Korean Gender Reader


1) Sunny (써니) Now Playing in Theaters

And all about girl power, according to Dramabeans. Judging by the trailer, my first impression is of a comic version of the excellent Take Care of my Cat (2001; 고양이를 부탁해).

Meanwhile, does anybody know of any similar coming-of-age movies for guys? Other than the violent and overrated Friend (2001; 친구) or pornographic Plum Blossom (2000; 청춘) that is?

2) May 11th was 6th Annual Adoption Day in Korea

See Ask a Korean! for the details. Also, Korea Real Time has more on the controversy created by soon to be aired commercials encouraging more domestic adoption.

Update: Yesterday was also the first Korean Single Moms’ Day, Busan Haps had a good photo-essay on adoption last month, and the Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network has translated a December article on how unwed mothers are not necessarily poor, but society ultimately forces them to become so.

3) Only Foreign Staff Made to Attend Sexual Harassment Seminar at Korean University

After all, it was actually a Korean professor that was fired for having a sexual relationship with one of his students, so I’m sure you can see the logic. What’s more, the seminar was given by a completely unqualified speaker too, according to blogger Supplanter clearly both uncomfortable with and clueless about the subject he was presenting.

Ironically, the very next week after enduring that, Supplanter himself would be accused of sexual harassment at his local swimming pool.

4) A Normal Night Out in Seoul?

See Banana Milk to learn more about it. Call me sentimental and/or trying to (mentally) relive my twenties, but I subscribe to a lot of Seoul social, fashion, nightclubbing, and/or dance-music sites like it (in particular, M.S Photography always has *ahem* very interesting pictures), and am thoroughly jealous of people unencumbered by kids that get to actually enjoy it!

Speaking of which, tomorrow Paul Van Dyk will be performing in Seoul, only…sigh…10 years too late. See 10Magazine for the details.


5) Ending Bias Against White Male and Asian Female Couples

Like Shanghai Shiok! says:

Women with a preference for black men get a thumbs up. Women with a preference for Asian men get a thumbs up. Women with a preference for Middle Eastern men get a thumbs up. Women with a preference for white men get a thumbs down. Generally true?

Unfortunately, yes, and it took a lot of persuasion from her readers to get her to open the comments on that post!

6) “Prostitution Thrives on Twisted Entertainment Culture”

While I don’t mean to sound facetious, particularly not in light of seven bar hostesses committing suicide since last July, this is an unusually good article on the subject for the otherwise appalling Korea Times, and I look forward to reading more articles from author  Kim Tae-jong (see Extra! Korea also).

7) Korea: Sex Criminals Easily Become Taxi Drivers

Again I don’t mean to sound facetious, but, like Asian Correspondent explains, the fact that taxi-driving is one of the few occupations open to ex-convicts in Korea does explain a lot about their wild reputation.


8) Desert: A Movie About Kiwi-Asian Marriages

If you’re living in Auckland, New Zealand, make sure to see Desert while you still can. First shown at PIFF last year, it:

…reveals the untold story behind many Kiwi-Asian marriages….Based on real life events, Desert follows the story of Jenny, a young pregnant Asian girl living in Auckland who is left to fend for herself; when she is abandoned by her Kiwi boyfriend just before they are about to get married. Jenny is rejected by her Asian community for getting pregnant to a westerner out of wed-lock and after unsuccessfully searching for her run away boyfriend; she is forced to look inside herself to find a positive solution for her and her unborn baby.

Jenny’s story is a reality for the growing number of Asian women in New Zealand. The Asia NZ Foundation recently recorded that there are 26 per cent more Asian women than Asian men, aged 25 to 49, living in New Zealand and nearly a quarter came to New Zealand to get married. [Director Stephen Kang’s] inspiration for the film came from observing the struggles facing many Asian women living in New Zealand and Desert is the first film of its kind to give a platform and voice to these common challenges and personal stories.

While I take exception to the title of the article that that’s from, the movie itself sounds really interesting, and you can see its Facebook page for more details, interviews, and a trailer. There’s also its webpage of course, but unfortunately the designers made a big mistake not providing a mute button(!),  and the trailer should really have been uploaded onto YouTube too.

9) The Changing Face of Cosmetic Surgery

As always, South Koreans have the highest rate of cosmetic surgeries per person in the world, but an increasing number of people receiving them are from China and Japan: 80,000 per year in fact, with many of the most famous clinics reporting 20% growth rates in their numbers of medical tourists.

As The Economist notes, Korea is a “nation that often struggles to attract foreign visitors, [so] it is hardly surprising that the authorities have begun actively encouraging this trade. It is now aiming at a target of 400,000 such visitors in 2015”.

The author BTW, also has a fine Korean blog of his own here.

10) Skirting the Issue

For those few of you that don’t know by now, a local education board in Gangwon-do is confronting the “issue” of female school students wearing shorter and shorter skirts by…spending $700,000 installing new desks with boards to stop teachers and male students being distracted by them.

For much more on this, see (in no particular order): Gusts of Popular Feeling; the BBC; Extra! Korea; and BusanHaps. But in particular, see Michael Hurt’s comments on Facebook here (roughly the 12th down), who notes the glaring absence of the opinions of the girls themselves in most discussions.