Korean Gender Reader

E.Via BananaYes, Korean “gender” reader from now on, as despite the name my “feminist reader” posts were really always more on gender and sexuality issues rather than on feminist ones per se, although of course they’re still intimately related and will still get mentioned. I’ve updated the names of all the old posts accordingly.

1) In an advertising tactic that looks set to become a new standard given how popular the recent banning of similar songs and videos made them afterward (see #1 here and #2 here, and apparently the same logic applies to “leftist” books), rookie rapper E.via (이비아) probably deliberately sought controversy with the opening of her song “Oppa, Can I do it?” (오빠! 나 해도 돼?), which – surprise, surprise – begins with heavy breathing and the lines “Oppa…you know…I really want to do it…Can’t I do it once? Oppa…Can I do it?” See allkpop here for more, and here for the song itself (photo source: Diet Life).

2) Abortions in South Korea: Legality, Morality and Public Opinion from Ask The Expat.

3) The ballad singer “U” created a stir with a lesbian kissing scene in an MV teaser for her new song, “Suddenly” (울컥).

4) School violence appears to be on the rise, although Korea Beat notes it may just be institutions are better at ferreting out cases that would previously have gone undiscovered. See Brian in Jeollanam-do also for a legal case where a student hitting a teacher in retaliation for corporeal punishment was ruled as not being legitimate self-defense.

5) Matt at Gusts of Popular Feeling discusses the a Korean groups’ attempts to link foreign teachers with AIDS, and despite all the evidence against this, their efforts are having impacts on Korean legislators.

In related news, an English guide (possibly satirical) on how to pick up Korean women is generating complaints in Korea, as is another website devoted to that purpose, but regular revealing and/or “upskirt” pictures of underage girls in the Korean media strangely get much less attention, as do naked news presenters (see here also).

6) A good look at the nightmare that is trying to find quality, affordable childcare in Tokyo, with obvious parallels to Korea. See here also for how Korean kindergarten teachers are underpaid and overworked. In fairness though, my own 3 year-old daughter goes to a very nice and affordable kindergarten (and our family makes much less money than your average Korean middle-class ones!), so they are out there.

Paju Movie Poster Seo Woo

7) Although the movie itself isn’t set to come out until Autumn, with its Lolita-themed storyline and especially the poster with actress Seo-woo (서우) above (source), then Paju (파주) is already getting a lot of attention: the orange text, for instance, says “If (you) say (I) can’t, then (I) want to do (it) all the more.” See DramaBeans here for a synopsis (actually, it sounds quite interesting).

Update: Come to think of it, Seo-woo’s passive look in the poster and the assertive, risqué text give completely opposite impressions of her character in the movie. I wonder why? From what I’ve read at DramaBeans though, the latter is the more accurate.

8) Chris in South Korea visited Haesindang Park (해신당 공원) in Gangwon-do, which is apparently full of penises.

9) An Acorn in the Dog’s Food provides a harrowing tale of a mother suffering from depression who killed her son and tried to make it look like suicide, and only by chance was unable to kill her daughter also.

10) Chinese Chic provides a good quick summary of queer cinema and the state of LGBT rights in various Northast-Asian countries.

Daniel Henney Abs11) PopSeoul! and allkpop discuss the case of newbie actor Lee Si-young, who was dropped from an upcoming drama for falling in love and making public her relationship with fellow actor Junjin. This will have a big negative impact on her fledgling career (she is already said to have lost some advertising deals as a result), but, lest this be taken as indicative of Korean management companies slave-like contracts with their stars  (see #6 here) and Korean companies’ strange stipulations about the reputations of stars modeling for them (ie, if you get beaten up by your husband then be sure to hide it from the public), the decision was made solely by screenwriter Im Sung-han (임성한), apparently notorious for that sort of thing.

12) Korea Beat discusses discriminatory Korean textbooks. Meanwhile, Miss Korea feels the pain of interracial Korean families, and the government plans to tighten the rules on foreign spouses of Koreans getting citizenship (see here also).

13) As allkpop discusses here, recent advertisements featuring Lee Hyori are creating jams in Korean subway stations (apparently not here though!).

14) Good on actress Kim Bu-seon (김부선) for standing up for the legalization of marijuana in Korea and drawing attention to the Korean public’s often bizarre attitudes towards it (considering that 46% of Korean men and 9% of women are considered binge drinkers, then you may be surprised at Koreans’ rather dogmatic attitudes to other drugs). See Michael Hurt at Scribblings of the Metropolitician for a wider discussion of those.

15) Finally, as Omana They Didn’t! tests your knowledge of Korea’s best abs here (helpful example above), it behooves me to present my candidate for the best female version below. And in related news, some form of contest for former Men’s Health Korea magazine cover models will take place at the ‘4th Men’s Health Cool Guy Contest’ on July 2, 2009 at the Grand Hilton Convention Center. See here and here for the details.