Korean Gender Reader

For anyone following the response to the MBC video, please note than an “International Couples and Friends Picnic” event is being held in Seoul on Sunday June 17th, which you can read more about here. It also has a handy list of the most recent links about the video.

Update: For those of you not on Facebook, here is a Microsoft Word file with the information in the link.

Next, as you can see above, Busan’s first drag prom will be on the Saturday after that, with all proceeds going to charity. For further details, please see the Facebook event page (you don’t need to be logged in).

Finally, here are this week’s stories. Probably the one that will impact the most readers is the news that the contraceptive pill will now require a prescription, while ironically the morning-after pill is to be made available over the counter (see the links in “Body Image/Health” below). I’ll write a more detailed post on it the week after next (next week is the last week of the semester sorry!), but in the meantime thanks to Alex for providing the rationale for the move over on the blog’s Facebook page:

My wife (Korean nurse) says it has to do with the doctors vs pharmacists lobby. Basically the doctors want a certain amount of drugs to require prescriptions so they can get their cut but the pharmacists want to give out the morning after pill so it’s easily accessible in times of need (ie when the doctors clinic isn’t open). So the government cut a deal to basically swap the situations of the pill and the morning after pill. Then the doctors ‘lobby’ decided to make some stuff up about how the pill should need a prescription even though they’ve been giving it out for years (decades?) without one. This news should be on the mouth of all sexually responsible women in Korea, but it hasn’t really blown up that big yet.

Body Image/Health:

Single Women in Seoul More Likely to Drink, Smoke (The Chosun Ilbo)

Morning-after pills now available OTC, but regular contraceptive pills now made prescription only (The Korea Herald)

Contraception and women`s health (The Dong-a Ilbo)

South Korean FDA drops prescriptions for emergency contraception (Lifesitenews)

Emergency Contraception Is Not Abortion (XX Factor)

Celebrity Worship is for Chicks (Via Korea)

Word of the Day: Lookism (The Unlikely Expat)


South Korea: Court Upholds Military Ban on “Subversive” Books (Global Voices)

Malaysian Officials Denounce K-pop’s “Indecency” (MTVK)

Is hallyu guidebook censorship? (The Korea Times)


Mother kills daughters, self over divorce issues (Asian Correspondent)

Go Young Wook rape charges dropped by police due to lack of “physical damage” (Asian Junkie)

Ladygate: ‘Hair Ripping Girl’ is Identified After Attack (Korea Bang)


HK Women – White Men Dating Ad Sparks Outcry (The Wall Street Journal)

A Girl You Should Date (Nonamerah)

The Benefits of Sharing a Bed (The Wall Street Journal)

Ladygate: ‘Date Girl’ Picks up Coffee Bill, Feels Cheated (Korea Bang)

The English Spectrum Series at Gusts of Popular Feeling:

Part 30: Dirty Korean women who have brought shame to the country?

Part 31: Foreign instructor: “In two years I slept with 20 Korean women”


Crows and Japanese brides (The Marmot’s Hole)


Pride Breakdown (Chincha?!)

Blog of the Week: The Kimchi Queen (Chincha?!)

The stress of being bisexual drives young people to drink (io9)


Binge Drinking Rife Among University Students (The Chosun Ilbo)

Singing North Korean waitresses: Why I was not amused (Korea Law Today)

High Heels for Korean Men (Seoulistic)

Foreign teachers in the news (Gusts of Popular Feeling)


47 members of new parliament won exemption from military service (The Korea Herald)

Pop Culture:

Girl’s Day’s Oh! My God (Frank Kogan)

Re-structuring T-Ara: The Addition of Dani (Seoulbeats)

T-ara’s Dani’s tale of discovery probably outs CEO Kim Kwang Soo as a pedophile (Asian Junkie)

The Babies of K-pop: How Young is Too Young? (Seoulbeats)

When (Korean) women do rap (Occupied Territories)

Idol History: K-pop By The Numbers (Seoulbeats)

Are We NOT MEN? Part 1 (Frank Kogan)

Dal★shabet, “Mr. Bang Bang” MV (Occupied Territories)


Free child care feared to deepen moral hazard among young mothers (The Korea Times)

S.Korean Parents Use of Childcare Facilities, a Concern (KBS World)

Migrant workers’ children face discrimination in South Korea (The Washington Times)

Int`l marriage in Korea to decline due to falling farmer pop. (The Dong-a Ilbo)

Discipline in Korean Schools: Divide and conquer (Hello Korea!)

Evolution To be Dropped From Korean Science Textbooks (Gord Sellar; also see Surprises Aplenty, io9, The Marmot’s Hole, and ROK Drop)

Privileges for varsity athletes (Surprises Aplenty)

“I want to make it better for my kids” (The Korea Times)

(Links are not necessarily endorsements)

14 thoughts on “Korean Gender Reader

  1. Is there any way to find out about the “International Couples and Friends Picnic” without having a Facebook account? The link doesn’t work unless you log into FB.


  2. “more than three times the 7.2 percent of women nationwide.”

    I just love this country’s ability to cling to delusions.


  3. S. Korea is more backwards as ever. Given the morning pill = non-prescription vs contraceptive pill = prescription. Also evidence of S. Korea’s continuing backwardness is the MBC racist broadcast(+ denigrating Korean women video) and the Go, Young-wook rape case being dropped because of the missing physical beat-down evidence.


    1. Without disputing the facts of any of those specific cases, I think it’s very simplistic, unhelpful, and a little offensive to describe Korea as a whole as “backward” on the basis of those. Especially when I could point to very similar incidents in just about any developed country.


    2. Hi, my name is Amber and I’ll be your nit-picker today. In North America birth control and the morning after pill are treated the same way. I’ve seen racist and sexist broadcasts from all over the globe, and as for rape cases-if all you’ve got is “he said, she said” with no backing evidence the case will usually be dropped (again, I’m looking at this through a North American lens). Also “more backwards as ever” just sounds funny, did you mean “than ever”?


  4. James, you have a fine collection of “This Weeks Stories!” I’d like to quote a piece from the …’ Migrant workers’ children face discrimination in South Korea (The Washington Times)’
    “On a superficial level, foreigners cannot easily distinguish Mongolians from South Koreans. But within Korea, Mongolians are subject to discrimination.
    One Mongolian student, Batmong*, recalls his unpleasant memory about Korean students.
    “During our lunch break, we like to play on the playground near by the Korean school right next to our school. But, whenever we passed by the school’s building, Korean students threw milk, erasers, or garbage at us from their classroom on the second floor. And, it didn’t stop until we asked our teachers for intervention. I don’t think they respect us as individuals because our country is poor.”

    Many years ago there was an Iranian student who went to our junior high school, NEVER did I witness a barrage of things being thrown at him. He was accepted, and in high school there were a number of black students who were also accepted. I grew up during the cold war, never did my parents teach me to hate Russians. Why do so many Korean parents teach hate and anything not “pure” Korean? Until there is a nationwide effort to stop this crap in Korea, Korea will continue down the dark racist hole.


    1. I’m not sure where you’re from, but speaking as someone raised in the US and Canada, I *have* witnessed this type of behaviour. The sad part is, I’ve witnessed it both in adults and children. Most of my experience has been in witnessing the treatment of Sikhs, but I have seen other religious and ethnically different people being harassed. I’m 29 years old and the last instance of this I witnessed was a month ago. I live on the West Coast in an area that’s supposedly extremely liberal and all-accepting. I’ve met too many “Muricans” to think that Korea is alone in this idea of its own superiority. They’re not the only ones in a dark racist hole.


  5. Dana at Seoulbeats writes about that MBC video and the contradictions between bashing foreigners at home and promoting Korean pop culture abroad:

    The problem is this: as has been demonstrated time and time again, South Korea’s media seems unable to comprehend that they cannot have their cake and eat it, too. They cannot continue to paint non-Koreans as a pox on their society whilst simultaneously trying to bait them with shiny new dramas and international showcases. As a network, MBC is hugely invested in bringing K-pop and Korean entertainment to international audiences […] Non-Korean consumers are thinking, breathing people, and many should and will notice the disconnect between how MBC’s attempts to profit off of Hallyu and portray foreigners a[s] the literal downfall of a pure Korean society.


    1. Thanks for passing that on. I had already read it actually, but frankly just skimmed it because there’s dozens of blog post and articles about the video now, although I was still going to link to it in the the next KGR of course (links to Dana’s articles are a given!). I didn’t really appreciate how she mentioned something that few others had then – like you say, the contradictions between bashing foreigners at home and promoting Korean pop culture abroad – so thanks for drawing that to my attention.


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