Korean Gender Reader, 2-8 Feb.

The Man Who Loved Books(Source)

Sorry I haven’t posted anything this week folks; I’ve gotten just a little too lost in my offline writing work and research this vacation. But with only 3 weeks left of the semester break though, I’m slowly returning to a more normal schedule, and will try to start posting more regularly from next week.

Until then, have a good 설날 everyone, and make sure not to miss Bittersweet Joke, a documentary about unwed mothers in Korea, playing on BBC World at 6:30pm, Saturday Feb 9. See Tales of Wonderlost for the details.


What do Jack Nicholson and Co-Ed School have in common? (Angry K-Pop Fan)

Sexual harassment education in cartoon form (ILDA)

Everything you ever wanted to know about aegyo (My First Love Story)

The reality of the Korean acting industry as told by an anonymous actor of 10 years (Netizen Buzz)

South Korea slips lower in press freedom index (Asian Correspondent; Global Voices; The Marmot’s Hole; koreaBANG)


Nudes in Korean art (The Korea Herald)

The (Korean) Military Doesn’t Get Respect (Sorry, I Was Drunk)

Peaceshannon’s Conference Speech on Korea’s Special Adoption Law (Tales of Wonderlost)

Why Are We Still Talking About Sunye’s Non-pregnancy? (Seoulbeats)

Rapist of 8-year-old in Naju sentenced to life in jail (Korea Joongang Daily)


Alternative living in Korea: 3 women philosophers farming in the woods (ILDA)

“It is no surprise that Asian women are the most popular women of color in porn…” (Phenomenology/Intervention)

AKB48 member’s ‘penance’ shows flaws in idol culture (The Japan Times; The Guardian; Asian Junkie, 1, 2, 3, 4; io9; Frank Kogan; The Atlantic)

Government Report: Korea Ranked #1 for Sex with Minors in Southeast Asia (Idle Worship)

Park Geun-Hye & Fashion: Still HATE this Double Standard (Korean Gender Cafe)


Korea still has too few women execs (The Korea Herald)

The “Room Thing” And Other Indirect Chinese References to Sex (Speaking of China)

Actress Kim Nam Joo praised for admitting that she starves to maintain her perfect figure (Netizen Buzz; Korean women in their late 20s miss avg. 4.5 meals a month)

Villages paying parents to have more children (The Hankyoreh)

Korean plastic surgeon shares his views on industry regulations (South China Morning Post)


U.S. Increases Crackdown on Chinese and Korean Birth Tourism “Maternity Hotels” (Idle Worship)

Getting an HIV/AIDS check in Seoul (The Kimchi Queen)

Korean government to push passage of anti-discrimination bill (The Marmot’s Hole)

Hwang Woo-seok extracted ovaries without patients’ knowledge or consent (ILDA)

Gay Korean Actor Reveals Coming Out Struggles (The Kimchi Queen; E News World; Global Voices)


K-pop’s Not All Gold and Diamonds, Boy (Seoulbeats)

South Korean Flight Attendants Fight for the Right to Wear Pants (Jezebel; The Seattle Times; The Huffington Post)

An estimated 16 million Chinese women are married to gay men & don’t know it (Bloomberg)

Why Girls Love “Boys’ Love”: The World of K-Pop Fanfiction (The One Shots)

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident Part 31: Anti-English Spectrum founder’s statement (Gusts of Popular Feeling)


“I Got A Boy” & SNSD In-Flux (The Mind Reels)

The emergence of K-pop: a history from Lee to Gee (Koreanology)

Screenings of White Night, Suddenly Last Summer and Going South with English Subtitles (The Kimchi Queen)

Suzy crowned the CF queen of 2012 (Omona They Didn’t)

QROK Radio: the only radio station in English by, for and about the GLBTQ community (The Kimchi Queen)

(Links are not necessarily endorsements)

Korean Gender Reader, 26 Jan. – 1 Feb.

Life A User's Manual(Source)


Low South Korean birth rate shows signs of increasing (The Hankyoreh; ROK Drop)

Kang Min-kyung’s Gillette CF: Possibly The Worst Thing Ever (Seoulbeats)

Syringes, surgery and slaps: Thais suffer for K-pop beauty (The Marmot’s Hole)

Why did men stop wearing high heels? (BBC)

Yellow Face and Orientalism in the Media: Controlling What it Means to be Asian (Phenomenology/Intervention)


Reading List: The Lesbian Rights Movement and Feminism in South Korea (The Kimchi Queen)

I can’t stop thinking about other people who can’t stop looking at Korean women (Feministing)

Transgender students suffer discrimination in silence (The Hankyoreh)

“I Didn’t Think Living as a Gay Man in Korea Would be This Hard” (Arari)

How a Japanese Diplomat Saved 6,000 Jews from the Holocaust (Allegiance Musical)


Korea’s Youth Divided Over Memories of Military Rule (koreaBANG)

Dating Chinese Men: Sure, why not? (Life Behind the Wall)

North Koreans don’t like women with big boobs: report (The Marmot’s Hole)

There are “entire organizations of brokers and doctors dedicated to throwing perfectly fine, functioning people into mental hospitals against their will” (Netizen Buzz)

“School 2013”: Fiction or Reality? (My Musings)


Korean Hanbok vs Japanese Kimono – Epic Dress Battles of History (Kimchibytes)

Top 10 stars with the most CFs in 2012 (Netizen Buzz)

Meet the (Chinese) Parents (Speaking of China)

Is it possible to be a die hard fan of k-pop idol culture without fetishization of Korean ethnicity? (Angry K-Pop Fan)

“The Construction of the Feminine in Korean Popular Music: A Performance Analysis of “I AM: SMTown Live” and Multi-Artist Musical Variety Shows.” (Footnotes; update1; update2)


Koreans ‘Biggest Clients of Prostitutes in Southeast Asia’ (The Chosun Ilbo)

I Feel Pretty Unpretty: Why Anthea Shouldn’t Get Plastic Surgery (The Oneshots)

Korea Times Perpetuates Beanpaste Girl Stereotype (The Korea Times)

Statistics About Sexual Assault Within the Korean Military (ROK Drop; see my post “Sex as Power in the Korean Military” for some context)

A Pink’s Eunji’s oranges controversy is the most I’ve ever seen Koreans care about traffic laws (Asian Junkie)


All the K-pop fans, where do they all come from? (Frank Kogan)

Seoul’s 12 Best Gay Bars in Jongno (Discovering Korea)

Foreign Women and Korean Men: Who’s objectifying and who’s objectified? (I’m No Picasso)

Korean women shatter glass ceiling at foreign drugmakers (The Korea Times)

Meditations on Junk, #1: Ugly Koreans/Ugly Americans (Gord Sellar)


Having sex with a suspect: is it bribery? (Human Rights Monitor)

KCSC censures comedians for satirizing Park Geun-hye (The Marmot’s Hole)

Busan’s Hyeongjae Welfare Center-Another Example of 有錢無罪 無錢有罪 (Arari)

On dating Chinese men… Are Chinese men the best kept secret? (YinYangJinFeng)

Japan’s Demographic Disaster (The Diplomat)

(Links are not necessarily endorsements)

Korean Gender Reader, 19-25 January

Gender Programming by Sinfest(“Gender Programming” by Sinfest. Click on the image for the full strip)

The new, lite version. Sorry if anyone relied on the categories in the previous version, but 1) they were always pretty loose and arbitrary anyway (many stories could go into several), and 2) they didn’t really seem appropriate with me deliberately going for a good mix of subjects now, rather than simply collecting every story I came across. Grouping them into five at a time does make for easy mental navigation though (i.e., see what’s available for one day, move on to the next), and if you’re impatient it only takes about a minute (yes — I’ve timed!) to read the titles of all the thirty-five links available.



On Dragon’s Dol (On Becoming a Good Korean Feminist Wife; Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)

Lawmakers moving to set a quota for women directors at public institutions (The Korea Herald)

What are thigh gaps and why you probably aren’t going to get one from weight loss (Angry K-pop Fan)

Korean Culture Through K-pop 102: Korean Nationalism Uncovered (Seoulbeats)

— Gay in Korea: an interview with an American expat living in Seoul (Mapping Words)


Realizing Park’s vision on gender equality (The Korea Herald)

Why Westerners Screw Up Meeting Older Koreans (Meet me at the wall)

The problematic social norms of “I Got a Boy” (My Musings)

Netizens admit to being overly harsh with female stars (Netizen Buzz)

Lee Hi Shocks Fans With Training Details (Omona They Didn’t!)


Another Friend, Another Divorce in China (Speaking of China)

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident, Part 10: ‘Recruit a Yankee strike force!’ (Gusts of Popular Feeling; Part 11; Part 19)

Korean government’s glass ceiling is intact (Korea Joongang Daily)

Kodansha is figuring out that using the kid in the nude photoshoot with Kasai Tomomi was a bad idea (Asian Junkie; NSFW?)

South Korea’s college-educated women complain about income, employment disparities (Press TV Video {automatic}; The Korea Times)


Korea last in OECD in female graduate employment (The Korea Herald; The Korea Economic Daily)

Do men really have higher sex drives than women? (io9)

“The Sexy Lie” by Dr. Caroline Heldman (TEDx): Great lecture about female sexual objectification and its damaging effects (Angry K-Pop Fan)

Saesang fan drugs himchan’s drink (Omona They Didn’t!)

Life in Plastic: Fantastic? (Outside Seoul)


Korea builds first ever school for victims of bullying AND bullies (Netizen Buzz)

High-end call girl service busted (The Marmot’s Hole)

South Korean animation: is the underdog finally having its day? (The Guardian)

Will Hosting the Special Olympics Change Koreans’ Views on the Disabled? (Korea Realtime)

Human Rights Committee Criticizes Seocho-gu Office for Banning Ad Promoting Gay Awareness (Tales of Wonderlost)


Japanese finance minster wants old people to “hurry up and die” (io9; Visual Anthropology of Japan)

What is “Men’s Korea” (formerly Boslachi)? (Korean Gender Cafe)

Sean Hayes in the Christian Science Monitor on Korean Adoptions (The Korean Law Blog; The Hankyoreh)

So-called “Reverse Sexism” in Korea (Korean Gender Cafe)

The Promise and Perils of Feminist Criticism in Chinese Studies (Dissertation Reviews)


— “Memoirs of a Geisha” source gets fed up and writes her own memoir to set the record straight (Tales of Wonderlost)

For surgery, some patients prefer a woman’s touch (Korea Joongang Daily)

Queer Culture in Japan (Rainbow Arts Project)

Go Young Wook to Be Indicted for Sexually Harassing Minors (Omona They Didn’t!)

“Here are the best [Asian-American] responses to ‘Paper Tigers,’ in my opinion” (Phenomenology/Intervention)

(Links are not necessarily endorsements)

Korean Gender Reader Version 2.0? (Jan. 12-18)

Korean Man Woman Looking at Viewer(Source)

As promised last time, here (yes, click the link) is this week’s new, improved Korean Gender Reader. But, frankly I’m disappointed with it. While using paper.li did save a lot of time, and the result does look much better than my regular posts, several stories I tweeted are missing; most stories you have to click the “more” links to see; their categories are completely meaningless; and the inability to choose my own descriptions to links means the headlines often give absolutely no indication of the contents (yes, I can hardly criticize given the headline to my own last post, but still!).

Without much more editorial control then, in hindsight paper.li only seems appropriate for daily collections of links really.

So, apologies for the failed experiment, and next week I’ll revert back to the old system. Suggestions for how to save time with it are still very welcome, but probably simplest and best is if I limit the number of links to the 5 most interesting stories I come across each day, coming to a total of 35 a week. Compared to the 70-100+ I normally post, that doesn’t sound too onerous, and of course all the extra stories not linked to in the KGR posts will be still available via the Facebook Page or my Twitter Feed.

Adieu, Korean Gender Reader Version 1.0

Speech Balloons Background(Source)

Some minor changes to announce, blogging-wise.

The main change is that I’ll be completely redoing the format of the Korean Gender Reader posts. Because really, they’ve long been superseded by the blog’s Facebook page and Twitter feed where I first post the stories, and where they seem to generate much more discussion too. Also, although the posts may not look like much work, they actually involve 4-5 hours each week of tedious searching through RSS feeds, then copying and pasting them here. Frankly, I’ve long been tempted to simply stop writing them, but have kept at it for readers’ sakes.

I could also mention that I’d probably lose half of my readers if I stopped writing them too, but let’s not go there.

So, I’ve been looking at ways to automate the process somehow. Unfortunately, my options are very limited because this blog isn’t self-hosted, but one possibility is using paper.li instead, which produces “papers,” or digests of stories on a single webpage (which I could link to). Previously, I’d rejected it because those few examples I read always seemed to be very randomly-generated and unfocused, but I’ve since learned that it’s possible to be very selective with the stories you add, especially if — obvious, in hindsight — you choose your own Twitter feed as the only source.

After doing some experimenting, I’m quite happy with the results. It does have some minor issues, particularly with not being able to choose category names, or which stories go in which, but they’re still all easy to access. And, with excerpts and images thrown in to the mix too, it may well be an improvement.

I’ll roll it out next Friday Saturday, and will use the time saved to be a little more consistent in my production of longer, analytical pieces like this recent one, with translations thrown in here and there. And I have a lot more offline things I’m working on this year too, but I’ll let you know about those when they come up.

In short, my blogging plans for 2013 sound *ahem* suspiciously similar to those for 2012. But I’ll try really hard this time round!


Gay Shorts on Smartphones Screening 1/9 through 1/26 (The Kimchi Queen)

Body Image, Health

My lucky thunder thighs (Salon)

Erin Li’s L.A. Coffin School Puts the Spotlight on Mental Illness Among Asian Americans (Mochi Magazine)

— The top 10 most handsome actors as chosen by a plastic surgeon (Netizen Buzz)

New Online Game Attracts Women Gamers with Free Beauty Treatment Offers (Korea IT Times)

My Body, My Self-Image, My Self-Destruction (Geek in Heels)

A new line of confidence-wear for girls (The Ethical Adman)

Ministry of Employment and Labor denied proposals of NHRCK on Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act (South Korean Human Rights Monitor)

Koreans Are Heaviest Drinkers Among Asian Americans, Study Shows (KoreAm)

400 Years of Women Removing Their Body Hair (Jezebel)

Israel’s New Ban on Super Skinny Models Won’t Fix the Problem (XX Factor; Thick Dumpling Skin)

Claims ginseng is ‘new Viagra’ just don’t stand up (NHS)

Woman’s Work: The Ugly Truth Behind the Beauty Premium (Bitch)

Vogue Italia Breaks Another Barrier With First Asian Cover Model (TIME)

Top celebrities suing Gangnam cosmetic clinic for using their images and names without permission (Omona They Didn’t)

Dr. Michi, I’d love to hear your thoughts about whether a heavy consumption of K-Pop can influence a young person toward disordered eating (Thick Dumpling Skin)

Perpetuating Stereotypes: How Korean high school girls (supposedly) see themselves (I’m No Picasso)

Censorship, Media

Power of the Korean Film Producer: Park Chung Hee’s Forgotten Film Cartel of the 1960s Golden Decade and its Legacy (The Asia-Pacific Journal)

BBC World Service considering opening station aimed at North Koreans (The Independent)

“I no longer use Naver as my primary search engine…because I am fed up with their tactics in manipulating media.” (Arari)


Authorities Entering Private Property on Domestic Violence Calls: A Problem? (South Korean Human Rights Monitor)

Go Young Wook in custody on four counts of sexual misconduct and assault against minors (Asian Junkie; The Chosun Ilbo; Omona They Didn’t)

Revenge Crimes on the Rise (South Korean Human Rights Monitor)

Retroactive application of tracking sex offenders ruled constitutional (The Hankyoreh)

Dating, Relationships, Marriage

[Q&A] Korean wedding customs: do brides give a lot of money for grooms? (Loving Korean)

Photos: Couples rush to wed on lucky day (Shanghaiist)

Perfect 10? Never Mind That. Ask Her for Her Credit Score. (The New York Times; see here for the Korean angle, especially the comments {update: also see “Korean Women Marry for Money”})

Celebrity dating rumors are serious business (Seoulbeats)

Ask the Yangxifu: On Wealth/Income for Chinese Men + Western Women Couples (Speaking of China)

Newly registered marriages in Korea fell to an all-time low last year, study finds (Asia Sentinel)

Education, Parenting, Demographics

Korean police have plan to reduce bullying (Asian Correspondent)

Family planning official in Fujian busted for infant trafficking (Shanghaiist)

Michelle Rhee Featured On PBS’s Frontline Program (ROK Drop)

Without Babies, Can Japan Survive? (The New York Times)

Preference for male babies has created a gender imbalance among young people aged 9-24 (The Hankyoreh)

Reliable Student Exchange Programs in Korea (Angry K-Pop Fan)

— Unwed mothers call for Park’s attention (Tales of Wonderlost)

Blind Stubbornness of Ministry of Health and Welfare is Destroying the lives of Children (The Korean Law Blog)

Growing pains for foreign academics in South Korea (Gusts of Popular Feeling)

— Harvard students marvel at lonely, hard-studying Korean students (The Hankyoreh)

Economics, Politics, Workplaces, Ladygate

“There are lots of reasons why Korea is a nice place to live, but endless Tea Party-style nationalism is not one of them” (Asian Security Blog)

Gender equality key to Japan’s future prosperity (The Japan Times)

Finnish Critique of Korean Hierarchy (Via Korea)

Korean military digs itself into a deeper hole with celebrity soldiers (Netizen Buzz; Asian Junkie; Omona They Didn’t)

Japan needs women power to galvanize economy: party (Reuters)

Korea: The Tyranny of Titles (Via Korea)

Defense ministry urges caution about cutting military service period (Yonhap)

Ministry of Gender Equality Receives More than Initial Budget: Netizens Angry (KoreaBANG)

Lee Hyori’s lack of plans for marriage garners backlash (Netizen Buzz)

LGBT, Sexuality

Queer Links from the Week (The Kimchi Queen)

Teacher Guidebook for Queer Korean Students (The Kimchi Queen)

Lana Wachowski Opens Up About Her Transition in Korea’s Talk Show (Kstar10)

Court questions anti-prostitution law (The Marmot’s Hole; Korea Law Today; The Korean Law Blog)

Foreign Media Perpetuating Stereotypes: “South Korea’s youth are among the most sexually conservative in the world” (VICE)


Think before you say “Korean” before a noun of any kind (I’m No Picasso)

Pop Culture

Is what’s happening to Block B now similar to what happened to TVXQ? (Angry K-Pop Fan)

Block B is Going to Court (Seoulbeats)

Roundtable: Block Bust? (Seoulbeats)

E.via splits with agency, forced to use new name, chooses Tymee (Frank Kogan)

New Korean Films: Raising Social Issues With A Musical (Modern Korean Cinema)

Aegyo Hip Hop: Cultural Appropriation at Its Messiest (Seoulbeats)

New music video teaches Korea’s young about Gwangju Massacre (The Hankyoreh)

Any feminist bloggers watching Chinese martial arts period dramas? (The F-Word)

“Gangnam Style”: Crossing Over in the New World (World Literature Today)

Teaching Sociology with Music Videos (The Sociological Cinema)

Video: Who Will Be China’s Psy? (The Asia Society)

“I am a Failed ABC”: Finding Identity as a Chinese-American K-pop Star (Seoulbeats)

Interview with Poet Kim Hyesoon (Korean Modern Literature in Korean)

Best of Korean Music 2012 (Mark Russell’s Website)

Cross-Cultural Cussing (Seoulbeats)

Social Problems

At the Front Line of Suicide Prevention in South Korea (Korea Real Time)

Korea Needs to Stem the Tide of Suicides (The Chosun Ilbo)

Suicide of Another Celebrity Grabs Koreans’ Attention (Korea Real Time)

Horses Cure Internet Porn Addiction In South Korea (Business Insider)

How can Korea improve road safety? (The Korea Herald; Via Korea)

(Links are not necessarily endorsements)

Korean Gender Reader, Dec. 29 – Jan. 4

American Born Chinese(Source)

The front and back covers of American Born Chinese (2006) by Gene Luen Yang, my first completed book of 2013!

Body Image, Health

Korea’s Pop Music Explosion Is Fueling a Plastic Surgery Boom (Alternet; KoreAm)

The Evolution of Asian Eyebrows: A (Dia)critical Contemplation (Pasadena Art Beat)

Park Geun-Hye & Skirts: HATE this Double Standard (Korean Gender Cafe)

Wait A Minute, Did North Korea Just Get Sexy? (NK News.Org)

In Japan, Tattoos Are Not Just For Yakuza Anymore (Japan Subculture Research Center)

Foreign Cosplayers Are Welcome In Japan (Kotaku)

Is Natural Beauty More Oppressive Than Make-up? (XX Factor)

Femen’s Neocolonial Feminism: When Nudity Becomes a Uniform (Alahkbar English)

“I suspect it’s difficult for men to imagine a world in which their bodies have long been inextricably linked to their value as an individual…” (Persona)

Censorship, Media

KCSC Keeps Trivial NK Speech Blocked (Infidelworld)

Over 1,000 Films Rated in 2012 (Kobiz)

Put simply, JYJ fans are like an organized gang on Nate (Netizen Buzz)

Netizen Explains Roots of Korean Conservative Online Community (KoreaBANG)

Kim Sori’s MV teaser featuring her cameltoe rated 12+ (Netizen Buzz)


First-ever chemical castration sentence handed down (The Hankyoreh; The Marmot’s Hole)

Sexual Assault and Harassment, Child Self-defense, Domestic Violence Shelter Volunteer (Korean Gender Cafe)

Child molesters getting probation thanks to settlements with parents (The Marmot’s Hole)

가정폭력 Domestic Violence Awareness : Music & Media (Korean Gender Cafe)

Go Young Wook again accused of sexual assault against a minor (Asian Junkie; Netizen Buzz; Omona They Didn’t 1, 2)

Dating, Relationships, Marriage

Chinese Love Notes: Broken Dreams (Selly’s Little World)

Forgive me a little sentimentality on a Sunday morning (I’m No Picasso)

Education, Parenting, Demographics

안녕히 계세요 (Shotgun Adventures)

South Korea Prepares The Young For A Rapidly Aging Population (NPR)

Low South Korean birth rate raises fears (The Financial Times; free registration required)

Unwed mothers call for Park’s attention (The Korea Times)

Surge in Twins as Older Couples Seek Fertility Treatment (The Chosun Ilbo)

N. Korea moving into aging society (The Korea Times)

Test Me: The Relationship Between TOEIC & Communicative Competence (Scribblings of the Metropolitician)

Economics, Politics, Workplaces, Ladygate

One Small Step for a Woman, One Giant Leap Backward for the Nation (Asiapundits)

Beate Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89 (The New York Times)

LGBT, Sexuality

HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign in Seoul (The Kimchi Queen)

Reading List: Becoming a Female-to-Male Transgender (FTM) in South Korea (The Kimchi Queen)

The Gay Teen-Boy Romance Comic Beloved by Women in Japan (The Atlantic)

Gay star Hong Suk Chun’s guesting on ‘Radio Star’ receives a favorable response (Netizen Buzz)


AIDA MAKOTO: Monument To Nothing (Art Exhibition Reviews) (Japan Subculture Research Center)

Pop Culture

When culture meets decorum (radio-palava) (Angry K-pop Fan)

New Year, New Look, New SNSD? (Seoulbeats)

Girls’ Generation has a boy and some serious gender troubles (Beyond Hallyu)

The Year in Korean Movies (Spoiler Alert: ‘Wow’) (Mark Russell’s Website)

Block B files suit against Stardom Entertainment for lack of payment, wants contract nullified (Asian Junkie; Angry K-Pop Fan; Omona)

Raining on Rain’s Parade: Celebrity Soldiers and Special Treatment (Seoulbeats)

The concept of T-ara’s new Sexy Love MV is quite dehumanizing and it reeks objectification (Angry K-pop Fan)

Has K-pop Lowered Our Music Standards? (Omona They Didn’t)

Jung So-min: “Watching my bed scene with my parents was awkward” (Dramabeans)

PSY: What would have happened if a foreign singer had sung anti-Korean songs? (The Marmot’s Hole)

Congratulations Psy on your tremendous success! Time to become a vegetarian and ride a bicycle to work (Korea: Circles and Squares)

Social Problems

Y’all are funny. Just stare back? This is Incheon. (I’m No Picasso)

Normal Sadism, Weak Boundaries, and Social Unhappiness (Gord Sellar)

(Links are not necessarily endorsements)

Korean Gender Reader, December 15-21

Park Geun-hye(Source)

For anyone interested in my thoughts about the election result, Vishakha N. Desai at the Asia Society sums them up much better than I could:

The fact that so many Asian countries have accepted women as political leaders and heads of state long before Americans have managed to put a woman in the White House has led some observers to believe that it must mean Asian societies are ahead of the Western world in accepting women in leadership roles. The truth is far more complex than the simplistic observation that this automatically means women will benefit from such role models at the pinnacle of their power. In the case of Park, she may have earned the position on her own merits more than other female counterparts, but that doesn’t mean her leadership will bode well for women’s rights in South Korea or the region during her tenure.

See Tales of Wonderlost here and here for short but telling summaries of exactly what Park Geun-hye has done for women’s rights so far; National Public Radio and Arirang for people’s expectations of her in this regard; and Bloomberg for more on the paradox of why Asia leads the globe in the number of years women have ruled, yet also leads the globe in gender discrimination (Hint: Many of those leaders come from political dynasties). Also, I think it says a lot about a candidate’s and his or her party’s democratic credentials when they refuse to extend voting hours to allow more people of working age to vote, effectively disenfranchising them.

Other interesting reporting on the election include what it says about Korea’s rapidly aging population and increasingly large generation gap; and Roboseyo’s suggestions that Park Geun-hye should (but probably won’t) cut the government’s extensive ties to mass media (the role of biased reporting in the elections was also mentioned at Global Voices), as well as radically reforming the National Security Law.

Update: Seungsook Moon’s article at CNN is also a must-read.


Auditions in Gwangju for The Vagina Monologues – Feb 3 (Korea Maria)

Survey: How do you keep in contact with Koreans? (Loving Korean)

Body Image, Health

Korean Teens Ask ‘Please Rate My Face’ on Online Community (KoreaBANG)

Looking Pretty In North Korea (NK News)

Dueji and ‘Diet’ stamps: the importance of weight in Korea vs. the United States (Mapping Words)

Girl’s Day Yura’s cute tummy flab ‘looks good’ (Netizen Buzz)

Plastic Face — Grimes and Brown Eyed Girls (Frank Kogan)

Honesty is the Best Policy for B.E.G and Plastic Surgery (Seoulbeats)

Local lads slap on Korean makeup for K-pop look (Asiaone Showbiz)

“Beauty” According to Google (Tales of Wonderlost)

A Video about Fashion and also Beauty in Korea (Foreigner Joy)

The absence of help: a Korean girl’s testimony on recovering from an eating disorder (Mapping Words)

Meet 1912’s Perfect Woman: Pear-Shaped, 171 Lbs, Doesn’t Know Fear (Jezebel)

Samsung chip plant caused woman’s breast cancer, S. Korean gov’t agency rules (Monster Island; ILDA)

Censorship, Media

Teenagers’ Exposure to Sex in the Media (South Korea Human Rights Monitor)

Grab them while you can: Hara, HyunA, and Hyorin’s ‘Chum-Churum’ CFs to be taken down (Omona They Didn’t; Netizen Buzz; The Chosun Ilbo; allkpop)


New police guideline allows easier house searches (The Korea Herald)

USFK Soldier Sentenced To More Time In Korean Jail for Drugs Than A Korean Received for Rape (ROK Drop)

A Crackdown on Sex Crimes Against Children? What Crackdown? (Expat Hell)

Dating, Relationships, Marriage

Female Body Issues That Arise When Dating Asian Men (AMWW Magazine)

Christmas in Korea: It’s time for romance! (Seoulbeats)

How Did You Know He/She Was The One? (Geek in Heels)

On My Negative Dating Experiences With Chinese Men, and Why I Still Kept Smiling About China’s “Dating Scene” (Speaking of China)

Education, Parenting, Demographics

Apparently Being a Student-Parent is a “Colossal Blunder” (Omona They Didn’t)

Adoptee’s search strikes a chord (Korea Joongang Daily)

Why are Korean men estranged from their families? (The Korea Times)

Vietnamese Population on Rise in Korea (Arirang)

A day in the life of a Chinese kindergarten – in pictures (The Guardian)

Pregnant pause (The Hong Kong Standard)

Sex-Specific Toy Preferences: Learned or Innate? (Homo Consumericus)

Economics, Politics, Workplaces, Ladygate

Our New President: the Views of Korea’s Young Women (The Three Wise Monkeys)

Female business owners rank higher than men in particular areas (Korea Joongang Daily)

Justifying Conscription? (Sorry, I Was Drunk)

What Conscription Really Means for Koreans (Beyond Hallyu; update)

S. Korea to cut mandatory military duty by three months (Yonhap)

Closing the Gender Gap: A short PDF introduction (OECD)

Migrant workers report physical abuse, wage discrimination (The Hankyoreh; see here also)

51% of Japanese public thinks wives should stay home (The Daily Yomiuri)

Japan’s Suicidal Salarymen Are Dying for Work (Vice)

Global Times to leftover women: Find a gay best friend because no-one else will love you (Shanghaiist)

LGBT, Sexuality

I Will NOT Love You Long Time (Fuck yeah, feminists!)

Yet another sexy reason why robots will replace humans [NSFW] (io9)

Queer Links from the Week (The Kimchi Queen)

So I take it the classroom will be a homosexuality-free zone? (The Marmot’s Hole)

Reading List: Homosexuality in ancient and modern Korea (The Kimchi Queen)

More Men Kissing Men Please: The Need for LGBT Representation (The One Shots)

Here’s some news about the only gay men to exist in Korea (Omona They Didn’t)

Reading List: Queer North Korea (The Kimchi Queen)

Pop Culture

From Sexual to Sensual (Seoulbeats)

T-ara turns down alcohol cf but gets on board with Pachinko ad (Omona They Didn’t; Netizen Buzz)

What’s in a Logo? (Seoulbeats)

End of the Road?: Ten Rookies We May Not See Come 2013 (MTVK)

Koreaboo: Phase or Foe? (Seoulbeats)

(Links are not necessarily endorsements)