correct each sex was on average in its perceptions in such a circumstance, without considering the perceptions of both sexes.

So what seems to be needed, at a minimum, is to study both sexes’ perceptions in areas of apparent, average disagreement. (What are those areas? The safest route is to assume we don’t know all of them, and to always test for sex differences in perceptual research.) And what is needed at minimum is to recognize what the interests of each sex are, in order to help anticipate potential, average, perceptual differences—which should at least include somehow getting the perspectives of members each sex. For different reasons, perhaps, both evolutionary psychologists (because of previous findings of sex differences as well as theoretical framework) and feminists (because of the importance of perspective-taking within their theoretical framework and maybe other reasons) would agree with such research practices.

But each person, and therefore each researcher, is likely to have a somewhat different perceptual reality compared with about half of humanity (the other sex, assuming the researcher is not an intersex individual). Even in evolutionary psychological research in which no sex difference is predicted, both sexes are routinely studied and tested for any difference. Why? There are several studies pointing toward some average sex differences in some areas of psychology. Thus, the possibility of a sex difference in other areas of psychology is a live one, and certainly, one that is legitimately considerable. Perhaps, the field even implicitly acknowledges the potential of perceptual blind-spots as between the sexes and so routinely engages in studying both and… [more]
Evolutionary-Psychology  feminism  human-mating-strategies 
10 days ago
Emma Watson's Boobs Prove Why We Still Need Feminism | HuffPost
In her latest interview with Vanity Fair, Emma Watson revealed a lot more than she probably intended.

No, I’m not talking about her revelation that she refuses to take selfies, nor am I even talking about the infamous ‘underboob’ featured in the cover story that has seemingly overtaken the discussion of Trump’s latest tweet (a welcome tangent, might I add). I am talking about the fact that Emma Watson has revealed that our culture cannot handle a woman who is both “sexual AND serious,” to quote Naomi Wolf.

In one simple photo, Watson has inadvertently bared a troubling truth that our society still, in 2017, cannot fathom the possibility that women can both express themselves sexually AND express a desire for equality, simultaneously. It appears as though flaunting one’s figure and a feminist agenda are mutually exclusive.

Throughout her career, Watson has been a champion for women’s rights. From her appointment as a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, to her HeForShe campaign that inspires men and boys to be agents of change in reducing the gender gap, to her feminist book that inspires members to read and educate themselves about female equality, Emma Watson has been a beacon for change when it comes to feminism.

Yet with one photograph, she has allegedly been stripped (no pun intended) of recognition for her leadership towards equality and of her title as a feminist.

After the cover story made its rounds on the internet, many took the productive and always-amicable route of airing their grievances with Watson on Twitter, claiming this photo undermined her fight to diminish the gender wage gap and that she was being hypocritical by baring her body while still touting notions of female equality. The most egregious of the claims against Watson in the aftermath of this photo, though, is that she is a “bad feminist.”

This accusation is the most offensive because it is rooted in a complete and utter misunderstanding of feminism and its core values. The fight towards gender equality is contingent on women having a CHOICE. The choice to enter the workforce or stay at home. The choice to have children or use contraception. The choice to dress how we please or the choice to bare it all.

The choices we make as women do not undermine our loyalty to equality for our gender, but rather support it, nay embolden it. Intrinsic in anyone’s feminist agenda should lie the power of choice and the power to be multi-dimensional human beings of society. Women can be smart and sexual and sassy and sophisticated and still want to make the same amount of money as their male counterparts, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Maybe we’re just expert multi-taskers or maybe we are just sick and tired of being put in a box that continuously deprives us of our humanity.

One expression of self does not detract from the other. Our messages and means of expression all work in concert to create the multi-faceted, multi- layered, and multi-talented badasses that we, as women, are and will continue to be.

Follow Hannah Cranston on Instagram and Twitter.
breasts  nipples  free-the-nipple  female-sexuality  slut-shaming 
10 days ago
Nearly 92 Percent of Koreans Live in Metropolitan Areas that Comprise 16.6% of National Territory
A new study by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport found that 9 out of 10 South Koreans lived in cities filling a total land area that accounts for 16.6 percent of the overall national territory.

The study said that in 2016 47.47 million people, or 91.8 percent, of the country’s 51.7 million souls lived in metropolitan areas.

The numbers have steadily risen over the past 50 years the data showed with 39 percent in 1960, 50 percent in 1970, 70 percent in 1980, 80 percent in 1990 and 90 percent in 2000.

The study attributes the cluster of people in the cities to better education and job opportunities.
Korean-urbanization  Korean-demographics  Korean-geography 
10 days ago
Why does Park In-bee have to be pretty?
By Jason LIm

At 28 years old, Park In-bee is already a legend in the game of golf. She has 17 LPGA wins (7 majors) and just became the first Olympic champion in Women's Golf since 1900. After her retirement, she's pretty much guaranteed a spot in the LPGA Hall of Fame at the first available ballot.

By all measures, she's probably the most successful Korean athlete on the global stage. Ever. Cha Beom-geun, Park Se-ri, Park Chan-ho were successful pioneers that inspired millions of future-generation Korean athletes, but none of them came close to Park In-bee's individual success. In fact, Korea might never see an athlete like her again for a generation. Further, she's is fluent in English, articulate, measured, and steady in her personal life as she is in her professional one.

With all this, you would expect Korean companies with global footprint to be knocking down her doors for an opportunity to be associated with her. Not really. She only signed a major sponsorship deal with a Korean company (KB Financial) in 2013, fully five years after debuting in the LPGA.

The reason? Her looks.

Park doesn't conform to the prototypical Korean ideal for what an attractive young woman is supposed to look like. You know the type. For reference, look at any member of K-Pop girl groups. In fact, it has even been reported that other Korean golfers with far less achievement snagged record sponsorship deals ahead of Park because they were "prettier."

Can you imagine if LeBron James got passed over by sponsors in favor of Rick Fox? That's what happened here.

And it's not just looks. It's how she's supposed to behave as well. As Park won the gold medal, a well-known TV personality lamented that "only if Park would be half as coquettish to the general public as she was to her husband…" Left unspoken is that Park doesn't behave the way that a young woman should in Korea.

Admittedly, this is not a uniquely Korean phenomenon. It's been long recognized that athletes are a product that are commoditized and sold through advertisements. And good looks help. Joe Namath and Maria Sharapova come to mind. However, even in their cases, good looks were a contributing factor to their fame and marketability, allowing them to earn more sponsorship money than they would have if they were merely "ordinary" looking; their athletic prowess was the primary consideration.

However, it seems that the contemporary Korean culture places an especially high emphasis on one's physical attractiveness in everything. It's not just the entertainers. It's not even just the athletes. This national obsession over looks permeates the whole society. Recently, a juice bar near Sogang University ran an advertisement for a part-time employee with the stipulation that only those who are confident of their looks should apply. Really? You can't even serve food and drinks if you are not good looking?

Many argue that businesses should be allowed to select employees based on their looks since good ­looking employees will add to the bottom line. Airlines do it when picking flight attendants. Retail stores do it when hiring employees. Hooters do it when hiring waitresses. This is capitalism, right?

Maybe, but it certainly isn't fair. Especially, discrimination based on looks will impact women much more than men.

According to The Diplomat, the "World Economic Forum placed South Korea at 115 out of 145 countries ranked in terms of economic participation and opportunity, largely a result of the wide pay gap and the small number of female legislators, senior officials, and managers. South Korea has one of the largest pay gaps between women and men's remuneration for work in the OECD. On average, women make 36.6 percent less than men in South Korea."

You don't think that Korea's obsession over looks, especially how pretty a woman is, has anything to do with these damning statistics? You don't think that Korea's reputation as the cosmetic surgery capital of world has anything to do with the cultural message that looks will trump any education, training, or skills that you work hard to acquire?

The Diplomat also noted that, in Korea, "Women occupy only 8.8 percent of senior civil service positions, which is notable because in 2015, 46 percent of those who passed the civil service exam were women."

You don't think performance evaluation by looks has anything to do with this discrepancy? And how does the bottom line affect civil service positions? Government is not out to make a buck. So, how can you explain this statistic?

Simple. Civil servants who are not prettier won't be promoted. Office workers who are not prettier will be fired. Academics who are not prettier won't be selected. Students who are not prettier won't be hired as part-time help. Worse, even if a make it up the ladder, she will always be dogged by the suspicion that she got there on her looks, not her abilities. This is what you get when you allow discrimination of any kind stand: discrimination of all kinds becomes the norm.

Park In-bee is a golfer. A legendary one at that. Her looks have nothing to do with her performance. She shouldn't have to be pretty and act coquettish to be celebrated and rewarded.

Jason Lim is a Washington, D.C.-based expert on innovation, leadership and organizational culture. He has been writing for The Korea Times since 2006. Reach him at, facebook. com/jasonlimkoreatimes or @jasonlim2012.
Korean-beauty-ideals  Korean-golfers  Korean-female  golfers 
11 days ago
KÉ Interview: 'Molka' isn't a Pornography Issue | KOREA EXPOSÉ
Since the beginning of May, tens of thousands of women have taken to protesting monthly on the streets of Hyehwa, Seoul, demanding an end to South Korea’s pervasive problem of molka, or spycam porn. Their protests have been the largest recorded women’s rallies in South Korean history, and the government is taking notice.

Five ministries held a joint press conference in June and declared a “war against molka,” promising a comprehensive reform in multiple directions, including education and law enforcement. Billions of won will be poured into monitoring public toilets nationwide and installing spycam detectors. Police will start cracking down on websites that host illegal spycam content, and lawmakers will discuss ways to reform the current law.

Chang Dahye believes a key component of the reforms must address the narrow way illegal spycam content is currently defined. Chang, who researches the issue at the Korea Institute of Criminology, says, “The current approach doesn’t allow for the kind of legal interpretation or punishment that aligns with the damages that victims actually feel.”

What does she mean? What is the current legal definition, and how should it be changed?
This is part of a Korea Exposé series on South Korea’s spycam problem. The consumption of secretly filmed/distributed footages as a widely accepted pornographic genre puts unknown masses of ordinary citizens, mostly women, under surveillance without consent or even knowledge.

An intro: “There could be one of you”
First rally: Against South Korea’s Spycam Porn Epidemic
Second rally: “My Life isn’t Your Porn”: Why South Korean Women Protest
Third rally: “A republic of misogyny!”: The Third Anti-molka Protest Attracts 60,000 Women

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Korea Exposé: In May, a female suspect in a spycam case was arrested and paraded before media after secretly shooting a male model in Hongik University. That’s what incited the protesters to come out to the streets, citing gender discrimination in police investigations. Do you think this criticism is justified?

I think it’s unavoidable for police to have gender bias. This isn’t a uniquely Korean problem; the way sex is consumed is usually by objectifying women. This’s simply the way things are. So when a man is objectified in a similar way, the case feels unique. I think law enforcement would respond more sensitively because they perceive a case [with a male victim] to be special. [Editor’s Note: Statistically, it’s hard to prove that police are biased in favor of male victims.]

How widespread is the problem of sex crime involving spy cameras?

In recent years, there has been a spike in cases reported to the police. Crimes involving spycam have increased over the years, although one can say the issue has been widespread in South Korea for a while.

Ordinary women feel afraid that they can be used as content and distributed as an object of sexual amusement. When we think of porn, we usually think of content that’s produced in studios. Spycam is different: Despite the subjects not having agreed to this sexual objectification, ordinary and everyday images get proliferated in a very sexual way.

Images of women — at home, walking on the streets, full body shots — get uploaded to various online communities. Without one’s knowledge, one can be exposed to sexual objectification and appraisal. And that’s what makes women afraid. You can be a victim without even knowing.

Video shot and edited by Youjin Do.

But how valid is this fear? There are no clear statistics available on the size of the spycam porn industry.

I don’t think this fear is exaggerated. It’s a rational fear. When Soranet became more well-known, people found out that a lot of the original uploaders were the women’s husbands, boyfriends and other acquaintances. Men would upload photos of their girlfriends and wives and ask others to rate these women’s genitals.

The spycam problem is most likely larger than the recorded number of cases that police deal with. There are many victims whose cases are rejected by police — and these rejections aren’t included in the stats.

Why are many cases rejected?

If police think a report doesn’t amount to a case, they can reject it. If a victim is fully clothed in the footage…the content doesn’t qualify as pornographic material. But there’s a problem with that: Camera resolutions are great these days. People can zoom into a particular body part, cut it and re-appropriate it.

Another example: if someone — not a victim — finds a spy camera and reports it to the police, and the camera contains footages of multiple people’s genitalia, but not a face. In this case, the police can’t identify a victim, so they refuse to take the case.

Basically, each content needs to meet the legal definition of pornography; once it does, then there needs to be an identifiable victim.

Can you tell us about how different victims are affected by spycam footages?

A lot of the victims find out through others who have seen the footages. Often, if the footages have proliferated enough for acquaintances to find out, it could have been years since the contents were first uploaded.

Many victims find it hard to continue their normal social activities. They feel daunted and frightened by the thought that they could be recognized. I have seen cases where the women quit their jobs or consider getting plastic surgery. In extreme cases the women change their names, move somewhere else, even commit suicide.

Technological development has enabled images to be shot, distributed and reproduced very easily.

Too easily. Anyone can access the contents and distribute them. When you had the ‘Miss O Video Scandal or celebrity spycam scandals in the past, the technology wasn’t advanced enough to allow this kind of proliferation.

[Editor’s Note: The ‘Miss O Video Scandal’ is one of South Korea’s most famous celebrity spycam scandals. In 1998, a VHS sex tape of actress Oh Hyun-kyung and a male model was leaked to the public. Despite being a victim, O apologized for the scandal and put her career on hold. It took a decade for her to resume acting.]

Nowadays, smartphones and computers make everything much too easy. You can shoot wherever you want.

The Korean porn market isn’t small. There are not many studies estimating the exact scale. On famous webhard platforms — where you download contents through P2P networking — ‘Rated R’ contents are a lucrative source of income [for the platform operators]. Many of these contents aren’t copyrighted, and the traffic typically benefits the platform operators more than the content uploaders.
The first Hyehwa rally on May 19, 2018. (Youjin Do/Korea Exposé)

With technological development, the methods of violence — including sexual violence — have become so different. There is so much diversity in violence happening online. The violence is so diverse and so pervasive; it’s inevitable that there is a generational gap. People in their 40s and 50s, whose lives aren’t as intertwined with online communities, don’t really understand what’s going on.

If you look at people in their teens to 30s, the online world is just as important as the offline world. The way many of them experience sexual harassment, sex talks and misogyny is online.

Can policy catch up to the way sexual violence is changing? We really need better interpretations [of the law] that factor in the particular characteristics of the online world.

According to Article 14 of the relevant law, criminals can get fined between 5 million to 30 million won or be imprisoned for 3 to 5 years, depending on the severity of the crime. Is this enough?

I don’t think spycam is an issue of sentencing, but rather one of awareness. Sexually objectifying women, shooting women’s bodies without their consent and distributing/consuming the images—awareness is still weak when it comes to perceiving these actions as criminal, or at least an act that can harm another person. This isn’t just the problem of ordinary consumers; law enforcement agencies are share that mindset.

Even if there are victims, law enforcement officers don’t always think the problem is that serious. There’s even a tendency to perceive online sex crimes as not as severe as sex crimes entailing physical contact.

And yes, criminals can be imprisoned — but most are fined. Penalties are usually minor.

If you look at the case from the victim’s point of view, victimhood doesn’t end. Spycam footage remains forever and gets continually watched. And this continuous damage is a serious problem.

How do you assess the current government policy toward digital sex crimes?

This is the really frustrating part: The problem is, the current approach to regulating and punishing online sex crimes are focused primarily on regulating ‘obscene materials,’ i.e. porn.

According to Article 14, it’s a crime only if you take or distribute “pictures or videos of another person’s body in a way that can induce sexual desire or humiliation.” It basically refers to porn, and there are clear differences between porn and spycam footage that circulates as porn.

Law enforcement authorities need to think differently about these spycam crimes. Authorities continue to approach the spycam issue through the lens of pornography and think that spycam footage doesn’t merit their attention because it doesn’t look like traditional porn. The current approach doesn’t allow for the kind of legal interpretation or punishment that aligns with the damages that victims actually feel.

What’s important isn’t whether or not the content qualifies as ‘obscene/pornographic,’ whether it’s sexual. We need to start from the question of whether the content violated someone’s right to dignity. If an image … [more]
molka  Me-too  Korean-Me-too 
11 days ago
I love you so much I'd walk to the corner shop for you | Girl on the Net
Yesterday I got a phone call, while I was in the middle of writing a Twitter thread. It was from my boyfriend, who had – in the process of trying to fix the door – accidentally locked himself in the bathroom. “Can you come upstairs and rescue me please?” he asked. Feeling like a knight in shining armour, making sacrifices for the greater cause of love, I broke off my tweeting and ran upstairs to help.

I don’t get to go on romantic quests much these days. When I was younger I used to see love as this big, dramatic thing, requiring equally dramatic promises and missions: I love you so much I’d die for you. Cross countries for you. Slay dragons for you. If you committed a crime I’d help cover it up, then sort out false passports so we could live together off your heist money somewhere sunny and far, far away.

I don’t get to say that to you, though. Your tastes and desires are simple: there are rarely any rescue missions, or heists to cover up, or evil demons to outwit and win you back.

But I’d do other things for you – for love – instead. Like putting on my shoes at midnight on a Sunday, when big Tesco’s closed and I have to walk to the corner shop that’s further away. I’d trek ten minutes on a Sunday evening to the faraway shop to buy you a Toffee Crisp and some Haribo – just because you fancied pudding.

I wouldn’t slay you a dragon, even if they did exist. But if you asked me to, I’d summon all my courage and slay you a massive spider. The big, scuttly brown ones that lurk in the garden shed. If you screamed I’d come running with a shoe, screeching a battle cry of ‘oh fuck fuck fuck that’s a really really big one dude I’m not sure I can go near it!’ But I’d slay a spider for you, if you needed.

I can’t rescue you from the clutches of an evil wizard, but I’ll fake an illness to ditch a meeting if you’re lonely and need me at home.

And I’ll rescue you from the bathroom, even if I’m in the middle of a Twitter thread.

I can’t go on a mission to find the Holy Grail, but I’d walk ten miles to bring you the house keys if you were locked out in the rain. Fifty miles if I’ve got my bike and a fair wind behind me.

I can’t build you a castle, but I’ll make shelves for your office – nicer than the ones I made for mine because I don’t know any better way of saying I love you than with smooth wood and silky varnish.

I won’t cover for you to the police, but I’ll tell your Nanna you don’t smoke.

I know you’d do the same for me. You wouldn’t steal jewels, kill monsters or ride a destrier into battle, but you’ll stick anything I like on the Ocado order and pretend you wanted it anyway. And if there’s only a little milk left in the fridge on Monday morning, you’ll drink your coffee black and let me have the precious final drops.

These weirdly simple things we do to show how much we care are worth a thousand dead dragons or mounted charges or rescue missions. Because dragons don’t exist, no one rides horses these days, and the only place you ever need rescuing from is our bathroom with the dodgy door lock.

But Tesco closes early every week on Sunday – so I will walk to the corner shop at midnight in flip flops.

For Toffee Crisps and Haribo. For you.
Girl-On-The-Net  relationships  marriage 
11 days ago
What I Discovered While Making a ‘Sexuality Map’ | ILDA
Let's Talk about Sexuality: A society that denies the existence of female desire

By Gift
Published May 29, 2017
Translated by Marilyn Hook

Editor’s note: The “Let’s Talk about Sexuality” series explores the diverse values and experiences that women in their twenties have with regards to sex, bodies, and relationships. Through it, Ilda hopes to create a new, feminist sexual discourse. The series is funded by the Korea Foundation for Women’s Gender Equal Social Development Project.

Girls’ secret masturbation and guilt

Men’s sexual desire is everywhere in society. Adolescent boys’ masturbating and watching porn is treated as completely natural. In fact, boys who don’t do those things are picked on. That’s the degree to which male sexual desire is seen as not just natural but something that must be expressed.

It’s easy to find information on male masturbation methods, and the information is imparted kindly. Advice like ‘use gel so that you don’t take off any skin’, ‘make sure to wash your hands afterward’, and ‘don’t grip your penis too hard or you may not be able to feel much when you have penetrative sex later’ is even shows concern for the recipient’s future pleasure.

In contrast, female sexual desire can’t exist. It’s not that it doesn’t exist, it’s that it can’t. Society won’t allow it to. Is there a place for adolescent girls to learn ways to masturbate? Not only are they not given that kind of information, but it’s common for girls to begin masturbating without even knowing what masturbating is. And they feel guilty without knowing why.

Male sexual desire is permitted to exist anywhere, but women’s nowhere. Women even fake orgasms when having sex with men in order to fulfill that male desire.

Of course, some women do let it be known that they have sexual desires. But those who freely talk about sex and their sexual tastes and preferences in front of men are then treated by those men as “bodies I can have sex with”. The women are called “easy”, “cheap”, and “slutty” and have to endure come-ons from men who want to have sex with them. If they reject those advances, they are resented and, in the worst cases, subjected to violence.

‘Why won’t you sleep with me?’ seems to have become a widespread attitude among Korean men toward women. If a rumor spreads that a woman has slept with one man, it’s like she becomes the public property of all men. Women who express their sexual desire and live sexually liberated lives face this risk.

What do I really want?

I’ve been very interested in sexual matters since I was young, and I still am today. I first remember masturbating when I was four years old. If I put my blanket between my legs and put pressure on it, I felt good. I didn’t understand what was happening or why I felt good, but I knew that I didn’t want anybody to see me doing that.

After I realized that this was masturbation, I often felt a crushing sense of guilt about my dirty, impure thoughts. Even after I found feminism and learned that female desire is natural, this guilt didn’t go away. This deep-seated feeling could only be defeated by gathering with other women and talking about it.

In March, I was part of the planning committee for Fireworks Femi-Action’s latest feminists’ sex ed event. The theme was “Sex That’s For Me”, and I was in charge of an activity called “Making my Sexuality Map”. It was a chance for participants to get to know their sexuality and sexual tastes and think about their right to sexual self-determination.

Women don’t have many chances in their everyday lives to think or talk about their own sexuality, and the social environment doesn’t condone it. So during the program, we talked to each other about our sexual tastes and spoke freely about what kind of mood, acts, and so on turned us on.

Personally, I hoped that by thinking about their fundamental desires, participants would even be able to think about their sexual orientation and whether it wasn’t aromantic or asexual. This was because while trying out the program myself, I had become certain that I was aromantic.
My Sexuality Map © Fireworks Femi-Action
[(Name)’s Sexuality Map
-Castle: I really like that, come in (a space for writing down the acts that you like the most)
- Forest: I want to do that secretly

- Harbor: Shall I try that?

-Inland: I like that
-Boat: Not yet, but maybe later
-Sea: I probably won’t ever do that
-Another’s island: Meh, I’d rather eat cake (asexuals’ territory, a space for writing down things that aren't for me)]

I explained the activity to the sex ed participants, and they wrote their desires and dislikes down on post-its. These could be sexual or romantic. Then I collected all of the post-its and read them out loud. The participants listened to each desire, thought about what it meant to them, and wrote it in the appropriate space in their map.

Desires have to first be brought forward in order for us to know whether we really hold them or not. I wrote the common TV drama situation of ‘wrap a scarf around my partner and give them a peck’ in the harbor box, but ‘visit a rooftop bar to listen to music and hold hands’ went into the sea box.

Really, on my map, a lot of things that weren’t pretty directly connected to sex went into the sea box. But some things that the media tells us are romantic went into the harbor or forest boxes. However, I realized that this was because I was confusing society’s ideas of desires for my own. When I think hard about it, I realize that since I was little I’ve never imagined or dreamed about romantic situations. But I’ve longed for them. I was brainwashed into believing that women naturally long for love and romance, just like I used to think that actions like men trapping women against a wall, forcibly kissing them, etc. were romantic.

Our sexual fantasies are all different

By leading this program, I not only learned about the true nature of my own sexual desires, I also learned that other women have sexual desires and that these are every bit as explicit as men’s. Each post-it described one desire and participants were asked to make three post-its, but some of them made 10 or more. It was even more amazing to find, when I read the post-its, that every desire was different. This was true even if they seemed similar on the surface. For example, ‘holding hands’ showed up several times, but each time it was in a different situation – while lying naked in bed, to draw on each other’s palms as a joke, while watching a movie, and so on.

In particular, “Meow”, a post-it I made, was wildly popular. In my imagination, it was something to say while engaging in “cat-play” (acting like a cat during sex), but I was surprised and pleased to find that others had other interpretations and imagined uses of it, such as as a prelude to sex or as a way to act cute. The wide variety of other sexual fantasies mentioned included having sex in an outdoor place like a swimming pool, mutual masturbation facing one’s partner in a brightly-lit place, and sex in a cramped car.

All that time, I had thought that my thoughts were dirty, but as I listened to the other women, I realized that those thoughts were completely natural. When, as a little girl, I had masturbated while thinking about animated characters kissing each other, I hadn’t been strange, perverted, or impure for a girl. This was natural behavior for a human born with sexual desires. When I learned that the desires I had thought to be excessive weren’t and, what’s more, that everyone was harboring all these different sexual desires, my guilt disappeared.

After filling out my map, I learned a new fact about my sexual tastes. I hadn’t thought that I was an S&Mer (someone who enjoys sadomasochism), but it turned out that I tend towards sadism. I like catheters and anal plugs, and dream of various types of S&M play. I like imagining my partner saying, “I’ve been bad,” and, “Forgive me,” with their eyes full of tears. (Though, of course, this kind of play can only be engaged in with consent.) I had to fully express my fantasies before I could really come to know myself.
From Fireworks Femi-Action’s “Feminist Sex Ed” program in March.
© Ilda (Park Ju-yeon)

A society filled with men’s rape fantasies

As a 21-year-old, I’m a legal adult who can have sex freely if she wants. These days, most youth start watching porn as adolescents. But both porn and mutually consensual sex are still not very friendly to women. Porn is heterocentric and clearly aimed towards men. A majority of its scenes feature violence against women, and I feel sick when I watch it.

The first porno that I watched featured the rape of a woman. I felt uncomfortable for a few days after seeing it. Instead of turning me on, it had made me worry that I would be raped. I wondered how I should deal with being raped if it happened, and even – though this is the extreme choice – if I should kill myself.

The video was one that my older brother had downloaded and hadn’t gotten around to deleting. It made me queasy to think of him using something like that to masturbate. After that, as I saw more of that type of media, I got used to the idea that some people used it to turn themselves on. But getting used to the idea didn’t mean that I liked it.

I still struggle to find videos to masturbate to that are racy, don’t make me feel scared, have a story that I can understand, and feature handsome actors. I look here and there for porn made from women’s point of view, not this crap drenched in men’s fantasies.

The world around me only talks about sex that is for men and led by men. In that world, there’s no opportunity for me to consider whether I’d like S&M and no place for women to discuss our sexual fantasies. In a situation where it’s difficult to even find content that stimulates my … [more]
Korean-sexuality  sexual-desire  female-sexual-desire 
12 days ago
South Korea’s president wants people to work less — and have more children - The Washington Post
When South Koreans go back to work after the weekend, they will become part of grand social experiment.

Its proposition is simple enough: The government wants to reduce the official corporate workweek, hand employees some more free time and encourage side effects, such as better health, less stress and — wink, wink — perhaps a chance to nudge up one of the world’s lowest birthrates.

So who could quibble with that?

Well, office workers for one. They think that lowering the workweek to 52 hours — from the current 68 hours — will mean they will be stuck working the same grueling hours no matter what's official when the change begins Sunday.

“Impossible. Fifty-two hours?” chuckled Hyun-Soo, a 26-year-old accounts assistant at a major telecommunications company, while taking an afternoon smoke break. He asked that his full name and the name of his employer be withheld, fearing a possible blow to his career.

“A law on work hours is just a piece of paper,” he said. “The reality in Korea is that we will work and work and work.”

Companies, too, have reservations. They wonder if they will have to hire more staff or kick in overtime to keep pace in East Asia’s hypercompetitive and generally workaholic market.

There is so much uncertainty and ambivalence that South Korea’s government agreed last week to allow a six-month “soft landing” to phase in the new rules, which mandate the workweek rollback for companies with at least 300 employees.

The slow-roll approach was a significant concession by President Moon Jae-in. His effort to adjust South Korea’s work-life balance is as much a signature issue as his outreach to North Korea. Moon’s government has already hiked the hourly minimum wage about 16 percent to nearly $7, the biggest jump in about two decades. It also has started programs to help ease costs for small businesses and shopkeepers.

“Overworking must not persist in our society,” Moon said in January went he first floated the idea of cutting the workweek. “It is impossible to lead a happy life when long hours and overexertion become routine.”

[Despite lower average work hours than South Korea, there is no federal workweek limit in the U.S.]

Still, changing pay scales and helping the little guy are a lot easier than changing a work culture that has been bred in the bone for many South Koreans during the country's 60-year rise from postwar poverty to a leading industrial power.

Big companies in South Korea — either openly or tacitly — often put a high premium on unflinching dedication. If the boss is still working, don’t even think about calling it a day. If there is an after-work karaoke outing that goes late into the night, it’s advisable to stick it out.

To comply with the government’s push for shorter office hours, some companies have literally pulled the plug. They have shut down computer networks to force people to go home at a reasonable hour. Other places have installed TV surveillance to make sure employees do not stay late — or come in too early. Another new tactic is card-swipe systems to limit smoking and coffee breaks to encourage workers to get their tasks done without extra hours.

Park Jeong-hwan, assistant branch manager at KB Kookmin Bank, said he now has dinner with his family at home after his company introduced a “computer off” system from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. last year in anticipation of the government workweek rules.

“For the first few days, employees wouldn’t leave the office even after the computer switched off and would sit in front of a blacked-out screen,” Park said. Gradually, however, the new hours took hold, and some employees signed up for evening fitness classes and other activities. Union members also regularly monitor surveillance video to report unregistered overtime work.

South Korea is not alone in its workaholic culture. In fact, two countries — Mexico and Costa Rica — have statistically longer work hours per year among developed countries, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The OECD, however, notes that its data includes factors such as multiple part-time work or second and third jobs, which could account for the Latin American bump. It also cannot tally constant email checking, work from home and other nonstop facts of life for workers in many places. (The United States is slightly above the OECD workweek average, and Japan is slightly below; Germany clocks in with the lowest work hours per year.)

What makes South Korea stand out is that the changes are coming from the top rather than boiling up from the streets or factory floors. South Korea’s president is even trying to set an example. His press office makes a point of noting his downtime and vacations.

Other officials have given not-so-subtle hints about what couples should do with a bit more time on their hands.

Chung Hyun-back, the gender equality and family minister, called the country’s working hours “inhumanely long” in March and blamed work burnout as one of the reasons for a drop in pregnancies — even though many South Korean women have cited high living costs and other factors in their decisions not to have children. South Korea’s fertility rate of 1.2 children per woman, according to OECD statistics, is among the lowest in the world, along with Italy and Spain. (The U.S. rate is about 1.8 children per woman.)

In 2014, one of the biggest hits on South Korean television was “Misaeng,” roughly an “Incomplete Life” or “Not Yet Alive,” a workplace drama that hit every troubling aspect of South Korean office life: insane hours, bullying from co-workers, sexual harassment and a cruel office pecking order.

The show grew out of the graphic novel of the same name. One of the central characters, a boss named Oh Sang-sik, was always drawn the same way: with a stressed-out grimace and bloodshot eyes.
Korean-work-culture  Korean-workplaces  Korean-demographics  Korean-birthrate 
12 days ago
Three-strike system introduced to prevent dating abuse
A three-strike system against dating abuse will be enforced starting from Monday, according to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.

The system is being implemented in order to strengthen measures against date crimes amid an increasing number of date abuse cases.

The three-strike system applies to people who commit date abuse crimes at least three times to the same victim, who will then go to court even though the victim does not wish to punish the offender.

If the victim reports the dating violence for the first time, the offender can be indicted if the victim has evidence that they were abused at least three times by the same person but didn‘t report it.

Prosecutors said that date crimes are not just a crime or threat, but a crime that could develop into an injury or death.

There have been 10,303 reported cases of date violence in 2017, marking a sharp increase from 6,675 in 2014. Only 3 percent of the arrested offenders for date violence were sentenced to jail in the first quarter of 2017.
Korean-dating  Korean-law  Korean-crime  Korean-relationships  Korean-sexual-assault  Korean-sexual-violence 
12 days ago
8 in 10 South Korean men used violence against girlfriends: Study, East Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - About eight in 10 South Korean men said they have used violence against their romantic partners, a study showed.

According to a study conducted by the Korean Institute of Criminology, 1,593 out of 2,000 South Korean men, or 79.7 per cent, said they had abused a girlfriend during the dating period.

About 71 per cent of those who admitted to a history of dating abuse said they had control over their girlfriends' activities, such as restricting them from meeting friends or keeping them isolated from others, including family members.

Of these, 485 people said they regularly called to check who the partner was with. Others said they called until their girlfriends picked up the phone, or placed restrictions on how they dressed.

Another 37.9 per cent of 1,593 respondents, or 603 men, said dating abuse involved sexual harassment, followed by psychological abuse (36.6 per cent), physical violence (22.4 per cent), sexual abuse (17.5 per cent) and inflicting injuries (8.7 per cent).

In terms of psychological or emotional abuse, 23.1 per cent said they had slammed a door or stamped on the ground in anger when they were with their girlfriends.

Among those who were physically violent with their partners, nearly 25 per cent said they had touched a partner's breasts, buttocks or genitals without agreement.

About 100 men said they had bruised their partners or left them with small scars. Some even said their girlfriends had passed out or had suffered a broken bone.

Researcher Hong Young Oh, who led the study, said for a high number of those who restricted their partners' movements, the behaviour stems from a deep-rooted patriarchal attitude of South Korean men.

"The high number of such actions show that the abusers themselves were not aware of or did not recognise their actions as dating abuse. But victims who had their activities restricted by their boyfriends saw it as serious enough to say that they wanted to break up."

The study also showed that the acceptability of violence, childhood experience of domestic violence and emotional instability were attributed to various types of violent actions by abusers while dating.

Earlier this month, data from the National Police Agency showed that 8,367 people were booked on charges of physical violence against their partners in 2015, up 8.8 per cent from the previous year. The total number of physical assault cases here was 305,957 in 2015.

In late July, police launched a 100-day action plan to crack down on violence against women amid increased public concerns over a viral video that showed a man assaulting his ex-girlfriend and then chasing her in a one-tonne truck in Sindang-dong, central Seoul.
Korean-domestic-violence  Korean-crime  Korean-abuse  Korean-dating  Korean-relationships 
14 days ago
How Peppa Pig became a video nightmare for children | Technology | The Guardian
Whether these videos are deliberately malicious, “merely” trolling, or the emergent effect of complex systems, isn’t the point. What’s new is that the system in which such violence proliferates is right in front of us, and visibly complicit, if we choose to see it for what it is. I titled that original essay “Something is wrong on the internet” because it seemed and still seems to me that the issues made glaringly obvious by the scandal are not limited to children’s content, nor to YouTube. First among these is how systems of algorithmic governance, rather than leading us towards the sunny uplands of equality and empowerment, continually re-enact and reinforce our existing prejudices, while oppressing those with the least understanding of, and thus power over, the systems they’re enmeshed in.

Take YouTube’s recommendation system for starters, which doesn’t differentiate between Disney movies and a grainy animation cooked up by a bot farm in China. Essentially what the seemingly benign “if you like that, you’ll like this” mechanism is doing is training young children – practically from birth – to click on the first thing that comes along, regardless of the source. This is the same mechanism that sees Facebook slide fake political ads and conspiracy theories into the feeds of millions of disaffected voters, and the outcome – ever more extreme content and divided viewpoints – is much the same. Add the sheer impossibility of working out where these videos come from (most are anonymous accounts with thousands of barely differentiated uploads) and the viewer is adrift in a sea of existential uncertainty, which starts to feel worryingly familiar in a world where opaque and unaccountable systems increasingly control critical aspects of our everyday lives.

...In the months since first writing about YouTube’s weird video problem, I’ve met a few people from the company, as well as from other platforms that have been caught up in similar vortices. While most are well-meaning, few seem to have much of a grasp of the wider structural issues in society which their systems both profit from and exacerbate. Like most people who work at big tech companies, they think that these problems can be solved by the application of more technology: by better algorithms, more moderation, heavier engineering. Many outside the tech bubble – particularly in the west and in higher income brackets – are simply appalled that anyone would let their kids use YouTube in the first place. But we won’t fix these issues by blaming the companies, or urging them do better, just as we won’t solve the obesity crisis by demonising fast food but by lifting people out of poverty. If YouTube is bridging a gap in childcare, the answer is more funding for childcare and education in general, not fixing YouTube.


What’s happening to kids on YouTube, to defendants in algorithmically enhanced court trials, and to poor debtors in Australia, is coming for all of us. All of our jobs, life support systems, and social contracts are vulnerable to automation – which doesn’t have to mean actually being replaced by robots, but merely being at their mercy. YouTube provides another salutary lesson here: only last week it was reported that YouTube’s most successful young stars – the “YouTubers” followed and admired by millions of their peers – are burning out and breaking down en masse. Polygon magazine cited, among many others, the examples of Rubén “El Rubius” Gundersen, the third most popular YouTuber in the world with just under 30 million subscribers, who recently went live to talk to his viewers about fears of an impending breakdown and his decision to take a break from YouTube, and Elle Mills, a popular YouTuber with 1.2 million followers, who posted footage of herself mid-anxiety attack in a video entitled Burn Out at 19.
internet  algorithms  YouTube 
15 days ago
Ending “Male Chauvinism” In the Movement: Lessons from the Long Sixties – Reappropriate
Indeed, while the male leaders of groups like the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, and I Wor Kuen waged war on police violence, capitalist exploitation, and American imperialism, the women in their ranks were fighting their own battle against “male chauvinism”—what we might call toxic masculinity in today’s parlance—in the Movement.

The early Panthers, like many revolutionary men of color, saw racism as a castrating force that could be resisted by reclaiming a normative kind of hypermasculinity. As historian Tracye Matthews argues, the early Black Panther Party “[linked] Black liberation to the regaining of ‘Black manhood’,” a philosophy that was challenged by rising Black women leaders like Elaine Browne, Audrea Jones, and Assata Shakur. These women courageously pushed the Party’s gender politics away from a conservative masculinism that was often both misogynistic and homophobic. Instead, women in the Party pushed male leaders such as Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton to call on their fellow brothers to confront male chauvinism within their ranks—an obligation Cleaver called “mandatory” in a 1969 statement in support of incarcerated Panther leader Ericka Huggins. Yet, these evolving gender politics are too often erased in popular depictions of the Party, in favor of what Matthews calls “romanticized, flat images of angry, hard bodies with guns.”
1960s  activism 
15 days ago
My Night with Jordan B. Peterson - Slog - The Stranger
(A note on enforced monogamy: Sexologist David Ley has a great blog post on Peterson’s argument. He writes that while most research does indeed show that monogamous societies are less violent than polygamous societies, Peterson, is “using data, research, evidence, and theories, based on our dark past, where women did not hold the right to choose what to do with their own sexuality. The history of socially- and religiously-enforced monogamy was one in which female sexuality was property, and marriage was based on economics. The reason that the Incel movement is angry at women, rather than society at large, is that these young men recognize that when women are given the right to choose, they are not choosing them.”)

...Frankly, I don’t need Jordan Peterson. I already took Psych 101, and my value system, at this point, is firmly in place. But, clearly, he is filling a need that people are yearning to have filled. They love him. They buy his books and listen to his lectures and donate to his Patreon and pay for his "self-authoring" and personality assessment programs online. Ideally, he would use his platform to inspire this massive audience to think for themselves; but I fear that what they are taking from it is that they should listen to him instead.

After the show, I hung out with Weinstein, Rubin, and Peterson in the green room backstage. It was all off the record, so I won’t tell you what was discussed, but I will say this: Peterson’s persona is real. He’s exactly the same onstage as he is when the cameras are off. So whatever the criticism of Peterson, I do not think he’s a fraud or a fake. Rather, I think he’s a placebo, one that works for some people and doesn’t for others. It’s hard to see what’s so controversial about that.
Jordan-Peterson  incels 
15 days ago
[Herald Interview] Tackling youth, gender and housing in South Korea
As far as she remembers, Hong Hye-eun says, she always had to give up at least one of the following -- safety, privacy and a decent living condition -- in almost all of the housing she’s lived ever since she moved out of her parents’ house as a teenager.

In her final year at high school, the 30-year-old moved out because her parents’ home in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, was too crowded and loud. She had six siblings, and had a university entrance exam to prepare for. The place where her parents sent her was originally a reading room for young students.

The owner of the property somehow unlawfully turned it into a rather peculiar living accommodation for young women. It was one of the worst housing she’s ever lived, but the rent -- about 100,000 won ($93.1) a month -- was cheaper than any other options she had at the time.

Along with some 80 other students, all of whom were female, Hong would study at her desk during the day, and sleep under the desk at night. Her chair would have to be put on the desk to make space for her to lie down on the floor. That was the only space she was given -- a floor that was as big as her small desk --, and at the time, she thought this was normal.

The owner of the property, a man in either his 50s or 60s, would simply “break in” to the common area without any previous communication, anytime he wanted. Whenever he would go through the girls’ clothes and belongings, and scold at them if the area was messy. At the time, she thought this was normal, too.

“I thought whoever made the mess deserved to be scolded,” Hong, a writer and an activist currently based in Seoul, told the Korea Herald.

“It took me a while to realize that things are not always this way elsewhere.”

Hong is one of a “significant number of South Koreans” who are living -- and have lived -- in “completely substandard” housing in spite of the country being the world’s 11th largest economy, according to a United Nations rights expert who visited Korea last month.

Some Koreans were “forced to live in tiny spaces no more than 5 square meters, on short term leases and at the mercy of landlords’ arbitrary decisions to raise the rent,” and some are paying “exorbitant rents” although living in “grossly inadequate housing,” said Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of adequate housing, said in a statement released on May 23.

“The shift from housing being treated as a commodity to housing being understood as a human right is not yet complete (in South Korea).”

Indeed, a last year study which surveyed 775 working Koreans in Seoul found that 55.8 percent of them said they are interested in leaving Seoul. Among them, 62.3 percent said they want to leave as the cost of housing is too expensive in the nation’s capital.

Another study by a local think-tank, published back in 2014, said it would take 29 years on average for a newly married double-income couple to save enough to lease an apartment in Seoul -- costing about 280 million won as a lump-sum deposit under Korea’s “jeonse” real-estate system -- if they choose to avoid borrowing.

Hong says housing -- on top of South Korea’s notoriously competitive education system -- is deeply linked with how young Koreans interact with the society as well as those around them.

“Many elderly people say young people today are indifferent towards politics and social affairs, and fail to function as responsible citizens,” she said.

“But not having adequate housing -- and wanting to have adequate housing -- in South Korea makes you time poor. You have no time for anything else.”

When she was attending university in Seoul, for example, she lived in a student housing financed by the provincial government of North Chungcheong. The housing was specifically for university students from Chungcheong Province, who attend universities in Seoul and excel academically.

“The living condition was excellent; it was clean and safe,” she said. “But there was a curfew. You couldn’t bring anyone in after midnight. You had to have certain grades from your classes in order to secure your room for the next semester.”

She said although the housing was affordable and safe, she had to sacrifice her freedom, privacy, and most of all, time, in order to be allowed to stay there. On top of having to earn high grades to continue living there, someone would come in once a month and inspect her room to see if it’s clean enough. If they decided that it was messy, it would get recorded and make her less eligible to continue living there the next semester.

“The whole system was very controlling of your time and your body,” she told The Korea Herald.

“They controlled your social life by not allowing you to spend time with anyone at your place at midnight. This also meant sex was banned. By making it mandatory for you to excel academically in order to continue living there, and violating your privacy by inspecting your room once a month, the message was simple. Study hard. Don’t form social relationships. Don’t have sex. And how can you expect someone who has lived such a life throughout their 20s to be anything else than a de facto machine?”

Sick of the curfew, she moved to a national rental housing for the youth in 2012. Deposit and rent for national housing tend to be cheaper than those of private rental accommodations, and they are usually provided for the nation’s low to moderate income households as well as young people in their 20s and 30s.

By moving into this housing, she was finally able to invite friends over, and did not have to worry about her grades and cleaning. However, what she had to endure in return was mold that never went away, partly because the property was poorly built and did not get enough sunlight. It was also poorly ventilated. Her house was always slightly damp and dark. She complained, but civil servants in charge never ended up fixing the problems.

“What upsets me is that people think when you live in cheap housing, having mold in your house is normal,” she said.

“They just tell you that you should earn more and move elsewhere. But I think differently. No matter how much you pay, no one should live in a property where mold keeps growing in spite of you getting rid of them every week. It’s a basic human right for anyone to live in a place that offers you privacy, safety, space, adequate sunlight and freedom from forced eviction.”

Hong says things were often harder because she was a woman. Once, a man followed her from a bus stop and grabbed her from her back when she opened the door. Luckily, he ran away after finding out that her sister was at home.

Local studies have shown that Korean women, especially those in their 20s and 30s, have limited access to decent and safe housing, compared to their male counterparts.

According to a last year study by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, 43 percent of all female heads of their households, including those who live alone, were living as tenents, while 50 percent of all male heads of housholds were home owners.

Hong, who now collaborates with the Ministry of Gender Equality and the Seoul Metropolitan Government on the issues of gender, youth and housing, says affordable housing should a right to all young Koreans, not a conditional or temporary offer.

She stresses that many housing policies in Seoul for young population have been unjustly conditional. For example, the city government would provide affordable housing and ask the young residents to care for the elderly individuals who live alone in return. Another program, she said, would make them volunteer at community centers and excel academically for allowing them to live in an affordable and safe accommodation.

“This is problematic because these policies are basically saying that you have to be a certain person in order to deserve to live in a decent, safe place -- a male, wealthy, attending certain schools and receiving certain grades,” she said.

“It also takes away your time from you. You either have to fulfill all these conditions -- caring for the elderly or do well in school -- or live somewhere cheaper outside Seoul and spend six hours daily commuting to and from work or school.”

She said tackling this issue will eventually make the country more diverse, creative and most of all, democratic.

“Most of Koreans spend their lifetime paying off their mortgage,” she said.

“And I think it’s just sad. It’s sad to live in a society where almost everyone’s life goal is to secure a proper housing. How can a society like this be creative or nurture individuals that have time to think critically for themselves and others?”

By Claire Lee (
Korean-singles  Korean-single-households  Korean-housing  Korean-demographics 
16 days ago
On Being a Chinese-American Woman | HuffPost
As I grew older and began to date, I came to realize my status as a fetish. Men who were interested in me often admitted to having “yellow fever,” or dismissed their interest in Asian women as a phase that every man goes through in his life. When I met one of my ex-boyfriends’ parents, his mom told him, “I get it, you want something exotic right now.” When I became disgusted by not being seen as anything more than my race, I began dating only men who hadn’t previously dated many Asian women, because I felt that at the very least I could be assured that they were interested in me as a person and not a type. But these experiences left me just as disheartened, as men would staunchly deny that they had “an Asian thing” and one recently even peeled my eyelid back and asked me, “Why won’t it open?” If I was liked for being Asian, or if I was liked despite being Asian, my race was always at the forefront of the decision. Even when I walk on the street, men will catcall me and say, “Are you from China looking for a husband?” or use the awful and cliché “me love you long time.”

I’ve found that being Asian has also influenced my professional opportunities. My past jobs often hinged on positive biases towards Asians; I found myself in tech positions when I personally thought I was under-qualified. I also experienced the negative biases: I was assumed to be meek and agreeable. Asian jokes were constantly made to my face, and work that wasn’t mine would constantly get delegated to me. I wasn’t allowed to get worked up — otherwise I would be seen as sensitive, and my already disqualified voice would be dismissed even more. I’ve watched Asian coworkers laugh at the discriminatory jokes and make fun of their own race in order to get along better with the team. I was left constantly wondering why it was that Asian jokes were OK, but if “Asian” were substituted with any other race, they wouldn’t be. Even though it seems that the Asian race is often associated with the “model minority” label, and we are often grouped in with Caucasians, these theoretically positive associations rely on a veneer that ignores the raw and lived experience. There is still an invisibility; there is not much Asian representation in the media — especially not representations that shatter stereotypes. Only those that reinforce them.

My own confusion about my identity also led to my straddling two different beauty ideals. In China, pale skin, dark hair and a face that looks as feminine and doll-like as possible are prized. Eyes are either taped or operated on to create a double lid, and giant “big eye” contacts are worn to enlarge the pupils. Essentially, the goal is to erase natural features in favor of a Caucasian and cartoonish ideal. In America, the Asian beauty ideal is more tan and masculine, focusing on sharp, elevated cheekbones while preserving certain “ethnic” features such as a mono-lid. Other times, features seen in airbrushed advertisements of Asians are completely Caucasian save for a few reductive details like almond-shaped eyes and yellow-toned skin.

All these ideals have made it hard for me to know which to adhere to. To make matters even more confusing, I was born with thick, wavy hair, double eyelids, and pale skin with more bluish undertones than yellow — which no one else in my family has. I’ve been told that I look slightly European. Naturally, I don’t fit into either American or Chinese ideals exactly, which further confounds my identity.
Yellow-Fever  interracial-dating 
16 days ago
Why Japanese idol trainees lag behind Koreans
Music show gives sneak peek into Japanese show biz

By Park Jin-hai

"Produce 48," cable network Mnet's third season of popular idol survival show "Produce 101," has hit the air.

Unlike the previous two versions where audiences voted for girl band and boy band members, this season, which premiered on June 15, brought in Japanese contestants as well as Korean idol trainees to ultimately make a girl band ― consisting of the final 12 ― which will perform in both Korea and Japan.

When the show was unveiled, Korean audiences were surprised as they saw a wide gap between Korean and Japanese trainees' level of performances. Compared to the Koreans who were selectively chosen, the Japanese performers looked like amateurs.

In the initial evaluation, Japanese contestants including Japan's top-ranked idol group AKB48's active members with years of professional experience made performances that did not meet viewers expectations by a large margin and have received C ratings at best.

Bae Yoon-jung, a dance trainer and panel member, known for biting remarks, asked "How did you debut? I'm asking this because I'm curious… You cannot perform on stage the way you just did."

Sakura Miyawaki, who had been a lead singer and dancer of AKB48 multiple times, said after the initial evaluation, "I'm vexed to know the reality that Korean idols do well and gain recognition in Japan, but Japanese idols once we step off our home ground cannot get such recognition." Other Japanese trainees said that Korean trainees are more like "artists."

Culture makes difference

Experts say the wide gap between Korean and Japanese trainees may stem from the different cultural climates of the two countries.

Ha Jae-keun, a culture critic, says different music markets and consumers' expectations in each market make the difference.

"In Japan, idols take a different place from artists, and skills are only expected from artists. Japanese fans expect cuteness and loveliness from idols instead. But, in Korea, viewers don't give leniency to idol groups and they are challenged to compete against global idols, which has made talent agencies put those wannabe-idols under rigorous trainings to meet such high standards," said Ha.

Japanese idols, whose main task is to please fans, develop and improve skills after their debut as they're interacting with fans, while Korean idols can only get a slim chance of a debut after years of vocal and dance training.

Recently, many K-pop band members have taken the next step to write and produce songs on their own, challenging the past criticism that shrouded K-pop idols likened to factory churned-out idols made from large entertainment agencies.

"The singer-songwriter idols are nothing new. BigBang's G-Dragon elevated idols to artists who can write songs, then BTS's RM and Suga have shown what it means to reflect their voices by incorporating the criticism of Korean society into their music," said Park Hee-a, author of the book "Idols' Studio," for which she interviewed producer-idols such as Woozi from Seventeen and LE, EXID and B.A.P's Bang Yong-guk.

Another critic Lee Moon-won says that in Japan, the second biggest music market in the world which is diversified to meet the different needs of music consumers, idols are entertainers with multiple uses but not necessarily required to meet high standards as performers.

"There are even idols who sing while preparing noodles at restaurants in Japan. They are entertainers close to the fans, rather than artists with a high level of proficiency. From their standards, Korean idols are overqualified," said Lee, who added that it is the absence of diversified music markets in Korea that enabled this particular trend of K-pop idols.

"In Korea, only mainstream markets, not indie-music or non-mainstream music genres that appeal to small groups of fans, can survive in the small Korean music market. The mainstream has grown big siphoning off other music genres.

"To stand out in the single-functioning market, idols should dance as good as professional dancers, sing as good as professional singers, be as good-looking as fashion models and even be able to write songs. It is a very unique thing in this market," he said.

But, this seemingly negative trait of the market is not a bad thing, according to Lee. "This unique music industry environment has born multi-talented competitive K-pop idols who found a niche in the global music market and could carry on the global K-pop craze of today," he said.

***Lack of pre-debut training probably due to diversification and small sizes of Japanese entertainment companies compared to chaebolization of their Korean counterparts; i.e., Japanese ones don't have the same amount of money
K-pop  J-pop  Korean-music-industry  Korean-entertainment-companies  Korean-celebrities 
17 days ago
Q&A: South Korean Artist Kim Hyun-Jung on her Art, Creative Trends, and Working with Brands
Kim’s work, which combines the use of paint and paper, is an ongoing series of portraits she refers to as Nae Sung Nyo (내숭녀) which is a form of slang that describes a contradictory state where one’s traditional outward appearance does not necessarily reflect a more mischievous character within.
Kim-Hyun-Jung  Korean-art  Korean-artists  내숭남  내숭  내숭녀 
17 days ago
Why did humans evolve big penises but small testicles?
Male gorilla are also much larger than females, but they have a polygynous or harem-style mating system where many females live with a single male. With little or no competition actually inside the uterus, gorillas have had no need for a testicular arms race to facilitate the production of more and more sperm. Their testes, therefore, are relatively small. This is similar to modern humans, whose testes are also of very modest size and produce a relatively small amount of sperm. In fact human sperm count reduces by more than 80% if men ejaculate more than about two times a day.

The human penis is large when compared with those of our closest relatives: chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. However, primatologist Alan Dixson in his wonderfully detailed book, Primate Sexuality, suggests that if we look at all primates, including monkeys, this is just wishful thinking.

Comparative measurements show the human penis is not exceptionally long. The Hamadryas baboon, for instance, a native of the Horn of Africa, has an erect penis that is five and half inches long – slightly shorter than an average human male, but they weigh only a third of our weight.

The human penis is in fact extremely dull – it does not have lumps, ridges, flanges, kinks or any other exciting feature that other primates have. In primates, this lack of penis complexity is usually found in monogamous species.

Monogamy mystery

This observation clashes with the fact that men are significantly larger than women. This suggests our evolutionary background involved a significant degree of polygynous, rather than exclusively monogamous, mating. This is supported by anthropological data showing that most modern human populations engage in polygynous marriage. Anthropologists Clellan Ford and Frank Beach in their book Patterns of Sexual Behaviour suggested that 84% of the 185 human cultures they had data on engaged in polygyny.

However, even in these societies most people remain monogamous. Polygynous marriages are usually a privilege reserved only for high status or wealthy men. It is worth noting that hunter-gathers around the world practice only monogamy or serial-monogamy which suggests that our ancestors may have used this mating system.

At first sight, however, it would seem sensible for males to reproduce with as many females as possible. Human monogamy has long puzzled anthropologists, and lots of effort has gone in to working out what keeps males hanging around.

Three main theories have been put forward. First is the need for long-term parental care and teaching, as our children take a long time to mature. Second, males need to guard their female from other males. Third, our children are vulnerable for a long time and infanticide could be a risk from other males. So to ensure that children are able to reach maturity the male is likely to stay to protect them, both socially and physically. This may be why males have maintained their larger relative size.

If we view the evolution of monogamy mating systems in humans through the lens of human society it is clear that it takes a huge amount of social effort to maintain and protect more than one mate at a time. It is only when males have access to additional resources and power that they can protect multiple females, usually by ensuring other males protect them. So monogamy seems to be an adaptation to protect one’s mate and children from other males. This monogamy is reinforced by the high social cost and stress of attempting to do this for multiple partners, and it has become supported by cultural norms.

So when living in complex human societies the largest and most important sexual organ is the brain. Somewhere in our evolutionary past how smart and social we are became the major control on our access to sexual partners – not how big or fancy a male’s penis is.
testicles  penis-size  evolution  human-sexuality  mating  breasts  monogamy 
17 days ago
BTS Festa 2018: The band that changed K-pop, explained - Vox
In 2010, Bang began to assemble a group of teens for a group he called the Bulletproof Boy Scouts. This would go on to become Bangtan Boys, then BTS, but the ingredients of their success were inherent in the original name. Bang intended “bulletproof” to function as a celebration of the kids’ toughness and ability to withstand the pressures of the world. But he also wanted the band to be able to be sincere and genuine — not immaculate idols groomed amid studio culture, but real boys who shared their authentic personalities and talents with the world.

This approach is quite different from the normal studio approach to idoldom, wherein idols are trained to be pleasant but mild — to be blank slates upon which viewers can project their fantasies. By contrast, Bang wanted BTS to be full of figures that audiences could relate to. In a 2018 interview with the South Korean newspaper JoongAng, he described how he originally thought of BTS as consisting of gentle, sympathetic idols who could mentor their fans:

I recently came across a company document from [2012,] the year before BTS debuted, in which we were debating what kind of idol group to create. It said, ‘What kind of hero is the youth of today looking for? Not someone who dogmatically preaches from above. Rather, it seems like they need a hero who can lend them a shoulder to lean on, even without speaking a single word.

To create that band, Bang had to shake up the established precedents for how idol groups are treated. BTS wouldn’t have strict contracts and curfews, and they’d be allowed to discuss the pressures of stardom. Their lyrics would be open about the cultural pressure placed on Korean teens to excel and do well and to repress their anxieties. In short, they would be frank, honest, and natural.

“We came together with a common dream to write, dance and produce music that reflects our musical backgrounds as well as our life values of acceptance, vulnerability and being successful,” said BTS’s leader, RM, in a 2017 interview with Time. There are six main ways BTS breaks with established precedent for K-pop boy bands to carry out this mission:

They frequently write their own songs and lyrics.
Their lyrics are socially conscious and especially attuned to describing the pressures of modern teen life in South Korea.
They create and manage most of their own social media presence.
They aren’t signed to “slave contracts,” nor do their contracts have the grueling restrictions of other idol groups.
They tend to focus on marketing entire albums rather than individual singles.
They talk openly about the struggles and anxieties of their career instead of presenting an extremely polished image at all times.

It should be noted that most of these elements have been present in numerous other recent K-pop groups — most notably Big Bang, which probably influenced BTS more than any other K-pop group. What Big Hit Entertainment did, however, was to systematize these elements in BTS, and market them hard.

...Stephen told me there’s a real core appeal in what BTS is doing. “A lot of their ballads really do sound like they’re talking to you and confessing to you, more so than a lot of pop standards,” he said. “And they’re definitely among the hardest-working K-pop groups.”
BTS  K-pop  Hallya  Korean-wave  Korean-boy-bands  Korean-celebrity 
17 days ago
Job Seekers Turn to Free Rental Services for Interview Attire | Be Korea-savvy
EOUL, Jul. 4 (Korea Bizwire) — The free business suit rental service for new graduates offered jointly by the Incheon Business Information Technopark and the city government of Incheon has been garnering praise since it was initiated in February.

Over the past four months, a total of 608 people have benefited from the service, which provides formal office wear to applicants for a period of two or three days.

The total number of loans during this period was 739, which includes instances where the same individual used the service more than once.

The service is available to job applicants who register beforehand on the government website created to aid the city’s youth ( before visiting the designated rental stores within Incheon.

Job seekers are able to save approximately 50,000 to 70,000 won per loan, as this is the going rate for a single rental of formal wear, according to an official at the Business Technopark.

The Incheon Business Information Technopark is situated in Dohwa-dong in Incheon’s Nam-gu district.

The main goal of the organization is to help young people between the ages of 18 and 34 by preparing them for the job market via one-on-one career consulting that includes interview coaching, cover letter editing and image making.

According to a survey conducted by job search portal JOBKOREA, job seekers typically spend an average of 185,000 won preparing for a single interview. Of this amount, the cost of renting or buying a suitable outfit accounts for 70.9 percent of the total.

Gwon Gi-hyeon, a team leader at Technopark, said that as people are ending up spending more time looking for a job, the associated costs are bound to be a burden for young graduates who are looking for their first job.

“The rental service was initiated to address such issues,” said Gwon.

H. S. Seo (
Korean-jobs  Korean-job-interviews 
18 days ago
At any given time in their lives, people have two dozen regular haunts
WHEN it comes to habitat, human beings are creatures of habit. It has been known for a long time that, whether his habitat is a village, a city or, for real globe-trotters, the planet itself, an individual person generally visits the same places regularly. The details, though, have been surprisingly obscure. Now, thanks to an analysis of data collected from 40,000 smartphone users around the world, a new property of humanity’s locomotive habits has been revealed.

It turns out that someone’s “location capacity”, the number of places which he or she visits regularly, remains constant over periods of months and years. What constitutes a “place” depends on what distance between two places makes them separate. But analysing movement patterns helps illuminate the distinction and the researchers found that the average location capacity was 25. If a new location does make its way into the set of places an individual tends to visit, an old one drops out in response. People do not, in other words, gather places like collector cards. Rather, they cycle through them. Their geographical behaviour is limited and predictable, not footloose and fancy-free.

The study demonstrating this, just published in Nature Human Behaviour, does not offer any explanation for the limited location capacity it measures. But a statistical analysis carried out by the authors shows that it cannot be explained solely by constraints on time. Some other factor is at work. One of the researchers, Sune Lehmann of the Technical University of Denmark, draws an analogy. He suggests that people’s cognitive capacity limits the number of places they can visit routinely, just as it limits the number of other people an individual can routinely socialise with. That socialisation figure, about 150 for most people, is known as the Dunbar number, after its discoverer, Robin Dunbar.

Dr Lehmann says he expects that the group’s finding will inform urban planning and be useful in predicting human behaviour more generally. Understanding the nature of restricted location capacity might be of particular use to advertisers. On seeing someone start to spend a lot of time in a new place, an advertiser might reasonably assume that the person in question was now in the market for new services in that area. Dr Lehmann says he is unsure whether Facebook and Google, the most obvious beneficiaries of this insight, are, as yet, aware of it.

The group’s findings also show the importance of a new scientific instrument: in this case, the smartphone. Such phones, now ubiquitous in the rich world, mean many human beings have, in essence, voluntarily radio-collared themselves. That gives social scientists (who might reasonably relabel themselves as “human zoologists” in this case) a new and affordable lens through which to study their subjects.

The bulk of the data Dr Lehmann used came from an app called Lifelog, a phone-based activity tracker developed by Sony, an electronics firm. About 36,000 people contributed in this way. The other 4,000 were monitored through behaviour-tracking programmes at several universities. All these sets of data show the same pattern of 25 preferred locations.

As with Dr Dunbar’s work, which showed predictable, nested circles of acquaintances, so Dr Lehmann and his colleagues found several levels of location capacity—meaning that the number of places where people spend just a few minutes a week is just as predictable as the number where they spend dozens of hours. Dr Lehmann says his group is now in search of similar data from other primates, in an attempt to work out where human patterns of mobility have their roots. For those, though, they will have to rely on old-fashioned methods of zoological observation—unless they can work out a way to get chimpanzees to carry smartphones.
psychology  networks  social-networks 
23 days ago
the mind reels — Thoughts on Mnet paying the trainees on Produce48?
To start I object to the framing of what Mnet is doing as paying Produce48 participants. To me Mnet is merely making good on a promise it made when it was recruiting participants for the first season: “Mnet is currently pitching this show to various agencies, highlighting how the trainees could gain exposure and provide valuable financial profits through the show while still in their trainee status.” (emphasis mine) It is, after all, entertainment agencies who are technically being paid under this new policy, not trainees, due to the break-even system. Under this system, most, if not all, of the money a participant earns will go to their agency until they have paid back their trainee debt.“

Now, I will concede that the case could be made that this deal is not altogether terrible for participants since it is helping them to pay off their debt. But I am skeptical of this given how little Mnet is actually paying (according to reports, 100,000 KR₩ (roughly $93.58USD) per an episode). Even if one of the participants manages to survive to the last episode and land in the top 20, the amount of money they earn will hardly make a dent in the debt which, according to estimates can be as much as 1.5 billion KR₩ (approximately 1.3 million USD). The pay is just much too low.

Lest this leave the impression though that this is a problem that begins and ends with Mnet though, it is important to highlight that this is not the case at all. The problem of low pay is not the work of a few bad actors but is baked into the industry. For instance, according to a 2013 report, the average pay of idols on MBC’s Idol Star Athletic Championships is $2 USD an hour. Music shows for which idols and their agencies often spend hundreds to thousands of dollars for are all paid a base fee of 300,000 KR₩ (approximately $250) per appearance,.

And it is not just idols. According to a study conducted by the Seoul branch of the Korean Women Workers’ Association, 80% of stylists have reported that they are paid less than $1,000 USD a month. Similarly, the annual income for staff members for dramas, as of 2009, was estimated to be 6.4 million won ($5,500 USD).

tl;dr: A measly 100,000 KR₩ makes little difference, especially given the magnitude of the problem, and does not do much to fix anything. A complete overhaul is needed.
Korean-girl-groups  K-pop  Korean-boy-bands 
24 days ago
What High Heels Can Teach About Gendered 'Truths' - The Atlantic
What could be more feminine than the high heel? What could be more ladylike than the way a pair of stilettos or pumps or even wedges can lengthen the leg and swagger the hips and add an element of danger to the ground beneath one’s feet? What other accessory can so neatly evoke the demands made of women as they walk the world every day: to be beautiful, to be amenable, to navigate risk, to bear pain?

But heels, too, both as objects and as symbols, are relative propositions. Even that quintessentially feminine accessory is not quintessentially feminine at all. As Stuart Weitzman, the shoe designer—and the curator of the New-York Historical Society’s exhibit Walk This Way: Footwear From the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes—reminded at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic: It used to be men who wore heels.

Recall those infamous portraits of Louis XIV, swathed in the physical rewards of a culture that believed in the divine right of kings, elevated not only by luck, but also by generously stacked heels. They were heels that, as Weitzman suggested, were symbols not only of status—the king stipulated that no heel could be higher than the one that he wore, and that only members of his court could paint their own heels the king’s signature red—but also of gender. Heels, in Europe in the 18th century, given their origins in the riding of horses and the cavalric waging of war, were for a long time the ultimate dudely accessory.

It wasn’t until the time of the French revolution, the historian Elizabeth Semmelhack argues, that heels’ roles as gender markers and as status symbols collided. On the one hand, France’s post-revolution society emphasized—or, at least, it told itself it emphasized—practicality and reason, and heels, while they are many things, are decidedly impractical. (As a satirical poem from the time advised, “Mount on French heels when you go to the ball— / ’Tis the fashion to totter and show you can fall.”) By the time Napoleon crowned himself emperor in 1804, the new ruler made a point of wearing flats.

And so heels were relegated to the realm of the impractical, the irrational, the superficial … which is to say, to the realm of the traditionally feminine. And there, ever since, they have remained.

Americans live now in a time of anxiety about masculinity and femininity, about the intersections of sex and gender and biology and culture, about the ways a sense of self is shaped—and is, at the same time, unreachable—by the workings of society. The evolution of heels is a small reminder, though, of how many of the things that are simply assumed to be true about gender are in fact extremely contingent. Heels were quintessentially masculine, until they were quintessentially feminine. Shoes in general, Stuart Weitzman noted, are about so much more than function: They are art. They are culture. They are quotidian choices. And heels in particular simultaneously raise up their wearers and, by virtue of their heights, hold them back as they move through the world. It’s worth remembering, at this time of questionable truths, that, not too long ago, it was men who were made to walk within that paradox.
gender  high-heels  women's-fashion 
24 days ago
Are women's breasts getting bigger - or is it just our bras? | Life and style | The Guardian

In 20 years of doing this, I’ve probably fitted about three 36B ladies who actually said they were a 36B,” says Kelly Dunmore, chief lingerie stylist at Rigby & Peller. It’s one of those ambient truths; we all know that what we think is our bra size is probably wrong. Josie Fellows, Kelly’s bra-fitting apprentice, walks me through this tactfully. “It’s often, 85% of the time, a big shock in the fitting room.” We are in the fitting room. “People think E is the biggest size there is.” That’s more or less what I thought. “They think of D as such a full size and they’ve been buying a B for 20 years.” Yup. “And to compensate for the fact that their cup’s too small, they go up in the back and think they’re a 36.” OK. “So you’re a 32D.” She fits me in a bra, and I have to hand it to her, they do look different, more like breasts, less like a sideways banana in a Waitrose bag. But this is absurd. I’m a 36B. Fellows says ruefully: “If you say to a client they’re a G cup, it’s like saying to someone who thinks they’re an 8 that they’re actually a 14.”

We will consider in due course what has led generations of women to think their breasts were a size they categorically weren’t. But this is also a story about a mistaken market. Bras have been misfitting for years; suppliers failing to approximate women’s actual shapes. Perhaps in the olden days, when materials were less yielding and there was a strong call for structure and upholstery, the lack of range was more explicable, the way you don’t expect to get a sofa in 90 different varieties (although … Loaf?). But more recently it has been hard to escape the sense of a generalised market failure, driven by fashion, which sees breasts as an impediment to design, not so much a secondary characteristic as a nuisance.

As for the mass delusion among bra-wearers themselves, it’s partly cross-pollination: “All the glamour models say: ‘I’m a 34 DD.’ Well, they’re not, I can tell you – they’re probably an F,” says Dunmore. Plus, there are a lot of women simply changing shape and not keeping on top of it, because who would? But it’s no accident that we think of D and E as mega-sizes, F and G as outsize and H to K as non-existent, even though that is miles away from the truth. These F, G and H sizes have long been part of the high-end market. “They’re our bestselling sizes,” Dunmore says. “Marks & Sparks have just started to talk about F, which is what we’ve been doing for 75 years.” But on the high street, until 20 years ago, they were non-existent; even now, you can only get them in Bravissimo. Ellie Corney, a director of Bravissimo, says: “If you think about 1995, before the internet, it was such a negative experience for someone with big boobs having to find bras. There would be 200 really pretty bras in John Lewis and you’d say: ‘What’s available for me as an F cup?’ You’d be led to this dark corner and there’d be this horrific, flesh-coloured, thick-strapped granny bra.” I have a friend of one of these outlier (yet, in reality, incredibly common) proportions and, in the old days, when we were young and still bought stuff, it was like a group mission to find her a bra. I remember triumphantly finding one in a market in Uzès, in the south of France, only to discover it was actually €32, not a 32E.

Bravissimo is the entrepreneurial dream scenario, the gap in the market that turned out to be a chasm. Sarah Tremellen was 25 when she had a baby and set it up, according to the manager of her Oxford Circus store, Jess Jaddour, 28, “out of her own frustration. Ladies with average body size but big boobs just couldn’t find a bra.” (Note to prospective parents: the opposite can also result.) It started as a mail-order company in 1995 and opened shops in 1999, of which there are now 21. “It came from this really authentic place,” Jaddour says, “and right from the beginning we had this very clear objective, which was to give women the best choice possible, but also to have this celebratory tone, your body is absolutely great. Because women were being made to feel so bad about themselves. It was all: ‘Your size is really difficult, your body is the problem.’” The success of the mail-order operation was mostly on the demand side: it remained extremely difficult to get suppliers to produce what women wanted. “We’d say: ‘We’ve got all these customers, and they’d really like a plunge bra.’ And a lot of the suppliers said: ‘They’re not suitable. It’s really complicated. They won’t be supported.’”

It is true that bra engineering, or brarchitecture, if you prefer, is complicated: “The bigger your cup size, the more work it’s doing,” Jaddour says. “It is a job. It’s not a T-shirt.” The couture brands have historically been better at big sizes, because there are more layers of complication; a bra that costs £80 will have twice as many components as one that is £40. “There’s a lot of engineering that goes into it, and the ones that do it well, they’ve been doing it well for centuries,” Dunmore says.

But there is also a patriarchal backstory (isn’t there always?) that stopped the market evolving to suit the people it was for. Corney ascribes Bravissimo’s success to the fact that “we’re women and we’re talking to other women. A lot of lingerie retailing in the past has been very much talking to men. It was ‘Hello Boys’ on the Wonderbra advert.” The consumer was conceived as a man buying underwear for a woman. And men do buy underwear for women, but you couldn’t subsist on it. It is a running Bravissimo joke that they have a rush on lacy red sets just before Christmas and they are all returned in January.

Bras do not have to be fantastically expensive in order to work (although you would struggle to get a well-structured bra for less than about £30). “I don’t agree that you should be buying your underwear where you’re buying your cheese,” Dunmore says waspishly. But you do have to specialise. Bravissimo, hitting brick walls with suppliers, started to design its own bras, and the logistical stock challenge is enormous: one bra, in one colour, running sizes 28 to 40 and D to L, as they do, would come in 90 SKUs (that’s a stock-keeping unit, or a single item for sale); if you do that in three colours, that’s 270. And if your USP is that you want to make every woman, whatever her size, able to find the bra she wants, that is an epic number of SKUs.

The modern bra-fitting happens by eye, not with a tape measure, and nobody uses the historical plus-four method, where you measure the under-bust and deduce back size by adding four inches (so if your under-bust is 28 inches, you would be a 32). This fit isn’t firm enough, and the backstrap, which should provide 80% of the support, can’t manage it, kicking the weight on to the straps and the cups, which, for anyone over a D, will give them sore shoulders, bad posture and back aches.

“There has definitely been an evolution,” Dunmore says. “We never in the UK or anywhere in Europe did a 30 back: the French thought we were mad when we asked for those. As a nation, we are smaller backed and fuller cupped than they are, and they also don’t fit as firm as we do. We are historically known as firm fitters in the back band. As soon as a 30 came on the market, they were selling out in days.” The cup should have no gaping but also no squishing, so if any part of the wire is sitting on your actual breast tissue, that’s too small; and if you’re spilling over the top, so your silhouette looks like four breasts, that is also too small. There is a residual superstition around the “big” letters, as Jaddour says: “Society tells us that G is massive, but a 28G would be a pretty small woman, and a 32H would look completely different on five different women.” Since properly fitting bras have come on the market, women have started to flag up other things that have never worked on boobs: fitted shirts, various dress styles, an array of pretty standard clothes that have never been designed to accommodate breasts. The working fashion assumption is, to put it bluntly, that women with a larger cup size are most probably fat, and this simply isn’t true. Most Bravissimo customers are size 8 to 18 – and the company sells a range of dresses, tops and sportswear alongside lingerie.

Women are changing, too – Dunmore says that younger girls are much fuller-breasted than they were 20 years ago; she sees 13- to 15-year-olds wearing a G-cup (“There’s no scientific evidence for this, but I’m sure it’s down to hormones, the prevalence of the pill”). Technology is changing faster. Materials have more movement, more breathability, more strength, and styles that may once have been impossible in bigger sizes – the bralet, which is, broadly, a bra that is also a top – now aren’t. But the real revolution has been the normalisation of sizes that were, in real life, already normal.
bras  bra-size  breasts 
24 days ago
The South Korean Musical Industry Dilemma | KOREA EXPOSÉ
But many within the industry blame the fans — mostly women in their 20s to 30s — who use their purchasing power to dictate how the industry should run.


Kim Bo-min, a 19-year-old university student, was one of the women waiting by the theater door on Friday evening. That was the twelfth time she had seen Mama, Don’t Cry. Kim started going to musicals about four years ago, after following a friend to see a show.

“I go see the same musical multiple times when the show and performers suit my taste,” Kim said, adding that it’s not unusual for her to see one musical about 15 to 20 times.

Kim says the point of waiting for the actors after the performance — the unofficial meet-up — is to let them know the fans appreciate the show, and to give feedback on the minute differences between that day’s performance and those before (because many fans will have seen more than one performance).

Some fans jot down their comments and hand them to the actors along with gifts, Kim said.

But the real feedback happens online, anonymously, in a theater-focused forum on DC inside, one of South Korea’s most popular online communities. There, fans share reviews, comments and gossip about anything and everything related to musicals.

What seems like a benign forum for fans to gather virtually is no small matter to the industry, according to an assistant director who’s worked in South Korean theater for five years.

“When an actor says or does something mildly misogynistic or wrong, no matter how small, that goes on the forum. There’s a tendency for fans to embark on an over-the-top witch hunt. I’ve heard fans say they will boycott [the actor’s show] because of this or that. I find that scary,” Lee said.

Lee didn’t want to disclose her full name for fear of retribution, not just against herself but the colleagues working with her.

“Musical fans wield a lot of influence. Fans may remember my name and later boycott any show I am involved in,” she said worriedly.

A case in point: Last November, when musical actor Lim Jin-seop pressed ‘like’ on a photo on Instagram, angry fans started canceling their tickets for the musical he was in. The photo had been posted by Yoo Ah-in, a well-known South Korean actor who was accused of making misogynistic comments.

Fans accused Lim of supporting Yoo. As the DC Inside theater forum heated up with debates about Lim and Yoo, the musical actor quickly apologized, claiming he didn’t “approve nor know much about the incident.”

Lee, too, has personally experienced the power of the fans. Last year, after the premiere of a musical that she was working for, some fans “strongly protested” online that certain words in the show promoted hatred against women (“whore”) and the disabled (“retarded”). Sensitive to the criticism, the director took out “whore” and changed “retarded” to “fool” in the ensuing performances.

“We are not trying to defend people who use such expressions. But those expressions are used frequently in our society, so why can’t we use them [in our shows] as long as we are not condoning them?” Lee said that demands from fans to exercise censorship suffocate creative freedom. “Not every character in a show can be politically correct. Art reflects the society we live in.”

...The South Korean musical fandom certainly has its own quirks. Musical goers are predominantly women in their 20s to 30s, according to Interpark, the biggest online ticket sales site in South Korea. 97.2 percent of the ticket buyers of Mama, Don’t Cry are women and 75 percent are in their 20s to 30s, according to Yes 24, a major ticketing site. The few men I saw on Friday night all seemed to be with female companions.

Such female musical fans often suffer sexism and misogyny, which are still pervasive in South Korean society. In various online communities, they are dubbed “kimchi women,” a derogatory term for women perceived to be overly materialistic, vain and pretentious. The fans are criticized for squandering their money and time on musicals — or being too obsessed with handsome male actors. One pamphlet published by a musical production company even claimed that the industry was churning out “light-hearted works targeting young women,” ruffling the feathers of many female fans (the head of that firm promptly apologized).

This stigmatization of the female musical fans may explain why most were reluctant, some even hostile, on receiving my interview requests.

“We all know being a musical mania isn’t so easy,” said Jang You-jin, a twenty-something fan living in Cheonan, a city 80 km south of Seoul.
Korean-musicals  Korean-celebrity  Korean-fans  Korean-fandom  Kimchee-nyeo  Kimchee-bitch 
24 days ago
Dear Chinese Men, Soccer Is Not a Boys’ Club
It’s 1 a.m. in China, and one of the country’s most popular foreign soccer teams, Germany, has just lost to Mexico at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. On CCTV-5, the state broadcaster’s sports arm, two hosts — one male, one female — are discussing the game.

“I don’t care about the result,” says Yang Mingming, a fresh-faced, sweet-looking woman, to her co-host Shao Shengyi. “Did you notice how handsome [German national coach] Joachim Löw looked today? And those German players! To be honest, whenever they’re on the field, I’m just happy to look at them and don’t care how they play.”

A grinning Shao responds: “Standard female perspective.”

This kind of misogyny used to aggravate me when I first got into soccer nearly 30 years ago. These days, though, I’ve become jaded by the whole thing. I’ve become accustomed to the daft questions, willful misunderstandings, and even outright malice toward female soccer fans in China.

I fell in love with soccer during Italia ’90. At that time, soccer was very much considered a man’s sport in China, so there were not many female fans. Back then, I had to explain to everyone where my passion for the beautiful game stemmed from.

As I grew older, it wasn’t easy to convince the men around me that I was into it for the same reasons as them: the excitement, the moments of levity, the emotional roller coaster of watching two well-matched teams compete with each other. “My dad is a huge fan,” I would say simply. “He often watches soccer games on TV, and sometimes I watch them with him.”

I always felt that this kind of explanation was more than good enough for male soccer fans to justify their love of soccer. But it rarely worked for me. My peers would look at me, eyebrows raised incredulously. “Really? But isn’t soccer a boys’ game? Lots of dads like to watch it, but I’ll bet few of them watch with their daughters!”

Like any regular fan, I’d try to bond with others about my favorite soccer moments from my youth: Roberto Baggio’s sky-high penalty miss in the 1994 World Cup Final, Diego Maradona’s unhinged-looking celebrations after scoring against Greece, days before he was sent home for a failed drug test. But all that was useless, too. “I knew it!” some men would exclaim. “You’re a tomboy, aren’t you?” No, I wasn’t, I’d reply to no avail. “Do your parents raise you like a boy?” they’d ask. Later, worn down by the whole charade, I found it easiest to say yes, I’m a bit like a boy. It was untrue, but it saved a lot of time.

Around the turn of the century, however, I discovered that I no longer needed that standard answer. There was an increasing number of female soccer fans in China, and although I still watched most of the games with my dad, I no longer felt like the odd one out when I told male friends I liked soccer.

But no sooner had China’s female fans emerged than the media began to stereotype them.

I have always thought that male Chinese soccer aficionados see female fans as somehow fake, and not to be taken seriously. Media representations of female fans still follow the outrageous misogyny of Yang and Shao, pushing the idea that the “standard” female soccer fan’s enthusiasm for the game lies not in its inherent beauty, drama, and moments of levity, but in the superficial eroticizing of beautiful male players.

This stereotype is reproduced across Chinese media outlets and social networks. Some soccer coverage bills itself as “tailor-made” for female fans, but then crassly objectifies male soccer players. Check out this popular WeChat article titled “World Cup = Meat, Meat, Meat, Meat, and More Meat!” and featuring a list of attractive male players stripped to the waist. Here’s another, titled “2018 World Cup watch guide for women: There are a lot of studs on the following teams.” In yet another such guide, the article starts with “For female (fake) fans, neither rules nor tactics matter! The only thing that matters is the handsome men both on and off the field.”

Let’s take a closer look at an article published in April on the online news portal Sohu, titled “As a female soccer fan, how do I watch a game gracefully?” According to the article, here’s how: Step 1, find a team to support. Step 2, buy the jersey and pair it with “high heels and Prada.” Step 3, sip wine while watching the games — not beer, because that’s a “man’s drink.” When a goal goes in, “say ‘cheers’ to the guy opposite you. No matter who he is, he’ll fall for you instantly.”

That’s how male fans see female supporters in China. At best, girls don’t like soccer. But if they do, their role is reduced to quiet, deferential sex objects who exist to enhance the male experience of the game with well-deployed, lighthearted titillation.

Of course, it’s natural for heterosexual women to be attracted to beautiful sportsmen. But to be honest, most of us would rather talk about whether Portugal has the squad depth to progress beyond the last 16 than what Cristiano Ronaldo looks like with his jersey off.

The stereotypes of Chinese women in soccer are ridiculous and offensive. They assume that women either don’t like soccer or do so out of sexual instinct. Previously, only “tomboys” — women who emulated men — could be soccer fans. Now, women can be different from male supporters, but they still desire them. Either way, soccer remains a male domain, hallowed ground for a gender I can only assume is born with innate knowledge of the offside rule.

Chinese feminists have rightly criticized the pigeonholing of the country’s female soccer fans as misogynistic. Some of their counterarguments, however, are problematic. In one article, for example, the author claims that “soccer culture tends to repel women” because the game is full of “toxic masculinity.” While well-intentioned, such language does not further the debate because it implies that women who move in soccer circles are somehow “adulterated” or “poisoned” by unhealthy expressions of manhood, and therefore can’t be both soccer fans and feminists.

In the fight against gender discrimination, we must be wary of arguments that implicitly tarnish the reputations of women who try to carve out spaces in traditionally male arenas. Misogyny in Chinese soccer is irreducible to a single gender issue; rather, it touches on all sorts of problems, like the lack of female representation in the national media’s sports coverage and gendered physical education classes at Chinese primary schools. In addition, depictions of soccer — and of sports more generally — as fierce, brutal, and savage are both inaccurate and inherently male-centric. Yes, soccer can be competitive, even ugly — but it is also sophisticated, aesthetic, and artistic.

I applaud the responses of many female soccer fans who react to misogyny with humor and self-awareness. On social media, many acknowledge their lower social roles in order to mock the excessive behavior of male fans: “It’s not wise to predict the final score — thank God I’m just a fake female fan and no one cares what I think!” “The 2 a.m. kickoff is too late, and it looks like a boring game. Good thing I’m just a fake female fan so I can go to sleep now!”

Despite the tone-deaf comments about women, I’ll follow this World Cup. After all, I’ve followed all of them since Shao Shengyi was in diapers. Not because I like gawking at pretty men, or to make myself seem more attractive to male fans. To hell with all that. I watch because I love the game.

Editor: Matthew Walsh.

(Header image: Female fans cheer on the Chinese national team during a World Cup qualifying match in Wuhan, Hubei province, Aug. 31, 2017. VCG)
female-fandom  soccer-fandom  Chinese-soccer  Red-Devils  2002-World-Cup 
26 days ago
Study Says Girls More Prone to Smartphone Addiction than Boys | Be Korea-savvy
SEOUL, Jun. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — Girls are twice as prone to smartphone addiction than boys, likely because they use more social networking and messaging services, according to research results released Tuesday.

The conclusions of a study team from Ewha Womans University in Seoul were that students who were female, consumed alcohol, had lower academic performance, did not feel refreshed in the morning and went to sleep after midnight were at a significantly higher risk of smartphone addiction.

The results were based on research involving 1,796 adolescents — 820 boys and 976 girls — aged 14.9 on average. The study was published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The risk of addiction for girls was 23.9 percent, compared to 15.1 percent for boys. The odd ratio suggested that the risk of smartphone addiction in female students was double that of boys, while the risk for students who drink alcohol was 1.7 times higher than for those who do not.

The research team took note of the difference in the use of social networking services (SNS) and messaging apps between boys and girls. For the former, the use of social media was 26.5 percent compared to 41.2 percent for girls. In the case of messaging apps, the figures were 12.8 percent for boys and 23.6 percent for girls.

In the addicted group, SNS usage was predominant, while in the non-addicted group, use of entertainment apps was more prevalent.

Smartphone addiction and duration of sleep at night also showed a correlation, according to the study. Some 40.4 percent of adolescents in the high-risk group slept six hours or less at night, compared to 28.3 percent in the low-risk group. Those categorized as high risk said they did not feel refreshed in the morning and that it took them longer to fall asleep.

“The quality of sleep in adolescence affects growth, emotional stability and learning skills,” the study said. “Therefore, the management of smartphone addiction seems to be essential for proper sleeping habits. There is a critical need to develop a means of preventing smartphone addiction on a social level.”

Korean-children  Korean-students  Korean-smartphones  Korean-addiction 
26 days ago
Burdened by child care, working mothers work less than fathers
Working mothers in South Korea work fewer hours than fathers on average, the latest government data showed, a phenomenon that carries deeper patriarchal significance of role imbalance at home.

Employed South Korean fathers work an average of 8.6 hours more than their female counterparts per week, according to the data from Statistics Korea last week.

But experts say the figures only tell half the story, as many South Korean women are being held back from making career choices freely and compromise for home responsibilities more often than men.

The gap doesn’t consider that women are largely taking care of children, says Moon Yoo-Kyung, a senior researcher at the Korean Women’s Development Institute.

“When you work full-time in South Korea, it’s unlikely that you’ll clock out of work at 6 p.m. on the dot, which leaves you with few child care alternatives,” Moon said.

“Working mothers often do the housework on the weekend that has piled up through the week. When pushed to the limit, they end up leaving work altogether.”

South Korean mothers do house chores for nearly three and a half hours per day, according a study by the Seoul Foundation of Women & Family in 2017, while fathers spend around an hour doing housework. The study also revealed women have less time to sleep, eat and rest.

Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development last year also showed South Korean husbands spend the least time doing housework among OECD member states, followed closely by Japan.

“One of the biggest reasons (behind the figures) is that women do the housework that men don’t,” says Shin Kwang-young, a professor of sociology at Chung Ang University.

“In Korea and Japan, women generally give up on careers when they become a mother. As they try to avoid working overtime and business dinners, their chances of getting a promotion is hindered and many of them leave their job altogether.”

Against this backdrop, professor Shin says pressing issues facing South Korean society, such as low birthrates, marriage rates and divorce rates, are worsening.

Local governments across the country are offering child benefits to encourage pregnancy, such as Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province, where families with three children can claim 10 million won ($9,000).

But experts say the culture needs to change to effectively tackle low birthrates and marriage rates.

“There are problems between couples at home, as well as the patriarchal mindset among employers in the workplace. There is also a culture in every corner of South Korean society that sees assigned gender roles and different treatment of men and women as the norm,” Shin said.

Things are, however, seen to be changing at home, particularly among young working parents.

In a recent study by the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education, nearly 9 in 10 unmarried men and women said they believe couples should share housework equally.

Progress appears slow in the workplace however, as South Korean corporations are heavily owned by older men with an old-fashioned way of thinking.

“The big housework gender gap is caused by not only long working hours, but also a corporate culture where fathers face ‘penalties’ when they leave work on time,” said Moon.

“Spending time with children can be precious, but when you are running short on time, it can be very stressful.”

Korean-childcare  Korean-working-parents  Korean-working-mothers  Korean-mothers  Korean-jobs  Korean-demographics  Korean-workplaces  Korean-workplace-culture 
27 days ago
Korea’s gender pay gap is both wide and deep-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily
One out of five Korean companies have gender pay gaps in which women get paid 51.3 percent of what men earn, according to research released Thursday by job search website Saramin.

The company conducted a survey of human resource managers at 193 companies, and 23.8 percent said their companies have a gender pay gap.

Survey results showed that at companies where a wage gap was present, women earned an average of 51.3 percent of what men earn.

Breaking down that average, 63 percent of the human resources managers said female employees at their companies were paid less than half of what men get, while 10.9 percent said they receive exactly 50 percent. Responses that women received 70 percent of men’s wages took up 6.5 percent. Answers that women earned as much as 80 percent of men’s salaries totaled 10.9 percent. The proportion that answered 90 percent was also 10.9 percent. The remaining 2.2 percent chose “Other,” writing down the exact figure instead of choosing a range.

Half of the human resources managers who admitted to a gender pay gap said male and female employees had different duties, and that the men generally performed roles that were better paid or were core functions of the company.

However, there were also signs that cultural factors were at play. Some 19.6 percent of respondents who admitted pay gaps said a differentiation between male and female employees’ salaries was part of their corporate systems. Promotions were another factor: 19.6 percent said the ratio of men who were promoted was higher than women, while 13 percent said there were more male executives in top management. Fifteen percent said the pay gap was due to a difference in work abilities. Multiple answers were allowed.

Manufacturing was the field in which gender pay gaps were most common: 26.1 percent of HR managers that said gender wage gaps existed in their company worked in this sector, followed by services (19.6 percent) and construction (13 percent).

On whether an employee’s gender affected promotions, 74.1 percent of all respondents said it barely affected the company’s decisions.

But 24.4 percent admitted that male employees tend to be promoted more and faster than their female peers. Those who gave this answer cited career suspension among women due to reasons like giving birth or child care (38.3 percent) and a male-centered corporate culture (34 percent) as main reasons. Multiple answers were allowed.

Around 74 percent of all respondents supported the idea that gender wage gaps should be gradually resolved but 17.6 percent said they believed the gaps were regrettable but natural. A smaller 8.3 percent said the pay differences were justifiable.

“Korea’s gender pay gap has been the largest among OECD countries for 16 years now,” said Lim Min-wook, the head of PR for Saramin.

“An important task in reducing this gap would be prolonging women’s years in service by providing an environment to raise children while working, and providing reasonable compensation for their capacity and achievements.”

Korean-gender-gap  Korean-workplaces  Korean-hierarchy  Korean-workplace-culture  Korean-jobs  Korea-economy 
4 weeks ago
Koreans Have Lowest Levels of Trust in Local News: Study | Be Korea-savvy
SEOUL, Jun. 21 (Korea Bizwire) — A new survey has revealed that Koreans rank last in the level of trust in their local news.

According to the “Digital News Report 2018” from Oxford University’s Reuters Institute, the average level of trust in the media by Koreans was surveyed at 25 percent, which was good for 37th out of the 37 nations polled.

Meanwhile, the average of all 37 nations stood at 44 percent. The level of trust is calculated based on the ratio of respondents who answer “yes” to the question “do you always trust most of the news?”

A breakdown of age groups showed that those between 25 and 34 years of age had the lowest level of trust in the news at 16 percent, while those above 55 years old showed trust levels of 31 percent, almost twice that of the younger generation.

The survey also found that the ratio of Koreans who went directly to news outlets for news was lower than that of other countries.

Only 5 percent of Korean respondents said they got their news directly from news outlets, while 32 percent on average sought out news organizations in the 37 countries.

Meanwhile, 77 percent of local respondents said they got their news from portal websites.

YouTube and Kakao Talk were two social media services that were most popular with Koreans as news sources.

Facebook was the top social media of choice when it came to news for people from 37 nations, with 46 percent of respondents using the website.

H. S. Seo (
Korean-media  Korean-journalism  Korean-news 
4 weeks ago
‘Over half of women in culture sector fell victim to sexual violence’
Over half of the women currently working in the culture and entertainment sector have experienced some form of sexual violence, a government investigation team on sexual violence in the culture and entertainment industry said Monday.

The team recommended that the government create an organization specifically to deal with the issue.

The special probe team, formed jointly by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the National Human Rights Commission, conducted a survey of 3,718 cultural figures as part of its ongoing investigation. Of the 2,478 female respondents, 1,429 said that they had been subjected to some form of sexual abuse, harassment or attack.
Korean-sexual-assault  Korean-rape  Korean-sexual-violence 
4 weeks ago
Almost 80% of South Korean men have abused girlfriend, study claims
Disturbing footage of a man hitting and kicking his ex-girlfriend before chasing her down a street in central Seoul with a truck shocked South Korea in July and triggered a police 100-day action campaign to combat violence against women.

But a newly released study by the Korean Institute of Criminology has revealed that the assault in broad daylight in the South Korean capital, while extreme, was not an isolated incident of abuse.

The study, based on responses from 2,000 South Korean men, showed that 1,593, or 79.7%, had physically or psychologically abused a girlfriend while they were dating.

About 71% of those who admitted a history of dating abuse said they had controlled their girlfriend’s activities through restricting their interactions with friends or family members, reported The Korea Herald.

Their controlling behaviour included calling to check who their partner was with, or stipulating how she dressed.

Of the 1,593, 37.9% admitted sexual harassment, 36.6% used psychological abuse and 22.4% physical violence.

About 23% said they had slammed a door or stamped on the ground in anger at their girlfriends, and about 100 men said they had bruised their partners or left them with small scars.

Lead researcher Hong Young Oh, told the Herald that the violent behaviour stemmed from deep-rooted patriarchy in South Korea.

“The high number of such actions show that the abusers themselves were not aware of or did not recognise their actions as dating abuse,” he said.

The results of the study tally with another survey conducted by the Korea Women’s Hotline that revealed that 61.6% of female respondents said they had been abused while dating.

The police force has pledged to work more closely with women’s organisations as part of a drive by the new government of President Moon Jae-in to create a safer environment.

The move comes amid criticism that law enforcement does not take dating abuse seriously enough. Under current laws, stalking is punishable with a light fine of just $90.
Korean-rape  Korean-sexual-assault  Korean-dating  Korean-couples 
5 weeks ago
“Korea! Faker! Zed!” – The Dissolve
At this point, we come to a common question: Why is it that Korean gamers dominate every game and region of the world of eSports? But a good answer requires a good question. And this one is in need of reexamination.

The question has several errors. First, Korean gamers aren’t always the best in “every” game. Unlike for StarCraft II and LoL, where Korean teams make the news for not winning tournaments, merely qualifying for the International tournament for Dota 2 is enough to put a Korean team in the headlines. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is another game that Korean players aren’t very good at. In other words, Korean gamers only perform well in games that are popular in Korea. Second, Korean gamers are not always dominant in the games they are good at. In LoL, for instance, the Korean league was not the world’s best until 2013. The winner of the 2012 World Championship was TPA, a Taiwanese team, and the European league and the North American league were in no way inferior to the Korean league. Korean teams were often defeated by European and North American teams.

So let me rephrase the question: How did Korean pro gamers become the world’s best so quickly in games that were popular in Korea?

What makes for best

The answer is simple. Korea may not have the biggest eSports market, but it has pioneered the transformation of gaming into a professional sport. The shift can be traced back to the 1990s and the rise of PC bang—Korean internet cafes (literally “PC rooms”). The first PC bang held StarCraft tournaments, and the winners became assets to the PC bang that hosted the tournaments. Owners would lure gamers to participate in the tournaments and let winners play for free. It was a type of marketing, and kids flocked to PC bang to see local stars. The best players in a neighborhood would end up at the same PC bang, playingStarCraft for days on end.
Korean-games  Korean-gamers  Korean-progamers  Starcraft  Korean-internet-cafes  Korean-PC-rooms 
5 weeks ago
People Are Bad at Being Productive in a Limited Time - The Atlantic
Why do people feel this way? It isn’t clear yet, says Tonietto. There are some theories that suggest the thing someone is paying attention to feels physically closer than it really is. Perhaps that meeting with a friend or that work party looming in the distance feels closer, or larger—somehow more in need of time—than it truly is.

On a practical level, she suggests that scheduling things back to back may actually improve productivity. If you schedule in an hour between meetings, chances are you won’t use that time well. Furthermore, it pays to break big tasks down into smaller ones, so that you can reach a goal even in a shorter period of time. People tend to like the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing something, and if you’re afraid you won’t be able to complete it, you might not start at all. You might check your email again, read a good article in The Atlantic—and before you know it, the time has flown
procrastination  time-management 
5 weeks ago
South Korean women rise up: An interview with Nayoung Kim
Nayoung Kim is a feminist activist and attorney from South Korea. Her activist journey began in the South Korean women’s movement. She went to the University of Michigan Law School to learn about feminist legal practice and theory from Catharine A. MacKinnon. Nayoung is involved with Prostitution Research & Education, Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, and Af3irm, a transnational feminist organization. Her online feminist project is Korea Women’s Liberation. She is currently translating Andrea Dworkin’s Woman Hating into Korean.

Meghan Murphy interviewed her about the South Korean women’s movement and her journey in feminist activism this week over email.


MEGHAN MURPHY: Tell me a little bit about your background. How did you come to be involved in the women’s movement?

NAYOUNG KIM: I am an adult survivor of child sexual abuse. I first confronted this fact in 2009, when a particularly gruesome rape of an eight-year-old girl outraged the nation. The media gave the survivor an alias that is the same as my name: Nayoung. The constant airing of what the rapist did to her triggered my own deeply buried memories. I sunk into suicidal depression and dropped my university studies for more than a year. I was not able to get good help during this time because I did not know where to look or whom to trust. At that time, I wasn’t yet politicized — I hadn’t encountered feminism as either practice or theory. There also was not much coverage of the feminist movement in South Korean society.

What saved me was the fact that I have always been a huge reader. Not feeling comfortable anywhere else, I spent much of my time in libraries. I browsed the stacks, starting from 000 of the Dewey Decimal system, until finally I came across feminist books on violence. When I read Andrea Dworkin’s work for the first time, my life changed forever. Her writing taught me the politics of sexual abuse. It made clear to me that sexual abuse is the heart of male dominance. I learned that I was not alone in my experience, that others like me had fought back, and that the system of male dominance must be destroyed in order for every woman to live with dignity.

With this knowledge, I no longer wanted to die. Instead of cowering in shame and despair, I began to respect myself and other women.

Nine years ago, I made a vow to myself that I would live this life as a feminist fighting male violence. I have been at it ever since. I cut my activist teeth volunteering with Korea Women’s Hotline, the oldest and largest feminist organization fighting men’s violence against women in South Korea. This nationwide NGO has more than 10,000 members, and has been at the forefront of feminist struggle since 1983. I connected with these women as a student and fell madly in love with their furious and unapologetic dedication to advancing women’s rights. There was no other group of people I admired more in the world.

Asserting myself as a feminist became a source of intense hope, joy, and honour. Since then, I have sought out and worked with feminists wherever I am, focusing on the issue of male violence, including domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, prostitution, pornography, sexual harassment, and femicide.

MM: How are women treated in South Korea? How does sexism manifest itself?

NK: In every sector of South Korean society, women are assigned second-class citizenship and deprived of equal opportunity. South Korea has the highest gender pay gap among OECD countries, with women earning 63 per cent of what men earn in 2017. Only 56.2 per cent of women are employed. Women are grossly underrepresented in positions of power, holding only 17 per cent of seats in the National Assembly and 10.5 per cent of management positions in the private sector.

In South Korea, women are treated as sex objects, reproductive vessels, servants, and prey for men. Men subject women to sexual harassment and rape everywhere — at home, at school, at work, at the market, in religious communities, in political parties, in progressive activist circles, and out on the street. Prostitution flourishes. In 2016, a study of 1,050 men revealed that 50.7 per cent had paid a woman for sex. This is a conservative estimate. K-Pop is a hotbed for sexual objectification. South Korean men’s sexual objectification of women cuts across national borders. Given free rein to sexually abuse women at home, men also travel overseas to prey on women in poorer countries.

Abortion is illegal and the government regards women as reproductive vessels who exist to supply the nation with a new generation of subjects. Concerned by the country’s low birth rate, in 2016 the Ministry of the Interior decided to create and publish a national “birth map” showing the number of women aged between 15 and 45 and where they were located. Government officials thought pointing men towards women and girls of childbearing age would address the low birth rate in the country.

At home, women are expected to act as servants for male family members. In their family of origin, daughters receive less material and emotional support than sons. In many families, girls are assigned the task of cooking for and cleaning up after their brothers, regardless of birth order or ability. Countless women from working class families have had to give up their own education and begin work at an early age to pay for their brothers’ education.

Women are under immense pressure to marry men. However, in a culture prioritizing the patriarchal family over the individual, heterosexual marriage functions more as a system that keeps women in indentured servitude to her husband and his family than as a partnership between two equal individuals. Many South Korean men use the mail order bride industry to lure young women from poorer countries into abusive situations — this is called “multicultural marriage.” Considering this, resisting marriage is an important struggle for feminists in South Korea.

Men’s violence against women is extremely destructive in South Korea. From the moment of conception, females are targeted for annihilation.

I was born in 1990. In my generation, millions of female fetuses were aborted because people didn’t want daughters. Females that were born, against all odds, are targeted by men. Each year, more than 100 women die at the hands of their male partners. Thousands experience rape, domestic violence, and sexual harassment. Women are murdered just because they are women.

On May 17, 2016, a 23-year-old woman was stabbed to death with a 32.5cm kitchen knife in a public unisex restroom in Gangnam, an affluent district of Seoul. The man who killed her had been hiding in the bathroom, waiting for his opportunity to kill a woman, because he claimed to have felt ignored and belittled by women.

MM: What impact does South Korea’s prostitution legislation have on women and on the sex trade?

NK: South Korean prostitution law draws a problematic distinction between “voluntary” and “coerced” prostitution, criminalizing the former but not the latter. This framework is based on a liberal notion of individual choice, instead of on a structural analysis of the inequality and violence inherent to the sex trade.

The current law was created in 2004 after 19 prostituted women died in a series of brothel fires. Their pimps had locked them up to prevent them from escaping. The passage of the law was celebrated as a feminist accomplishment because it decriminalized at least some prostituted women, recognized them as victims, and provided them with resources to exit the sex trade. However, this legislation does not do enough for women. It continues to punish prostituted women who cannot prove that their prostitution was “coerced” as opposed to “voluntary.” It also doesn’t actually challenge the existence of the sex trade because, though sex buyers and pimps are criminalized, that law is not enforced. South Korean feminists who understand the violent and exploitative nature of the sex trade advocate for the Nordic model, which decriminalizes all prostituted people and criminalizes the buyers and pimps.

MM: How does prostitution factor into South Korea’s history and things like colonialism and imperialism?

NK: Prostitution is the world’s oldest oppression. Historically, prostitution has been about men offering women as sex slaves to other men in exchange for material or political gain. In addition to intragroup prostitution, in which Korean women are prostituted to Korean men, an important aspect of prostitution in South Korean history has to do with the recurring colonial pattern of Korean men prostituting Korean women to stronger foreign men.

One example is the kongnyeo — or “tribute women” — from pre-modern times. For centuries, Korean rulers sent thousands of teenaged girls to Chinese rulers to express their subordination, dependence, and loyalty as rulers of a weaker group. In return, Korean rulers received approval, protection, and resources from Chinese rulers. Another example is the prostitution that happened in American military camp towns. After the Korean War, the United States stationed its troops in South Korea. For decades after, approximately one million women and girls were prostituted in U.S. military camp towns. During this time, the South Korean government essentially adopted the role of pimp. It periodically forced prostituted women to undergo abusive medical procedures — some of which led to death — and lectured the women about serving American men well. Government officials told women that they were good patriots for bringing in American dollars for their country.

MM: Is pornography a big issue in South Korea? Is there a porn industry there?

NK: Pornography is a huge issue in South Korea. Most men use pornography. What complicates this subject is that South Korean law prohibits the production and distribution of obscene materials. But this doesn’t mean that an … [more]
Korean-feminism  Nayoung-Kim 
5 weeks ago
BBC - Future - How feeling bad changes the brain
In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel A Handmaid’s Tale, the many wrongs that befall Offred strike a chilling chord among most readers. When she is struck with a cattle prod we can almost feel her pain, and recoil at the terrible injustice of her imprisonment.

It is so unsettling because we know that each scenario in this fictional work was influenced by an element of history. “If I was to create an imaginary garden I wanted the toads in it to be real,” Atwood wrote of her work in the New York Times.

We are therefore easily able to put ourselves in Offred’s shoes and feel empathy towards her. It taps into our very human capacity to share the feelings others feel. In fact, when we see someone else hurt, the brain areas linked to our own pain also become active.

But it turns out that our emotional state has an effect on how much empathy we feel. Our emotions literally change the way our brain responds to others, even when they are in pain. In particular, it is when we feel bad that it can have a consequence on our social world.

It is apparent that our mood can influence our behaviour in a myriad of ways, from the food choices we make – when we are in a bad mood we eat less healthily – to our friendships. When our friends are down and gloomy, the feeling can be contagious and can makes us feel more miserable too. Bad moods can even spread on social media, a 2017 study found.

In fact, our emotions are so powerful that when we are in a positive mood, it can dampen how much pain we feel when injured. It provides us with an analgesic-like effect. When it comes to negative emotions, the opposite occurs: our feeling towards that pain is exaggerated.

Worse, a recent study, published in December 2017, has shown that when we feel bad it affects our in-built capacity to respond to others in pain. It literally dampens our empathy. Emilie Qiao-Tasserit at the University of Geneva and her team wanted to understand how our emotions influence the way we respond to others while they are in pain. Individuals were made to feel pain with a temperature-increasing device on their leg. The team also showed participants positive or negative movie clips while in a brain scanner, in addition to making them feel pain, or when watching clips of others in pain. Did participants feel empathy towards those who they knew were made to feel pain, the team wondered.

It turns out that those who watched a negative clip and then saw others in pain showed less brain activity in areas that are related to pain: the anterior insula and middle cingulate cortex. These are usually active when we see others in pain as well as when we experience pain ourselves. “In other words, negative emotions can suppress our brain capacity to be sensitive to others’ pain,” explains Qiao-Tasserit.

This work is revealing. It shows that emotions can literally change our “brain state”, and that by doing so our own feelings modify how we perceive someone else’s.

Along similar lines, another study by Qiao-Tasserit and colleagues found that after watching a negative clip, people tended to judge a face with a neutral emotion as more negative.

These results obviously have real-world implications. If a person in power, say a boss, has been exposed to something negative in their lives – even something as simple as a negative movie – they could be less sensitive to a colleague in pain and even view them more negatively. Our bad moods literally make us less receptive to others’ feelings.

A lack of empathy has other implications too. Findings show that reduced empathy will result in less money donated to charity. Brain scans reveal that we also show less empathy to those who are not in our immediate social circle, say teammates in a sports club.

So why would negative emotions reduce empathy? It could be that a specific type of empathy, called empathic distress, is at play. This, explains Olga Klimecki, also at the University of Geneva, is “the feeling of being overwhelmed” when something bad happens to someone else, which makes you want to protect yourself instead of being overcome by negative feelings. This type of empathy even shows very different brain activation compared to typical empathy. This kind of distress might naturally also reduce compassion.

It might also be that any situation that elicits negative emotions encourages us to focus more on ourselves and any issues we face. "Anxious and depressed patients who suffer from an excess negative emotions are more likely to focus on their own problems and be isolated," says Qiao-Tasserit.

One 2016 study by Klimecki and colleagues even found that empathic distress increases aggression. Here participants were subjected to unfair scenarios and then had the chance to punish or forgive their competitors. What’s more, the participants in her study were asked to do personality tests before they came into the lab. She found that those who were more naturally compassionate reacted with less derogatory behaviour.

For Klimecki this was telling. In her extensive research on empathy she has shown that it is possible to cultivate more compassionate behaviour. She found that feelings of compassionate empathy can be trained. Our emotional responses to others are therefore clearly not set in stone.

This shows that we can all re-engage our inner empathy, even in the face of someone else’s distress. And when we think a bit more positively it will help broaden our attention towards others’ needs. “This could contribute to greater relationships, a key factor of happiness,” says Qiao-Tasserit.

So next time you are in a foul mood, consider the effect it might have on the people you communicate with day-to-day. You may also want to time your reading of chilling dystopian novels or horror movies wisely. If you read or watch them while in a bad mood, that’s the perfect time to keep your empathy at bay, and feel a little less distressed at the pain – real or fictional – of others.


Melissa Hogenboom is BBC Future’s staff writer. She is @melissasuzanneh on twitter.
emotions  empathy  smiling 
5 weeks ago
South Korean women look to Dutch non-profit for terminating unwanted pregnancies : National : News : The Hankyoreh
The moment that the woman, surnamed Kim, found out she was pregnant, one thing was clear: she could not have that baby.

As a university student, she wanted to keep studying, and her boyfriend, who was living in Thailand, had to pay back his student loans. She was sure she was in no position to have a baby, but she did not want to have a surgical abortion, which made her nervous. After making various inquiries, she contacted Women on Web, a non-profit organization in the Netherlands, to ask for help.

Women on Web provides abortion pills to women who are in their tenth week of pregnancy or less and who live in countries like South Korea where abortion is illegal in exchange for a donation of 70-90 euros (US$80-105).

A number of steps are required to receive abortion pills from Women on Web. In Kim’s case, she submitted the answers to 25 questions assessing the physical and psychological appropriateness of the pills. Based on Kim’s questionnaire, ob-gyn doctors who work with Women on Web prescribed an appropriate amount of abortion pills. Kim also received frequent consultations about her physical condition over email. Kim says that she could not relax until the moment the pills were in her hands.

“One time I woke up and found myself wondering whether I should just have a surgical abortion, even if that is illegal,” Kim recalled.

A couple of weeks later, the abortion pills – mifepristone and misoprostol – arrived at Kim’s house in South Korea. This is the story that Kim shared with Women on Web.

Women on Web has consulted with almost 4,000 South Korean women

The Dutch non-profit Women on Web is becoming a place of refuge for South Korean women without any legal recourse to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. More and more women are crossing political and legal borderlines to procure an abortion. Women on Web has counseled around 4,000 South Korean women in the three years since it launched its Korean-language service in 2015; around 700 of them were actually prescribed abortion pills.

Women on Waves, the non-profit group that operates Women on Web, was founded in 1999 with the aim of improving access to safe pregnancy termination. Women from Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and other countries where abortion is legal have been taken into international waters on board Dutch-registered boats to perform pregnancy termination procedures using medications. The abortion drugs provided by the group are on sale in 67 countries and were included by the WHO in 2005 on its List of Essential Medicines.

New accounts have recently appeared on South Korean social media sharing information about and personal experiences with Women on Web’s services. One user surnamed Nam who has been spreading the word about Women on Web through social media explained, “Most of the people using Women on Web are unable to have abortion procedures done for economic reasons.”

“It’s also helped out victims of things like ‘stealthing’ [male sexual partners secretly removing a condom during intercourse],” Nam said.

But South Koreans who attempt to purchase abortion pills through Women on Web still face the possibility of punishment. In addition to laws restricting abortion, the consumption of the service’s abortion pills is itself a violation of the law, as no abortion medication has yet been examined by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for safety.

Petition demanding legalization of abortion ahead of Supreme Court decision

Societal demand for abortion medication is clear. The results of a survey on women’s perceptions and experiences of abortion published in 2018 by the Korea Women's Development Institute (KWDI) showed 68.2 percent of women who took part in a 2006 survey agree that abortion pills should be legalized. A petition posted on the Blue House petition board in Sept. 2017 to demand legalization of the abortion medication Mifegyne was signed by 230,000 people.

“In places like Finland and Sweden, drug-induced abortions account for over 90 percent of all abortions,” explained a source with one women’s group.

“The situation one is one where even with abortion medications available that can be taken safely, [women] still have to undergo surgical procedures, all while carrying around the stigma of illegality,” the source added.

Experts said the current time, with a Constitutional Court decision set to come on the Constitutionality of abortion’s criminalization, is the perfect opportunity to close the gap between the reality and a law that turns many into criminals.

“In most advanced countries, abortion medications have become established as the universal means of abortion at nine weeks of pregnancy or under,” said Park Geon, a researcher with the research community Center for Health and Social Change.

“We need to legalize abortion medication so that women can take abortion medications in a safer, scrutinized environment,” Park argued.

By Im Jae-woo, staff reporter

Please direct comments or questions to []
abortion  Korean-abortion 
5 weeks ago
When Salad Was Manly AF | JSTOR Daily
The differences between “women’s tastes” and “men’s tastes” are long entrenched in American cultural history. As the stereotype goes, meat is manly and women love salad.

Or is it that simple? A look back at the food writing directed at men in the period following the Second World War reveals a different relationship between men and salad. In this era, making and eating a salad wasn’t frilly and feminine, but was actually one of the most masculine things a man could do.

In a 1940 installment of his long-running Esquire cooking column “Man the Kitchenette,” Iles Brody writes: “salads are really the man’s department… Only a man can make a perfect salad,” which was “never sweet and fussy like a woman’s.” Given the right context, self-confidence, and ingredients, a man could transcend the girly boundaries of vegetables, reasserting his dominance in the kitchen and in his relationship to women. A growing body of instructional literature aimed to teach him how to do it.

The era of the manly salad was one of deep anxiety regarding gender roles and labor in American cultural life. In November 1958, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., wrote a feature for Esquire about the “crisis of American masculinity” facing the nation. When it came to home life, he wrote, “the American man is found as never before as a substitute for wife and mother… The American woman meanwhile takes over more and more of the big decisions, controlling them indirectly when she cannot do so directly.” Esquire was a prime example (along with Playboy, which was launched in 1953) of media that promised to help men through the crisis and teach them how to regain their supposedly lost manhood.

The magazines included guides for dressing, grooming, dating, and—notably—cooking. Celebrity chefs, cookbook authors, and columnists instructed readers on the specific (and chauvinistic) traits of a freewheeling bachelor in the kitchen, creating a full portrait of escapism from the drudgery of breadwinning and nagging from the “little women” in men’s lives. Playboy and Esquire, the Americanist Katharina Vester writes in her 2015 book A Taste of Power, “showed that many of the tasks that were traditionally connoted with women’s authority and labor, such as cooking, could be easily taken over by men (who, if they set their minds to it, would also do a much better job).”

“American women go berserk when it comes to salads,” the 1949 Esquire Handbook for Hosts proclaims. “They try so hard to be unique that in their zeal they really confuse things.” This approach was typical of cooking literature for men during this time; women’s cooking was denigrated as outdated and overwrought, while men’s cooking (even if men couldn’t cook) was celebrated at every turn. “Overall, the emphasis on male competence assured men that kitchen duties were simple tasks, not ‘real’ work at all, privileging the world of the workplace outside the home and trivializing the domestic realm of the kitchen,” the author Sherrie Inness writes in Dinner Roles, her examination of gendered cookbooks.

The kitchen became the battleground for this imagined war between the sexes, and food was presented as a tool for masculine control and power. Men’s cooking literature used a combination of misogynistic stereotypes, humor, and pep talks to encourage male readers into the kitchen with the confidence of a chef. Readers were continuously assured that they were manly enough on their own but could always be more masculine with the right assistance. In his 1950 novelty illustrated cookbook Wolf in Chef’s Clothing, Robert H. Loeb writes: “The purpose of this book is to enfranchise the male, to unshackle him from the role of refrigerator vulture, icebox scavenger, from being a parasitic gourmet forced to feed on the leftovers of female cookery.”

Similarly, Malcolm LaPrade assures readers in his 1946 cookbook, That Man in the Kitchen: “I promise you that you can become the envy of all your neighbors’ wives; you will not only make things like mother used to make, but far better… Furthermore, you will at last attain that complete independence of womenfolk which every red-blooded male desires.” This affirmation of freedom for male cooks ensured that men’s cooking would be differentiated from women’s, reaffirming the gendered division of labour in the home. In 1947’s A Man and his Meals, cookbook authors Fletcher Pratt and Robeson Bailey lay out the differences between how men and women cook: Women “eat with their eyes… or they eat with their minds, as among the accursed tribe of dieticians. Men eat because it’s fun… and as with any primitive form of fun, the closer they get to nature, the better they like it.”

Men’s cooking was almost always referenced as a hobby or a biological necessity; either men cooked for girlfriends (never wives) or whenever they got hungry. When men cooked for women, it was portrayed as an exercise in conquest. “Playboy’s recipes for gourmet chick bait insinuated that cooking reflecting elite tastes, expert knowledge, and upper-class income indicated virility and flashier playboy lifestyles, and would impress women sufficiently that they would succumb to the cook’s charms,” Vester writes. Wives, on the other hand, were always assumed to be cooking for their families first. Further, men’s kitchen activities were rarely described as family duties or healthy alternatives to eating rich restaurant foods. Inness writes that men’s cooking was often presented as “always a special event that should not be taken for granted.”

Instructional cooking literature also included sweeping generalizations about the vastly different tastes of men and women. In her 2003 book Manly Meals and Mom’s Home Cooking: Cookbooks and Gender in Modern America, the historian Jessamyn Neuhaus writes that “male taste” was limited to “virile” foods: “roasted meats, strong coffee, cakes, pies, and hot breads all passed muster for the male menu.” Manly foods were often described as “hunks” or “chunks” of meat and vegetables, emphasizing the lackadaisical attitude men supposedly had towards meals. This attitude also extended to dieting and health food. An Esquire dieting column in March 1957 told readers that they could “eat everything and change nothing” about their diets while simultaneously offering low-calorie and low-sugar menu planning options.

Salad lived at the dangerous intersection of masculinity and health. To combat any worries about femininity creeping in, salad-making instructions in men’s cooking literature were laser-focused on simplicity and sharp flavors. “Feminine food was sweet and cute; Jell-O salads were for you and your girlfriends, and meat was for your husband,” Neuhaus writes in her study of representations of gender and domesticity in the Journal of Social History. In direct opposition to gelatin salads or dainty lettuce cups associated with tea parties, a “man’s salad” involved a large wooden bowl seasoned with olive oil, roughly chopped lettuce, and a spicy or strong dressing. The Handbook for Hosts implores readers to only make a salad with “green leaves… seasoned with salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and mustard.” In her study of Brody’s columns, the scholar Elizabeth Fakazis writes in Gastronomica that his feelings on salad “cemented his distinction” from traditional women’s food writing, and therefore from femininity itself.

The man-conquers-the-kitchen approach to food writing became less fashionable in the 1970s, as more men did cook regular meals and the fantasy of the urban bachelor became less attainable. One of the last gasps of the mid-century manly salad appeared in Playboy’s Gourmet, a book collecting many of the food writer Mario Thomas’s cooking columns for the magazine. “When your back is turned, [a woman will] come up with prunes and cottage cheese or pea and walnut salad or an elaborate bowl of mixed greens tasting exactly like a bale of wet hay,” Thomas writes. “A good salad maker must have meticulousness, patience, cleanliness and a very alert sense of touch and taste. For some reason, it takes a man to master this really fine art.”

A half-century after the era of manly salad, a cultural fascination and unease remains entrenched in attitudes towards gender and food. Women still do the majority of food shopping and cooking in households, while high-meat diets may be linked to certain diseases. A 2016 ad for Dixie paper plates uses #SaladShaming to poke fun at traditional depictions of men’s tastes while nodding at the continued stereotypes that persist around femininity and salad.

It’s clear in hindsight that this type of food writing is sexist and over-the-top, and it’s not clear that readers were following the instructions laid out before them. Esquire, Playboy, and their compatriots were selling readers a fantasy—one where white, middle-class men were the masters of their own destinies, not shilling for a corporation and trying to be happy in the suburbs with their unhappy wives.

Neuhaus writes that cookbooks reveal “the tenuousness of the domestic ideal.” Her focus is on women’s cookbooks and their embrace of the image of the breadwinner husband and the homemaker wife, chosen because it was safe—not because it was real. Similarly, cooking literature for men offered a particular hedonistic fantasy that belied the realities of many men’s lives.

Even the bastions of hedonism didn’t seem to be buying into it. “The key to the recovery of masculinity does not lie in any wistful hope of humiliating the aggressive female and restoring the old masculine supremacy… Masculine supremacy, like white supremacy, was the neurosis of an immature society,” Schlesinger wrote at the end of his 1958 piece. “It is good for men as well as for women that woman has been set free.” Gendered boundaries of taste are loosening, and the popularity of salads … [more]
salad  food  labels  label-making  masculinity  femininity 
5 weeks ago
Thinking through a shared problem: child abuse in Korea and the US – The Dissolve
Child abuse has drawn significant attention in Korea in recent years. In the wake of widespread media coverage regarding several children who died as a result of severe abuse, a new “Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc., of Crimes of Child Abuse” was enacted on January 28, 2014, and became effective on September 29, 2014. The reporting rate on child abuse and neglect increased substantially after this but has still only reached approximately 20 percent, which is far lower than the rates in other developed countries, including the reporting rate in the United States of around 70 percent. Moreover, legal, social, and psychological services and support systems for the victims of child abuse are still limited.

As a child psychiatrist working with children, parents, and teachers, I’ve had many opportunities to hear about the psychological trauma of child abuse, the difficulties of mandatory reporters, and the limitations of the response system in Korea. I’m presently in Boston nearing the end of a sabbatical, and I’ve learned that Massachusetts invests heavily in child support and has one of the best child abuse response systems in the US. Moreover, with its abundance of medical and law schools, universities, colleges, and hospitals, the state has a long history of interdisciplinary approaches to child abuse. Dr. Robin Deutsch is a key person in this history. She worked in the Children and the Law program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Law and Psychiatry Service for 20 years and has devoted time to divorce custody evaluation and child abuse. In this interview, we discussed the differences in child support and child abuse response systems in Korea and Massachusetts.

The TV drama, Mother
Parental rights
Foster homes and shelters
The Guam case
Mandated reporters
The police
Korean Society for Child Rights Advocacy

Hyo-Won Kim: A TV drama series called Mother recently ended in Korea. It was a remake of a Japanese drama series from 2010. A young girl named Hye-na is abused by her mother and her mother’s partner. Hye-na’s school teacher notifies the police of the possibility of child abuse several times. But Hye-na and her mother deny it and the police fail to find any evidence. A substitute teacher, Su-jin, becomes aware of the situation and discovers that Hye-na’s mom has left her outside in a trash bag on a very cold day. Su-jin decides to become Hye-na’s mother and runs away with her. That’s the story.

Many viewers wondered why the mother and her partner’s abuse were not adequately addressed and why Hye-na was not protected despite the teachers being aware. In fact, many of them reported the abuse to the police, and the police visited Hye-na’s house several times.

Young children frequently deny that they are abused, sometimes because of fear of separation from their caregiver, sometimes because of fear of retribution, sometimes because of fear of the abuse becoming more severe. In those cases, how can we find evidence of child abuse? Do you have any system to protect children who were reported as child abuse victims but for whom the police or Child Protection Agency (CPA) have difficulty finding evidence of abuse?

Robin Deutsch: That’s quite a story! It’s really an interesting question because when kids are interviewed in their homes or in the presence of their parents, they’re much, much less likely to report. Where and by whom a child is interviewed is important. So we have lots of education about interviewing children away from their homes. Moreover, if the police are doing the interviewing and the police are not well trained, they will either use leading questions or they won’t be able to build rapport.

When you’re interviewing kids, if there’s any suspicion of child abuse, there are a number of things that you have to put in place. In Massachusetts, the Department of Child and Family Services (DCF)—our equivalent of your CPA—does the first round of interviewing. And it’s not always very effective. But when there is a suspicion of really severe physical or sexual abuse then we have Sexual Abuse Intervention Network (SAIN) interviews. These interviews happen when DCF sends the case to the district attorney, who may charge a person for perpetration of child abuse. The child is then interviewed by a trained person, and behind the one-way mirror are DCF, the police, the assistant district attorney, and any other related person. This is because we know that repeated interviewing of children by different people does not yield reliable or accurate results. So when the interviewer completes his or her interview and other people behind the mirror still have questions, they call in to the interviewer. So you have one person interviewing the child at a time. But one of the problems that we have is that the DCF is often totally overworked. They have much too large of a caseload and they sometimes miss things. But that being said, we know that interviewing a child outside of their home, away from their caregivers, is much more effective.

So even the very first interview is performed away from the kid’s home?

Not necessarily. It depends on the state. Sometimes DCF may first interview the child in their home. But never in the presence of a caregiver. Or at least they shouldn’t.


And being removed from the home for the first interview can be quite traumatic for a child. Particularly when they go in and take the child out of bed at 11 at night and put them in a foster home.

In Korea, in 86% of cases, the CPA worker, either with or without police, is the first person who interviews the child. But still in 14% of cases, the police go to the home and interview the suspected child abuse victim. Our agencies are understaffed too.

It’s a real problem. I was involved in training DCF workers for more than 15 years. And I found that we have to start with child development. I think you have to ground it in that before you get into the interviewing itself, and then the impact of trauma.

Yes, you’re right. Understanding child development is important to understanding children’s responses, behavior, and language.

The other question viewers had was why Su-jin could not adopt Hye-na and had to run away with her, even though Su-jin wanted to be Hye-na’s mom, and Hye-na wanted it too. In real Korean situations, the restriction of parental rights is quite difficult. Is there any guideline or manual about restriction or deprivation of parental rights in Massachusetts?

Yes. In this state and in most states it’s called “termination of parental rights”. And depending on the jurisdiction, it’s either the juvenile court or the family court that hears those cases. Now in Massachusetts there are 14 factors that do not require the consent of a parent regarding the adoption. In other words, situations where a parents’ rights can be terminated. What we look at first and foremost is the fitness of the child’s parent. Those 14 factors are things like abandonment, abuse or neglect. Or when a child has been in another placement for at least six months and the child has formed a strong, positive bond with his or her substitute caretaker. But generally the DCF can’t bring that petition until the child has been in that placement for, I think, at least a year.

So if this teacher has run away with Hye-na and stayed with her for at least six months and formed a strong and good relationship, then can they be together?

Well, no. Because the fact that Su-jin ran away with Hye-na means she would never be considered. Because that would be kidnapping. Instead of kidnapping, she would have had to have been authorized as a foster care parent first. So the DCF would have placed her with Su-jin. And if they did that and Su-jin had taken care of her for at least six months and the parents were considered either not compliant with the DCF service plan, or weren’t getting the treatment they needed, weren’t responding to the requirements of DCF… It’s at that point, after a year, that they would be able to begin adoption proceedings.

Yes. She was actually accused of kidnapping in the drama. But she took care of Hye-na very carefully, and they had a very nice relationship. Su-jin was the first adult whom Hye-na could trust, in her entire life. It was a very complicated situation for the courts.

In Korea, when the parent’s rights are restricted or terminated and a child is separated from his or her parents/guardians, children are usually sent to shelters. This is because there are extremely few foster homes in Korea. But there are not many shelters either and many of the staff are not qualified to take care of child abuse victims. Some of the shelters accept both delinquent run-away adolescents and child abuse victims. I saw several kids who asked me not to report their abuse because they didn’t want to go back to those shelters. What kinds of facilities or services do you have for abuse victims who were separated from their parents/guardians?

Our kids, unless they have committed offenses, go into foster homes. But the quality of foster homes varies. So there are some wonderful foster homes and wonderful foster parents, and there some where the kids get abused again. So foster parents have to go through rigorous screening. And they get paid.

Paid by the government?

Right, by the state. When they remove a child from the parents and put them in another place, it’s almost always in foster homes. But if you have a really behaviorally or emotionally disturbed child that can’t be contained, we have specialized foster homes. But when there aren’t enough specialized foster homes, there are times when those kids end up in some kind of a group home. Those are not shelters though, they are group homes.

Then the kids receive appropriate services. The DCF develops a service plan for each child and family when they’re removed. And the … [more]
child-abuse  Korean-child-abuse  Korean-police  Korean-divorce 
5 weeks ago
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