Monday, June 04, 2012

Dirty Korean women who have brought shame to the country?

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women

Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party
Part 7: Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women
Part 8: The 2003 post that tarred foreign English teachers as child molesters
Part 9: Netizens shocked by foreign instructor site introducing how to harass Korean children
Part 10: Movement to expel foreign teachers who denigrated Korean women
Part 11: "Middle school girls will do anything"
Part 12: Netizens propose 'Yankee counter strike force'
Part 13: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 1

Part 14: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2
Part 15: Web messages draw Koreans’ wrath
Part 16: Thai female laborers and white English instructors
Part 17: 'Regret' over t
he scandal caused by confessions of foreign instructors
Part 18: "Korean men have no excuse"
Part 19: "Unfit foreign instructo
rs should be a 'social issue'"
Part 20: 'Clamor' at foreigner English education site
Part 21: Foreign instructor: "I want to apologize"
Part 22: No putting brakes on 'Internet human rights violations'
Part 23: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 1
Part 24: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 2
Part 25: Don't Imagine
Part 26: 'Foreign instructor' takes third place
Part 27: Art From Outsider's Point of View
Part 28: U.S. Embassy warns Americans of threats near colleges
Part 29: Internet real name system debated
Part 30: Dirty Korean women who have brought shame to the country?

On January 24, 2005, Ilda, a feminist journal, published an article about the English Spectrum incident:
Dirty Korean women who have brought shame to the country?

In viewing the so-called 'English Spectrum' incident, we can witness once again how, when extreme nationalism and patriarchal views meet, they run counter to the issue of women's rights.

The incident began when controversy was caused by problematic writings such as how to molest children and comments denigrating Korean women which were posted in the 'Ask The Playboy' forum of the foreign job site 'English Spectrum.' The posted methods written in detail of how to Korean women bear comparison to well known things such as "Korean men's geisha tourism, how to deal with Japanese geisha." In it is still contained a patriarchal view objectifying women.

We need to clearly raise the issue and approach the problem of the foreign men posting comments demeaning women, and posting photos without consent, from a human rights perspective. However, it was after this when photos of foreign instructors having a party at a Hongdae club with Korean women were made public that this incident's fuse burned and truly flared up. Ironically, after the photos were made public, what started with foreign men denigrating Korean women changed to Korean men venting their anger at and demeaning the Korean women in the photos.

What the media and netizens surrounding this incident all gave the most attention to was the so-called 'promiscuous party' or 'lewd party' and the photos of the women who attended the sensationally overinflated party. As the photos were made public, what came under concentrated fire were the "Korean women" in the photos. The photos of women enjoying themselves at a party with foreign men spread like wildfire through cyberspace, where they were openly posted at porn sites and sites which collect indecent photos of women and entertainers, and people bragged about the explosive number of hits.

The photos were edited to read "Korea is the country where you can easily sleep with women," "Come to Korea. You can have whatever you want every night," "Korean fucking girls [in English]", and looking at what Korean men 'kindly' wrote, one can see in what direction the anger of the Korean men who 'enjoyed and shared' the photos went in. Seeing the replies of a good many men under the photos, the issue becomes clearer: "As for sluts, they do slutty things, and as for personal freedom, it's all good, but later when a Korean guy takes her home, he'll know by her massively stretched hole he's been tricked and she's a whore - don't marry her." "There are lots of garbage-like girls who hold hands with western bastards and give away their bodies while drunk." "If girls who do things like that with Yankees marry Korean men, poor Korean men." "Those women have disgraced Korea."

Korean men said, "I never dreamed it was so bad," but the scenes in the photos that had them frothing at the mouth in anger were not of Korean women hitting on foreigners, but just of them enjoying a party together. (As well, the owner of the club that hosted the party claimed that photos unrelated to the party were mixed in with ones that were.) Water poured on their bodies, dirty gestures while incredibly drunk, dancing while revealing their underwear and the contours of their bodies, listening to music, wearing tight clothes. These aspects of enjoying the party are [deemed] 'promiscuous' and 'decadent culture', but it doesn't help to push conservative standards on people. (If I might add, Korea's 'decadent pleasure' culture can be clearly witnessed at various places of prostitution.) Also, not only are the comments at the site from unclear sources, but there is no basis for condemning all foreign instructors.

Ultimately, their anger is because of the immodest behaviour of "Korean men's property, Korean women." With the cry of "expel foreigners," or "I want to send foreign men on the street running," not only for a long time they could find no direction for their 'chivalry,' but you can clearly guess at the context of the anger circling around this incident. It's because the focus of the Korean women's enjoyment at the party was 'foreign men.' Under the nationalist perception of "I will never forgive seeing my women carrying on like that with foreign bastards," these women are denigrated as "whores" or "yanggongju" and condemned by patriarchal standards.

However, whether the Korean women in the photos are dating or having a good time with foreigners, all of this is their own person affair and is not something for Korea to be concerned with. If Korea is concerned with this, why has this claim/argument monopolized by Korean men not been pointed out before that they are already widely known as the 'ugly Korean' when they go abroad and enjoy 'sex tours' and massages from women?

If an issue is to be made of comments by foreigners denigrating Korean women, then those photos cannot be widely put into the "In Korea" category at so-called [online] "dirty picture collections" as they have been. How contradictory is it that on the one hand these photos are gathered and enjoyed to the utmost without any awareness at all of the issue of the human rights of the women in the photos, while on the other hand profanity-filled rants are spat out which actually denigrate women and nationalism is invoked by worrying about 'Korea?'

The issues raised surrounding this incident, such as publishing photos which violate privacy without consent, or examining the educational realities and mistaken sexual awareness of some foreign instructors, are clear. However the media, which distorted and sensationalized the incident as a 'promiscuous party' or 'lewd party,' and the netizens, who posted the photos here and there and habitually left comments denigrating the women as 'whores' and 'sluts' and violated the women's human rights, have no right to pass judgement on them.
It's nice to see a critical look at this incident, and a feminist one at that. Another lengthy analysis was published later, but it's nearly unreadable (it will get posted eventually, however). Some of what is said above also applies to the MBC report on the 'realities' of dating foreigners, which is just as offensive to Korean women as it is to foreigners.

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