Photograph by Miguel Bruna / UnSplash

Opinion

The rise of anti-feminism in South Korea

We live in times where fighting for women's rights is frowned upon. But it is our responsibility to stand and fight for what is right.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/davidmun1234/" target="_self">David Mun</a>

David Mun

July 16, 2022
Returning home from the gym, my friends and I stopped at a convenience store for a short break. They were friends from my old Korean public school that I haven’t met in a long time. Whilst we were poking jabs at each other after a long period of a friendly armistice, one of them used the term “feminist” as an insult.

My friend at the receiving end was furious and said he hated being called a feminist more than anything else in the world. I sat there in confusion, not comprehending how the term could get such a rise out of someone I regarded as a very sensible and level-headed person.

The term feminism as posited by Merriam-Webster is the “belief in and advocacy of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes expressed especially through organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” A belief that surely anyone with a degree of conscientiousness and morality must hold dear. It is the very belief that women from all across the world throughout centuries have fought to preserve.

So how was it that my friends were so affronted by the term?

According to Vice, the word “feminism” in South Korea has become synonymous with misandry. As social media widely depicts feminists as those who wish for female superiority, and not for equality, the term has been defiled. As a result, the efforts of real feminists in Korea are being silenced and stigmatized.

Although South Korea stands at 115th out of 149 countries in gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum, and thus is wanting of serious feministic revolt, Korean women and men who acknowledge the problem are scared of standing up for fear of social prosecution.

What is to be learned is simple. We must revert the stigma surrounding the term feminism by broadcasting accurate representation of the movement through media. This way, more people will feel comfortable fighting for gender equality, which in such times as evinced by roe vs wade is dire.

We live in times where fighting for women’s rights is frowned upon. But it is our responsibility to stand and fight for what is right.

What we can do as people is simple: Be proud to label ourselves as feminists, and present our case so clearly and without flaw that others change their pre-programmed notion of what a feminist is like.

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