[IN&OUT KOREA] Anonymous Interview on Misogyny Pt. 2

2016-09-05-1473116192-3730964-2016083101003045900004891.jpg [A foreign woman prays at a subway entrance in Seoul's Gangnam Station on May 22, 2016, to mourn the stabbing death of a 23-year-old woman by a male attacker.]

AsiaToday reporter Lee Mi-hyun - This is Part 2 of the anonymous interview on misogyny. (Click the link to read Part 1: [IN&OUT KOREA] Anonymous Interview on Misogyny Pt. 1)

※ List of interviewees - age/ sex/ occupation/ opinion on whether misogyny exists in Korea Interviewee A. ▷30 years old/ Female/ Nurse/ Misogyny does not exist. Interviewee B. ▷28 years old/ Male/ Civil servant/ Misogyny does not exist. Interviewee C. ▷29 years old/ Female/ Office worker/ Misogyny exists. Interviewee D. ▷36 years old/ Male/ Office worker/ Misogyny does not exist. Interviewee E. ▷28 years old/ Male/ English teacher (American living in S. Korea)/ Misogyny exists. Interviewee F. ▷28 years old/ Male/ IT startup (American living in S. Korea)/ I'm not sure.

▶ Is Gangnam murder case a misogynistic crime?

Interviewee B. I think this case is not a misogynistic crime. Besides, the criminal doesn't represent all the Korean men in general. Interviewee C. The murderer told the police that the crime was motivated by his hatred for women for ignoring him and he targeted women for his crime. Therefore, this is definitely a misogynistic crime. The murderer did not target the men who entered the crime scene and let them go, and killed a women when she came in. Interviewee D. I think it's just one of the cases that are caused by some social outcasts. I think a delusional patient thinking that women were belittling him committed a crime, and then people thinking about sexual inequality and reverse discrimination created such social climate. I don't think there are many misogynists and misandrists.

Interviewee A. I think the murder case took place because women are more vulnerable to crime than men, rather than the case being a misogynistic crime.

Interviewee E. I think the crime is a hate crime. Why was she murdered? Why was the crime committed? It was because of his hate. He hated her. Not just because she was herself, but because she was a women. This man had been brought up in a culture that taught him that women are often just things and that they belong to men. That's not just Korea, but all over the world. He wanted revenge because, in his mind, women belonged to him and you can't be rejected by something that belongs to you. To him and many men, women are only sexual objects. So he acted violently. This is because he hated her and he hated women for not conforming to his desires. This is not a fault of women, this is the fault of men and society.

Interviewee F. We cannot seem to specify the killer's exact motive. Most of all, the police concluded the crime as the one driven by mental illness. Perhaps, they didn't want to trigger the issue of gender and covered up the incident with a mental illness story.

▶Your opinion on the misogyny controversy that triggered debate in Korea

Interviewee A. Basically I don't think misogyny exists. So I believe those few people using the term 'misogyny' exist only in the Internet. In the real world, they are the ones who would like to see pretty women the most.

Interviewee C. To be honest, I haven't experienced misogyny at all. But after a series of events this year, I came to realize that misogyny exists.

Then I found that some kind of 'misandry' became popular as a countermeasure against 'misogyny', by mirroring the misogynic comments made by men.

2016-09-05-1473117129-3593113-2016083101003045900004893.jpg [The logo of Megalia website. They claim to employ a mirroring strategy to express hatred for misogyny.]

After reading some mirroring posts, I came to think, 'Women including myself have been keeping silent although they heard such words in everyday life. But men get angry when they hear the same words. Misogyny was there, and I just wasn't aware of it because I was familiar with it.'

I thought that men would put themselves in women's shoes, thinking, "Women often hear this kind of things. I feel bad hearing the same thing so I shouldn't do this anymore." But I'm puzzled because they rather criticize women for being strange and extreme.

Interviewee D. I think this problem belongs only certain people. Those people who love to divide into two parties made a man-woman frame.

Interviewee E. People who benefit from a culture will like the culture. If they are at the top of society then they like the society.

This is why many men think there is no problem. It is because they benefit from the society. They receive the mental benefit of knowing that they are the dominant class and that they have the power.

So they will ignore arguments against misogyny because they know in their heart that this situation is morally wrong, but they don't want to accept the fact that misogyny has to go away because they like the feeling of being superior.

2016-09-05-1473117224-9495737-2016083101003045900004892.jpg [A t-shirt that reads "Girls Do Not Need a Prince". The shirt stirred up controversy as it was sold to raise funds for Facebook page "Megalia 4."/ Source: Twitter of voice actress Kim Ja-yeon]

For example, the women (referring to voice actress Kim Ja-yeon who had been replaced by Nexon over T-shirt controversy) who posted about that t-shirt. Instead of addressing misogyny, the company decides to fire her.

Why? Because the discussion makes them feel uncomfortable about the truth and it is easier to punish and ignore then to see the truth and change. Men want the benefits of having total power, but they don't want to be reminded that they are oppressing all women because it makes them uncomfortable. But instead of changing, they just punish those who speak up.

▶ How gender roles in your generation have changed

Interviewee A. I don't think gender roles have changed compared to my parent's generation. Interviewee D. As times passed, women's education and social position rose and they began to voice their opinions. I think we are in a transition phase now.

Traditional Korean women's roles were confined to the home. But today, the social status of women has become practically equal to men's in social sectors.