Hay! You Nice Nasties: we have to apologize to you for the long disclaimers when we do serious videos like this. We’re sorry if it’s annoying. Honestly, it annoys us to no end, and it makes filming videos like this very difficult for us. But, if we don’t put these disclaimers up, then we get harassed by idiots with a lethal combination of:

+ self-appointed Justice Police badge
+ horrendous listening comprehension skills
+ love of taking things out of context
+ passion for getting offended

The problem is that stupid commenters turn our comment section into a huge fight between viewers, and we’d rather people take the time to leave awesome/intelligent comments. There is no problem with disagreeing with what we’re saying, just do it AFTER you actually watch the video and without so much profanity! YAY!

So, now that that’s out of the way, Hello Nice Nasties! Thank you for keeping us sane! We’re here today talking about sexism in Korea, and we’re sharing our experiences on the matter. We’re fortunate enough to be in a situation in which we don’t have to deal with it often. We have our own business, created our own work environment, and have our own staff. In fact, majority of our staff is female. It’s only the animals that are male in the studio (ha!). We don’t have any bosses that overlook what we’re doing, and so we’re free to be in our own little creative internet bubble, so we’re not really the best source of stories of sexism in Korea, though – like we mentioned in the video – we have experienced it, but only when we dealt with other companies.

A couple of things we didn’t mention in the video.

1) If you really want to understand Korean culture, you’ll need to do a lot of reading on Confucianism. Luckily for me, I (Martina) studied both English and East Asian Philosophy for five years in University, and both Simon and I studied world religion, so we knew what we were getting into when we moved to Korea. Understanding the Confucian value system will help you better understand why Korea is so patriarchal and respectful of their elders. The problem that I think is happening is that modern Korea is in a struggle to keep the positive aspect of it’s Confucian ways alive, while still changing some of the more antiquated values, such as the role of women in society.

2) We didn’t know how to talk about it in an easily digestible video format, is an experience one of our friends had at work. She and her team work on computers all day in the office. One day they got a new manager, a dude. First day of his reign as manager, he had a staff meeting in which he told all of the women that they had to dress prettier and wear more makeup. A few things:

2) How was he not fired immediately for being such a pig?

We were totally appalled when we heard it, as was our friend. Now, we haven’t worked for companies in other parts of the world, so we don’t know if this would be acceptable where you’re from, nor do we know if this is a common occurrence in Korea or not, but that wouldn’t fly in Canada.

This is just an anecdote, and that’s really all we can offer when we talk about this. There are sites online that can tell you more about sexism in Korea, where they can give you stats and whatnot. Stories we tell or stories our friends tell us aren’t representative of Korea as a whole. We could just have had some odd experiences, after all, so we can’t form conclusions off of what happened to us. It’s the same reason I don’t like talking about my terrible experience at my school. I don’t want people thinking that all schools in Korea are bad, and – in this case – we don’t want people thinking that all companies in Korea are like this.

We have heard, though, different stories from different people about staff dinners in which women are expected to pour drinks for men. Can anyone corroborate this? We don’t know anything about it, but we heard about it here and there and want to know if you’ve experienced anything like this, and how you feel about it.

One thing we didn’t mention, though, and we’re not sure if it’s relevant or not, but we’re happy that Korea has a female president. We’re not saying anything about her policies. We don’t follow politics enough to know how she’s doing. We’re just happy to see a woman as president. It sets a good example, not only for people in Korea but also for the rest of the world.

  1. M, when i was visiting South Korea just for a short term i did a lot of research and also experienced thous dinners (i was going with dance group to participate in festival and we had to attend dinner with sponsors that was paying for our hotel) – in our case we where doing that exchange in pouring a drink no matter of gender and age (all thou i knew the rules because did some research before going there), so didn’t had that experience for someone to wait that i pour the drink just because I’m women…
    Have ever in my home country (i came from northern Europe – Latvia) it’s axially completely other way a round – if there is some dinner/ party or what ever event and there is at least one men there – he must pour alcoholic drinks to women…

  2. Ahh the wrist grab in dramas gets me too! Actually the hubby and I kid around that he needs to snap me around like that. And I will do the Korean drama girl whine that they do. You know what I mean!

  3. I personally enjoy some kpop (BAP as a favorite block b and big bang close behind) but i simply cannot STAND most all girl groups. Personally my opinion of females in media in asia is low because in north america girls typically can be tough or be portrayed as independent whatever. In asia it seems like girl groups are allergic to being rough and tumble. What i mean is i cant enjoy a music video because they cant dance in the high heels they have to wear so they just like two step the whole time
    And wear these sparkly girly things all the time. I love how hardcore bap is even if they show a softer side, id love to see a girl group go ciara style and start breakdancing or hardcore rapping. The demure kills me if someone can find me a badass girl group please assist!

    Probably the only thing we beat asia at is women being powerful. The men can do both and are really sexy so we dont win that….
    Us: 1
    Started from the bottom now we here

  4. Not sure if it’s Sexism, but I’m watching some TV variety shows and such, and I feel so annoyed when the guys give the girls easier objectives / competition, compared to the guys. Although I am a guy myself, I just don’t see how this is fair for both genders.

  5. About club bouncers grabbing girls by the wrists and pulling them into clubs..
    Yeah, I can definitely understand that Korean girls may be unwilling to walk into clubs on their own because they may appear “slutty”.

    So bouncers may have started “helping” the girls into the clubs.
    Which evolved into their grabbing pretty girls and bringing them in.
    But it’s distasteful nonetheless. Needs to change.

  6. I am of dark skin and learning korean and really into kpop, so you guys where saying, would i be picked on because off my skin color? Also I love watching all of your videos! 사랑 ❤❤❤

  7. Wow, what great discussions about gender identities, gender issues, and sexism on here. I hope you all spread your positive and progressive thinking. And it is all marked by quite a bit of cultural sensitivity, lack of finger pointing, and gender theory. The nasties are a wonderful community.

  8. I have lived with 10+ koreans (guys) in australia, and when I challenge them on NOT being messy & to CLEAN the kitchen/bathroom etc., they say, “When I get married, that is my wife’s job.” :-O

  9. smoking IS disgusting.

  10. Regarding your club dragging story. I’ve noticed that a similar thing applies in Japan. My friends have told me stories, when they have been in Kabukicho hosts will leave the foreign girls completely alone. Which make since, given the difference in culture the way a young women from the, let say, US would react vs a Japanese women. I also think gender roles are one of the things foreigners living abroad will never fully accept or understand because though ideas have been ingrained in us from a young age.

  11. On pouring drinks for men:

    I actually experienced this in the UK while doing promotional work for an internet-based Japanese language company. After a long day work at a huge expo where we were on our feet all day promoting the service, the boss took us out for dinner. There were six of us in total, 4 men and two women. I was the only non-Japanese there.

    Everyone sat down, ordered food and chatted until our drinks arrived. Usually in the UK (but not always) the waiters will pour your drinks into the glasses they bring, but this was a Japanese-run restaurant and so the glass and bottle of beer was just placed together on the table. The other girl picked up the bottle from her side of the table and started pouring for the men near her while I happily poured my own drink unaware.

    I was sat next to the boss and the girl suddenly starts eyeing me up, nodding her head to his empty glass. I was so confused and after suddenly realising shouted “OH!” and started to pour his drink. Everyone laughed and it no offence was caused. It was another lesson really :)

    When I went to live in Japan for a bit, I noticed this a lot more and simple things like dinner saw the men sitting back and relaxing while the good wife made sure his drink was topped up and rice bowl full. He also got first pick of the food and first to leave the table. This is – of course – not an example of every Japanese family but a few dinners at friends from my school saw this process repeat a few times.

    But yeah. I’ve seen wives rush to the door when he gets home from work to set down their husband’s house slippers so he can simply walk into them straight away.

  12. Martina, I wanna shake your hand =) You’re awesome!

  13. I have heard from a Korean-American friend that there are designated clubs that groups of Korean girls knowingly go to, to get grabbed…

  14. Hey Simon and Martina, A Kenyan nasty here. I have waited for so long for someone to bring up this question. In Kenya, we do have sexism but not up to the levels described in your video. Women are still expected to choose between a career and starting a family and there is unequal pay among the sexes across most major industries.

    The whole drink pouring bit is… a bit insane but that was rampant not too long ago. My dad (God bless him) worked in an office where it was normal to ask women to serve the coffee and tea and stuff during tea breaks. Of course he did not see what the problem was as this is the way things were when he was in his 30′s. If you tried that at my office, you will get cut (LOL!).

    I find your friends incident with her assy male co-worker… SO. WEIRD. Men out here cannot comment on your dressing. That would start a riot. Whatchutalkmbout dress prettier? That’s crazy talk. Haha!

    We also have a bit of that whole “your wife will be ignored during business meetings”. It’s like you don’t have a mind of your own. This is very rare and only happens when you do business with people of the older generations. The Kenyan societal structure has similarities with the Korean ones in that we show respect to our elders and women are still considered weaker than their male counter parts but it is not terribly awful.

  15. I think you guys should do a Tl dr on the plastic surgery mentality in Korea and how it has effected perceptions of beauty in South Korea as well as criticisms of the new standard of beauty. This could also probably be attributed to sexism in Korea as well

    • Doctors push sales just like a salesperson would do in any other business, except that we tend to automatically think that a doctor would have our best interest at heart— which isn’t always true. A big part of American influence on Korea is the spread of capitalism, and this affects the prevalence of plastic surgery in Korea. Plastic surgeons push their patients to receive way more procedures than they came in for and it’s easy to prey on insecure people. Korean people are learning how to make an income in today’s billionaire world and that just means pushing their products and hustling each other.

  16. Watching this TL:DR reminds me of a story my sister told me:She and her boyfriend at the time were visiting Argentina. And even though she knew more Spanish than he did and therefore could converse with the people more fluently, the people there would direct all questions and comments to him.

  17. I totally agree with the part where you guys mentioned how girls are always dragged by guys in Korean dramas. Apparently some Korean guys I know think this is a way of showing their masculinity, but after all it is definitely not the right way to treat women.

    And I actually had this experience where I was talking to a guy in a club in Korea and when I playfully smacked him on his chest (and believe me I am not strong at all), he literally recoiled and he just kept on saying girls should not be that strong, so I believe Korean males have this mindset of needing to be super tough and expecting women to just look pretty and be dependent on guys.

  18. Wasn’t Rooftop Prince had a female led who dragged the guy? O:

  19. Brazil also has a female president, And I confess that does makes me feel proud…

  20. River Lu

    Oh my god… Why are koreans so dramatic???

    • Koreans love everything dramatic because it’s a sign of confidence. You gotta have some balls to wear sequins and dance like you’re humping a giant pistachio (*ahem* PSY). Apparently, messages are more poignant when they’re done in over-the-top style: for example, korean dramas where everyone you like dies and everyone kills each other and wants to steal each other’s boyfriends and girlfriends— and there are revenge storylines, and high school kids drive porches to act like douches. Artistic skill is easily demonstrated by going the dramatic route over anything else. Makeup, acting, dancing, painting, blah blah…. etc.

  21. I think you guys are awesome, and ALWAYS extremely careful and kind about what you have to say. Even when it’s a touchy subject, you guys cover it wonderfully and I enjoy every second of your videos ♥

  22. I find the term “woman belongs to a man” VERY problematic, with very being and understatement, but coming from the perspective of someone who is from another culture (cuban) and seriously almost married a Korean man I find that this is something that many cultures follow even if they don’t directly or openly admit it.

    My mother being a very liberal woman compared with the rest of my cuban family has unknowingly taught me to treat a man to think you belong to him, so let him think he does even if you not. I’ve trying to explain to her how wrong it is to continue that behave but she doesn’t understand. To her that is the way you need to treat a man and there is no other way.

    And on another note, again, just from my own experience I can’t speak for anyone else, but I will say that one of the reasons why I didn’t marry the korean guy I was dating was because of the way he was treating me. Not that this happened often, but he didn’t seem to understand that I have my own job and career that was very important to me. I mean I have serious and so far successful career in costume design. I just got a offered a full ride to attend grad school, but to him the idea of me going far away for a job, which is the typical life for a designer to be based in one place but be designing in many different places. He would tell me I can’t go away for the summer to work or take too many jobs far away and that it was more important to stay close to him and take care of him than it was to go a away for a little while and take a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is something I expect people who don’t work in theatre to have a hard time understanding, but after years of expressing this to him he still expected me to give up my career for him. Then when we finally did break up he would constantly show up at my home, text me, call me, show up at my work, etc to tell me that I should come back. I tried to tell him I was seriously not coming back and he would ignore what I say and follow me again after a few days. As if I wasn’t serious it was over. I finally had to call the cops to get him to understand how serious I was.

    Again sorry for the rant, but that was my experience and I can say that I’m very turned off to the idea of dating a korean man again, because of this. I would like to know if anyone else had any issues with when it comes to women having careers in korean culture.

  23. I hate to sound cliche but can you talk about the “dirty old Korean man card”. I have been yelled at multiple times but old Korean men for speaking English, and multiple times been grabbed by the men. One time I was in a cafe where I knew owner and manager and when I reported having my bum being pinched as I was waiting in line, the manager just said “Oh he’s an old man”. So that makes it ok? Does this happen to Koreans as well? I know in Western countries that when someone comes forward with a serious complaint like that they are listened to.

  24. OMG Martina there is a drama where the female drags the man away it’s sooooooooo hilarious her character is a strong women who doesnt take shit from anyone. And actually it a bit of a satire, it makes fun of all the stereotypes you see in kdramas. Drama’s are so boring to me cause they’re so predictable. Anyway it’s called Protect the Boss, maybe you already saw it cause Jaejoong is in it but in case you didnt well then there you go. OH and i love the the spoiled little rich girl who causes trouble cause eventually she becomes friends with the female lead. This drama is hilarious.

  25. My 2 Cents…(BTW I JUST now realized they have gotten rid of the cent sign off the keyboard…it was my favorite key to press when I was growing up…but I digress…)
    $00.01= Ohmygawd…Martina is wearing Daesung’s sweater but in pink instead of blue!!!!! CUTENESS!!!
    $00.02= I have a Korean-American friend who grew up in the States never visited Korea until University. Her family did NOT keep tot eh traditional Korean culture at ALL, so she didn’t know any of the customs before going. Within the first month she was told by her Grandfather that she was never going to get married to a Korean man, because no man in his right mind would want a hussy like her. She asked what made her a hussy and the response she got was this, “You speak when no one has asked you a question, you don’t know how to cook, and you seem to think you are as smart as a Korean man!” That night she called her mother (who is full blooded Korean) and told her she totally understood why she left Korea!

  26. Now that you guys are crazy famous (or maybe just a little crazy) have you ever been stalked or had a fan do something you found a little creepy perhaps? Are there things that fans do in Korea that we would consider ..um odd in the west?

  27. Holy snap this has a lot of comments!

  28. often i watch korean ‘reality’ shows where korean idols (male in particular) seem incredibly innocent, like for example when a foreign woman in a bikini walks by they act shocked and embarrassed, even if they’re adults. i find it hard to believe that adults, especially ones who travel around the world a lot, grow up to be so innocent, assuming it’s not an act. it makes me wonder about sex ed in korea. is it taught in high schools, or do people pretend it doesn’t happen except in married life? what’s the general consensus on that part of a relationship?

  29. I love watching these videos because even if they are only your experiences, they’re still real, genuine experiences! And I wish all the haters would realize that because I get very impatient for the first minute or so of your TL;DR videos when you always have to mention disclaimers to idiots who don’t understand what a personal opinion is.

    Moving on, I’m hoping that there are at least a few positive aspects of this behavior, right? I’m not saying yay to sexism but I mean not all men are chauvinist pigs all the time. If they were, they’d soon realize the error of their ways when their no-no’s get so sore from so many kicks to the balls.

    I have a boyfriend from China and he always tries to take care of me (in both a caring and sometimes patronizing way). He likes to cook for me a lot (I’m not complaining about this part), he always carries things instead of making me do it, and he ALWAYS has to try pay for everything (sometimes I let him; sometimes I don’t). He genuinely cares for me and my well-being and taking into consideration my 5 foot tall height and minuscule amount of muscle strength, he sometimes treats my like a little glass figurine that could shatter any second. Despite this, I’ve let him know that I’m stronger than I may seem (in terms of will power and mental strength) and that I’m his girlfriend, someone he should respect and treat as an equal and not a baby for him to constantly coo and watch over. He’s acknowledged this and definitely gives me just as much respect as I give him.

    I’m sure there are men like this in Korea: men who care for and take care of their lady in more ways than just one. I know there are! Not personally, but I know that there must be. So I was hoping you guys would’ve mentioned a story about how this kind of attitude could be good in one way or another.

    But anyway, I still love you guys and what you do soooo much and no matter how much idiotic and undeserved hate you guys receive from morons out there, I will always support you guys 100% because you guys are doing what you love to do and what I want to do. Fighting Martina and Simon! <3

  30. Simon and Martina… Are there any North American products that you really miss, now that you are living in Korea?

  31. say i was actually the other day at the park here in korea in Guanju actually and i happend to see a couple playing, (pitching with a tennis ball) and when it was the guys turn he would do it so soft and easy for her to be able to catch the ball! she was lame in my opinion but they look kind of cute in a very very very childish way…anyway she got hit, not hard at all! and well it was funny to see her going all apoo apoo opa chincha apo!!! ITS A TENNIS BALL!! yeah why is it that not ALL but lots of korean girls like to look fragile and weak?? i dont get it! ohh and i actually got pulled by the arm at a club once! i had no idea what was going on! i was new to korea!! and the bartender sat my behind at a table full of boys asking me where in the states i was from, while they were giving drinks (that i didn’t take by the way) anyway i am much i agree with what CYNOSURE has said! you guys are doing a DOBRA ROBOTA! WELL DONE guys really :) hugs from SPAIN!

  32. The sheer number of weak, submissive female characters in KDramas is the reason why I don’t watch them anymore.

    I know all about the sexist pitfalls that come with being born female and Asian. The expectation is that you work hard at school, go to a good college, do well for yourself, then drop everything to take care of your husband and children. Luckily, my mom is a pretty liberal-minded single mom, so she doesn’t put too much weight on gender roles. Her father, actually, instilled a very independent, self-sufficient trait in her and her sister, which I’m very grateful for.

    However, I’ve seen in other Asian moms in my life who have reserved themselves to this meek female role. They depend on other men to dictate their lives, and suddenly they act like sad, lost puppies when the men and the control they had are gone.

    I hate seeing weak women in general. I hate seeing weak Asian women even more. I feel like there should be a revolutionary movement of some sort where more and more Asian women are rejecting the outdated patriarchal values. I want to see strong, NORMAL female characters in Asian dramas, I want female leaders whose qualifications won’t be questioned simply because they don’t have families, and I want the men to start viewing the women as their equal.

    I really really enjoyed this TLDR. I love it when you guys address serious topics and offer your honest opinions. It’s healthy to take an objective approach to the Asian culture sometimes.

  33. I’m late to this party as usual, so I’ll likely repeat what someone else has already said. But what the heck, you’ve been waiting to hear from the old fart Peace Corps Korea volunteer who’s married into a Korean family, right? So, yes, Martina and SImon, good observations, as always. To my eye, Korea is a matriarchy where the men don’t realize or acknowledge the fact. I think this has always been so, but the recent (since the end of the Occupation, roughly) rapid development has meant a transition from farming communities, where Confucianism has its roots, to apartment life in huge cities, where Confucianism gets really confused. I think the Koreans will figure it out, and won’t Westernize but will come up with an urban Korean culture that will be interesting.

    In the language, there are really very few pronouns that are used at all, very little gender-based language, and women do not change their names upon marriage, traditionally. However, upon marriage the bride’s name is removed from her original family register (where all Korean vital statistics are kept) and written into the groom’s family register. This is not a hard rule, as I, coming from a place impoverished in terms of family registers, was written into my wife’s register by my very kind mother-in-law. My place of origin has still its struggles…my great-grandmother had a 4th grade education, married at age 17 or so, lived in a one-room dirt floor cabin with no plumbing for a lot of her life, and ran a bar in the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis for most of her life, including when it was illegal. Nevertheless, while she was arrested and jailed on three occasions, it wasn’t for the bar – it was for marching for the vote.

    So, with that in mind, Pak Kunhye’s election as president was something wonderful to my mind. Korea does have a tradition of strong female leadership. During the Occupation, there was a significant Resistance group in the Manchurian city of Halbin (funded in part by Prince Pooyo, I learned from one of his accountants) that was largely of and by women. People have already started referring to President Pak as the mother of the country, a term that was applied to her mother as well, and to Queen Myoungsung in the late 1800s. That both of those women were assassinated is somewhat ominous, although Myoungsung, courageous woman that she was, knew that her efforts to stave off the Occupation would likely end in her death. A brave woman.

    All that said, I certainly agree with you guys about some of the k-drama tropes, the wrist-grab especially. I don’t recall seeing any of that in dramas with Kim Sun-ah, for example, though – City Hall,My Name is Kim Samsoon, that museum one – and for that matter, Ha Ji-won doesn’t seem to allow that either….she’d likely flatten anyone who tried.

    A problem in Korean workplace and employment is gender and age bias. Companies want new hires to be young, they do not welcome someone who changes companies in their thirties, and in the forties it gets nearly impossible. Things can get pretty scary if you’re pushing 40, female, and your company goes under.

    So, there’s the word from the old fart – thanks again, guys, I’m not the only old Peace Corps/Korea vol who follows you and appreciates your work.

    • Lovely insight!

      I agree about Kim Sun Ah and Ha Ji Won ( except for a bit in Secret Garden when I wished she would be a bit more assertive at some points in time) this is why I adore those two actresses.

  34. Wow Korea is so sexiest and terrible, my country is the best!

    sry just had to say that

  35. I was actually really happy to see Park Geun Hye step up to be the first Korean female president. I’ve only recently heard about it but I really hope she will be able to overturn Korea’s sexist issues and create an image of a powerful Korean woman. Does anyone know how the Korean people (the men, to be specific) reacted to the news though? I can somehow picture them saying things that no one should ever be allowed to say about her. I really hope things like that didn’t happen but I have a feeling that it did…. By the way, that thing with the clubs and bouncers is seriously fucked up. If they did that to me, I’d whip out a can of kungfu on their asses! No one should be forced against their wills, especially going into a nightclub!

    • Why?? It’s not only men that can be sexist! Why do you thing she’s against sexism just because she’s a woman?? It’s not me who think so, many many Korean people think she’s sexist. Look her up please.

  36. *SERIOUS QUESTION ALERT* I notice a major concern for Korea at the moment is teenage suicides over bullying or stress from the competition to get into college, how do you guys as foreiners in Korea view that and how do the actual Korean community feel about this?

  37. Wow that wrist pulling thing reminded me of the bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan, the groom just goes with a group of men to kidnap the girl he wants to marry on the day he IS going to marry her, his family completes the preparations and he goes off to kidnap his bride, when the girl comes back, his mom and aunts will try to calm the wailing girl and put a white cloth in her head, which means acceptance of their fate. Pretty freaky, but its crazy how some cultures accept thins kinds of things, interesting too.

    Awesome video, I really love the editing! :D

  38. Hey, this pretty much has nothing to do with all the sexism topic (because I don’t know enough and only really have biased opinions) but it’s about the female president. Did you know that she is not the first ever female president? In fact San Marino has had the most female presidents. It does help with showing the world but it really only helps the country. I’m pretty sure South Korea didn’t care that Chile had it’s first female president and actually earn the country a lot of money during her presidency. I’m also positive that they didn’t care that Argentina has had two and China has female rulers as well. It really does only virtually effect the country on it’s own. So for that, I am glad that they do have a women president, it will help them try to change as they become less of a homogenous society. Let’s face it, it’s a growing economy and many are seeing opportunities on doing business or moving to South Korea when before they wouldn’t. They still have a long way to go, so I can see how some may have issues with how you treated the subject. It’s a hard subject to touch upon.

    Recently in my own religion there was a complain that women were made to wear skirts at church while men didn’t have a set “dress code”. It had more deeper meaning behind it (which I will not go into because you are not of my same religion and it would be hard to explain), but it made it seem my religion is male based. I’m not going to deny it but yes, the male does hold more responsibilities in this religion but it does and never has belittled the title of a women. In fact they say that a women is what really influences the household by helping and sometimes guiding the male. Women tend to be more sensitive towards others in where men aren’t, they balance each other out. Living in the United States I grew up in a place where women fight for the rights and don’t want to be belittled. Yet many of us still don’t realize that women get paid less, even if it’s the exact same job as a male. It’s facts that a male doctor will earn more money than a female doctor. Though we don’t see it, even the “free” countries experience sexism. Maybe not to the extant as open as Korea still is with their religious view and ways of living, but we still have sexism, no matter how small.

    I’m originally from Chile and there it has old roots like most Latin American countries on where you respect your elders. It doesn’t matter if you are related or not, you respect them. Talking back is seen as a sign of rebellion and asking to be put back in your place. So I understand the respecting of elders in Korea. Also male company holders or heads never really acknowledge the wife in case it is seen as inappropriate. Though it has probably changed a lot from when I used to live in Chile, the idea of a company head asking the wife, or female of the partnership, was not seen as appropriate if they were married or she were married. I guess that may be somewhat of the same, I wouldn’t know really, to how Martina was treated.

    This whole subject did open my eyes to learn more about it from articles or maybe asking a few of the Korean students I know. What we see as sexism could possibly be seen as normal behavior for them. There isn’t any way to say that no country does not favor men, because that is a big lie.

  39. www . youtube . com / watch?v=B09FXOZVw4g

    I came across this video lately (even though its quite old), and I was a bit disturbed by their portrayal of foreigners and their generalization of the situation to say the least.

    I was wondering what were your thoughts on this?

  40. ooh… Can I just say that I love TL;DR’s- they are my favourite part of EYK!

  41. Hey Martina and Simon. I was wondering how pressing nutrition is in Korea ( especially holistic nutrition). I’ve read a few papers on the change in the Korean diet as a result of western influence (fast-food), in this respect do you find obesity an issue? I know a few months ago you two reformed your diets. Apart from doing it yourself, are there lots of weightloss clinics or even gyms in Korea (like we have in Canada, they are almost as abundant as Tim Hortons)?

    Sincerely- Amanda.

    PS: Don’t stop being fantastic!! And if you have any health questions you can ask away, I’m on my way to being a certified holistic nutritional specialist!!

  42. I don’t claim to be an expert on this topic either because I’ve never lived there, but I know one of my friends in South Korea actually went back to school to become a teacher, because she experienced way too much gender discrimination in her first career as an engineer. Lame!!! If she’s brilliant and has a passion for engineering, why shouldn’t she be taken seriously??

  43. Great job!! this is the kind of topic many people avoid.

    I think Korea should learn that even when being polite you could hurt someone’s feelings (in “Marry Stayed Out All Night” there’s actually the first or second episode where we could encounter “polite rudeness” well it wasnt sexism related but still…). Even if they couldn’t shake Martina’s hand because she is married they could’ve at least acknowledged she was there and bow saying “Thank you for coming (as well)”.

    the part with the club is outrageous…

    Great work!

    ♥ ♥♥ ♥

  44. Go crazy next time it happens Martina

  45. Nice one for bringing up this theme. Always interesting to find out new sides of a community. I hope korea will learn that their public mindset is too old fashioned. Also many other countries has to keep on working on themselfs to develop a better future for both genders.
    Well what makes me kinda angry is German women get 20% less paid then men. Not in all kinds of jobs…but why in the first place?

  46. I don’t know, but I’ve read from some website that in Korea, males/females wouldn’t pay much attention to married females/males so they won’t cause a misunderstanding or something like that..

  47. Shaking hands with a married woman, especially in front of her husband is considered improper and provocative. Avoiding it is an old custom but does not disappear easily. Pulling a woman’s hand into a club especially when the puller never saw her before is a sign that the puller considers her as a whore or something similar. Apparently many women of easy virtues are waiting in front of clubs to be “booked” to random customer by club worker who work as a pimp or something similar. Such behavior is not acceptable to respectable women.

  48. Hi, Simon and Martina! I’m definitely a big fan–you two introduced me to the wonders of kpop. But I’d just like to point out something that bothered me in your video:

    1. (in your disclaimer) You’re not saying that Western culture is superior to others

    2. You tell your friends that Korea has 2050′s technology but a 1950′s mentality

    When you say 1950′s and 2050′s, it’s implied that this is Western/North American time. Korea has technology equivalent to that of North America’s future, and a mentality equivalent to that of North America’s past. Put this way, you can see how this could be problematic (though I hate using that word). By extension, Korea will someday progress to be as advanced as North America in their values. Now is the time for some disclaimers of my own: even though I’m pretty sure you meant to imply nothing of the sort, even though you said Korea is more advanced technology-wise, even though in your blog post you pointed out some positive aspects of Korea’s value system, I still feel uneasy about this.

    Also, disclaimers. I don’t like all of the ones you’re forced to make–for example, when you have to defend yourself against crazed fangirls/boys. But I do like the ones of the kind that you make in this video. You see, even though I am a fan of your videos and I’ve watched a lot of them, sometimes it’s still hard for me to remember/interpret some of these you mentioned at the beginning and end of this video. And I think that these points are important to make. Better to say them than left them unsaid. I know that having to censor yourselves sucks, but just remember, racism sucks more. In all its various forms. And again, a disclaimer: I’m not saying that you two are racist, just that some of your statements could be taken as such. Sometimes, by some people. Now that I’ve qualified myself enough, I’d like to hear what other people think about this.

    • I don’t see any problems with what they’ve said but I guess it’s because I’m North-American… They didn’t say that ALL Korean were sexists. They only stated a few of their experiences.

      I don’t understand your first point. You want them to say Western culture IS superior? o.O

      As for your second point, I understand that you mean that it’s not a good thing when people say that a society as a whole is backward but here they are only talking about ONE aspect of society and it’s true that there is a parallel between some of the actions you see in Korea and the actions we can only see in 60s movies because we are too young to have witnessed it. So, logically, the first time we see it, our brain automatically think about these old movies. Please forgive us, it’s hard not to do it (I guess unless you never saw those movies).

      Now, if I’m talking about a guy grabbing a girl’s harm, that’s obviously a negative part of “our” 1950. BUT we are also talking about the respect for the elders and that is a POSITIVE part of our 1950, at least to me. These days, I’m watching a TV series that takes place in 1920-1930 and I was completely astonished to see the relationships between family members to have so much similarities to what I see in SOME Korean drama. Not saying TV series are a good representation (either for the 20s or for Korea) but it’s the only stuff I can compare with, unfortunately.

      If you knew how much respect I have for the 60s of where I live (I won’t talk about it here because I can ramble for hours) , you wouldn’t think that I’m racist if I say that Korea is like the 60s for some parts. Now I understand, that if I say it without explaining, it’s insensitive. But I hope I helped you understand a little bit where we come from when we say that.

      • Sorry, I should have made myself more clear. I listed 1) and 2) as two separate statements that were made in the video that I considered to be contradictory.

        I think I understand the point you’re making. But I’m not completely convinced yet (on the other hand, I’m not not convinced–that is, I could be wrong). The idea of Korea or other Asian countries being backwards in the culture department just resonates with a lot of misconceptions and even imperialism on the part of the West over many, many years. Maybe I’m making a big deal over something small, but when I heard Simon and Martina say the bit about 1950′s North America, it just gave me a weird feeling. Even if you have a lot of respect for North America in the 50′s, it’s still part of our past. Even if there were positive and negative aspects of that time period, it’s something that the West has moved on from. Korea as 1950′s North America implies that one day, Korea will become as advanced as modern-day North American societies. The reason I pointed this out is because it contradicts what Simon and Martina said earlier: in their disclaimer, they reminded their watchers that they’re not trying to say one culture is better than another. My point is, it seems to me like statement number 2 works against what they’re trying to do in their videos.

        I don’t wish to level accusations at anyone here, so please don’t apologize. A lot of the words we pass around every day can carry underlying currents of racism, sexism, and other types of discrimination. I know I make mistakes all the time, but I think the important part is to become aware of the unintentional meanings of our words and to correct them when possible. Simon and Martina, by blogging publicly on Youtube, are especially vulnerable to having their words singled out. In the spirit of constructive criticism, I pointed out something that I still consider to be problematic. In my first post, I don’t think I made my thoughts really clear so hopefully this helps.

  49. Simon and Martina, I’m really curious. What is your opinion on the “Overexposure Law” that was recently passed in South Korea?

  50. I currently live in Saudi Arabia (America Born and Raised) ….. Yeah.This place is NERVE CENTER CAPITAL HEADQUARTERS of Sexism (ON EXTREME STEROIDS)… I do mean “blatant in your face” sexism. Religion and culture aside, the government and Saudi people (the Natives/ Nationals, not the tons of foreigners here (mostly)) are living by rules that would have made sense in 14th century Medieval dungeon times, but currently now, are just so sexist and anti-human rights and patriarchal that you might cry. I have cried. It’s just…… ::Stops talking now from pure emotional overload::

    On a happier note. I love that you two are never afraid to speak your mind. “Do what you want, and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Thank you Dr. Suess. Also it was very cute to really see Martina get upset when talking about the wrist-rape bit. Simon you got yourself a Mama Bear in waiting! Ung! Growl!

  51. Been here only two years but yea every staff dinner it is the women who pour the drinks (usually until the men get drunk and then they go around and start pouring for everyone lolzers). And the women usually arrive first at the dinners and if when the men arrive they are in a spot that the men would prefer to sit, they usually get up and move.

    My anecdote… and like you guys mentioned, I would NEVER want this story to discourage a foreign woman from coming to work in Korea. The women were all ok in the story and the men DID do the right thing at the time. The injustice is what happened afterwards.

    We went to Nami Island for a staff retreat this last December (Northwest of Seoul in the mountains in December are they crazy you ask? Yes.) After an evening of meetings and the such we went to the restaurant to drink. Being the foreign teacher I sit with my co-teachers who happen to be women, so I am with the women at dinner (the separate eating is another thing I wonder about). After an hour or so the maintenance guy / janitor was pretty drunk. He pretty soon was badly stumbling around and got it in his head that he was interested in my co-teacher. I don’t speak Korean but I guess he was saying pretty lewd things and I got the idea anyway when he started trying to grab her. It became so bad that it took a constant 2 or 3 of the other male teachers to hold him back (tenacity plus dead/drunk weight). The women left and retreated to their pension while the men stayed and finished dinner.

    Now here is where the old style vrs the new style comes in that I saw.

    My co-teacher and I are pretty close and so she was angry and embarrassed. Of course nobody wants to go to a staff dinner and be attacked by a drunk man. Can you imagine if everyone hadn’t been there to stop him? Well, frankly I don’t want to think about it. So needless to say I can’t imagine how embarrassed and downright unsettling/scary it probably was.

    Well most of the young teachers are women at my school and there was much support for her to go and demand an apology. She even asked me (a foreigner) if she should go do it. I told her she had all my support in the world but I was afraid my support doesn’t count for much (another discussion for another time on being “Korean” and that the lack of being such devalues your opinion). She opted not to ask for an apology due to Korean cultural pressure I assume. But of course, coming from an western culture, in my mind I was thinking that that dude should be apologizing not just to her but should be groveling for his job after sexually assaulting a co-worker.

    Anyway, my takeaway from this is that things are changing. The outcome should have been a lot different at my school. But the reality is that their was an acknowledgment from the faculty that some injustice had been done, even though that acknowledgment did not come from the administration. I think that 20 years ago, the support from other women to demand an apology may not have been there.

    Take it as you will. Korea is a country going through it’s growing pains like many countries. There is a good argument to be had for supporting older people. I am sure they feel like their culture is being ripped away from them far faster than they would like. Us younger folk see the light of justice on our side but we often leave our older generation in the dark.

  52. This is a good TLDR. I really liked that you both addressed this topic and I enjoyed hearing/reading the stories. I was totally feeling Martina on the Korean Drama front (it’s the same with Japanese dramas, too). A lot of these plot lines have gotten so, so stale and it’s become difficult for me to tolerate. My biggest pet peeve is when a woman is really, really dumb/helpless in a drama. If a girl is portrayed as stupid and helpless, and the lead male is always running to save/help her, I can’t even watch it. That’s why I have been so happy with dramas like I Do I Do and King 2 Hearts where the women are BAMFs (Bad A** Mother F*&%ers for those who don’t know this acronym haha). LOVE that. I wish more dramas positively portrayed women in strong roles, being smart and holding their own.

  53. Hm, would men starting to wear makeup and take care of themselves for business and their love life fall under sexism too? I have been reading that Korea is the top in the world for men’s cosmetics and it is growing. And companies are now requiring classes for men too on make-up application and skin hygiene. I was just wondering if this had anything to do with sexism as well or if it was just something entirely different.

  54. I wonder if the k-dramas thing is beacause most of the writers are male… Either way I get so frustrated when it happens, I stopped watching them beacause of it, like.. GIRL PUNCH HIM WHERE IT HURTS! OR I’LL DO IT. GLADLY. I see it mangas too…so maybe is not just a korean thing…
    I think if I ever get grabbed by the wrist at a club I’ll probably just stomp on his feet, WITH MY HIGH HEELS.

    • Heh, not all of them are male. The most well known ( to me) drama writers are the two separate ‘ Hong Sisters’ writing team.

      One set ( Hong Mi Ran and Hong Jung Un) wrote stuff like ‘ Delightful Girl Choon Hyang’, ‘My Girl’ , ‘You’re Beautiful’, ‘Fantasy Couple’, ‘Hong Gil Dong’, ‘My Girlfriend is a Gumiho’, ‘Best Love / The Greatest Love’ and their last one was ‘Big’.

      The other Hong sister duo (Hong Jin Ah and Hong Ja Ram) wrote ‘King2Hearts’, ‘Beethoven Virus’ and ‘Over the Rainbow’.

    • People need to realize that it’s not men who are sexist, it’s the society. Like Natz said, most of the writters of drama or manhwa are female. They are just portraying the society in which they live. It’s the same thing with manga in Japan. You think only manga written by males have elements of sexism in it? No, comics are a mirror of the society, that’s why.

      It’s like you are implying that no women whatsoever ever perpetuated sexism traditions. That can’t be less true. If you witness that older males are more sexist than younger males you have to open your eyes to see that older women are also more sexist than younger women!

      You need to think that these sexist men have been reared by a woman too. Sorry, I really don’t now how to explain it. It’s just makes me sad to read stuff like that so often.

  55. this is completely 100% out of curiosity, but were there any kpop idols who treated Martina like this?

  56. I’ve been reading about Korea and the effect of Confucianism, and it’s something that seems really prevalent. As a woman hoping to move to Korea soon, I think the best thing to prepare is to expect it and follow the cultural norms, but not when they infringe on personal rights or safety. However, getting into full-blown fights over “normal” (for them) male-female relationships would probably just damage any relationships you may want to build.

    An unrelated question; At one point, when you did the TLDR on how you lost weight, you mentioned briefly cooking organically, etc. I cook organically and was wondering how difficult it is to find organic products, produce, and if they have farms that offer raw dairy products. Do you know the laws in Korea for selling raw dairy? What about farm co-ops? Is the produce grown regionally good quality, or do they use pesticides, waxing, and so on?

  57. Dear Simon and Martina,

    I am very glad that you guys have touched on this topic as it has a very annoying part in my day to day interaction with just about anything Korean. Its of the reason I have even stopped watching some of my drama’s because of the cliched poor woman and rich guy plot. Although it quite sad to say this but this topic is not limited Korea it is a very Eastern problem Unless you live in North America and or Europe you will run into this problem. Granted there are exceptions such as the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. I being a Filipino-Canadian can tell that in the Philippines having had 2 female presidents isn’t that sexist or patriarchal there still of course the Muslims in the south and some odd cases but if you live in the capital you should have no problem in fact most of the executive positions belong to women ! Now that I live in Vancouver all I can say is that chivalry is still very much alive here but if a woman says n she means no and pretty much sexism does bnot fly then of course there are the Muslims and Indians that are here but we all know its built in because of their religion. Well now that I think of it as long as you don’t date a freshly landed mainland China or Korean person you should have no problem ! As for the invisible Martina its cause the men are afraid to have any physical contact with you while your husband is there because usually in Asia if you touch someones wife while the husband is there its considered rude. Anyway done with my rant. talk to you guys next time I comment LOLS

  58. Martina I got ignored by an Asian male too!! I went to a Japanese restaurant with my boyfriend and our waiter was Japanese (i mean he was born in Japan). He only talked to my boyfriend and completely ignored my presence and everything I said! I felt like shit, but I know why they do this. By not looking at the “man’s woman”, (like women are somebody’s property) they are “respecting” the man or something like that. I hate this reactionary behaviours. I am from Argentina btw.

  59. I’m sorry for not being able to comment very often but I want you guys to know (if you read me) that I really support you and your projects (I am watching almost each of your videos in my – restricted – free time!) and mostly I am so THANKFUL to you both (oh and Suzy+Leigh too!!) for posting such videos because really someone has to share their point of view like you do to make a country like Korea develop more because it’s (only) from a foreigner’s pov that the world and Korea can acknowledge their differences, the good as the bad ones. So really, just a big THANK YOU. Love always ~

  60. Thank you Simon and Martina for talking about this! This is a really interesting subject to me because of my experiences at work(Lt./firefighter), traveling to Japan, and some of the unusual situations I’ve faced. Thank you fellow Nasties for keeping the conversation intelligent and respectful.
    Just yesterday I had a member of the public complain about “the woman” being on the scene and asked for me to leave, which caused my crew to smile.
    “‘The woman’ is the boss,” one replied. “She leaves, we all leave.”
    There are good people out there, just sometimes the bad ones are a little more vocal.

  61. Most informative and something I have always been curious in asking. Thank you for answering the question on Sexism, I’ll probably go read that blog post you plan to make or already made. I’ve had friends go study aboard and when they came back they only talked about things like going to music concerts, drinking, and clubbing. They didn’t really engage with the culture or outside of the campus life/area. They weren’t too interesting in anything non-kpop related and that’s why I like your TLDRs best! And the drama thing – I totally agree with Martina, although I think I was more like a Simon. And I can’t believe they didn’t shake Martina’s hand! Disrespectful! Although now I’m kind of interested in the older ladies perspective on sexism and how it felt to get certain privelges with being older. And I heard that kids without a parent or orphans tend to be bullied. Is this true?

  62. Seriously to all the people that say that the men didn’t shake Martina’s hand out of courtesy/politeness/respect are forgetting the fact that Martina extended her hand FIRST.

  63. Okay so I’m Korean-American and I recently visited Korea this past summer for a month. I can completely attest, from my and my travel group’s experience as a collective, that Korea leaves foreigners be/treats them well. My family there says that it’s because Korea wants to promote itself as a tourist attraction to people in Western culture, since Korea gets most of its tourists from Japan, China, and some from Russia.

    So we went to this festival where a bunch of Kpop groups were performing on different days and it turned out that BEAST was going to be having a min-concert while we were there! Obviously, we freaked out (BEAST is one of my favorite groups) and went to check it out (we actually didn’t know until the day of the performance). But we actually arrived at the concert later than we wanted to and there were NO SEATS/PLACES TO STAND at all. The only place was in the very back, and you literally could not see the stage since the section in front of you was standing. We were really upset and then I noticed that there was an emptier section way up front, though it was fenced off. We walked over in curiosity, and the security guard there told us in Korean that it was reserved for people who had pre-paid for those special seats. I accidentally responded in English, “Oh, so we can’t sit there?” and he immediately did a double take and let us in, without question! So we basically saw BEAST perform 6 songs for free! It was amazing.
    I was also treated very well while shopping in specialty stores, especially cosmetics stores. I remember in particular that when I went to innisfree, the two female reps there started whispering about my legs (which had been mosquito-bitten from visiting an island off the southern coast). They didn’t know that I understood what they were saying since I had been speaking in English with my friends the entire time. They then approached me and immediately started spritzing my legs with a soothing formula and when I answered to them in Korean, they were so shocked and embarrassed, lol. They proceeded to give me a lot of free samples, haha. I do think it’s partially because they want Korea to leave a good impression on Western foreigners.

    About the sexism issue, it has bothered me greatly since I was a kid. I really feel for Korean women because they feel pressured to always look pretty and, as you guys say, “done-up”, and I can see that this really hurts them. The thing is, I really love the way Korean women are in general: caring, modest, sweet, and conservative. It’s just that men sometimes make them take their “helpless femininity” level to the extreme. Korean men tend to feel entitled to having a pretty, perfect wife, which is why I have a hard time feeling attraction to a lot of Korean guys.
    The younger generation of guys are definitely getting better about respecting girls, but it’s nowhere near the level of the United States. Korean guys these days are also beginning to feel more pressured to dress well and clean up their look. It’s definitely a problem all around.
    Well, in my family, at least, the women are the ones in power. Haha!

    I really do love Korea. It just has flaws, just like every other country. I want to visit again soon.
    Hope I was helpful!
    P.S. You guys really helped me prepare to go to Korea with your videos, so thank you!

  64. Thanks for making this video, Martina. I really liked your editing. *shakes Martina’s hand and ignores Simon*

  65. Okay so I’m Korean American and I recently visited Korea in the summer. I can completely attest to the fact that Korea leaves foreigners alone/treats them really well. I was at a music festival with my Korean-American friend and BEAST was having a mini-concert. Obviously, we freaked out and checked it out (we had no idea until the day of the performance). We had gotten there later than I wanted, so I was upset that we wouldn’t find a good place to sit/stand.
    But there was a section towards the front of the stage that seemed to be strangely emptier than the rest of the place, so my friend and I walked there in curiosity. The security guard at the entrance started speaking to us in Korean (he was saying that it was a reserved, pre-paid area), so I replied, “Oh, so we’re not allowed to go in?” But because I answered in English (completely by accident), he let us in immediately! Without paying! Also, when I went shopping in Hongdae and Myongdong and Ewha (especially in cosmetic specialty stores), I was treated very well and given a lot of discounts/free stuff. At innisfree especially I remembered the reps there treating some mosquito bites they saw that I got from visiting an island off the southern coast of Korea.
    Later, my cousin (who lives in Korea) told me that Koreans treat foreigners really well to promote Korea as a tourist attraction. Most of their tourists are from China and Japan (and some from Russia), so they’re trying to expand to appeal to the Western world. Also, it was really funny to see when Koreans did a double take when an unsuspecting Korean spoke English. Although English is widely present in Seoul’s signs and shops, Koreans don’t actually get to see or hear people speak fluent English often.
    As for the sexism thing: overall, Korean women are extremely caring, modest, conservative, and sweet. I love them and I can see that the sexism there hurts them (they feel pressured to always look pretty and “done-up”). But, at least in my family, the women are the ones who are in charge in the family, lol. But I think that applies to most Korean families as well; once married, the couples usually loosen up and the woman really does have a lot of say in the relationship and everything else. I think it’s typically just the pre-marriage phase that is so ridiculously sexist sometimes.
    I still love Korea immensely. I really want to visit again soon. It’s a wonderful country with beautiful places, exquisite food, modern fashion, and amazing technology. It just has its flaws, just like any other country. Hope I was helpful!

  66. mekko

    A great Korean gender blog is http://thegrandnarrative.com/. It’s written by a professor at a Korean University, and covers many topics, from sexism to gender roles to body image.

    Thanks Martina!…..oh….and that dude that just works it for the camera.

  67. But government scientist Dr. Yamaka prove woman brain is size of squirrel’s.

  68. Suzy should of kick him in the nuts and be like “i dont know you!” BAM!!!

  69. I think about how it’s when woman has company on she’s own.. You know… Imagine that Simon is not there and all company belongs only to Martina. I’m curious… (I’m so curious YEAH!) what will be react of men from other companies.

    For independent woman it must be very hard to make business without man support.

  70. Hi Simon and Martina,

    I’m thinking about taking an intensive Korean class in Seoul this summer and was wondering if you two have or were thinking about taking a course in Korea, and which program you or others could recommend. It seems like just about every major university has a Korean Language Institute for foreigners and/or teaches classes on Korean culture in English – any advice on how to differentiate them? This also might be a good opportunity to bring up study abroad programs to Korea or other ways to come over here as a student, such as university exchanges, Fulbright, the Critical Language Scholarship, Boren, etc. Also I loved your video on Ewha University and hope you get the chance to do more in the future!

  71. You guys, your TL;DR videos are priceless… Seeriously! NOT saying that the rest of the videos aren’t (I watch all of them like a crazy nasty), it’s just that TL;DRs are kinda straight into the point about everyday life in Korea. And there was no other way for me to know all the things, and experiences, and behaviors you talk about. And I bet that there are many others like me that aren’t here just for the pretty Kpop boys and girls (no offence, I adore Kpop…..). I actually want to know this country….. ^_^

    As for the sexism issue, I hope Korea will evolve in time and Koreans will realise women are not shiny (not Shinee :P) products that you just place beside you…. And this is not only for Korea, but for most of the countries I guess, as “civilized” as they want to present themselves. Women are far from appreciated yet…. :( Fighting!!!!!!!!!

  72. Do forgive me, this is a bit of a long post. Rest assured though, I’m not just rambling (for the most part XD). This all has a point at the end. I appreciate anybody who takes the time to read and consider it ^^

    I must say, you guys did handle this pretty well, but I’m a bit disappointed that you made women out to be the only ones hurt by this type of setup, though I get why you did. I understand that you’ve mostly just been involved in the Korean professional scene, and that you were also raised in a highly feminist society, but I urge you to look at both sides of the matter. You are pretty open minded and intelligent people, so I imagine it’ll be fairly easy for you~ :)

    Believe it or not, Korea is actually much more equal for men and women than Canada is. By that I mean that in Korea, men and women are both similarly trapped in their gender roles, while in Canada it is primarily men who are still trapped, while women have been liberated for the most part.

    Did you think about what it meant when you said that Korean society was patrairchal? It definitely didn’t mean “women are sub-human” like some of the commenters here seem to think. Patriarchy is society run by men primarily for the benefit of women and children. Men go to war. Men go to the coal mines and hunt and plow the fields and go out on the fishing boats and etc.. Men run the companies and bring home the bacon. Men are the majority of politicians. Now, while some of these things mean that men get most of the glory, they also mean that if things go wrong men get most of the blame (and make up most of the casualties). It is as much a privilege as it is a burden for women to stay home and not work. For many modern women, it feels like they’re being shoved aside, but in the past women felt privileged (and often entitled) to be able to stay home, and men felt proud that they could provide enough so that women didn’t have to work. Also in the past (in the west at least), men were legally required to provide enough so that women did not have to work (and this applied to their widowed or single extended family and in-laws, not just their own wives and siblings).

    The expectation of women to keep quiet and keep their hands clean is directly related to the expectation of men to put their lives on the line and take the lead. Men do the dirty work, and women stay home and reap the benefits. Chivlary exists because it is seen as a man’s duty to make a woman’s life comfortable and to provide for her in every way imaginable. Women are also seen as “the fairer sex”, and thus should not even be expected to dirty their hands in the first place, but instead be adored and adorned. There is a text from the victorian era that states that men should be worked as though they are slaves and dirty beasts, and that even in poorer families, their wives should be covered in as many jewels and pretty things as they can afford. This was a general attitude. All women were to be treated as well as was humanly possible. (This is the attitude that allowed the feminist revolution to even exist, by the way. Feminism is the patron saint of the patriarchy, even though it labels it as evil XD).

    Women were also seen as having to bear an enormous burden by way of childbirth (which was a large part of the reason why they were to be treated with such respect and chivalry). It was very dangerous in the past due to the lack of medical advancement and general education about cleanliness. Babies also died a lot more frequently, so the average woman had to have many children just to see a few grow to have their own children. This took up a lot of their time and energy, so it was impractical for them to work.

    Because of this enormous responsibility that men were charged with (and often had to do by law), men earned a certain amount of respect and privilege in society. They were deemed the heads of their households, and had certain power over their families (such as receiving default custody if they divorced. One who is expected to provide for the chilren should also have the right to make all of the decisions regarding them. This changed with the rise of feminism, as feminists demanded that women be granted default custody even though their ex-husbands were still required to pay for the children). They had to provide equally for women and children alike, so women and children had similar status (and responsibilities) in certain aspects of society. Like his child, if a man’s wife broke a law, the man was punished for it. Similarly, if he became a victim of abuse at the hands of his wife, he was punished for it instead of her. Women were not legally or socially accountable for their wrongdoings, so over time it came to be believed that women COULD do no wrong. This is why in cases of murder and theft it is usually assumed by default that it was man who did it. This is why women are not taken seriously as aggressors and criminals, even now. And even now, laws exist that reflect this view of women as “weak” or “innocent”, such as the worldwide prevalance of laws stating that men and only men are capable of rape (though these laws tend to benefit women, since it makes their actions above the law so to speak).

    So anyway, wanting to work and take responsibility is not something that the majority women have always done and just recently had the opportunity for. The surge of women wanting to be professionals in recent history is due to three main factors. The first is the rise of jobs that are not physically demanding. Menial jobs that are not extremely physically demanding or risky, as well as jobs that require mental strength rather than physical, have been on the rise since the mid 1900s. Before that, professional women were limited to things like medicine (which was not very advanced, and was often considered “unclean” and thus “unsuitable” work for women) and teaching (which has been looked down upon in western society because knowledge and learning have long been seen as “unnecessary” things that mostly just the rich got to have). People considered child-rearing to be much more valuable than jobs like those, and women who chose the traditional path earned respect for it. Women’s “jobs” were taking care of the home, and it was demanding and rewarding work.

    The second factor is the ready availability of pre-cooked and pre-packaged food, as well as inventions such as dishwashers, laundry machines, vacuum cleaners, stain resistant clothing, detergents, soaps, and sooo much more. Taking care of the home was so easy compared to the past that women became bored (especially upper-class women who could also afford maids and babysitters to help out). Even in the 60s, my own grandmother would have to get up long before the crack of dawn once a week and make all of the bread for the week by hand. Now even if you live out in the country you can still just drive to the store and buy pre-baked bread, or buy a bread machine that does most of the work for you. It’s extremely easy to have something as simple as fresh bread every day, when before it was a lot of work just for a sandwich XD. That being said, they still preferred it to going out and working the fields and milling the grain (which men had to do without the fancy machines they have now, too). It was hard work for the women, but it wasn’t back-breaking like it was for the men.

    The third is tied in with the second a bit. As I mentioned before, it used to be very dangerous having children, and since medicine was not very advanced (which caused many babies to die :< ), women had to have a lot of children. As medicine started becoming more and more advanced, women could have 2 or 3 children and expect all or most of them to reach adulthood and have their own children. Childbirth had also become safer. These things resulted in a significantly lower portion of women's lives being taken up by pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing. As medicine improved, women also began living longer and longer compared to their husbands, who often died much younger as a result of dangerous jobs and societal duties. Older women had to rely on their children to provide for them financially, while they just sat around the house not doing much.

    These three factors happened around the same time. So, while women were getting more and more bored at home, they looked outside the home and saw that suddenly they could be earning money a lot easier than even their own parents did (and who doesn't love money, amirite? ;D). They thought "well, maybe I'll try having a part time job!". In the beginning, of course, they were discriminated against in the workplace, because this was not their "place". They were trying to leave behind their societal roles and pick up the roles of men, and this made a lot of people really uncomfortable. Things that had been thought of as "right" and "natural" for as long as anybody could remember were suddenly being challenged. Women in the west have been recognized as equals in the workplace for a long time now, but some people haven't forgotten how it was like in the beginning, and they think it's still like that (as evidenced by the prevalent "wage gap" myth, which I'll touch on briefly below).

    Recent studies in the west actually suggest that the lack of women in STEM fields (which make up most of the high paying jobs), for example, is due to the sheer amount of career options that women have. Men are still primarily burdened with traditionally "male" career paths, while women can choose from those, from traditionally "female" career paths, or to be homemakers. This results in a much lower concentration of women in certain fields (and thus results in women earning less money on average, even though they are paid the same for the same jobs). This is especially true for the dangerous jobs (which also tend to pay really well) that women have always had the choice (or obligation) to stay out of. Workplace deaths in western countries generally range from 95-100% male, but they pay extremely well, and men are still expected to be the primary bread winners, so they go after those jobs even though they don't technically have to.

    Similarly, women are still expected to be the primary homemakers, even though most women are working now. In the west, people have compensated by keeping their children in school and daycares for most of the day instead of raising them themselves (which has resulted in a lot of psychologically damaged children in the more recent generations, but I won't get into that here XD). In many eastern countries such as Korea, they have not compensated for the majority of women working, so women are often still expected to bear the brunt of the household responsibilities.

    Now take all of that and speed it up by a factor of at least 10. Koreans have been thrust into the modern world at breakneck speed, and have not had the time to adjust that the western world has (and the western world hasn't even adjusted that well, so you can imagine how much trouble Korea is having). Half a century ago most of Korea was very old fashioned and kind of impoverished. Patriarchal society was VITAL to its survival as a nation. Women NEEDED to be at home, and men NEEDED to be out risking their necks to provide. There was just no other choice.

    Because the change has happened so quickly, they're having a huge amount of trouble getting used to it. Suicide is an extremely big problem in Korea, as I'm sure you know, and one of the big factors in that is the disparity between generations. The difference in views from generation to generation is similar to the difference in views between me and my grandmother who kneaded bread by hand for hours and hours once a week (who is as old as most other people's great-grandmothers, mind you, so it's really like skipping two generations). The outside world is telling people that things should be a certain way, while tradition is telling them it should be another way. It's a confusing mish-mash of ideologies, and it's going to take a couple more generations for things to settle down, unfortunately. Add to that the fact that due to the global economy, most women actually NEED to work, and you're presented with even more problems. Problems like "who will take care of the children?" and "how will we survive without two incomes?" and "who is going to cook and clean, then?" and "who will take care of our parents when they get old?". They haven't quite figured out how to adjust to the crumbling gender roles that they love so dearly.

    As for smoking in public… Smoking is seen as dirty and disgusting, and very un-feminine. Across cultures, traditionally "feminine" has been seen by both men and women alike as the be-all-end-all for women (while traditionally "masculine" has been the same for men). In a society like Korea, where men and women are still bound fairly tightly by their gender roles, women doing something so un-feminine is seen almost as sinful; going against the very laws of nature. The same applies for men doing things that are un-manly though.

    Because of the influence of post-feminist western society, Korean women are slightly more free in their gender roles than men are (though they're still looked down on for it much more than in the west, as you've noticed). If you look at idols, for example, you never really see women trying to "prove" they're women (though I've seen some striving to be more feminine in order to gain public favor). Even if they're a bit less feminine than most female idols (like 2NE1), they're still reasonably well received. They're seen as "fresh" and "fierce" and "squirky" (though it's seen as "refreshing" and "endearing/reassuring" when they do something traditionally feminine). Men who are more feminine like Taemin or Jaejoong, though, have been seen frequently trying to "prove" that they are men or manly (though it seems Jaejoong has given up these days lol). Some of the only popular men in Korea that I've seen who are unafraid to be seen as "traitors" to their roles as men are GD and Heechul, who basically don't give any f**ks about anything, and we all know that Koreans have a very love/hate relationship with them XD. Their fans are frequently seen making the case for their "manliness" for them, though.

    Another interesting (though slightly unrelated) bit: Germany is the ONLY country in the world in which it is illegal to genitally mutilate male minors, but almost every country that feminism has touched has outlawed the same for females, even though there is a veritable mountain of evidence that the extreme majority of male circumcisions are actually considerably more damaging than the female counterpart. This is a prime example of the bodily integrity and importance that is awarded to women just for being alive in the modern world, and the need to "prove" themselves that is placed upon men even from birth.

    As for women being seen as okay to step outside of their gender role in the west while for men it's seen as very bad, feminists have attributed this to the hatred of femininity. What it ACTUALLY is, though, is the dependence upon the duties and responsibilities of the male gender role that people are unwilling to burden women with. Modern advancements have freed women of the role of "childbearer", but until society is fully automated, we will need the roles of "beast of burden" and "canon fodder" that men fill. This is also true in Korea, though the dynamic is slightly different due to the difference in culture and circumstances.

    So, looooong story short, when Korean businesspeople ignore Martina, they're not just saying "Martina is a woman and thus has no business being in business" (so much business lol). They're also saying "Simon is a man and it's his responsibility to handle everything". They look to Simon by default because it's his DUTY as a man to take charge. You both regard each other as equals (which is totally awesome), and wish to take equal responsibility and reward for the things you do, but to older Koreans (like the ones running most businesses) this is extremely strange. Martina is disrespecting Simon by trying to "horn in" on his "role" as a man, and Simon is disrespecting Martina by "letting" her.

    Sorry this was so long (it took me almost 4 hours to write and I barely scratched the surface LOL). I hope it gives you a bit of insight as to why things are the way they are when it comes to gender dynamics though~

    Keep fighting the good fight and doing what you love, and always remember that there are two sides to every coin! :)

    • “Believe it or not, Korea is actually much more equal for men and women than Canada is. By that I mean that in Korea, men and women are both similarly trapped in their gender roles, while in Canada it is primarily men who are still trapped, while women have been liberated for the most part.”

      I agree wholeheartedly (and I couldn’t not take the time to answer you seeing that you took the time to write all that!)

      BUT, it’s not because things are more ‘equal’ in South Korea that it’s intantly better than in Canada (for example, but I’m also Canadian). At least we women have it better. I would like for men to be equally freed of these gender roles but I still think it’s better that both being trapped.

      That said I don’t think you actually meant that it’s better in Korea, it’s just that I fail to see what you meant exactly.

      • I definitely didn’t mean that it’s better in Korea lol

        “Equal” doesn’t automatically mean “good”. Things can be equally terrible, or they can be equally great. As a species I hope we can finally work together to make a world that is equally great for everybody~ :)

  73. I had a similar situation as your friend did in Korea at her computer office place happen when I was working in Japan at a hotel restaurant. Basically one day the head manager told me to wear heels and handed me a pair. I was a buffet manager and had to carry huge boiling vats of steamed rice that were my arms width across slippery wet floors, but apparently making my legs look more appealing was more important than my safety… : /

  74. These sexist behaviour exists in other asian countries too,but looking at the brighter side it has improved a lot in the past few years.
    My own personal experience.I’m a student majoring in civil engineering.And in my country civil/construction field has always been considered a “man’s” job.This is because you need to go to field for survey and under different weather conditions like super hot day or rainy day we need to stand for hours to do these surveys.So its basically considered that girls are too weak and delicate to do this type of work!!
    So it happened on my first construction lab class,this really old and highly experienced professor,asked me why i chose civil engg as my major.I gave him my reasons,but i don’t think he heard me and instead “adviced” me that i should have taken IT or Computer science as my major as it is more suitable for girls.He actually said-”All you need to do is sit in AC rooms and no need for physical effort on the field”… :( . First day of lab and i was so disappointed,that too hearing such a thing from highly-educated and respected faculty member.But the good thing about this was before i could argue further my male classmates were arguing with the professor against what he said.So maybe its a good sign that even if the older generation has this stuck notion of gender hierachy,the youth of my country are much more acceptable about treating girls as equal.

  75. As in Korean dramas, are they still common arranged marriages? And there remains the matchmakers as before?

  76. I can kinda relate to Martina wanting to punch that guy when he said all the chicks had to wear makeup. My little sis has a Korean friend and we invited her family over to our house a couple of times. Well the korean dad told my mom that she wasn’t right for my dad because she doesn’t wear makeup and doesn’t wear nice clothes. Now you have no Idea how much this pissed me off!!!! Lucky him I wasn’t there to tell him off. 1st of all his wife doesn’t wear makeup and my parents are happily married!!!!! But don’t get me wrong I love Korean people they have amazing family values that I wish the US would adapt, And I love their music and tv shows. Also I can understand that he is from a different country and was brought up under different customs. But it really pissed me off that another person would say that to my mom. I mean why would another person no matter what ethnicity social standing gender or class they are from would ever even concieve the ridiculous assumption that my mom isn’t good enough for my dad the way she is? Maybe some men feel that their wife should always be pretty for them. But shouldn’t you just love someone for who they are disregarding thier physical characteristics and loving someone for who they ar as a person. I know everyone has heard this but liking someone only for their looks isn’t going to making a healthy relationship. It’s true substance over style people!!! Also If we didn’t have bodies and there was nothing to look at externally I don’t think we would judge so much. Because the only thing left would be who you are. So ya now you see how one irking remark from someone can make me go rant my mind out!!! Just thought I’d share :)

  77. Regarding Martina sometimes getting the invisible treatment, I think there are two reasons behind it. First one is obviously that there is this deeply rooted idea of a man as the head of family/organization. The guy takes care of the business (and his women), hence you deal the the guy. (And I don’t think this idea is exclusively Asian or Confucian concept. Same attitude used to be, and even in some cases still, prevalent in Western societies as well. Remember the SATC episode where Samantha was getting an apartment for herself?)

    The other reason, and I think this actually is far more applicable for physical meet and greets, is the rule of sexual segregation, which stems from Confucianism, but exists in somewhat altered version. Grown or married men are not supposed to physically interact with women who are not their family, and vice versa. So if a guy meets a couple, he would shake the husband’s hands, but it would be strange for him to offer to shake the wife’s hands as well (it could actually be seen as very rude and disrespectful to the husband to do so. After all, hand-holding is the first step of the “skinship”). Instead, he would just nod and bow to greet her (and he might even altogether ignore her until the husband formerly introduces his wife to him). Similarly, if a woman meets a couple, there would be no touching involved between her and the husband. And if a couple meets a couple, typically only guys shakes hands and women just nods to greet. Even if they are close, any kind of physical contact (handshaking, hugging, patting, etc) will be limited to between wives or husbands.

    Now, in a formal business setting, handshakes between a man and a woman do naturally occur, even if one or both of them are married. However, even in such cases, shaking hands of the other sex while the spouse is present can be a delicate thing, which I guess applies to you guise all the time since you work together. So even in professional meetings, guys will probably avoid shaking Martina’s hands and women won’t offer to shake Simon’s hands. In those situations, it would probably help if Simon introduces Martina to the guy to sort of set off (i.e. allow) the interaction.

    • Totally agree about the sexual segregation.
      In Korea, when you (a male) meet a married a couple, you’re not supposed to shake the wife’s hand.
      You shake hands with the husband, and just bow to greet the wife.

      In general, Korean men and women are not supposed to have physical contact.
      Even shaking hands is seen as “skinship”.
      K-pop fans will have noticed when K-pop idols meet with their Korean fans, if they’re of the opposite sex, they will just shake hands and not hug (which is a no-no).

      So no, Martina, don’t take it as disrespect when Korean men refuse to shake your hand.
      It’s not because they look down on women. It’s just really awkward for a Korean male to shake the wife’s hand in the presence of the husband, even in a business setting.
      It’s just culture.

  78. As a Korean, Korean Women are treat well compared to men (applies only on Koreans aged 20-40. The elders have some sexism due to Confucian.). After the introduction of “The Presidential Commission on Women’s Affairs”, idea of sexism created by Confucian in Korea slowly vanished. However, now the sexism is working inversely on young generations. KimShin MyungSook, the assemblywoman of The Presidential Commission on Women’s Affairs have made bad comments on soldiers(who are 99% men) and have created term ‘reverse sexism’ in Korea. In conclusion, the young generation of Korea is suffering from reverse sexism. I hope foreigners will know about the crazy feminism in Korea also.

  79. One note about the club-grabbing-pulling thing. With certain types of clubs… girls will actually walk by, expecting and wanting to be dragged in. It’s a two-way street. I’m not saying this makes it OK, but here’s why, from what my crazy progressive Korean friend told me:

    Girls want to go to clubs.
    Girls think actually walking into a club of their own volition makes them look slutty.
    Bouncers know both of those things. Girls know both of those things.
    When they are grabbed/pulled in, they get to both go to the club, but fake like they are reluctant and therefore not slutty.

    The whole thing is still pretty awful (why can’t we just NOT label anyone slutty or judge someone for walking into a club?) but sometimes the girl grabbed DOES want to go in. Just a note.

    • The wrist-grabbing and pulling into the club thing is strange but the other side of the story is even weirder!!! But thank you for explaining though.And i can somewhat understand the situation.
      I know its totally unrelated situation but just an example from my own culture.When your invited for lunch/dinner to someplace,after the first serving the host tries to serve you second servings,and even if you want to take it,your supposed to hold your hand over your plate and refuse it atleast three times before taking the food. Your supposed to do so to show your not a glutton or greedy! i always felt that’s a weird thing to do,but that’s how it is.

  80. Can I just say that I really appreciate everyone commenting at the moment? It’s like a whole other world here compared to the comments on Youtube. So much cussing and rude remarks… I love coming here instead and reading comments, because everyone respects each person’s opinions, and the discussion is more… sophisticated, if you will.

    On another note, I just wrote a paper discussing the roles of the two main females in Hamlet, and how they weren’t even able to have their own identity, because they were controlled by the men. Even in the 1600s it was apparent that men did not treat women as their equals. Queen Gertrude should’ve had as much power as King Claudius, since they were both rulers and of high status, but Claudius used Gertrude instead, and she was unable to break free from the overwhelming power of him and other male characters. I don’t even want to talk about how docile and submissive Ophelia was… Anyways, my point is that people, or at least Shakespeare, must have been aware of the gender roles in the society of the 1600s, because how else would these issues be written into a play? I find it rather depressing that it’s been hundreds of years since then, and there is still inequality among men and women around the world.

    • That’s why we maintain this site. YouTube comments can get out of hand, but the Nasties here are so respectful and insightful, and – to us – often contribute ideas of greater value than what we express in the videos themselves. There’s such a great community here :D

      • thisisjustforfunval

        I’ve given up reading comments anywhere else but here. This, in my opinion, is the real residence of the Nasties! It is our comfortable little home where we can all communicate with each other but more specifically you guys. And it appears most people respect it as such and really don’t let others disrespect anyone on here. Plus your administrators do an awesome job cleaning house ;)

        • ;_; Thanks for the compliment. Made me feel all schmoopy inside. I agree that people on the site tend to be a lot more respectful. They can often even usually disagree without name calling. And when they don’t we remind them of our guidelines.

          Be Respectful
          Do Not Spam
          Stay on Topic
          Mods are Watching.

          And then there is the almighty ban hammer. :-). Cari, Fuuko and I save that for the bad days.

    • Speaking of shakespeare,The female chracters in the play “Macbeth”,didn’t even get names!! Macbeth’s wife was Lady Macbeth and MacDuff’s wife was Lady MacDuff!
      I did the play back in high school,and i can’t remember the details but this thing always bothered me.Or am i missing something here?

  81. Hey Simon and Martina. I’m a Korean girl and I’m appalled by your story about those bouncers who drag in pretty girls to their clubs. Wow really that happens? I’m just fresh out of the deathtrap called KSAT and didn’t have opportunity to actually see that happening. I’m very sensitive about the topic though. Whenever my father takes a too despotic stand to my mother, to me and my sister, I try to understand him because he is from the older generation. But whenever he says “women are supposed to….” I can’t stop myself from intruding and say stuffs like “Why are WOMEN supposed to do THAT?” Hopefully there have been much change in the perspective, but again, I have very little experience on that area.

    • Right! Are the girls able to leave the bar easily, are are they just dragged in and raped. Are they “pretend” pulled in, because a “good girl” would never enter those kind of bars on their own accord, but they actually really want to be there? What the hell is actually going on?

  82. The few times that I’ve been in Korea, I can’t say that I’ve seen a lot of sexism, but I have seen a little bit. My family and I were walking down the street in Busan and there was this guy who was obnoxiously yelling at his (what I could only assume to be) his girlfriend. When I say yelling, I don’t mean over the top “American” yelling… it’s like that harsh voice yell that some Koreans do. Yes, it was still obnoxious. Anyway, I looked at him just because what he was doing caught my attention. He looks back at me, grabs the girls arm and drags her back, like four feet. Man-handle, much? He looks at me again (because his sudden reaction had drawn my attention even more- way to go, dude) and then whispers to the girl he just rudely grabbed.

  83. Great video, addressing one of the most important problems in Korean society. A couple of notes from an Asian Studies major. I really don’t think enough people know how conservative Korea is. Seriously, it is uber-conservative. A bastion of conservatism in a rapidly changing Asia. On the subject of Park Geun Hye, I really don’t think she’ll change much. If you know a little bit about Korean politics, you might know that there has only been one really left-wing for-change president (Kim Dae-jung). Geun Hye comes from the centre-right party- I don’t think she’s much for change.

  84. I’ve studied sexism in college and some of the trends that help to improve gender neutralization are having women in higher positions in businesses and politics so having a female president in Korea give huge potential for change. The action of making that change is the hard part but with women in higher positions of power, more gender discrimination can be rid of.

    I’ve experienced a lot of gender discrimination myself in Korea but have had surprisingly nonsexist moments too. I remember when I first arrived at my school, they decided to move my office to a different floor. I started packing up and helping move the furniture when I was told “NO! The men will move the furniture.” Seriously? Just as stronger or stronger than most of the men at my school but I obliged and watched them move my office. There have been other occurrences like this and when I tried to do things myself, I always get comments like “you’re so strong” which I know Korean women don’t appreciate here because they normally want to be seen as weak and feminine. Strength is a very male trait.

    On the flip side, I’ve been out to drinks with male coworkers and I was basically treated like a guy. Everyone poured drinks and they didn’t expect me to pour the drinks or serve food. Then again, I’m obviously a foreigner and the only girl there. The other female workers at my school normally don’t go out for drinks or drink that much. Maybe they don’t like going because of the expectations from the men to pour drinks and such. I’m definitely an acception.

  85. To be honest, the only western country with the most stringent anti-discrimination laws is Canada. So in terms of sexism and other discriminatory issues, Canada would win (from a legal perspective).

    Every other Western country still holds on to legal technicalities when addressing issues such as discrimination in the workplace and rape and sexual assault. An example of this can be seen in New York -the definition of rape is strictly limited to vaginal penetration. A woman was raped in other intrusive ways by a police officer and despite the overwhelming evidence against him – he was convicted of sexual assault. Sure, the prison sentence was in her favour – but the fact that socially and legally the definition of rape is so constrained doesn’t help the continued cycle of sexism and oppression for women.

    Its interesting to realise that in New York, where they have legalised gay marriage and are considered to be liberal, women are still let down by the legal system.

    PS. Simon and Martina – LOVE the fact that you discuss serious issues in your TL;DR :) – BTW, if you did decide to make a 30 minute video, there would be a audience for it…just sayin’…

    :) xo

  86. Just for the handshaking, I think a bit differently. (I’m Korean) I agree that many people really do consider the husband to be in charge of business when working with a married couple, but handshaking might be just about physical contact. Traditionally, we used to say that male and female are different, and therefore shouldn’t sit together. Of course nobody does that now, but if you see through the sexism, it also has the meaning of being cautious of unnecessary contact between girl/boy & man/woman. And in the case of a married couple, handshaking between another man and the wife might bring up ‘unnecessary misapprehensions’. I’m saying “might”, not “will”. I agree that a husband or boyfriend who thinks it bad for his wife/gf to shake hands with another man is very sexist, but avoiding physical contact from the side of “the other man” might have been a gesture of politeness. It’s not a good tradition, but I’d say there’s no need of taking offense.

  87. It is a very complex issue, and people who are negatively commenting on your observation really need to take a chill pill rather than be high and mighty. I think this kind of treatment of women in the Eastern hemisphere is prevalent. From experience, one of the reasons I was never asked out by my own race is because I’m too straightforward, and that intimidated them (or so I was told). I think sexism still exists all over the world, but it is most visible in Asian countries. Western countries are more passive-aggressive, in my honest opinion.

    Kudos to you, Martina, for being more patient. I don’t think I’d be as understanding. :-)

  88. Oh geez, dramas and the girl main characters. .__. How they can make a strong woman go to a sudden wimp amazes me.
    Soo Zee’s idea is brilliant. It reminds me of this time, although it’s not too similar, when I was around 6, my dad and I were on a walk. Two Caucasian women were talking to each other really loudly making racist comments about Asians, assuming that we wouldn’t be able to understand them. Then I just started talking to my dad in English casually. Stereotypes…. e.o
    Anyways, back to sexism. Thanks for the TLDR about this. It was really interesting to hear about what it’s like in Korea. ^_^

  89. If you want to see the gender tables turned in a Korean drama, you should watch My Girlfriend Is A Nine-Tailed Fox! It’s pretty great how a ton of those stereotypes (the man dragging the woman around, the woman not being interested in sex) are reversed. And it’s just a fun drama all around.

  90. Sandra Darling

    A few years ago, I was in Korea for about a month and had an experience with these club bouncers. My friend and I were walking around a part of Seoul and unknowingly walked down a street full of clubs. Now I have to say that both of us are white, and my friend is like super model attractive, tall and blonde. As we were walking down the street, we saw all these guys in suits with like secret agent earpieces walking around. We had no idea why and just thought it was weird. But then a couple of the guys come to us and ask us to come and dance in their club. We smile and say that we can’t. And then one of the guys grabs my friend and starts to pull her into the club. Me being the older one (she was only 16 and I was 22) and having now idea why these strange guys are taking her, I like freak out and grab her arm. I tell them very clearly no, and pull her away. As we were leaving the street, other bouncers moved toward us, but I just glared at them and we kept walking. I have to say that we were pretty freaked out about it afterwards.
    Maybe they only went after my friend, who was clearly foreign, because she was so attractive? Or maybe they were weird bouncers? Because most of everyone else’s experience is that they leave foreigners alone, but the definitely did not leave my friend alone.

  91. The club thing is just weird but I think there could be an explanation for the dragging by the wrist thing. Being chinese, I feel uncomfortable like being close to/holding a guy’s hand. Holding hands is limited only for couples so a guy would not dare to unless he has the right or he is prepared to declare a relationship with that person. I heard my jap friend doesn’t even hold her bf’s hand cus it’s considered PDA in japan. And it’s apparently not welcomed. So I guess when he wants to say he likes a girl and wants her out of whatever place he drags her by the wrist. I have had guy friends who pulled me gently by my clothes just to avoid touching me. It’s not called sexism it’s called drawing a line/distance and sometimes even respect.

    I do know you should pour drinks for people above you in status and you shouldn’t pour drinks for yourself cus you will be solo for 3 years if you do so the women pouring drinks for guys thing is definitely a sexist thing.

    The manager should pay his staff if he expects them to spend money on things like make up and dresses. But if I were a boss I’d hire a pretty girl to do menial/admin/tasks that anybody can do. I’ve seen how a pretty girl brightens up the atmosphere and motivates people to go to work. And believe it or not, it works for both guys and heterosexual girls.

  92. Celes

    I love you both, dont pay attention to harmful comments, pay attention to me n_n *yeiiiiiiiiiiiiii* … I personally like that you also include this kind of topics in your videos, afterall you are introducing to us a whole new culture, so thank you thank you ! *hugs*

  93. Martina, I’ve had that same experience, where men talk over me to my guy friend like i wasn’t even there. (I’m in the US)

    I’ve had it happen from a car salesman and a mechanic.

    Me: Hi! I’m looking to buy a new car.

    Car Salesman: (stepping past me to speak to my friend and shake his hand) Hello Sir! I’m sure I have just the car you came to purchase.

    friends response: Um.. (points to me) She’s the one buying, not me.

    Car Salesman: (still talking to my male friend) What price range were you thinking about?

    Me: None, we’re leaving.

    FOUR out of the six dealerships we went to did this to varying degrees. It sucked… lets not even replay the mechanic episode.. yes I know what a carburetor is AND I even know how to use a spark plug gap tool, I have changed the oil and tires by myself before too. Apparently this is not supposed to be possible for girls with blonde hair, longish nails, and squeaky voices.

  94. are you sure its not just because you are married??????? that’s what it seems like to me for the part of they don’t talk to you but then again i’m not a genius.

  95. *affect, not effect. Just saying.
    Anyway, back on topic, it’s generally really sad to hear the disparity between the rights of men and women and I really hope that it’ll change in the near future. I’m not really sure about the customs in other countries but I’m more familiar with that of Australia. Yes we have a female prime minister but her contribution to the welling being of the country is just as bad, or even worse, compared to the previous male prime minister. Gender equality isn’t going anywhere, neither are any of the previous issues concerning the country economics or social sector.

  96. *******Don’t forget South Korea has chosen their first female president Park Geun-hye, this might be a symbol of change.***********************************************************************************************************************************

  97. kawaii_candie

    ooooh, this was very interesting!

  98. I read two books that shed some light on the sexism thing in Korea. They talk in depth about the beliefs that Koreans have, and why it affects the way they behave, also one of the books describes American beliefs as a general population and why it affects the way we behave, and the ways our beliefs can affect the way we interact with Koreans. the books are: Title:CultureShock! a survival guide to customs and etiquette. Korea / Sonja Vegdahl, Ben Seunghwa HurAuthor:Vegdahl, Sonja Bernice.Publisher:Marshall Cavendish Editions,Pub date:2008.Pages:ix, 262, [16] p. of plates :ISBN:9780761454892 and Title: Learning to think Korean : a guide to living and working in Korea Author: Kohls, L. Robert. Publisher:Intercultural Press, Pub date:c2001.Pages:p. cm .ISBN:1877864870
    Confucianism is discussed so people will understand the belief system. these books helped me understand better. They are written more for people who are going to do buisiness there, but they will work for anyone wanting to visit also. I found these at my library, so you don’t have to purchase them.

  99. sexism is the reason my parents do not want me to go to S.Korea…. I have been trying to pretend it wasn’t that bad, but the research I have been doing lately has been eye opening…. The income gap between men and women is enormous (one source- it was an academic paper too- said that women made 38% of what men did in the same profession) and there are huge problems with prostitution (another paper saying that nearly 1 in 5 out of Korean males in their 20s goes to a brothel once a month)
    I just don’t want to lose faith in the country my current life goals circle around… :S I want to help, but i don’t know how to, considering that i am a foreigner…

  100. http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2013/03/116_132327.html

    Even if you’re not interested in politics, this is a quick article about a decree Park Eun Hae is passing to address “overexposure” of girls.(I’m assuming the hot pants and mini-mini skirts) Anyway, it may seem that her policies are counterproductive towards women’s freedom and rights.

    On the note of staff dinners, at least at my school, everyone is pouring shots of soju for everyone. More so if they are new teachers or if they are leaving the school but usually the principal wants everyone to be having a good time.

    On a separate note, I have lived in the US, Europe and Northern Africa and now Korea for over one year and the only place I have been a recipient of sexual harassment was here in Korea. I actually was followed home by some early 30s businessman, who asked if I had a boyfriend and if he was waiting for me. Even when I responded yes and yes he pushed the subject and said he “wants sex with foreigner,” because you know, the foreigners go around sleeping with everyone, duh! I kept telling him to leave but didn’t want to go into my building because I felt uncomfortable with him knowing where I lived. I kept walking trying to find an open store but couldn’t find anything, it was 4am. Finally he grabbed me and tried to kiss me, so I stomped on his foot and kneed him in the groin and started yelling. Finally he said he would go his own way. I ran the other direction and hid in an alley, only to look out to see him trying to find me again. I ran the entire way home. It would be in his best interest to never run into me again.

    Again this is not the average Korean guy, but situations slightly less serious than this happen all the time to me and my friends. Korean guys assume all foreign girls sleep around and they get pissed when you’re not.

    Another thing you could look into is prostitution in Korea. That may give you more of an idea of women in this society. It’s estimated that 80% of Korean men will visit a brothel at one point in their life, in fact it is considered an initiation into manhood. A prostitute is a typical gift from a group of young men to a friend for his birthday. Its also not surprising that many married men will also visit sex workers and take diseases back to their wives. Here’s a blog about the mindset about a Korean in denial of these facts.


    • I’ll tell you one more thing, on college campuses, many Korean-American female students are stalked by their korean-American ex boyfriends. They send harassing texts, even chase them with weapons, follow them everywhere, threaten suicide if they start dating someone else or don’t respond, or try to rape them. It’s really scary and I’ve never seen this addressed ANYWHERE. The male behavior is really crazy. Mostly because “good girls” don’t date in college – you just magically somehow get married before 28 years old. THere are definitely Korean-American male rapists who prey on Korean-American females, knowing that the woman would never report it because HER reputation would be ruined. I really applaud these women overseas who stand up to their rapists because they’ve had it, it’s a courage few Korean-American women possess.

    When I was 16 I was walking around in New Orleans with my best friend and both of our moms. I had gotten a little bit away from our group for some reason, and this half-drunk forty-something guy reaches out and grabs me by the wrist and says, “Hey baby, come buy me a beer.”
    (Verbatim quote, IsweartoGod.)
    Now, I was really, really shy as a teenager. I would get too embarrassed to speak if someone even flirted nicely with me. But when that guy grabbed me, I had this full-body attack of Hulk Smash, and I turned on the guy like, “RRRAAARRRR MOTHERF%!#ER IF YOU DON’T LET GO OF ME I’MA KICK YOUR BALLS UP INTO THE BACK OF YOUR THROAT YOU-” etc. etc.
    After he ran into the nearest bar, my mom came over to me and said, “I’m so proud of you. I took a picture.”
    I would give anything to see a scene like that play out in a K-drama. *sigh*

    • Hahah! That image just made me laugh ( silently as I am hoarse) but way to go for all the shy girls!

      • LOL glad it made you silent-laugh, if you’re too hoarse to make any noise it sounds like you could use a smile. :) I wish I could find that picture my mom took, she caught the guy’s freaked-out look perfectly.

        (Sorry for the delay in responding to you! I swear, I’m the most technologically-stupid Millennial in the world. Or, from a more positive perspective, I’m a one-woman crusade against my generation’s stereotype. XD)

  102. Although i am a little surprised about this, i’m not completely shaken. I still do see some bias, I’m also noticing a bit of change, especially in the newer dramas and stuff that I watch; I don’t know maybe it’s just me but…Also people need to remember (before they start flipping sh***) it IS a different system over there, though I am NOT agreeing with some of the behavior (the way they wouldn’t interact with Martina, pulling girls into clubs is kind of…terrifying, and the whole “YOU MUST BE BEAUTIFUL FOR WORK!” thing was just, eww), I.m guessing its kind of the norm over there; it probably sounds really odd to us because we (north american’s) are more used to the “I don’t need a man-I don’t need a man!” kind of strong, independent, girls.
    Interesting topic! thanks for the video! <3 from Canada

  103. Oooh…sexism is such a hard topic to try and discuss properly in any situation. Major kudos to Simon and Martina for braving this subject and treating it with their usual combination of appropriately awkward humour and objectiveness. You guys always manage to present even the more dubious parts of Korean culture in a fairer light, and I really hope there aren’t any idiots who’re going to jump on the whole sexism thing as being a ripe reason to get absurdly offended, just because they can.

    As for experiencing sexism in Korea as a Korean woman, I can’t give a completely comprehensive answer since I grew up mostly in the UK before coming here a few months back, but there are a few things I have observed in the time I’ve been here. And being wholly Korean in appearance makes me the perfect undercover Korea culture investigator – at least until I open my mouth and reveal that I’m not completely fluent in the language. But the culture feels strangely familiar to me, even though I haven’t had much time to immerse myself in it, and I have a mixed reaction to the kind of sexism that seems common here.

    Yes, there are definite instances of gender disparity and even discrimination of sorts, but like Simon and Martina said in their blog post, it’s got a lot to do with the traditional Confucian values that Korea’s more recent culture is grounded in. And while it can be difficult at times going from someone who had the freedom to do and wear what they wanted (as a woman in the West) to trying to blend in with the Korean female population here, I have less and less reason to make comparisons, especially negative ones, as time passes. Sure, Korean men of older generations and in certain situations will treat you as invisible when engaging in important discussions, etc. but I think that a lot of the time they’re not making a conscious effort to try and exclude and discriminate against you. It’s just a part of the etiquette system they’re used to. A bit like letting ladies go first and holding open doors, but not quite as easily justifiable or agreeable according to Western standards. But do you know what? It doesn’t really offend me anymore because I know that they’re probably just doing it out of habit and not because they want to be rude or misogynistic. It doesn’t make sexism okay or acceptable, but I think it’s too easy to judge Korea against typically Western values and misunderstand and misrepresent it. Once I stopped trying to insist on my Western identity, I stopped getting offended. It’s a lot easier now, just going with the flow and accepting that for many of the older generations here, there’s a certain social hierarchy thing that means there are some occasions where you’re not expected to loudly proclaim your opinions or engage in discussions with your elders unless you’re specifically expected or invited to do so. And that’s actually okay. You can just chill out and listen to some older people rant about their pet peeves, and they’ll secretly respect you for respecting them even though they’re being wildly politically incorrect. Because Koreans are too honest to lie about their real opinions and pretend to go along with something just because it’s been deemed too offensive by society or the state. Hence continued racism and other -isms that are generally considered to be negative.

    On the plus side, all this respecting people’s different roles in the social hierarchy means that most of the younger guys in the initial stages of getting to know you (woman/girl/female) treat you with a kind of politeness and consideration that is surprisingly less common in Western culture where respecting women is supposedly an official thing. They can be shockingly gentlemanly – or shy, depending on your PoV – (unless they’re in a drama playing the spoilt, rich chaebol brat), which makes a nice change of pace and makes you feel like they’re seeing you as an actual person and not just your gender/sex.

    Okay, essay over. Sorry for going off on one. Guess I had more thoughts on Korean society than I expected. And of course, this all is simply my own opinion. I make no claim on the factuality of this piece, so don’t take it TOO seriously. ^^

    • I like what you said here about listening to the older people and their views ( even if their views obviously don’t measure up to yours. Coming from a small country I have seen how our people adopt ideas from larger countries en masse and don’t consider how drastically we are changing our own culture to another countries’. Tings need to change yes, but lots of wisdom can be gained from looking back at the past values and seeing what things are worthy of keeping.

      In the past, my country was known as one of the nicest, cleanest and safest places to visit. Now we are running into trouble with people who don’t have respect for anyone; themselves, their surroundings or elders and who see no problem with coming onto a school compound and cursing at their children or even at a teacher. That is one thing I think we need to get back to. Alas, materialism and entitlement culture has started to worm it’s way into our national psyche.

      So as much as sometimes things that the older people say make me want to roll my eyes, I look at the essence of what they are saying e.g. an older person saying ‘Dem wan gine church’ = we need to focus on morals and values.

  104. I instantly thought of this video when I watched your video. It sounds funny at the beginning, but trust me it’s relevant:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag4C0MFRnmE

  105. I think that sexism is kind of something that a lot of Westerners in this day and age find appalling when they go to Asia or a place similarly. In Thailand, I know that Thai Airlines actually screens their air hostesses by their looks and height. I know this isn’t the most extreme case. The other day, I was watching a performance that was done in the style of Kabuki, or Japanese theatre. It took place in feudal Japan, a man wanted to visit a prostitute but his wife wouldn’t allow him to. Long story short, he coaxes his wife into believing he’ll be meditating for one night and runs off to the brothel. When he comes back in drunk, he calls his wife “the old hag” and there were also some other underlying sexist themes. Now this was a competition and some people actually disliked the show because of it’s sexist themes. This was done in the US. In my defense, I believed it was incredibly ignorant and narrow-minded of them to view it in this light without looking at the big picture. The performance was done without a hitch and the acting was superb, but they were tripped up because of some sexist themes. There is definitely a lack of diversity or exposure to culture here. I know that not everyone is like this here, but many people do fall into that category, unfortunately.

  106. Well, I worked as a barista in New Zealand and as I was reading through my contract for a second job, I saw a clause ONLY for the women that we had to “take care of ourselves” and wear make-up every shift. That was part of why the rich business men chose this particular cafe’ to frequent………surprising, to say the least.

    In Korea I haven’t experienced sexism apart from my status as a foreign woman. In my school environment I have had a few male teachers tell me I am “sexy” or try to touch me (not necessarily inappropriately, but I don’t accept touching like that from men) but after standing my ground for a while they no longer do this. HOWEVER, outside of my job as a ‘foreign chick’, let the good-sexist-time roll! Constant staring, attempted touching, ALL THE TIME being asked if I am a prostitute, these things are very hard to deal with sometimes. But it’s not just men! A good example of the indecency of this: being ostracized in my local gym by a bunch of women who simply assumed I was a whore, until the owner told them I was their kids’ English teacher. Is it sexism? Or is it double sexism (from men and women?)

  107. Don’t kill me for this, but girls have better flexibility while boys have better strength. Both genders have their weaknesses and strengths and honestly, I think that’s the reason why we are both made to be equals. So girls suck at strength and boys suck at flexing, but it should all depend on the person itself. So it doesn’t matter which gender you are, it all depends on how much skills, experience, intellegince, ect. the person learned that may make them better than another person

  108. There’s no doubt that sexism exists, however, I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem. I mean Martina is a Western woman, where women enjoy perhaps even more power than men when it comes to court cases and treatment in public. So when somebody doesn’t take her seriously simply because she’s a woman, it’s a pretty big insult. But Korean women tend to be submissive and they look for a strong wealthy dude who do things for them. It’s normal, and I don’t think it’s truly a bad aspect of their society. The woman’s job is to look pretty, and I think many Korean women feel just fine having that job. Likewise, many men are just fine making lots of money and hoping to attract one of the pretty girls

  109. This is such an interesting topic. I wish you guys talked more about this. Just like loving a person, when loving a country, you need to love the good, the bad, and the ugly. (No reference to the movie intended.)

  110. Thanks. EYK, for this video. I always wondered about this as well, because I have experience it here in so. California…and I’m white. It is interesting to here your experiences as well..ha, at least I know now that it is not personal!
    Side note – why do there always have to be haters? Never trust the comments of someone who is only a ‘guest’, :P

  111. Like in GO AWAY by 2NE1.

  112. I know this might not sound relevant to today’s topic, but I just wonder why there arent that much support for female artists in EYK( actually in general). Sometimes I get frustrated when girl fans only support boy groups instead of their own gender. I know it’s not a big deal they like what they like. But sometimes I wonder about that and because of that I think many girl groups don’t earn as much money as boy groups do.

    • Marina Boschini

      Because most of the fangirls don’t give a crap about talent or musical quality, they just want eye candy. :P

    • It took me a really long time to get into girl groups because a lot of them really seem to play up a cute/innocent/overly-girly image that feels wrong to me. it took me a really long time to like Gee, for instance. 2NE1 is the exclusion, obviously (there are others as well, I know). Now I can appreciate whatever “concept” they’re going for at the moment, although that overly romanticized dolly-innocent thing still irks me, unless it’s played up/exaggerated to the point of being borderline ironic (Orange Caramel!).

    • “Instead of their own gender”. You make it sound like we should be supporting our own gender more so than the opposite, why do we need to take a side at all? But I think I see where you’re a coming from; you’re talking about those fans that don’t even give girl groups a chance, which is plain unfair.

      I think the bias for female fans to support boy groups partly has to do with eye candy, and generally female fans falling in love with male idols and madly supporting them. But I just also think that many people prefer to listen to the opposite gender. I prefer to listen to a male’s voice than a female’s voice when it comes to music, while most of my male friend’s prefer a female’s voice to a male’s. Of course that’s just my experience.

      As for males dominating the EYK charts, besides eye candy and voice preference I also agree with what Riley Kent mentioned, that the whole cute/innocent/girly image probably turns some people off.

      • Yes I understand the cute image being a turn off….it is a turn off for me too, but there are girl groups that are fierce and cool like glam, evol 2ne1 and some female artists you know….but what I’m saying is that girl fans don’t give female artists a chance and that sucks…most of the time they listen to boy groups because of their looks than their talent ( not saying that happens all the time) cuz I know some boy groups are talented.

  113. I really like your disclaimers! haha. They kind of help to clarify that you are also aware of all the great things about Korea but are willing to talk about the bad too without totally damning the whole country.

  114. In japanese Mangas there’s a lot of scenes where there is a pervert on the train or in a random street and the girls just stands there being harrased neither running away or telling off the guy(seen it I.R.L as well, seriously, there’s a lot of innocent “Puppies” here just waiting to be rescued rather then helping themselves). My experience with Japan compared to Korea is that Korean women have more guts. Been living in Japan for 6 months already and because Japanese men knows that Foreign girls should not be messed with I haven’t had any unconfortable happenings yet. I also believe that it is easier for foreign girls to try and be eaqual (in language, dresscode and way of acting) in Japan(and maybe also Korea?) because the japanese knows that it’s our Culture.
    Just my experience of it~ (in the view of the Harrasing way of sexism)

  115. About the female president, not really, unless she does a good job. In my country we have a female president but she has only worsened our situation. Of course, every one says it’s ’cause she’s female, not her party’s values, which is extremely superficial. I was so surprised when I heard the stats. At least half of the population will not vote for a female president again, regardless of affiliation, according to a news survey. (I can’t remember the exact stats). Yet I’m sure many would be voting for the same party with a male candidate.
    All this situation made my grandfather (which I would expect of him since he’s extremely stereotyped and sexist) affirm that there are “women jobs” and “men jobs”. No amount of reasoning would change his mind. For example, Hitler. Other male presidents. There are the good ones, there are the bad ones, for BOTH genders.
    It just makes me so angry. I recently took up baking and I hate it every time he enters the kitchen while I do so. I feel like he expects me to do it because of my gender. I don’t want to stop baking just to prove him wrong though, but I didn’t talk to him for a while after he told me “how pretty you look cooking”.
    And there, I vented my anger now. ^^’

  116. Seeing as you had a terrible experience at a school is worrying because I’ve applied to teach there and I’ll be there alone… coupled with the fact that my parents are terrified I’m going to get myself raped and/or killed (fear not unfounded since I’ve had a couple unnerving experiences in other parts of Asia). You said there is virtually no crime (read: theft) but I’m a little dubious. Any advice on how I can protect myself, in the workplace and physically?

    Also, a ‘scandal’ involving a rape case has recently caught my attention; people were blaming the woman victim for being a gold digger because the other party is a famous celebrity, before there was any evidence. What the actual f*ck.

    • Hi Annie! I am a teacher here in South Korea. I am actually in Gyeongsangbuk-do, which is a south-east province in Korea. I moved here by myself as well. There is a great, well-connected community of foreign teachers here. There are many facebook groups you can use to connect. Each year there is a large incoming group of new teachers from all over, in August and February. So there are always many new people to meet, and the teachers that stay longer are very helpful with any concerns or problems you may have. I have had zero issues with physical harassment in the workplace. Since you are a foreigner, many Koreans will be scared to even approach you because of the language barrier. However, the missionaries are not deterred at all.

  117. Art can mirror a society or art can change a society. As long as Korean Dramas and Kpop MV’s mirror the current culture, it will be accepted. But those artists who show that Korean women are much more than just an accessory to Korean men are helping to change that view.

  118. I liked this Tldr :) because that is actually a very common discussion between people who like korea (and are not korean). Geat job Simon & Martina :D

  119. Some stories from Japan: An acquaintance of mine is a Canadian biochemical engineer who often travels to other countries for work. She speaks Japanese fluently and has worked there off and on for the last ten years, but hates doing it because of the sexism. One example is when a male co-worker told her with all seriousness that she should go to the gym more often because she’s getting fat. She’s one of the thinnest people I know… A Japanese friend of mine had a similar problem with male co-workers taking credit for her work and getting told off by her manager for not holding doors open for male co-workers, but she also said that it’s more of a problem with the older companies and that newer ones don’t have the same level of sexism.

  120. I just want to mention that I liked how passionate Martina sounded. :3 this topic just reminded me of my Pan African Studies course. And I also liked how Simon stands up for Martina. Very cool. :3

  121. About the arm grabbing thing- my Korean boyfriend tried that on me after 8 months of being together and I was FURIOUS, I literally yanked my arm away and started yelling at him on the street, haha. I didn’t realise it was a particularly Korean thing to do (I’m from Australia and have never been to Korea) so I probably over-reacted but at least he knows not to do it again…

  122. I’m really curious about racism(with not caucasian or white people) in korea i know maybe this didn’t happen to you guise but I’m a mexican and i been discriminated just for that even when i go to eat to some random korean restaurant in my country they don’t treat me right some women(and i remark only happend with women, some man ignore us some others are very nice, just personal expirience) scream at us, or even give us the food in a bad way, and i notice is the same with persons with a darker skin tone.

    Is the same in korea or this kind of behavior is different insede the country?

  123. This video made me think so much on how chinese/taiwanese people have improved on sexism. First, god knows I can’t talk for all of China and Taiwan and chinese people but, I know there are very traditional gender roles, and now in China and Taiwan the gender roles are very prominent BUT interchangeable, such as, it is expected to have a home maker and a worker, I mean it’s kind of like that everywhere, but stay at home dad’s have been slightly more acceptable in China and Taiwan which is nice. The improvement is nice, though I do think it’s unfortunate if you are a female who cannot cook, no matter how much money you have, you are not fulfilling your role as a female. Second, I think it’s also important females in China also bring them upon themselves somewhat. They have expectations for guys to do things such as always pay the bill, open the car door, carry everything for them, I think they take the line between chivalry and sexism and push it as far as possible. Recently I was listening to my mother’s friend rant about how a guy did not pay for her coffee when they went to hang out as friends and how he was rude and less of a man. A lot of asian women I know DO criticize men for not being more dominant or playing THEIR gender role accordingly.

    Lastly, the one thing that I despise and have multiple people, it seems that some asian housewives turn a blind eye to their husbands and their mistresses and are under the impression “as long as he comes home to the family and takes care of us.” Gross, I have heard this from MANY of my friend’s friends or even mother’s friends.

    • My Japanese friend said the same thing about cheating husbands. She said that her father has cheated on her mother multiple times. When my friend’s boyfriend cheated on her, her mother told her to forgive him because that’s what just men do.

  124. When I first moved to Korea (I’m also from Toronto, U of T, woot woot!) I had two very opposing experiences which I think help to show how Korea is, as you indicated, making advances while still somewhat stuck in the past. I worked at two elementary schools in rural (read: older, more conservative) areas around the city of Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do. At one school, in the east end, it was your usual mix of staff, with a male Principal & VP. One day, I asked one of the male teachers if he could help me figure out the coffee machine in the office, since he was the only one around. Big mistake – the response I got was “you should ask a female teacher about that”. I should note he was relatively young, and so one would possibly think more liberal in ideologies, but no.
    At the same time, my other school, in the north end, was completely the opposite. Practically the entire staff was made up of females, including the Principal and VP (not very common, especially outside bigger cities). All the staff were very respectful of each other, and the typical ‘gender roles’ were almost non-existent there.
    Korea definitely needs to keep improving, but even in just the few years I have been here I can tell that progress is being made, and at a typical Korean ‘bali bali’ speed, which is great for everyone here, foreign and local.

  125. My little brother always grabs me by the wrist to drag me somewhere and he knows it makes me so incredibly uncomfortable and “trapped” in a way. I can’t even imagine a stranger doing that to me….I’d probably kick him where it hurts by reflex haha.

    I really like when you do all these serious topics. As a Lebanese American, I have witnessed a strong sense of sexism from Lebanese men, especially compared to the American men around me. Luckily, they are mostly stupid, sexist jokes and not things related to business like what you experienced. Either way, most of the Lebanese men I know act as if they are superior to women and it ticks me off like no other….which is why I only have 1 Lebanese male friend. haha. I haven’t been to Lebanon in several years, so I’m quite curious about whether the sexism of Lebanese men and Lebanese-American men is different.

  126. Martina have you ever seen the drama Playful kiss? That in my opinion is the BIGGEST offender of that whole “weak girl” “strong man” thing. I LOVE Kim Hyun Joong, but finally halfway through the drama I just had to stop watching because it pissed me off so much. Smh.

  127. I actually love these serious segments…I love you guys <3 lots of love from Miami

  128. Hello! I’d like to share my experience with you!

    I lived in Korea for a few months last year. I was working as an intern, teaching in a very remote area of the country side (seriously there wasn’t even a supermarket in that place but they had high speed internet). I did my homework before going so I knew about the Culture and women’s role. I had expected to see sexism a lot, specially because I was surrounded by many elders. While there was a definite role with women and men, it wasn’t really marked. Like I could see women and men working on the fields, working with animals and such. Particularly, in the family I lived with (full Korean family Mom, Dad, Aunt, and two children) I noticed that the Husband washed clothes, cooked, cleaned and did most housework together with his Wife or even alone if she was busy working. The only difference was that his chopsticks were gold instead of silver like the rest of us. That was it! This really surprised me but it might be that particular family. I just thought I’d share this with you.

  129. I’m Korean American, and I recently went to Korea on family business. Usually at home, me and my brothers split the chores, and go together to greet people that come into the house; we all shake hands and introduce ourselves. I noticed (to my dismay)- I did ALL the housework when I was in Korea (my grandmother is old and my mom was helping her out with stuff) while my brothers got to laze around. Though I never spoke up about it- it was like a silent rule- and neither did my brothers, when I thought about it, I was a little pissed off. Also, when my father’s friends would come over, I would introduce myself to be polite, at the same time as my older brothers, and the guy would walk past me, then go to my brothers first and shake their hands, then just barely acknowledge me (with a smile, that was the biggest thing that pissed me off). They were surprised when I just took the hand and shook it with a smile. By the way, the only time that my brothers did the chores was the dishes- once. We were watching TV and I won a random bet. Also, when the extended family was over, I and the other women were cooking and preparing while the men were drinking and talking at the table. When my brothers asked if they needed help, they were very surprised and told them to sit down and relax with the other boys, then immediately proceeded to tell me that something needed to be washed/cooked,etc. By the way, if I didn’t mention it before, I am female.

  130. High Simon and Martina. What do you think of the members of groups that cannot sing yet hold the largest amount of fans because of their looks? For example, Yoona of SNSD, Hara of KARA, and Dara of 2ne1.

  131. I’m Korean American, and I recently went to Korea on family business. Usually at home, me and my brothers split the chores, and go together to greet people that come into the house; we all shake hands and introduce ourselves. I noticed (to my dismay)- I did ALL the housework when I was in Korea (my grandmother is old and my mom was helping her out with stuff) while my brothers got to laze around. Though I never spoke up about it- it was like a silent rule- and neither did my brothers, when I thought about it, I was a little pissed off. Also, when my father’s friends would come over, I would introduce myself to be polite, at the same time as my older brothers, and the guy would walk past me, then go to my brothers first and shake their hands, then just barely acknowledge me (with a smile, that was the biggest thing that pissed me off). They were surprised when I just took the hand and shook it with a smile. By the way, the only time that my brothers did the chores was the dishes- once. We were watching TV and I won a random bet. Also, when the extended family was over, I and the other women were cooking and preparing while the men were drinking and talking at the table. When my brothers asked if they needed help, they were very surprised and told them to sit down and relax with the other boys, then immediately proceeded to tell me that something needed to be washed/cooked,etc. By the way, if I didn’t mention it before, I am female.

  132. everyone knows sexism exist everywhere, i think is more notable on asian cultures because they stick to their traditions, but is just as easy to point the concept of a girl in american culture for example; in some cases when a guy have sex with a lot of women between them is regarded like a winner although we see them as jerks but if a women do the same thing is just a slut.

    I think that even this issue is more remarkable in some countries than others the key to change this is us, women educating our sons our daughters how women have to be treated


    I Love serious TLDR

  133. I’m sorry, but some people are totally out in the fields of crazy here.

    No one’s saying that in the western world sexism doesn’t exist at all, because sadly, it still does.

    However, it’s much worse in the Asian countries, not only Korea. And you don’t need to be korean/japanese/indian/chinese/etc to know or notice that.

  134. I am feeling a little lazy to troll 375 comments for the few negative ones that exist, but I suggest you throw a few F bombs around between yourselves, because this shit has to be irritating. First, this is an opinion blog people! If you don’t like other people’s opinions then I suggest you stop calling yourself Nasties and refrain from visiting eatyourkimchi.com. Second, it is clear that sexism does in fact exist in Korea. What you call culture, others call sexism. If women don’t want to speak out about how they are treated and are okay with the status quo, then fine, but for those on the outside looking in, we pity you.

  135. Is it really Eat Your Kimchi’s place to talk about sexism in Korea? I think this sort of thing should be talked about by an actual Korean, or at least someone who’s really knowledgeable about Korea and Korean culture.. which Simon and Martina aren’t since they can’t even speak the language.

    • What you call culture, others call sexism. In North Korea, it is part of their culture to turn a blind eye to the atrocities happening around them. The rest of the world calls has a word for that, it’s called fascism. Seriously, Simon and Martina never tried to say they were experts about Korean culture, and what does being fluent in Korean have to do with anything?! I am pretty sure in the beginning of their video, they stated that this was just their own personal experience. I don’t think they are preaching to anybody. I would bet they actually post these blogs hoping that other people share their own opinions and experiences. If you are Korean and are fluent in Korean, I am sure they would appreciate your perspective.

    • they’ve been speaking korean for years. just saying

      • In all fairness, they are not fluent. So some things may get lost in translation. Still, being fluent has nothing to do with writing a blog about their own experiences and how they felt about them.

      • When I say “speak Korean” I mean speaking it fluently. Simon and Martina might be able to order food and ask for directions but they can’t speak Korean fluently…

    • You don’t have to be Korean to be knowledgeable about Korean culture. They’ve been living in Korea for a while now. And they have made it clear they are only sharing their experience. Not posing as experts.

      • I never said you have to be Korean to be knowledgeable about Korean culture. But I do think you have to at least know the language. I’ve watched a lot of EYK’s videos and from what I can tell they live in their own little foreigner bubble, so I don’t think they are knowledgeable about Korean culture. I’m fine with them doing kpop stuff, and making videos of food and places to visit, but for things like sexism in Korea I don’t think they should talk about, since they are an influence on a lot of their young fans and they could be giving wrong impressions of Korea…

    • The purpose of TL;DR questions is to get SIMON AND MARTINA’S perspective AS FOREIGNERS on what they see LIVING IN KOREA. In what world does living in Korea for 5 years not give you at least enough experience with Korean culture to express what you’ve PERSONALLY encountered?

      And yes, they do speak the language. Obviously they don’t do it in their videos, because their videos are for an english-speaking audience.

      • Simon and Martina might be able to order food and ask directions but that doesn’t mean they can speak Korean. When I say “speaking korean” I mean speaking it fluently. My friend, who is Korean and raised in Seoul, says that Simon and Martina’s Korean is not good at all…

    • As they stated in the beginning of the video, a fellow NASTY Riley Kent asked the question and obviously people thumb up the question so they can answer it base on their experience. WE NASTIES ask the questions for TLDR and if people like the question they thumb it up and if you don’t then thumb it down. It’s not to be rude but make your voice/opinion heard by participating on selecting the questions for TLDR.

    • I don’t know if we watched the same video but they talked about their experience with sexism and they talked about the experience of some of their friends. I did not hear them speak for all of Korea. And since they have lived their for almost 5 years, they do have a right to speak on their experiences. It is not like they went there for a week long holiday and made an opinion. They live there and I think it is unfair to say just because they are not Korean they cannot speak about their experiences.

    • irritablevowel

      We are only permitted to discuss the things in which we have personal and close knowledge? Well, gee, I’m so glad you let me know that! I will be sure to let all of the world’s school’s and universities know your opinion. I’m sure they will take action immediately. First things to go, ALL world history classes. I mean, unless we speak fluent French, what gives us the right to discuss Napoleon! What were we all thinking?! Sociology classes, gone. Psychology classes, gone. Anthropology is downright criminal! GONE. Oh dear, the political science department, with all of those classes on international policy…yeah, we can’t have that anymore. While we’re at it, we better get rid of all literature classes too. I mean, what gave me the right, the absolute nerve, to discuss Pride and Prejudice in my university literature class? I am not English! I did not live during the 18th century! What a jerk I was to think it was okay to have an opinion about it! I read plays by Chekov. CHEKOV. I actually argued with someone about a Chekov play once. Jesus Christ I don’t speak Russian! Oh this is just awful. You know what, why bother talking at all? The risk of offending people is too great. If I can’t agree with everyone and I can’t make everyone happy, then I shouldn’t speak at all. I will just sit, and stare at a wall. Thank you for your wisdom.

    • Simon and Martina can speak Korean. They just don’t speak it to each other and in their videos…

    • Hello??Martina experienced racism in Korea at least to some degree, so I think she can talk about it. It’s not like they are talking bad or anything they are talking about their experiences living in Korea. That’s all.

    • The concept of the video is on the foreigners perspective not the Korean one… so it is the place as they are foreigner living in and experiencing Korea, and as they stated in the beginning of the video they acknowledge that they are not experts on the subject. Also their comprehension of the language really doesn’t make their experiences any less valid.

    • Thanks to all the Nasties below who responded to this comment in a constructive manner. This comment is a view that is widely held by many people who think it is not appropriate for anyone not a native of a culture to speak about it. I can understand that point, but I also note that Simon and Martina make a point to say -repeatedly- that this is a foreigner’s perspective with a few stories from their Korean Friends and not a end all be all. Thus why they asked us to engage in discussion about it and learn from each other. If we were all forced to not have conversations about cultures that we are not ethnically a part of then pretty much many interesting conversations discussing differences in culture would not be allowed to take place.

      Let us just agree to disagree with this person’s comment. Obviously they have their own perspective and take perfect fluency in Korean as an indicator of ability to speak about Korea. Whereas many of us are enjoying the discourse that this conversation began. Notice that this video has spurred comments from people all over the world talking about their own experience with sexism, because it is not just a Korean issue but an issue with cultures all over the world. I applaud all of you for being able to have this discourse in a respectful manner.


  136. Compared to my grandparents’ generation, Korea has come a loooong way in terms of treatment of women. But it still has a long way to go. And having seen way too many K dramas, upon occasion, they do feature a strong independent female character under the age of 50. So it’s not always the same old story. But I hope people don’t think K dramas reflect how real Korean women are. Most Korean women have dreams and ambitions for themselves beyond the hope of marriage. Anyway, I too am pleased to see Korea elect a female president, even if I don’t agree with all her politics. Mansae!

  137. Hi, I am a Korean nasty. Yay!

    I really appreciated your video and the blog. I find everything you said and wrote pretty reasonable. There are only two things I wanted to add. First, Korean men not shaking Martina’s hand might be just them trying to be polite. If the guy is not so close to you, he might feel it will be rude to suggest shaking hands, because you won’t be able to say no and feel pressured to do it even though you don’t want (which can be patriarchal just in a different way). I just want you to know they are not shaking hands not necessarily because they don’t respect you. (But people who wouldn’t talk or listen to Martina, they don’t have any excuse of course.)

    Another thing is about women having to pour drinks for men at the company dinner. I don’t think this is a norm at all currently. Of course, there will always be some jerks who would want it. But this will be considered very bad. The norm is that subordinates pour drinks for bosses regardless of gender. In my experience (which was 5 years ago), they wouldn’t let me pour drinks because I am a woman.

    This is my first time commenting. My husband and I have been enjoying all your work very much. Best wishes!

  138. I feel sorry for the korean girls who can’t speak another language…

  139. Yea…let some stranger try to drag me into a club. Like Martina said, they would get knocked out! I also don’t like the whole dragging thing in K-Dramas, it pisses me off along with some other issues in K-Dramas, like realistically what girl stays liking the same guy that has no interest in her while another guy shows interest in her. Eventually she’ll start to like the other guy. My other pet peeve with K-Dramas is the love sick guy that just can’t take NO for an answer and goes berserk and the girl doesn’t say anything just lets him drag her around every freakin where. Anyway, nice TLDR, I didn’t know about the sexism, just thought it was only in the dramas.

  140. Speaking from a view point of a Singaporean, I’m really awed by the sexism in Korea. It’s not that I’m not aware of it but I didn’t think that it would be such of a huge issue? I now really do have to consider my plans of moving to Korea…Martina, do you have any advice for me on this? If I do really move to Korea and work for a Korean company, will I have less chances of getting a job in there compared to the males?

  141. Simon and Martina (I should I say Martina and Simon?) you guys are so admirable. I like your ideas and I think is important for the “Nasties” to understand in a simpler way why is going on in Korea. I have a Korean friend and she oftentimes talk to me about the frustration she feel about the treat of Korean women. I know is a serious subject but once in while is important to talk about it… And you do it so well, in a sensitive, funny, cleaver and honest way!!

    Now for my question for next TL;DR: what are some of the best places to visit while in Korea? For a vacation trip, is Korea expensive? A part from Seoul I would love to hear about other great places in Korea. In dramas they mention a lot of parts of the country to visit… I want to visit Korea but I don’t want to go to the same places every tourist go, I want a unique experience!

    Shantal, From: Panama

  142. While I don’t think it’s ok to not shake someones hand, I feel like a lot of the time in TV shows korean guys get really mad when another guy touches their girlfriend even if it is in a friendly way. I feel like I’ve seen it in almost every we got married season, so maybe by not shaking Martina’s hand they feel they are being more respectful to Simon?….again I still think its dumb but maybe thats the thinking behind it

  143. First of all; this was a great video and I found it very informative and I’m glad that you spoke out about things that you have found annoying and upsetting. Secondly; I’m so sorry for you guys… because discussions about sexism equals shitstorms on the internet. I don’t get how that is since the internet is such a source of knowledge (logically people on the internet should be supersmart and knowledegable about eveything… oh boy… logic doesn’t apply on the internet) but when it comes to sexism, rape and gender equality you soon find out that it’s a wasps nest and you go near it on your own risk. But someone has to do it! *proud of you guys*

    What I mean to say is that I love what you did and I hope that you don’t feel disheartened by the creeps on the internet who can’t take an adult discussion about real and important issues without going berserk.

    Thumbs up for Martina and Simon!!! 파이팅!

  144. I was surprised to hear that they would allow such an act by the bouncers, letting them drag girls into clubs forcefully. That’s an instant lawsuit and possible assault charge for doing something that stupid in North America. Hopefully there is a few bouncers with broken wrists who should think twice about doing such things

  145. Okay first off, I REALLY appreciate how delicately Simon and Martina handled this subject. Props to you, guys. *applauds*

    I have not ever visited Korea so I don’t have any personal experiences, but I do have American friends and their children who live in Korea who have explained the female-male demographic there (in general) to me.
    In other countries, such as America and Canada, women are accepted into almost any career or style (goth, cute, punk. etc.). Usually, men are confined to a few styles, but are also given career freedom.
    According to my friends, Korea is almost the opposite. Women are expected to always be “cute”, or aegyo. Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s perfectly fine, but only if that’s YOUR style. Not what society wants you to be. You see in a lot of kpop videos and such of women wearing cute bunny ears, making adorable faces; women in their teens and early 20′s are basically expected to have that style. Men, on the other hand, can be a lot more feminine as well, but only if they choose to. There are the manly men, and then there are men who wear guyliner and carry nice bags. And that’ perfectly acceptable. But if a woman dresses punk, or is not very cute, she is viewed by others with an air of cautiousness or abnormality, if that makes any sense.

    I’m not saying all areas are like this, or all people share these views, but I definitely think the male and female demographics are very uneven.

    Anyways, WOO GO FEMINISM

  146. irritablevowel

    I’m sure many of you have read the blog The Grand Narrative, but if you haven’t and this topic interests you make sure to visit. It’s a blog about gender, sociology, feminism and sexism in Korea. It’s incredibly fascinating and very thorough. http://thegrandnarrative.com/

  147. I loved this video!! You guys speak so passionately about this topic. I loved living in Korea but I found the sexism was one of things that I really struggled to stomach (along with hongeo). The worst thing I experienced was a guy grabbing my boobs in the subway, I tried to get him off, there were lots of men around me and noone helped. I feel like if that happened to me here, someone would come to my assistance. Not sure if that’s a sexism thing or a westerner thing though.

    • That’s so horrible! That is not okay. Is that a normal thing for Koreans?? Because I see in dramas and just hear from my friends that normally Korean men are very polite and respect women.
      Guys in America do that too though, so I guess there are just sexist guys everywhere :/ Although if that happened to someone on like the New York subway someone would come to your aid.

      • Yeh it wasn’t fun. I don’t think it’s normal, there were three occassions were I was touched inappropriately or followed whilst I was in Korea that really stick in my mind, and I was there a year. All 3 times it was men who were in their late 40s/early 50s. I think it probably happened more to me because I stand out more as a foreigner maybe, and I have big boobs. They weren’t on show or anything though.

        It wasn’t the actual grabbing that bothered me as such, although it wasn’t pleasant, there are weirdos everywhere, it was more the fact that people were stood all around and noone came to help. They just stared.

        But definitely don’t let it put you off going to Korea! It’s not a hugely regular thing, and as a whole Korean guys are as polite and nice as any other :) xx

  148. This is why I wish humans would have evolved as hermaphrodite! Haha, just kidding..
    But yeah, it’s ridiculous how we are raised to act and behave depending which gender we belong to. And we do it without even realizing it!
    I remember I was watching the Korean show where they tell about their problems, and the audience rates if it’s a serious problem or not. Well there was this guy who said he was afraid of spiders etc and no girls liked him.(well yeah not that serious?) But his main purpose was to show how sexist S.Korea is. He even said it himself.. “Our country is so sexist.” In a way he was asking for permission to not be a tough man, but guess what the women said to him? “Guys are supposed to be tough!” -__- and didn’t take him seriously at all.
    The other thing which was absurd was an interview with SNSD, TVXQ and Suju members. Well the guys were asked “What way would you want to be waked up in the morning?” and the girls were asked “What way do you want to wake up your husband?” : D It was so stupid I couldn’t stop laughing. I mean seriously?? Well I guess it is a harmless tradition but it’s still silly. Oh those poor girls, their expressions where like ‘Err.. I don’t know how to answer this question, let’s just say something.’

  149. A friend and I just experienced that whole not looking at the “Woman” thing here in the good old US of A.

    We were looking to buy a used car for commuting and brought along one of her brothers on a scouting trip. That day no one talked or even tried to upsell to my friend who was in fact buying. Everyone just ignored her.

  150. i learn o much bout S. Korea from u guys ! thanks!

  151. Oh, and FYI: In some situations (like student loans, government paperwork..etc) women are considered a minority. ~half the population is a minority??

  152. So in this mentioned the girl who in her workplace was told to wear more makeup etc? I’m currently at university in Australia and I was born /raised here although I’ve moved state to state. I work at a prominent supermarket during my uni job and I was told to supervise. The amount of times I’ve had male staff say “oh you need to straighten your hair and wear makeup” or “why don’t you wear x y and z” over my SUPERMARKET job is ridiculous.

    Not only that though, is that when I tell the guys I’m supervising to do things, they’ll whisper behind my back things like “b*tch” and complain that I’m making them work when that’s their job! It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had some really extreme cases such as when I told one of the guys (who wasn’t doing any work at the time) that he needed to go along and clean the floors he said “pick it up yourself you stupid b*tch”.

    In another case another male in the department, while I was stacking a low shelf came along and pushed my face towards his crotch as a “joke”. When I told him that was inappropriate he said angrily “what are you getting serious now?” and walked off.

    Another issue is that I can be working hard in the back room with 5 guys standing around on their phones not doing anything, and they won’t get in trouble, but the minute my work pace slows down I would be told off (in a very rude manner, too actually, almost like telling a dog to “fetch”) immediately. So there’s something wrong there.

    A final example that wasn’t directed towards me but I witnessed one day is that while I was working in the back room cleaning, one guy came in and said to the other guy already standing there; “You know what this store needs? More SLUTS! *Name* and I would be taking home girls every night!”

    These are just a few of the things that have happened. I hope this doesn’t come across as complaining, I just wanted to demonstrate that it’s not only Korea where there is a lot of sexism, and that even major nations like ours have a lot of issues in gender politics that need to be resolved.

    • You’re their superior in the workplace and they have this behaviour? Go to someone higher than you, or just start giving them punishments. That is not appropriate for a work environment, and you shouldn’t let them get away. That incident with the guy and his crotch is sexual harassment.

  153. It’s good that you guys brought up this kind of topic. It makes people think and become more aware of their surroundings and behaviours. Change happens with a proper dialogue.

    I think that when you live in one country for a long time it is easy to ignore a lot of these sexist situations, not because they are not wrong in that country, but also because you don’t even think about them as sexist. They just seem normal. It’s easy to point fingers at how wrong other people/countries are without looking at ourselves as well.

    I don’t know how many people are familiar with the Steubenville rape case that is a huge topic on the internet right now, at least in North America. But it shows that although many people think -other- countries are so sexist and “backwards” because they don’t have equal rights (please show me which countries, if any, do…maybe Iceland?), are also living in a sexist culture. I experience sexism fairly often in Canada. It’s not just men who are being sexist (there are even women using sexist language and behaviour towards other women). And it is not just women who are being discriminated against.

    PS: I love Simon’s glasses. Martina’s are super cute too, but I haven’t seen the clear type before~

  154. I really like that you guys spoke on this topic. I’m heading to Korea in September for a study abroad, so I’m trying to read all the facts I’ve missed in the last few years. Especially because I have a good size group of Korean friends, all female, who want me to hang out with them at clubs and such when I’m over there. It leaves me wondering what I should do if a situation pops up where one of them gets dragged in. Are women, Korean or foreign, allowed to pull their friends away from the club guys?

    Do you think with Korea electing a woman as president this will further help women’s role in Korean society? Have you seen any change as of yet?

    • Who cares if you’re allowed to pull yourself or friends away from those club guys? Just do it anyway. You’re not cattle being herded!

  155. This is just my idea but the fact that women used to change their last name(some still do) to their husbands’ to show they are BELONGED to men is holding the women to the position where they are “under the men”. The idea of changing his last name to a woman’s would be bizarre. So women can officially make themselves belonged to someone but men cannot? Names might seems like a small subject to talk about but it influences greatly I think.

  156. wow, i never thought that the wrist dragging actually..really happens.
    hearing you guys talk about it actually shocked me o_o

    i’m not going to say more and just read the rest of the discussion in the comments now, i wonder if anyone else was shocked like me.

  157. I don’t know if anyone has offered up this site yet, but I frequent
    http://thegrandnarrative.com/ . The author, James Turnbull, is a gender studies professor
    in Korea. If you go, I guarantee you’ll spend the better part of the week reading articles.
    Sexism, in any culture, is so much like an onion that it’s difficult to
    simplify into black and white. It goes well with this posting because
    he discusses sexuality and gender politics in K-Pop as well. Seriously,
    it’s a fascinating website. I went to read one article and I been
    reading it religiously for the last year!

  158. I have had similar experiences with the handshake aversion syndrome in India. Guys for some reason don’t want to shake my hand. I have had several instances when they will shake my brother and cousin’s hand and kinda awkwardly avoid my hand. I respond by staring them down and holding out my hand until they do. It’s a little ridiculous. I thought people got over the cooties phase in kindergarten.

    • That seems to be more like “respect” for a woman. They don’t want to touch a woman especially with a family member there, especially if she isn’t married.

  159. I’m a korean girl that has never lived in Korea. I’ve lived in America all my life. I’ve visited Korea a few times and I mingle with a lot of Korean people from where I live. Although I’ve never lived in Korea, I’m pretty close with the culture through my family and drama. And… I treat people different depending on who they are. I would expect different things from different people. When I’m around Korean people, I’m pretty alright being the submissive girl. But when I’m around american guys, I’ll be more assertive and act like a strong, independent woman. And it’s not something that I do on purpose. It’s kind of on a subconscious level. But yet still… I’m sort of a mash of both cultures. So sometimes, i’ll act a bit more american around korean people and i’ll be a bit more korean around american people. My overall goal is to become a strong independent woman that doesn’t NEED a man, but yet… I still think taking care of a baby and some other things are something that a woman SHOULD do. Laundry and dishes aren’t really on the list.

  160. I live in the southern United States, and there has always been a difference in gender roles. The community I live in specifically is very religious and traditional which adds to the separation between men and women. It’s like you know what is expected of you, since I am a 21 year old girl…. Everyone around believes I should already be married. Ha! I’m expected to get married and start a family and stay at home with the children while my husband brings home the money. I’ve always enjoyed K Dramas because they remind a lot of my own life in what expected of a women. Here are something’s that are expected of me: be at church on Sunday even if your dying, wear modest clothing at all time( skirts and tops that cover), never disrespect your father…he is the final say,

  161. Sexism in Korea has actually spawned a few fights between me and my husband. He grew up in a very traditional family, and so now as an adult, sometimes he expects me to fit into those traditional rules of what a woman should be and do. Most of the time he catches himself and apologizes, but occasionally it can cause problems. Luckily women are starting (and I do mean starting) to break out of those gender confines in Korea.

    I’ve had the same issue with Korean men paying absolutely no attention to me, and talking/interacting with only my husband, but up until now i though it was just because He’s Korean and I’m not, but perhaps it could have a little to do with me being a woman on top of that…never thought about that before…

  162. Omg poor of you Martina T___T, if someone ignore me like they do to you >< wanna kill them all XD….. O_o OMG i didn´t think that happen in a club O_o god… Thanks for the video :D Here from Costa Rica!!!!

  163. For dramas with more equal partnerships between the man and the woman, these are my favs. –Faith, Kimchi Family, When it’s late at Night, The woman who still wants to Marry (with Kim Bum), Runaway Plan B, Protect the Boss, 12 Men in a Year, Queen of Reversals, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, and yes I would say Coffee Prince too.

  164. With all this talk about sexism, I wonder what is all the legal right women have in South Korea? Do woman actually have equal right as men?

  165. Isabel Ruby

    you two should just make a disclaimer video you can link to/playlist mode at the front of every potentially controversial video :P

  166. Hey guys! Just wanted to add that the anecdote about your friend and her boss sounds almost exactly like what happened to my sister at her workplace. My sister teaches English in Korea and her two female bosses went up to her and her friend and told them that they need to wear nice dresses and wear nice makeup. Not only that but they made them go shopping and offered to pay for this “makeover.” I know both my sister and her friend and neither of them are slobs nor do they look so terrible that they need tons of makeup, so I don’t really understand why their bosses felt the need to do this. On top of that, her bosses apparently don’t even dress that nice themselves! So to read that you guys know someone that went through a similar experience makes me wonder if this is a “Korea” thing or….? I don’t know but regardless, my sister and her friend refused to wear dresses and heels to work in the middle of winter.

  167. I live in America, and there is definitely sexism here, even if it isn’t necessarily to the same extremes as in some other countries. Most of the sexism in America stems from the existence of the double standard, which, in my personal experience, has manifested itself in two different ways.

    The first way that I’ve experienced sexism is simply in the fact that there are things that I as a girl am not allowed to do that my brothers and other guys can simply because it’s not safe for me. When I was little, I had never really experienced this – the only thing I disliked about being a girl was the fact that my school then had made us wear skirts while the boys could wear pants. I had lived in an area outside of the city where there weren’t a lot of people and most of the land was woods, and there was nothing that my three older brothers could do that I wasn’t allowed to. I ran around in the woods and climbed trees and jumped off roofs and dug holes in the dirt and fished and played with fire just like my brothers did. However, when I was about 8, I moved into the city, and all of a sudden there were things that I wasn’t allowed to do because my mom said it wasn’t safe for me, even though it was fine for my brothers. I was 11 before I was allowed to ride my bike in my neighborhood by myself. Even now that I’m nearly 16, I’m not allowed to walk the half a mile from my house to the grocery store to pick something up, even though my brothers have been doing that since they were even younger than I am now, be it day or night, with no more than a simple cautionary warning from my mother to not get hit by cars. And the thing is, as much as I hate that double standard, there’s a reason for it. In the last few years, there have been 4 women kidnapped and raped in my neighborhood or just outside of my neighborhood, and I don’t even live in a big city. When I started high school, my mom rearranged her work schedule just so that i wouldn’t have to walk home from my bus stop. And even though I’m not supposed to walk to the grocery store, there have been a few times where I needed to because my mom was out of town and my brothers were gone and I needed food. And I walked there with a knife slid up my sleeve just in case, and it was a good thing that I did, because one time on my way back, I actually did have to pull it out because there was this man threatening me. And that terrified the crap out of me and the fact that this happens bothers me so much, because while I have pay attention to what time of day it is when I go somewhere and have to think about whether or not I should bring a knife just in case, my brothers never have to think about those things for even a second, because it’s not a danger to them like it is for me.

    The second way I’ve personally experienced sexism has been in school. I’m currently a high school junior, and I’m planning on majoring in Computer Engineering in college. Last year I took my school’s Honors Programming class. Out of 48 students, only 6 were girls. This year I’m taking AP Computer Science, and in a class of 24, everyone but me is male. Even though none of the guys have ever actually done or said anything sexist to me, there are times when I still feel uncomfortable in that class. Even though I know that I’m one of the best students in that class and that I make better grades than most of the guys, I still feel like i’m inadequate and that I’m not good enough simply because I’m a girl. And the fact that I have this mindset, the fact that there are so few girls who choose to pursue a more technical career really bothers me as well. That’s not right. I know that I make good grades and that I deserve to be in that classroom, but I can’t help but doubt myself, and a society where this is still so prevalent just isn’t okay.

    • Hey! I’m a Computer Engineering major in uni right now (also named Sarah, 4th year student). I do have moments where it feels like I don’t belong. I’ve had a really hard time making university friends because I don’t connect with guys like I do with girls and there are soooo few girls (sometimes I’m the only one even though I go to one of the largest universities in the USA, usually there’s less than 5 even in really large classes, like 70+ students, but I don’t know if the other girls are just staying home and not showing up for class). It is a challenge but I think, if it’s something you’re really interested in, you should go for it anyway! I have finally found people who I feel treat me equally when we do our lab assignments, who aren’t all like “let me do all this because I already know how to do it”. I don’t consider them my friends (we rarely talk about anything but school) but it’s nice having people who I can plan my schedules with so that we can be in labs together and be lab partners. Before I went to university I actually chose an “easy” form of engineering at first (Industrial Engineering) because I thought there was no way I could be as good as my male classmates in the more technical majors. I ended up finding it boring and switched to Computer Engineering halfway through my sophomore year. I usually score above average on our exams and I do really well in my classes and I learn and understand the material just as well as anyone else. If you have any questions or just want someone to talk to about being a female Computer Engineering major let me know and I can give you a way to contact me about it ^^ I don’t want to see another girl discouraged from such an interesting major when I’m sure you’re absolutely capable of succeeding and doing just as well as the others!

  168. Hey guys, I was curious to whether or not you deal with hate, like full on anti-nasties. How do you deal with them? Has it ever held you guys back? Are there alot of haters? If you could say something to all the haters what would it be?

    ~Courtney (Maryland, USA)

  169. off topic: i LOVE your sweater Martina!!! ELEPHANTSSS
    plus i agree with Simon’s “that’s disgusting.”s

  170. So in high school I was an exchange student to South Korea (represent!). Anywho, not the point, but I was able to live like a Korean would and not as a foreigner in Korea. I went to Korean school, I lived in a apartment with my host parents/family, and such. But one thing I noticed a LOT and kinda leads in to what you’re talking about is how women are not treated as equals in certain settings. I remember one day we went on a “family trip” with their cousins and stuff and there ended up being three mom’s and three dad’s and then 4 boys and 7 girls. But when it was time for dinner, the order for eating went Adult males, then boys, then the girls, then after everyone was getting ready for bed, the mom’s started eating. It was SO MIND BOGGLING. And I remember walking into the family area and the mom’s were making sure that the dad’s dishes weren’t empty and their drinks were full just like they later did with the boys.

    I think in terms of family life, that’s pretty typical in LARGER groups. Because when we would eat as a family, she’d eat with us. But yea. Kinda fried my goat not being able to eat with the men! haha. :)

  171. oh the wrist grabbing…when a male character grabs a female character’s HAND instead of her wrist, I’m ready to faithfully ship him with the girl to the end of the drama, that’s how desperate I am…

  172. A Question for You Two:
    Hi! The other night on Australian tv there was this mini-documentary program called Dateline talking about the overwhelming amount of plastic surgeries in Korea and how it has the highest rate of cosmetic procedures per capita in the world – and how this is a result from the kpop culture and more particularly the “perfect” idols.

    I found it really interesting. I know you guys have already done a TL;DR on beauty standards and talked about how in Korea there is one sort of “ideal look” and so I thought that this rise in plastic surgery was probably a result of cultural things which is just embodied in the idols and promoted everywhere.

    So TL;DR, basically what I want to know is: Is plastic surgery a really big part in South Korea for the average person? and particularly is it accepted? Is it really normal to get double eyelid surgery after graduating school for example? Are many people getting plastic surgery? What do you guys think about it?


    • I don’t know fully how many people get a double eyelid surgery but I remember one person comparing it to braces. I think this is a great comparison. We don’t question the necessity of braces, but most of the time it is just for looks. Rarely is you messed up teeth going to cause migraines, or major health issues in the future.

      • that’s a really interesting comparison…I still don’t agree with surgery though because there isn’t actually anything “wrong” with their eyes they just want to look different.

        • sasha092398

          but i suppose that would be just depending on your perspective, even with the teeth, right? because around 200 years ago, in some cultures, having crooked teeth was considered pretty, its just that our perspective on what looks pretty has changed, whether it be teeth or eyes

        • cookiemonster

          I agree that our ideas of beauty have changed, however, I feel like the extent to what people go to change the way they look is quite concerning. Why should we have to look a certain way? Especially for koreans, genetically, its not natural for them to have double eyelids, why should they feel like they have to change themselves?
          I guess I think that the difference between braces and surgery is that you can actually have problems if your teeth aren’t fixed but having only one eyelid won’t be a disadvantage. Also, braces changes the positioning over a long natural process, surgery is fake.
          But I guess it’s all a matter of personal choice, personally I don’t agree with surgery, others may.

        • There isn’t always something wrong with teeth being in odd position. I’m from Britain, so I’m quite aware that there’s the stereotype that the British have awful teeth. Americans, particularly, seem to have this emphasis on teeth that fit a particular norm (white, straightened, etc). You could argue a lot of people have braces to look different (to fit an accepted ideal) the same way that some Koreans have eyelid surgery to look different, to fit another accepted ideal.

      • Maybe braces aren’t the best comparison. I think the deal with fixing teeth is mostly for health reasons. Crooked teeth make flossing difficult.

  173. what about racism? how do koreans react to black, whites, other asians or arabs? are they more racist against certain people than others? I know they (mostly) hate japanese people because of the history but what about other asians?

    • In all honestly… I think Koreans are quite racist. They hate japan as a nation and japanese people because of that, but they don’t really think less of them. But to blacks and other asians… I think they think less of them a bit… But they won’t hate black celebrities or chinese of japanese celebrities. Often think’s they’re cool. But when chinese immigrants or workers come, they kind of shy away from them. There is also the issue that foreign asian people commit quite a lot of crimes in korea and they might be scared of them a little.

      • yea I figured that might be the case .. but I wonder how much they show it .. I mean is it just a mentality they have or are they vocal about it? or would they go as far as to actually discriminate .. I also think of lee Michele and yoon mirae since they’re both half black .. and wonder what’s society’s atitude towards them… and I wonder about their atitude towards arabs/muslims and other asians like indonesians.. malaysians.. ect

        • Yoo Mi-Rae has endured quite a lot of hardships being half black. Also, usually it is stares, sneers, and talking behind your back, rather than direct confrontation.

    • Korea have had a rough history with the Chinese and Japanese. The older generations probably harbor more negative feelings than the younger generations. Still, I think hate would be a strong word. Politically though, tensions are high between all three countries. All my white friends who have visited Korea said that Koreans were fascinated with them, in a good way! I think Koreans perception of blacks is getting better, but I still believe they are a misrepresented race in the minds of Koreans. Even today, comedians still think it is funny to paint their faces black and act like a stereotypical black.

  174. Isabel Ruby

    dang, that they won’t even acknowledge martina is just…. really rude :/ i kind of remember learning ’bout Confucianism back in the day, but nothing about ignoring the women folk. oh well, it can only get better, right?

  175. You’re not annoying at all with your disclaimer. Anyone who has been on the internet and ever had to struggle to keep their sanity with the anonymous, blinders-wearing conclusion-jumpers should completely understand why you have to do that.

    I’m glad you guys talked a little about this, though! It’s quite interesting. Just going from what I’ve heard and read about sexism in South Korea and what I’ve personally experienced in the US, the only real difference is that SK’s sexism is overt and unapologetic while the US is more sly and attempts to pretend it’s not sexist when it is. It is an every day struggle for me, especially in the workplace, for me and my female colleagues to be taken seriously by most of the men we have to work with.

  176. Hmmm. I’m wondering now if I should go on an internship in Korea…I’m a business major, studying management and if someone is going to ignore me..well I would be pretty upset as well. How am I supposed to learn!!

    Anyway, thanks for this. This was a very interesting video :D

  177. TL;DR question:
    Hi Simon and Martina! I was wondering how y’all handled the initial adjustment period when you first arrived in Korea (for example, getting around without much knowledge of the Korean language). Do you have any tips for people who are visiting/moving to Korea to make the adjustment go more smoothly?

  178. I really enjoy it when you two do these serious videos, they’re always very interesting and informative! I can’t even imagine how it could be okay for some bouncer to grab a girl for their club. True about the foreign part though, most foreign women would *pinch harmonic* their *pinch harmonic* straight up. Least I would, haha.

    I’ve got a question about K-Pop and worldwide marketability. Obviously PSY has ruled for the last few months, and SNSD danced on Letterman, etc, but that’s definitely not the norm for groups/singers outside Asia. Do you two think any groups or solo artists could gain appeal to non-Asian audiences? There are cult followings everywhere due to globalization but in your opinion could they gain ‘household name’ status, even taking in to account image, language, music style, audience choice, etc?


  180. Someone asked “When did this all start?” About 2000 years ago with Confusion. There are rules about relationships in society and within the family that are all about men. Women are at the bottom. Age matters on this topic I think. I am 40 and have traveled in Korea 3 times now with my two Korean children. I have had men all but run me down on the subway, and there are definitely not the same rules of “chivalry” here that their are in Western countries, but I have found that most men looked me in the eye and spoke to me (those who didn’t I forced to by moving until they had to look at me).
    Traveling with my husband and 2 other families, the women all found it funny to watch the Korean women glare at us and fuss over our husbands. While eating bibimbop at Haeundae Dept. store the adjuma (sp) glared at the wives, who all sat together at one table, then went to our husbands, seasoned and stirred their food for them. They then brought the men fresh strawberries, but none for us. Clearly, we were bad wives!
    Korea’s industrialization period was so fast compared to the west that it’s social values haven’t kept up with his economy.

  181. That friend experience you mentioned about the new manager and how he wanted women to dress prettier and wear more make up, that same thing happened to my mom on the last company she worked for. According to her, her boss demanded all the women in the office to wear make up, go to the gym to maintain thin and wear tight clothing; and for cocktail dinners they also asked her to wear a different dress every time. My mom even mentioned that there was a girl who was an amazing accountant but she was a little chubby so the boss kept her behind a desk where clients wouldn’t see her.
    All that happened because my mom’s boss thought that when a man went to do an errand they should to look at something pretty while they wait.
    Also she told me when she was promoted to manager the boss asked her to not get pregnant at least for the next 5 years, luckily for my mom she was able to leave a while after that

  182. 1- I like the fact that almost everybody is respectful in their comments below. Nice nasties!
    2- My boyfriend is Korean, he is 32, and he gets angry when a guy mistreats a girl in the dramas. He came to Canada 4 years ago, so he’s been living in Korea almost all his life. Still, he keeps telling me to stop watching those dramas because the way they are acting is ridiculous.
    3- One of my friends in Korea found a job in a pub in Seoul. The CANADIAN owner gave her a ridiculously small uniform and told her she had to fit in as there was no bigger sizes available….yaaaaa right…

  183. WOW This is interesting Soo Zee I’m so proud of you and I’m glad that she did something about it Also Simon and Martina or soo zee thier is a Mexican say “put on your leather jacket and let it slip away” what that means is don’t let bad things get to you and i know that it dose come to hurt but you have so many more nastines that are like “BACK OFF YOU NON-NASTINES IF YOU DON’T HAVE NICE THING TO SAY THEN GO THROUGH THAT DOOR THAT IS WIDE ENOUGH FOR YOU TO GO THROUGH” so you have my love and support

  184. Ooo Martina is fired up and I like it :)
    That was a really clear and concise overview of sexism in Korea. I think I’ll use some of it in my presentation on the lingering effects of Confucianism in East Asia tommorow, so thanks guys :)

  185. Hey, i really appreciate this video because i always wondered that and i thought i wouldn’t be treated like those girls in kshows. Since i’ll be visiting Seoul soon, it’s good to know. But i do believe that if my arm is grabbed in the wrong way at a wrong time– someones going to get hurt. ^^

  186. Ooooh hatin on the smokers :( wah

  187. This was interesting as always! Well, sexism is a thing you can find in every culture, and it’s true that religion and education have a great part in it…I mean, I’m from South Italy, and here the traditional idea of woman (considered as wife and mother in the first place) it’s quite common…I’m not really bothered by this, because I deeply believe that a good brain and a strong will can bring you everywhere, but it’s true that the road ahead can be really difficult sometime… I’ve experimented this kind of problem a bit during my short work experience and even if at some point I was really pissed, I never really cared about it…in the end, i’m sure of myself, who cares about what they think?
    I just have to go forward on my way, doing my best, and one day they’ll come to understand whom they’re dealing with…Surely enough, as time goes by the things will get better, expecially if there are people willing to open up and change!

  188. OMG SOO ZEE!!! LOL! If i were you I would be like, “WHAT THE FUCK YOU DOIN BOY?!” and get all ghetto xD *snap*

  189. A male friend of mine once complained to a female friend of mine saying how “unfair” it was that she was a girl because its easier for us to get jobs….:/ needless to say he deserves a slap for being stupid, it is SO hard for women to get hired anywhere even if they are more qualified, most the jobs i got were because of people i knew, but two of my jobs i got on my own merit and i will cling to those victories haha, but almost every workplace ive been in have been very male dominant, and if they arent, the few males who do work there are treated like angels who can do no wrong (and this doesnt matter if the boss is male or female cause i have experienced this in both situations).

    history has women being essentially sold into families for marriage and titles and has them being homemakers and doing nothing but bearing children (except in sparta….women be badasses in sparta lol), those were the way things were back then and the fact that some people still think its a womans job to just make babies and stay home is appalling. women can do whatever they want to do and no man has any right to stop her. i truly believe that the world would be a better place if women held more positions of power.

    (o btw im from canada lol)

    • During the Middle Ages, women and men were basically equal. They both had to work doing the same thing, so it didn’t really put anyone above the other in that sense.

  190. My cousin is serving in the army in Seoul, and whenever I try to ask him how he’s doing, he says that the Korean people there don’t like/appreciate him and his army buddies. Is there something about Korea against Foreign army men?

  191. “I just ate a bowl of pickled butt holes.”
    Best sentence of the year… So far.

  192. As a Korean born and raised in Korea, I agree with most of your observations in this video, except for the hand shaking. It is sometimes considered socially awkward of a man to shake hands with a woman, especially when her husband or boyfriend is present.

    And yes, I am sick and tired of the countless dramas with the beaten-to-death story line featuring a spoiled brat from a Chaebul family and an innocent and submissive girl.

  193. I’ve actually experienced this in a much less dramatic way. I live in NYC and there is a Korean street called k-town or Korea way depending on how people want to call it. Well during the daytime it is nice and calm but during the night time it seems like only very attractive men can roam the streets and they seem to be promoting clubs. I haven’t personally seen wrist grabbing of sorts but I’ve been what can only be described as herding. These guys travel in groups. There are seriously about 20+ so good looking Korean men in suits walking that small area and just walking really close to women of all sorts. They will then proceed to show you a flyer for a show, club, event etc. Meanwhile, the females will try to walk away but then suddenly LIKE NINJAS another guy will come out of left field and kinda circle them…….Thank goodness they haven’t bothered me cause I’d just punch or push them away. But I’ve seen these poor girls just get surrounded and slowly herded over to the club or whatever other place and they wind up going in by accident and all of this happening without touching them lol. I feel bad for laughing but it is a very amusing thing to observe. Let’s see them try to do this to me! I DARE THEM!

  194. Ddid you hear of the Steubenville rape case? The way they handled it was REALLY appalling and I was wondering if some news of it reached you guys.

    • That case disgusted me so much – I have so much pity for that poor girl, and I hope she gets out of that town as soon as she can. CNN’s coverage of it was also disgraceful, IMO.


  196. I’m not sure if this is on topic, but a lot of daughters are brought up to be ‘submissive’ or like subservient to men. I was talking to my mom, and it astounded me that she can even say what she said. I never knew sexism was that close to me before. Basically, she said that in order to marry well off and to find a good husband, they like it if the wife listens to them and lets them make the major decisions. To me, decision making and whatever in a relationship is two people collaborating together, so when my mom told me this I was really shocked. She also said for me to not be as loud and not to say so many of my opinions and thoughts, as husbands like it for their wives to be more agreeable and ‘meek’ and etc. I told her that it’s the 21st century, and women are people that can have opinions and make decisions. It’s even more shocking, when my friends are like ‘I’ll just marry well with a rich guy and take care of him instead of finding a job’. It’s these thoughts that make women looked down upon. Women should have just as much as the right to be independent, to have a job, and to find someone that’s their other ‘half’ and not their other 90%… Anyways, I’m Asian, not Korean specifically, and want to be independent in the future. I believe in the fact that relationships are people working together, and not one serving the other. This was a great video, thanks simon and martina! :)

  197. I love your serious TL:DRs. Gives us nasties a chance to view your scholarly side in EYK style. :) Onto my commentary on sexism… Yes, the Asian culture in general is mostly sexist; however, this forms part of social protocols that are being constantly changed by the new generation of men and women. Older people still tend to follow them, and respecting your elders usually supercedes the desire to correct them. Eventually, South Korea will become a more gender-neutral culture – in time – like all countries. There is no need to rush them or judge them (and I totally agree with S&M on this one) without first having a deep understanding of the culture.

    In a related topic, I wanna hear about women’s opinions about this: Chivalry. Whenever I am chivalrous (I mostly am), 30% of the time I get bashed because of being “bigoted”. Girls have often lashed out at me because I hold doors for them (“what? u think i can’t open a door?”) or by letting them go first in a queue (“u think i can’t hold my own spot?”) or giving my seat in a crowded bus for instance. This doesn’t discourage me; though I’d like to hear some opinions: Do you think chivalry is not a step towards a gender neutral society? Am I in fact being a bigot?

    • Hah, I hold the door whenever I am in front. So I don’t mind someone holding the door for me. I actually get annoyed if I was walking right behind anyone, male or female and they don’t at least attempt to hold the door for a second or two so I can at least grab it myself.

      I know there is this big issue with sexism versus chivalry. I honestly don’t mind chivalry once it is done because you want to show care and respect for someone and not because you think they are weak or incapable.

    • I think when it comes to door holding, if they’re right behind you, then it’s a nice thing to do – it’s something I’ve seen both genders do here in Ireland. I think it’s when you go way out of your way to do it that it can make others uncomfortable.

    • I do those things, and I’m a girl. It would be rude if I saw someone coming and I didn’t hold the door open. And if I see someone who is older or is with small children, I’ll ask if they want to sit down (I may think you’re wired though if you just ask someone who doesn’t look like they need the seat if they wanted to sit). Well the line thing is a bit weird…I may offer to an elderly person or someone will small children, but I’m not usually out at those times.
      But maybe that’s just because I live in the U.S.

    • I’m a girl and I love it when boys hold the door open for me, I would be grateful if they gave me a seat in a crowded bus, and I would be embarrassed/really touched if a boy gave me their spot in line. Chivalry is amazing and it is NOT bigotry. I think that women were so fiercely focused on getting equal rights that they totally overshot and we lost some manners along the way :(

      But I’m hopeful because people like you exist. And I’ve trained my little brother to be courteous and hold doors open for women (though there were some rough patches when I had to explain that it doesn’t count as chivalry if you knock me over, rushing to reach the door first to open it. lol. He was young and he learned)

      So, I think chivalry is a wonderful thing and you are not a bigot unless you’re doing something horrible that you aren’t telling us ;)

    • No one ever gave me a seat in a bus or let me go first in a queue so I would probably be surprised if anyone did, but I wouldn’t mind. It’s nice! Holding doors though is quite common, I think. Or maybe my university colleagues are especially chivalrous. The only instance of (unexpected) chivalry I experienced was when a guy offered me an umbrella on a rainy day. But I said no and regretted afterwards.

    • What?? First of all I want to say that I don’t believe in a gender neutral society. I think gender equality is a better term. As for chivalry, I have no problem with guys opening the door for me (this is a plus), letting me go before them in a line (although I’ll usually argue this one for a bit), or giving me a seat on a crowded bus. I don’t like to feel handicapped so I like doing things myself but none of the above is offensive by any means. If one guy keeps on doing everything for me I’ll turn down his help from time to time. Or sometimes a guy might try to help me climb up or down from somewhere and I’ll just say politely refuse the help. I don’t think it makes you a bigot. That is actually the opposite of a bigot. What kind of girls do you hang out with??? o_O

  198. Sexist can also be for male. I always wonder about equal right on female and male also. Some of my female friends said she want the male to treat them fairly, but when it’s time to be paying, they said the male should pay since it’s right. I was like um.. you just said we all should be equal. In another instance, if there is a fight between friend, couple, or coworker, the male is supposedly to apology first even if he didn’t do anything wrong. It’s like a know it how, too.

    Regardless of how you see things, there will always be some kind of form of sexist. We all are raise up to see some traditional (door open, paying food, etc…) way and adapt it into our living ways.

    P.S. I keeps hearing about the working force where male get pay more than female, but it is actually not true. Female are more emotional, and while male are more aggressive, so when it come to talking about money, the male tend to argue and bargain better.

    • Actually, men do get payed more than women. Isn’t it pretty stereotypical and sexist of you to say that women are more emotional and men are more aggressive? You do have a point with your argument, but they say “chivalry is dead”, so door opening does not apply as much anymore

    • I disagree with your PS, and a generalization of the genders is not fair, IMO.

      and it’s well documented that women get less pay for doing the same work as men – regardless of individual performances in the workplace.

      • Please read above on ‘why’ do women get pay lesser than men. It is not a fact, it’s what other have said/heard but never proven. In addition, this is based on USA. Different Country are also have different treatment. Most Asian countries are another different field where it has not fully develop its course yet.

    • The fact that you just said “females are more emotional and males are more aggressive” just shows sexist thinking. This is not true at all. Not even CLOSE. And it’s not “bargaining”. These are the types of pays that are “standardized”.

      I agree that equality is for all people; men, women, non-gender-binary, white people, non-white people (because feminism should be more inclusive to people outside of white women!), but also, if you think about it, a lot of “sexism towards males” (and here I say sexism as an institutional, systematic thing, not sexism from individuals but by a system/government) is just sexism towards females backfiring. Why can’t men where skirts? Because it’s feminine and feminine is bad–but women can “dress like a man” because being masculine is good. That sort of thinking.

      • http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/women-men-emotional-regulation-0430123/


        Men do wear skirt more now in society, but there are definitely skirt like along time ago. This is more of a fashion, and it comes and go with society changing. Some countries still have it in effect. If we talk about Westerners country, then some have some don’t.

        For Korean, it’s more accepting now for male celebrity to wear skirt (if you know Hong Kong, Bosco Wong also wear skirt). But, when a female tried to be less feminine (i.g Amber from f(x) ) they’re label as homosexual when they are not. Or when K. Will music video came with the twisted ending, the male main character was label as the same. It all depend on where your stance is.

        This masculine and feminine are based on what culture/country/society you’re talking about here is not clear with me.

  199. I’m not sure, but I think men not shaking women’s hands has more to do with not touching women than disregarding them. Handshaking is not a common sign of greeting in Korea like it is in North America. In western societies, you’re introduced to a new group of people in ANY setting and you shake their hand as you introduce yourself. In Korea, you don’t. I think it’s mostly a business type thing.
    Also, I know that in Canada, a lot of males and females in non-business settings hug each other as a greeting, whether they’re close friends or just-more-than-acquaintances. But in Korea, I’ve noticed that it doesn’t really work that way… I’ve never really seen girls and guys just run in to each other and say like, “Oh, Hi! How are you doing?” and then hug each other casually.

    So I’m not sure if men in Korea don’t shake women’s hands because women in serious business is a newer idea in Korea, or if it’s just a cultural thing of being modest when greeting people of the other gender.

  200. I think people need to be really careful about passing judgement on Korean culture and their views on women just based on this video. I’m really glad that Simon and Martina put their disclaimers at the beginning, emphasizing that these are just THEIR experiences, but even them, I think people can get a bit carried away because it’s tempting to see Korean culture as being just straight up misogynistic based on some of the things they said.

    Let me say now I am not trying to defend the mistreatment of women, obviously women deserve equal rights as men, I just think that people need to to be careful in the jumping to classify an ENTIRE culture as backwords or wrong, which I see a lot on the internet. Being from Canada or the US, were we view ourselves as progressive and intrinsicly “right” in the way that we do things, the idea that women aren’t treated exactly the same as men can lead some people to jump to conclusions. I’ve seen a lot of people call Koreans and Korea, backwords, psychotic, stupid and a whole bunch of other nasty things because Korea is more “conservative” than we are used to.
    I also think people need to realize that sexism is not a thing that is limited to theses more “conservative” countries, it is definitely alive and kicking in world wide today. Kind of like Simon and Martina’s friend, one of my professors at UofT was told NOT to dress to feminine for her job interview because she wouldn’t be taken seriously. My friends and I get cat-called at by strange guys in the street, which is a step up from grabbing but still sucks. My other friend basically got her chest fondled by a waiter as he was serving her in a restaurant, in front of everyone!
    What I’m trying to say is that I think people need to be careful when judging Korea, because yes it is different from what we may be used to, but people should still be careful and not jump to viewing it all as being “bad” or “wrong”.

    • I agree with what you’re saying – we need to recognise and acknowledge the sexism in our own countries, and realise it’s not just something that occurs elsewhere.

  201. Martina! where did you get your earrings?! *continues ep*

  202. I have a possible explanation for why that guy didn’t shake Martina’s hand. I come from an American/Indian (as in India) and Muslim culture, and in my community it’s a custom for men to not shake a woman’s hand as a sign of respect for her personal space. I know Koreans (or at least the ones in variety shows) are so sensitive about “skinship”, so maybe he just didn’t want to touch Martina and risk making her uncomfortable? It totally contradicts the story you told about men grabbing women’s arms and dragging them into clubs, but the particular hand-shaking thing I actually understand. This was a long awkward answer, but I hope it helped.

  203. Wow, I came to Canada from Korea when I was 13 and I’ve worked at a few Korean companies here in Vancouver. I just realized that I’ve shook hands with every Korean guy I’ve worked with, worked for or supervised, but never the women. I consider myself somewhat a feminist and I respect women maybe more than men in work places but I think it has more to do with what we’d consider appropriate (yeah, super conservative – don’t touch women if you’re a man kind of deal), and not to show disrespect. That anecdote about the manager telling all the women to dress prettier is totally messed up though, and he should be fired for it but the company is going to just go, “oh, all the men are dressed in dress shirts/suits, he was just trying to say that women need to comply with the dress code standards for this company”. I don’t know the whole story and I don’t know how he worded it, but I’ve heard a Korean manager tell this to men at work place too if they start to get a bit slobby. The company dinners I’ve been to have always had youngest guys going around serving drinks… and maybe that can be a girl but have not seen that yet.

    • I am a Female working in business I don’t usually shake people hands at all male or female. I am uncomfortable with it. I do sometimes get into a situation were I have to shake peoples hand and hate it. I am not a germaphobe it just i have small hand so a hand shake usually goes one of two ways, the other person has a limp hand, which is just weird or they shake that hard my fingers end up hurting.

      The general hand shake edicate I was taught was: If a females doesn’t offer her hand for shaking don’t force it.

  204. I live in the United States, and as a young female, I have to say sexism, even if not as blatant, is alive and well in every country. Most of the things I deal with are similar to Martina, sort of micro-aggressions. I was a wedding photographer for a long time, and I would always have a second-shooter who was often male. It astounded me how often people would gravitate towards him as the person in charge simply because he was male. Similarly, working in the film industry which is almost ENTIRELY composed of men, the comments that I hear sometimes astound me. I often feel like I have to prove myself ten-fold to be let into some sort of inner circle, while a guy with the same skills (or even less sometimes) can waltz right in and feel at home. All of these things, can be tolerated, and ignored, but they build up after a while. I just think the lack of respect within all of these interactions is the common link, meaning, women are still undervalued and under respected in a world that values masculinity above all things..

    • Oh yeah at my work place customers always want to talk to the male manager and not me if I try to resolve an issue for them especially other men and older women. I even got a comment once “women shouldn’t be in management they have to many feelings” I told him to kiss my all feeling ass which my store manager said I would get scolded for later but he just gave me a high five when the customer left haha. People say we have progressed but honestly it is still very much there. I really hate how guys think stuff like the make me a sandwich joke is hilarious its really regressing. I should reply ok go out and hunt me down a wild boar and a few rabbits so I can make you a god damned stew.

    • I am glad you pointed out the wedding photography thing. I am in the middle of planning my wedding, and my fiancee and I sort of divided the jobs around. One of his was a DJ, and when we met with him the DJ kept looking at me. I was REALLY annoyed by that. I actually get really irked by it, and feel a little dirty hiring him. Even when I told him that Jon was head of it, he still kept looking at me and asking me questions.

    • Sadly, yeah I experience that too in my career. Also largely from older men and women. Although i never cease to be amazed at the comments from some younger people too, although it’s not as prevalent. I have fun with it in stores though. I built my home computer, and it can be soo entertaining when i go into computer stores and check out the parts to have some poor new guy come up to me and try to sell me some lesser more expensive doodad. If I reply with specific technical jargon, and smile sweetly like the blonde surfer chick they’re expecting, the resuls can be very entertaining.

  205. Regardless of how the Korean companies you work with see gender roles themselves, as they are dealing with foreigners, you’d think they’d make a conscious effort to talk to Martina as well..

  206. Hi Simon and Martina, what do Koreans think of foreign musicians promoting in Korea?
    Do Koreans really look down on non-Asians in the K-POP music scene, and is it true that Korean entertainment companies won’t take a non-Asian? Thanks!

  207. sara-ever-after.blogspot.com

    I say this as someone who’s a more traditional woman in terms of her lifestyle and relationships, but there’s such a HUGE line between gender roles, and abuse of someone because of their gender. In no way is it acceptable for a man to ever grab or harass a woman, or have a woman act subservient towards them without question. Even the way I live my life requires respect on both ends of the equation. Don’t expect respect or acceptance from me if you don’t show the same! Lots of love from Canada, really appreciated this topic!

  208. Adding my two cents on this matter:

    (I’m not a native English speaker, so forgive me if some of my wordings sound weird)

    Sexism is an idea very deep-rooted in the Asian culture, especially for societies that practice the Confucian way of living. One key idea in Confucianism is that “there is a difference between males and females”. According to traditional values, men are supposed to work and earn a living, while women are supposed to stay at home, take care of children. I would say such sex roles were effective because back then, there were often wars in Asia. With limited resources, the society need to allocate education to the best possible people, who would later become warriors and commanders. Because of the biological difference that men are often stronger than women, more resources are put on men. In addition, they are more respected than females.

    But as we all know, this doesn’t apply well to the society now. Very often women have their own jobs, and females are proven (both scientifically and by history) to be as intelligent and capable as males. As a Chinese myself, I would say the amount of sexism in the whole Asian society is gradually decreasing. This is especially evident in China, where more and more women go to work, put off their marriage to a later stage, and are equally respected. And I can also see changes in some other parts of Asia, such as Japan, South Korea as well. So, while there is still a considerable amount of sexism in South Korea, I am happy to see that the situation is gradually getting better.

    I believe that it would be difficult to change the entire situation in South Korea in just a short period of time. After all, Confucianism has been an essential part of the whole culture. I think it takes time for people to accept this “new” Western idea of equality between the two sexes. And I believe that Hallyu may help the situation by facilitating more frequent exchange of cultural values and ideas. After all, South Koreans were pretty much living in their own way, in their own world before Hallyu became worldwide.

    P.S. Again, I’m Chinese and not S.Korean, and I haven’t stayed in South Korea for long. So correct me if I made a mistake or anything =]

  209. I might get a ton of criticism for this- which is good, I want to spark conversation and deeper understanding on the subject.

    Women who are “considered” to be in a lower social position- by appearance to outsiders, is misunderstood as negative, and is actually empowering in many ways.

    In other words, although to a Western sense of sexism is a negative part of culture, just as in any social caste system where the bottoms seem to be the most repressed, there are actually kinds of freedoms in being in a lower caste.

    I am not saying the objectifying, physical/ emotional/ psychological abuse, the mistreatment, the abuse of humanist and social rights are ok- they most certainly not.

    However, there is a sort of power, and always has been a sort of power, in being in charge of the household- women have a significant place where the man does not have a place. In traditional Confucianism this meant women had control over performing family rites, the part of culture that is passed down that influences all generations.Lady Chang of Choson Korea (1590-1680) is a historical hero for her role in Confucianism, proving herself a capable woman by how Confucianism defined her- pious to her family (she managed to visit her parents once a year, back then if you were a married woman you would never see your family again basically), looked after her servants and household, and performed all her adopted family’s rites. What Confucianism defined for people was a (supposedly) peaceful social structure- Confucius came up with his philosophy/ theory during China’s Spring and Autumn Period- a time where sons/ nephews/ other houses tried to take power through militaristic slaughter. Confucianism, which values respecting your elders, your family, and you neighbours and expects you to not only to respect those above you, but to be looked after as well. Men weren’t (suppose) to be like “make me a sandwich!” but was suppose to provide a home and family for the woman. Women had their social role of upholding familial culture and the household as the men worked- their social roles were not any more significant, nor any more insignificant than their male counterparts- and although often neglected, women did in fact shape just as much history as men.

    Now fast-forward to the 21st century, what Confucius roles are defined for women in contemporary Korean culture? Thing is, I believe Korea is still trying to figure it out. Yes, the fact that women are often treated as beings who need to be looked after more than often turns into their submission because of their gender is way too common- and even currently, being a part of Kendo and the Japanese-Korean community, I see Confucianism of elders enforcing their will on the youngers kinda common and it messes with my perception that the elders should be looking after the youngers, not shaping the youngers will for revenge on the next generation (lol- a bit of an extreme, though I do sometimes feel this way).

    Atm, I have a Korean boyfriend and we’re still negotiating this out. He is older and raised in a patriarchy, but I was raised in a matriarchy, surrounded by strong female figures that I aspire to, including my mother. The key is communication- how does that make you feel when I do or say this? I am sure there are many Korean men willing to listen and come to an understanding on what it is like for Korean women (and in turn, globally including Canada as this is an always on-going issue) in their new social roles outside of the home. It’s exciting, and although I do not wish any sort of horrible experience on anyone, including women, this struggle means there is progression and an attempt at understanding. Isn’t that rather awesome, that people are getting their voices heard?

  210. The only k- drama that could be called somewhat feminist is I do, I do. Total gender roles reversal, no female villain, there’s even talk about abortion and single motherhood at one point AND it’s funny. Because of all that, even though it’s not perfect, I love it to bits.

    • I loved I Do, I Do! Despite its flaws, that was one female lead that never gave up her principles of became a limp ninny once she fell in love. The relationship between the leads was so adorable too.

  211. I know you guys aren’t into doing controversial topics, but this topic has peeked my interest. With “1950′s in 2013″ mentality, what is the general mindset as far as homosexuality is concerned? I see a lot of big dramas with underlying themes and sub plots involving a gay couple that get really popular. I just must wonder.

  212. Last year (I live in the US), I had started working as a Security officer, and the company that hired, the boss required all females to wear make-up because he said we deal with the public. But, going to places where you see other female security, I don’t see them wearing make-up and at my present job my boss doesn’t require it. He just requires that your hair is neat and you shower regularly.

  213. That happened to me where they tried to drag me into a club they didn’t realize I was a foreigner because I was turned away and talking to my Korean friend whom I was visiting and I freaked out and kneed the bouncer in the balls and the other bouncers faces went so pale and immediately started to apologize. Still baffles me that’s allowed and the dude had a death grip vice on my wrist I was not impressed my friend got a kick out of it though she told me she’s never seen them try and pull a foreigner in just like Martina said and they probably mistook me for Korean because I had straightened my hair and was turned away. I was baffled for the rest of the evening and kept going “No really? Seriously they can do that?”

    • really?! wow. I think if more Korean women started kneeing the bouncers maybe this would stop or happen less.

    • I wish to give you two Votes Up if I could … one for each … ball.

    • as much as i deeply dislike any sort of violence, deserved or not, you make me feel like (when i visit korea) going to the clubs, not saying anything as i come close so they assume im korean, and then doing a round robbin of knee meet bouncers balls of anyone who tries that shit on me hahaha

      seriously though, i would absolutely freak out if something like that happened to me without this tldr as warning, i dont think id be dextrous enough to react as you did but hed definitely get an earful of my most colorful swearing

    • You kneed him in the what???? That’s seriously wicked and hilarious (the “kneeing” part tho, not the “dragging” part). And yeah, I know right? It just doesn’t make any sense for me that pple would actually let strangers drag them around.

  214. regarding Korea having a female president – I think she should be judged on her policies not on the fact she is a woman. Women politicians are not necessarily more progressive and less sexist than male politicians, take Margaret Thatcher for example. The recently elected Korean President is Park Geun-hye and she is the daughter of the former Korean president and dictator Park Chung-hee who seized power in a military coup, was well known for human rights abuses and declared himself president for life. Park Geun-hye is from the extremely conservative, Grand National Party/Saenuri Party and was in fact considered the most conservative politician running in the election. She is a fiscal conservative and has refused to take stand in support of women’s rights. According to the Korean Women’s Association United, Park Geun-hye has never proposed a single bill which deals with addressing women’s rights or inequality in Korea despite the fact she campaigned around becoming the first female Korean president. Her campaign was also endorsed by anti-feminist men’s groups who are opposed to feminism and gender equality.

    • wow i read some stuff before her election but i had no idea about all this, how the heck did she get elected?? she doesnt have to be raging female libertarian but ANTI feminist groups??? which woman would vote for that no matter how conservative they are??

    • Another sad thing is that she wouldn’t have gotten a lot of the votes if her father wasn’t Park Chung-hee. So the first woman president of Korea became president mainly because of a man :(

  215. I would freak out all over the person if some random man grabbed my wrist and started pulling me somewhere. That sounds pretty scary, actually. (And good for Suzy! I’m so proud of her for finding a way to get them to back off without being violent!)

    But the funny thing is that my Mom gets ticked off because people will brush her off too because she’s a woman. We live in America, it’s not the 1950′s anymore, but when someone calls on the phone, they typically only want to talk to my Dad. The hilarious thing, though, is that they ESPECIALLY want to talk to him if it’s about finances or construction work, but that is my MOM’S area of expertise. She said that there was a time when someone flat out REFUSED to talk to her on the phone, so the conversation was the guy on the phone telling my Dad something, then Dad telling Mom, who’d tell him what to tell the guy on the phone…

    Granted, I think that was a while ago and they’re getting better about talking to Mom, especially since she’s become more assertive, but I still find it strange how there seems to be ideas all over the world (perhaps more subtle in some places) that there are certain things that women cannot understand. I see change, and I’m sure that the younger generation in Korea will probably implement more changes there too.

    Anyway, I’m glad that you did this video because I have been wondering about that. It stinks that you have to do those disclaimers, because, honestly, if people watched your whole video, how could they be upset with you? All you did was relate personal experiences. If they want to be angry, they should be angry at the people who were disrespectful to Martina, not at you two for sharing it with us. And maybe if more people know about these things that happen, they’ll work harder to make it better! :) Maybe young Korean girls will find motivation in this video to learn another language well so that they can avoid those wrist-grabbers!

    Take care!

    • That unfortunatelynot that uncommon in Australia either.

      When Iwas studying Feminism in English class and the female English teacher gave a similarexample of a work man turning up to her house to do some work walked pass her and started to talk to her boyfriend who just happened to be there at the time(he didn’t live there). She was expecting her BF to tell the worker to talk to her, but he didn’t.

      I couldn’t help myself but argue with the teacher that, for her to wait for a guy to defend her and stand up for her and point out the workman’s behavior was insulting (and even the BF’s), she was supporting the stereo type that females need men to defend them.

      Mind you if it was me in that situation I would have told the workman to leave and I would hire someone else for the job.

  216. SooZee, you’re awesome. :)

  217. Every time I see a woman being dragged off like that in a drama, I want to tell her to take off that 2 inch spike heel she’s wearing, and shove the point of it in a place that will have that man rolling on the floor in pain. He won’t be dragging her off anywhere anymore.

  218. A good friend of mine was in Korea last semester and she told me about an experience she had. She was going shopping with an American male friend of hers and they walked past a Korean couple. The Korean boy took the girl by the back of the neck and forced her to look away from the American guy in a really possessive sort of way. I don’t know how frequent of an occurrence this type of thing is but I’ll be in Korea in the fall so I can see for myself then.

  219. chachamaru013

    This is a topic I always wanted to ask about so I’m really happy right now!! Also, I always wanted to know if S&M (feels weird to write it) do define* themselves as feminist.
    *P.S: Note sure what word to write here since English is not my primary language.

  220. I have only once noticed sexism personally. It wasn’t like a big deal or offensive (it was funny in a way), but it caught me off guard because it was so random. In my Statistics class, I had an older male teacher. He was passing out our first quiz results, and I think I got a lower 90% or something. He goes, to the whole class, “See. A girl who can do math! :D” I was never aware of that stereotype up until that point, and I was maybe 20 years old. xD;;

    I’m glad that my mom is the type of Korean woman to not give a crap what others think. She smokes openly (not that I like it, but I can’t really stop her) and will put people in their place if they try to mess with her or those who are with her. I think this comes from having a similar attitude when she was younger, living in the US for a long time, and it was enhanced with age. LoL I’m also glad that my mom is currently married to a Korean man who is super kind and loving to her and sees her as his equal – I got to see this with my own eyes. ^^

  221. OMO! I knew about some of the sexism stuff in Asia, but the grabbing by the wrist stuff, gosh! I’m really thankfull that I know that now cuz I want to go to Korea and if it would happen right in front of me, I would probably jump on the guy to protect the korean girls who are being drag inside the club.

    And I really happy to see that I’m not the only one who’s not ok with some of the weird dominant scene in dramas. I LOVED Coffee Prince, but the scene when [spoiler] Han Kyul force-kiss Go Eun Chan [/spoiler] always makes me really really mad. For the grabbing the wrist kind of scene, it really depends. Sometimes I hate it if the girl is really angry/sad/don’t want to go (but, a lot of the time, it’s done so that you feel the girl say she doesn’t want to go but really want to in her twisted mind) and really weak, I don’t mind if it’s not as bad and it’s a scene where the guy grabs her wrist but she pulls him back and it goes back and forth (less dominant, less brutal too). But sometimes, it can be endearing : in Gentleman’s Dignity, everytime Choi Yoon grabs the arm of Me Ha Ri, I’m like “awwwwwwwwwww”. But he rarely does it in a “dominant” way, it’s more like a “caring/protecting” way of doing it.

  222. “Oh, I wasn’t smoking I just happen to smell like a jar of pickled butt-holes.”-Lol nice one simon.

  223. I have a feeling that my opinion on this will be somewhat different since I grew up in what can justifiably be classified as a “sexist” family. As in, whenever there are family gatherings, women cook and feed everyone while guys watch television and drink, and guys are definitely given more lenience in my family when it comes to things like curfews and money. I mean, I never grew up thinking this was wrong, I would think it was unfair sometimes, but I got used to it, and it isn’t all bad all the time. A lot of this means that the guys depend on me and the females in my family a lot. So we are regarded very highly because they need us to keep the family running. If we’re not there, there is a very slim chance that the cooking, cleaning, making sure everyone does their homework, and all that crap will get done. Now, this isn’t to say I’m for any sort of physical abuse, that stuff is never okay, and the guys in our family know that we will kick their asses to the moon if they try that. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes it’s okay if there are roles in families and even in societies. I’ve always liked the idea of a strong protective guy with a girl that allows herself to be taken care of, even if she doesn’t need it. And like a lot of commenters have said, this isn’t just in Korea. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve turned on my t.v.(I live in the U.S.) and have seen the whole girls fighting over guys/girls whining because they need a guy/guy saving a girl because she can’t do it herself. Girls might be somewhat more aggressive and outspoken in Western cultures, but that underlying sexism is everywhere still.

    • I love your post. I don’t like the idea of the women doing all the housework and the guy just watching TV but that is not to say that it is always wrong. I think many people confuse gender equality with gender sameness.

      • Yes, I don’t think it’s always wrong either. When I have a problem with it, is when both spouses work or go to school, and then the guy still expects to be a lazy butt and sit around while the wife cooks and cleans. There should be an equal distribution of work.

        But I think it’s fine if both sides of the marriage agrees, and one spouse goes to work to earn money, and the other one stays home to take care of household stuff. As long as their is an equal distribution of the work.

  224. Interesting topic. Some shocking stuff at points- dragging in to clubs? They’d be on the floor faster than they can say ‘yeppun’ if they tried that with me! And ignoring Martina? That is disgraceful.
    But the wrist grabbing… I never saw a problem with that. This is possibly because a lot of my female as well as male Korean friends would do this to me, and I would to them. No male Korean has objected thus far to me grabbing their wrist. That was my only surprise.
    The submissive woman thing bugs the shizzle out if me though.
    Having never experienced sexism thus far I guess I just meet the nicest Koreans :D

  225. I think you guys handled the discussion really well.

    I felt better about “drama grabbing” after finding out about “manner hands” and how it can be considered more polite to touch a woman’s wrist rather than her hand…however your story about clubs etc is really disheartening :/

  226. Hmmm, sexism… Yeah, lets not mention how India is doing in that issue…
    But nice TL;DR, guise!

  227. Maybe them being highly Conservative is why they have less crime/drugs and there is more respect. Hmmmmm…
    I wonder if that show was Running Man? I hope not. Unless they’re just talking about for an interview or something. What tv shows have they been on?

    Pickled buttholes? lol

    • I immediately thought Star King.

      • Woah I don’t even know what that is lol, so I googled Star King eatyourkimchi, got this http://www.eatyourkimchi.com/our-episode-of-star-king/
        and then at 2:30 saw Hyeri from Girl’s Day yay! (Sorry random lol)

        Well considering I have no idea what in the world is going on besides what S&M said below the vid I guess I might have to watch this Eng subbed.

        You ever see the episode w/ S&M on Running Man? I don’t think most ppl realize they were on it once.

        • Oh yes, I’ve seen them on Running Man. (Fellow Lizzy fan!) They had to taste test what the participants made. But despite the predominantly male cast, they don’t strike me as the type who would bypass Martina to shake only Simon’s hand. The cast seems a lot more … “worldly” … for the lack of a better term.

        • NANAandLIZZYfanatic

          lol Poor Lizzy, you see her Tick Talk interview where she said she wants back on RM but they won’t invite her?
          She’s who got me to 1st watch RM and I loved it.
          You also see the S&M vid where they see Lizzy and she approaches them and says she remembers them from RM? lol

          I really wish they’d interview OC… :/

  228. Wow what a great vid – i think my fave tldr so far. So interesting to know this kind of mundane but important details about daily life…

    Experience sharing time! I’m from a Slavic country, and men generally don’t shake women’s hands in my country too… it’s just not customary…and… I HATE IT!!!! But how can I change it?? TT______TT ..MOUNTAINS of sexism at my *serious* workplace, as well… So its not only Korea that’s got the problem…

  229. I live outside of Korea with Korean parents and I’m just starting to realize how some (sexist) things are maybe just embedded into the Korean culture. Like with little things that I looked over until now. I have two little sisters and whenever our dad would mention something about marriage, as kids we just found it hilarious. Somethings he would say were along the lines of- don’t read in the dark because your future husband wouldn’t like eyes with poor sight. I never thought much of it other than a ‘korean way’ of your parents telling you to stop something. Now I’m 18 and a few months ago he said something like that again about my teeth, interrupting me in the middle of my sentence. Annoyed, I asked him why he thought the opinion of some guy I may or may not meet was important than what I was saying, and my dad said that it was because he cared about me. I was furious. One, because I felt that he disrespected me by disregarding my speech and two, he wanted me to meet a guy that would/would not like me for my looks. I was mad, but at the same time I was really hurt when I realized his intentions. My dad apologized because I know he really does love and care for me, but at the same time, he still didn’t quite understand why I was so offended.

    And I think these small realizations are just the tip of the iceberg, maybe more so because the things I learnt at school(outside of Korea) made me believe that sexism was nonexistent in my life and now I’m finding otherwise.

    So thanks for making this video :) I rambled on a bit haha, but thanks for bringing this topic up for discussion. It shouldn’t be overlooked anymore.

  230. A few months ago I read an article about the restoration of a hanok, the person who was in charge was also the owner, a woman with years of experience. She says, among other things, that she struggled with the workers because they didn’t liked to take orders from a woman. They made the exterior walls straight, not a good thing because they were supposed to be in a certain angle so she told them to do it again, they didn’t like that.
    It’s true that in many parts of the world, sadly, the most; men are raised to think women as inferior minds with the only purpose of being pretty and then become good mothers. What I find “interesting” is that in Korea seems like the whole society think this is a good thing and encourages.

  231. I’m currently living in Japan, and some similar things have happened to me. While it’s not the norm, some places won’t take my money if I hand it to them, and insist on me putting it in the money tray next to the register and then they will pick it up. The first time this happened, I was livid. The Japanese guy in front of me at the store just handed his money to them so when the clerk pointed to the counter when I tried to give him the money my first thought was “hell no you don’t” Being as stubborn as I am I held up the line until he took the money from my hand. Maybe there was something else influencing this, but regardless it was rude.

  232. Hi guise! I have a question about racism. I know it’s a sensitive issue and netizens will be all up in your grill(I know, thug life). But i was wondering how darker skinned people are treated in there. Like for me i am south asian, so i am not necessarily pale or white. I am more tan. So i was wondering how would they treat people who are darker skinned. I would love it if you answered it!

    • My dad has african ancestry. When we went there on a school trip, they were really, really nice. My mom is South Korean, but they didn’t know that off the bat until I told them. When I go there, it’s usually around my birthday (the school used to go every year), so my host family made me cake and the trip before that, these students bought me candies :D. I’m friends with some of them today.

      So, if anyone tells you that they treat darker skinned people like crap, I don’t know where they were or they are lying sacks of shits.

      • no i mean like they use a lot of dark skinned jokes like when simon and martina said on a tl;dr. I don’t remember which one. Simon said “Somebody saw a dark skinned guy and went ooh look teacher obama.” I was also wondering because you know how korean beauty standards are. I was watching we got married and this girl was a bit tanned. Her husband was like “I can go out with her at night because i will loose her in the dark” things like that. Like if you were going to live there for full time; if people would accept you as part of their country or just a foreigner.

        • I think what Simon was talking about is that they can be insensitive, but they don’t necessarily mean to insult you or be racist. From my experience, they treated us very well, but there may be some people, because there are those “some people” everywhere. And I don’t know if foreigners are expected to have the Korean’s beauty/society standards

  233. Cyber_3

    This was a great TLDR;, very informative, funny, and interesting – thanks Simon and Martina.

    Martina, I don’t know if Korean men care as much as their “face/reputation” as other asian cultures but when I was in Shanghai, I found that sometimes, making a point of offering your hand first (to shake) or what, usually helped to break the ice. Also, specifically introducing yourselves at the beginning of meetings as co-creators/partners will help to make it clear that Martina is an equal partner and make things less awkward. Sometimes, it may be less that the men you are meeting with are sexist than that they are afraid of being seen accidentally shaking hands or discussing with the secretary, especially if they don’t know your work well.

    As for the disclaimers, they don’t ruin the TLDR, but they are kind of distracting. I guess I haven’t been around here long enough to see any haters, but maybe you are giving them too much attention by acknowledging them through the excessive disclaimers. I know it’s hard but it’s a little like feeding the trolls. Don’t let them affect your good work/mood, one disclaimer should be enough.

    Cyber_3 – is no expert, but has lot of experience in dealing with sexist men in the workplace……oy vey

    • The haters are mostly on youtube and tumblr. Places where we Nasty Mods can’t really control. Also, they kinda have to do the disclaimers for the Korean people who may stumble upon the videos. Simon has gotten into trouble before with Korean netizens and people who did not understand their humour. It was part of the reason he left teaching in Korea ( He talked about it in a previous video) So yes, they still have to be careful.

      • Cyber_3

        Oh Natz, I certainly agree, they need to be careful, I wasn’t saying that. More, I was saying that I think that one disclaimer (whether vocalized or run at the bottom of the screen or something) should be enough. Sometimes, it seems as if every paragraph has one. Harping on it has a chilling effect on the fun and only makes it seem as if they are doing something wrong, which they are not. I did see the part about Simon and I can understand his frustration, but honestly, there is just no pleasing some people, no matter what you do. What I would hate, is to have Simon and Martina saying “this is why we can’t do fun things in our videos” because of a few (vocal) haters. There will be people who hate you for no reason, no matter what, there is nothing you can do about it, ever and as a fellow Canadian, I know how this can burn, especially when you have never even met the people. And you just can’t help wanting to make them understand you and like you because you are really nice but sometimes, it’s just not possible. And on the internet, there are people who deliberately seek out people to harrass and take great delight in it, regardless of their personal opinions. What can you do? All you can do is put in a disclaimer and move on and have fun without them. If it is Koreans who aren’t getting the jokes, I can see that this might make waves for S&M but are they really going to quit being themselves when this is what they’ve essentially built Eat Your Kimchi on? I find that sad. If one disclaimer isn’t enough, I can’t see how two, or three, or even a hundred will improve the situation, I was just suggesting that in trying to be accomodating to the haters so much, they’re starting to put a bit of a wet blanket on everything for the lovers/Nasties. I wish they would be more confident that, they’re good enough, they’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like them! ;)

        • I agree with you. It is sad. But I also know that it sucks when people msiconstrue things you say or do and get mad at you, especially on the Internet. Alas.

  234. A lot of people are mentioning k-dramas but actually, some of the most popular dramas feature strong female leads (ex: protect the boss, my lovely sam soon, coffee prince, and boys over flowers). Just wanted to point that out.

    • And this is why I love Kim Sun Ah. Kim Sam Soon was really the beginning of a love story with her for me. She does tend to play those ‘slightly foul mouthed’ roles. And usually gets type cast as the girl who they are forcing to act more ‘ girly’ so she can get married: 1. Because her characters are opinionated and 2. Because they are over 30.

  235. Future TLDR Question! : To foreigners, Seoul is probably the most known city in South Korea and probably the most visited by tourists (Like Tokyo in Japan, and other capitals /big cities around the world)

    My question for you two is besides Seoul, can you tell us your opinions about some of the best places to visit in South Korea and why you enjoyed them so much? Also are their certain areas that are known for certain things that you think we shouldn’t miss out on if we visit? … <3 You guys….stay NASSSTY :)

  236. I’ll flat out say it: You are not a Nastie if you anger bomb S&M! discussions are fine! Even heated discussions, but flat out &!tchin is not acceptable and Meemers will cut you! He’s a doctor you know,….he can do it…

  237. I’m not sure of the intent of the person who didn’t shake Martina’s hand but I think we also have to remember that Korea is not a country that normally shake hands but instead they bow. So they probably were trying to be nice and shake Simon’s hand. The reason they didn’t shake Martina’s hand could be because she is a female and they are male and she is with her husband Simon. They don’t want to be put in a position where Simon might react as “why you touching my girl!” haha you know what I mean? Not that it will happen but since Korea is a culture where women and men are still treated differently in some ways, it might have been out of respect instead. But who knows there still is a possibility that they were just being sexists. The only reason why I think this could be possible is because when I visited my friends in Korea, I gave them a hug like I always do here in America and they were just weirded out by it and my friend actually got a bit mad that I hugged her boyfriend although we are all friends for over 10 years! It is just part of our cultural differences.
    With the club scene, this happens a lot because I think girls in Korea don’t mind that. This makes them seem like they are “wanted” and they get to go in without paying cover! Guys though, will have to pay cover to go into clubs. Not that this applies to every club in Korea but that is the case of many (this also is the same here in North America). I have done the same thing Soo Zee did when I lived in Korea for a year. I just started speaking in English and they backed off.
    Sexism still exists in Korea but it goes both ways not just against females. And they are actually getting better in respecting females in the workforce. South Korea is a country that developed very quickly and just needs time. As I have mentioned in another post, South Korea did just elect their first female president! That would have been unheard of just a few years ago. They are trying.
    Thanks for sharing this Martina and Simon!!! (Not just Simon and Martina because why does Simon have to come first? Alphabetically, “M” comes before “S”. :-p)

  238. Thank you very (!!!) much for addressing this issue and sharing your experiences because it’s one that is absolutely necessary since it’s unfortunately an apparent existential matter as much as racism. As an (not esp.) Asian woman, I very well understand our culture has a lot to do with the roles of men and women though as do other cultures and religions. We are taught to have a strong characteristic yet to be also reserved and proper; nothing is wrong with this unless it involves with violent, prejudice and chauvinism. Which is why I am glad to be born in a Asian country that has a more liberal lifestyle even though sexism is mostly caused by an individual, and what doesn’t kill you definitely makes us stronger in this case.. in fact, it did made me more violent towards men when I was younger to defend myself. I moved to US at about 8 and faced more racism than sexism, but people will be more likely to attack you for anything that is stated to be inferior in ‘society standards’ even if we do not agree. My friend and I were so angered when we saw a woman treated like a guy’s pet at the mall (he whistled to command her..). And of course, sexism goes both ways, and that is equally and completely not acceptable by any means. As we can see that Asian men are seen as weak in Western culture, and Western women are ridiculously sexualised. Anyhow, I also wanted to say that I am way disappointed at the treatment of Martina (and other women) in Korea in those situations. Not exactly shocked, but it is awfully disrespectful and just crass to be so disdaining in a social and business engagement. Some things are good to keep traditionally though not stubbornly nor when it brings substandard to your culture.

    • Ah, almost forgot– it also sucks a lot that sexism puts so much pressure on how we treat our own sex/gender as well. You know the whole shabang like ‘oh who would someone believe? someone who is more attractive (all aspects) or blah blah’ In sexism, it would be believing the men who seem to have it together/respected (in any means) or the women who is attractive and plays the victim. :(
      One of the first & good movie that displays/tells this kind of topic is ‘Fight Lady’

  239. thank you for brushing on this topic, your analogy of the 2050 techno iwth 1950like pros and cons in society was perfect !! enjoy your commentary, always funny in a good way even if its a touchy subject… happy also to see your own opinions and fairtake ;) kudos to you S&M (no pun intended or why not for joke)

  240. I’ll shake Martina’s hand!!! Who am I kidding if and when I get to meet EYK you both get big hugs!!!

  241. I’m really glad that there is some form of discussion regarding an issue like this. And I’m really thankful for your disclaimers because it shows an awareness of your positions in the grand scheme of things because with something as sensitive as this there’s always a danger of making a big boo boo like inadvertently passing judgment on a culture that is not yours. Even then, when my friend and I have discussions about not just sexism, but the larger social structure in Korea, it still makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable for expressing my opinions as someone who does not live in that culture and have the kinds of immediate lived experiences of those circumstances. And you’re both absolutely right, it’s a very difficult thing to talk about not just because of the responses that you might get but all these attending issues as well.

    It isn’t the K-dramas that I’m struggling with but rather the variety shows. Lately, I’ve been escaping into Korean variety shows but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to watch it mindlessly with the kind of sensibilities that they promote; the heteronormative gender roles, the non-existence of the queer community and alternative sexualities, the hierarchical structure with regards to age etc. I’m also particularly interested in the ways that they film these shows too. For example, with something like We Got Married, how much of what we see is scripted and how much is ‘reality’. On that point, I find shows like We Got Married a very strange concept in a place as conservative as Korea. The premise of the show itself is kinda creepy and voyeuristic to me although I love the sh*t out of it. Just the way that Koreans handle romance and sex is very chaste to the point that I find it very hard to believe that any kind of physical intimacy or sexual references can exist in their media. But perhaps that is too extreme an extrapolation.

    One thing that really struck me in the video was that these bouncers who pull girls into clubs are aware that it isn’t ok to do something like to foreigners but they still do it anyway with Korean girls. I guess it contributes to the passivity and dehumanisation of women in Korea. Let’s also not forget that women themselves are complicit in and contribute to maintaining the status quo, perhaps not of their own agency.

    I’m just wondering at what point does it become alright to say that things aren’t right. I mean, it is another culture we’re talking about and I’m only an outsider looking in. I guess the problem is where to draw the line between ethics, morality, social justice and culture.

  242. i was actually scratching my butt while watching this video LOL

  243. here’s a site where there’s more anecdotes about sexism in Korea http://theunlikelyexpat.blogspot.ie/2012/01/sexism-and-patriarchy-in-korea.html

  244. The fact that those guys aren’t shaking your hand or addressing you directly might be partly due to the fact that you are married and they are trying not to look like they are hitting on you or that they aren’t supposed to touch you because you are married.

  245. Hmm, well, as far as I can tell:
    1. That manager dude should be sent to North America and then say all that. We’ll see how long he lasts then.
    2. People will forever take offense to the most stupidest things and yell, and they are the ones that are doing those things in the first place.
    3. SK is wayyyy ahead of US in terms of female elected leaders, as are many other industrialized nations in the world.
    4. The new president’s politics are a little aggressive, which may be why she won in the first place, but I don’t know enough about SK politics, unlike American politics.
    5. The world is still a very patriarchal place, and it honestly sucks because of all of the stereotypes women have to face; being a female engineering student, I’ve already faced quite a few not-so-nice remarks in my first year. (Makes my sadistic side itch for some action… sadly, it’s not very humane. /sigh/)

    6. I don’t think people in SK perceive that to be sexism, even the women. They seem to see sexism in a different light than the European and North American countries. Now, I may be completely wrong about this, but this is just a small observation I’ve made based on the things I’ve read and seen and heard about the past couple of years. I think Korean society there has this enormous fear of feminism because of the straw feminism stereotypes that are persistent throughout it. Even drama characters, the badass girls in the beginning turns out to be a docile little kitty by the end because of love. The message that seems to be sent to all of the children is “Girls, even if you are aggressive now, you need to become more feminine in the future. Boys, don’t even bother trying to love an aggressive woman; it’s not worth your time.” Maybe I’m being a little too cynical or too harsh, but that’s the observation.

  246. There are positive things about Confucianism? Cause from where I’m sitting, that’s not only to blame for the sexism but also the hierarchy think, the out of control shallowness, widespread chronic inferiority complexes and the insane school system. All of it can be tracked back to Confucianistic ideas. Or am I wrong here?

  247. Great video guys! I just wanted to take the time to say that I think when it comes to more serious matters and touchy subjects, you guys handle it very well. I’m sorry you guys have to deal with nasty people (oh the irony lol). Even though you guys aren’t experts on the subjects, you both do try by showing from your perspectives, as you guys said. It’s all very informative and thank you for being so great! :D OOH SO NASTY :)

  248. Here in denmark, if someone you don’t know grab your arm or wrist or whatever and drags you inside while you’re talking outside with your friends, you’re bound to get yelled at, hurt if her male friends are with her.. i would flip the eff out if someone did that me -.-

  249. I love that “You don’t try that sh*t with foreign girls”!!

  250. Very interesting, well thought-out TL;DR! Really interesting to hear how you guys have been treated as foreigners versus some of your friends and staff, etc.

    Been a really interesting couple of TL;DRs! I was very interested and happy about last week’s as well. It was something I definitely had been wondering about.

    It’s rough that even as a co-owner of EYK Martina is still treated very differently. It’s rough, too, that even in Canada I have friends who are in the video game industry and the girls are treated as having opinions that are less valuable than the men’s. (I have 2 male friends and 2 female friends, and even the guys notice it. The CEO even asked one of the girls to do his son’s homework/contest entry because “he really wanted to win”. WTH??) So, very sadly, in Canada we’re still not up to snuff as much as we should be, but I think that also has a lot to do with the industry they’re in.

    Augh, that wrist-dragging in Korean dramas always drives me nuts… It looks really painful! I can’t believe that bouncers even DRAG women into the clubs… I would be so terrified! Not only that, but how easily could one be abducted if it just LOOKED like they were dragging her into a club and actually was taking her somewhere else? To people witnessing it, it wouldn’t appear “bad”, would it? The idea of that is very frightening. Also kind of curious – when they drag women into the club, are the women still expected to pay? I mean, they’re practically doing the club a favor, it seems; it would be ridiculous if they still had to pay to get into a place where they’d been brought whether they liked it or not.

  251. The bit about how the host would not shake Martina’s hand reminded me about how my Grandpa would never talk to me directly. If he ever had a question about me (he didn’t have many, he usually just asked about my brother), he would just ask my dad. I would be right there, he could have easily asked me! So we never actually spoke to each other.

  252. My mom is a Latina who lived many years in the United States. A few yrs ago she moved to Argentina and while looking for work (she was a sales woman in the States) she told me that no one would hire her… Not because she was not qualified, (she speaks Spanish and can legally work there) she wasnt hired bc she isnt young” enough. :/

  253. day54glory

    Get ready for a long post

    I am a Korean raised in the States and if there is one thing that sticks out to me about sexism in Korea is marriage.

    Simon and Martina I think you know what I am talking about. Coming from the Korean community I am surrounded by they expect me and several other of my close Korean female friends to marry off in the evening of their twenties. I apparently must start to look for a beau when I am around 26 and if I do not find one until, the latest, when I am 31 then I am considered an old maid. Yes you heard me there is a time limit for Korean women. Where Korean women are encouraged to go to college pursue your dreams and earn your way in life until you turn 26. When you age into the twilight years of your twenties you must struggle to find someone to earn a living with or for you.

    This way of thought is changing where we see some celebrities like Lee Hyori and Uhm Jung Hwa are well past that age limit and are not married off yet and it is okay for them. 2ne1′s Dara and Bom are also past the age limit and many fans love them and want them to continue their careers. But there is a pressure for them to get married. Other female celebrities like Son Dam Bi, Ka Hee, Gummy, BoA, Kim Tae Hee, Bada, Song Hye Kyo, and the members of Brown Eyed Girls and many more are pressured to get married and settle down like Kim Hee Sun and recently Jun Ji Hyun. There is even more stigma towards divorced women like Ko Hyun Jung, Yang Pa, and Choi Ji Woo. Now Korea is changing in the way they think towards marriage and divorce as three women mentioned before are living very successful lives and are taking things in stride. But one of the attacks toward President Park Geun Hye during the race was that she was a single woman with no children. ‘How can she lead a country when she has never fostered and nurtured a family?’ Hopefully these women will change mainstream Korea to think differently about gender norms in terms of marriage and divorce where women do not need to marry to lean on a man but marry to have a man or woman compliment and support them in their careers.

    • Or marry them because they love them and they are both good human beings and want to spend the rest of their time together. :) Which I’m sure is what you meant.

    • I have Korean friends in the living in the US, and even though they’ve been living here for years, are basically Asian-American, and are all smart and successful, their relatives overseas are constantly asking them, “When are you gonna get married?” “Are you going to get married to your current boyfriend?” “How can she get married to a guy like him?” etc etc etc… And they’re not even 26 yet.

    • I’m not korean but I just had a huge row with my mother a few days ago because she was all “now that you’ve finished high school you have to start thinking of the future! After you finish college, it will be the right time for you to get married after finding a decent job! I need to start keeping an eye out for good looking men from now!” that was everything she said. word to word because it’s still ringing in my head. dammit i’m 17! i feel like they raised me to get married or something..

      • What makes you happy and whole as a person should be your first priority as an individual. While your mother is from a different time, with different perspectives and goals, she is not you. Understanding between two people-especially a parent and child-is very difficult, but with your mother and you it’ll take a lot more work because there is some unwritten rule in most people’s minds that if they are your kid then obviously they will be like you. It’s not true. You are 17 and you have the world ahead of you, go and explore, discover yourself and find out what it is you want, even if it’s just pizza for next Tuesday. Just remember that loving who you are is what it’ll take for you to lead a happy life and maybe one day bring happiness to another.

    • Oh god, I have to deal with this all the time. I’m currently 20 and am Pre-Med which means that (hoping that all goes well) I’ll have 2 more years of undergrad, 4 years of med school and another 4-6 years for residency/specialization which will mean that I’ll be all done by the time I’m 30-32. My dad, for the past 2 years, has been trying to get me to pick a different occupation. He’s been trying to get me to give up on my medicine and go for pharmacy because “you’ll be around 26 when you graduate and then you can get married. If you go for medicine, you’ll be too old and then how are you supposed to find a husband?” Every time we’re in the house together for an extended period of time, he’ll bring this up over and over again, “So you’re still staying with medicine? Look at your cousin though. She’s done with school and already working and she’s only 24. Her parents are already looking around for a husband.” I mean, you’d think my parents would be happy that I found something that I think I might enjoy and that I focused my attention on something livable (I was going to go into art before that) but no, they don’t care because doctors require too much schooling and that means that I’ll be too old for anyone to want to marry me.

      They’ve started to back off a bit, but I’ve heard them talking to each other about trying to find someone when I’m in med school…

      • day54glory

        Wow that sounds intense. Keep strong!

      • do older people never marry? What happens if someone gets divorced or a spouse dies? Does that person never remarry? People elsewhere do. But considering that there is a huge push for marriage by a certain age, I understand that your choices would be fewer, but what is the ratio of men to women in Korea? Is there far more females than males? I hope you are not pressured into dropping out of school or changing majors just to get a mate. I cross my fingers for you.

        • In my Chinese family, divorces are shameful and frowned upon. I believe we have one person in our family who has had a divorce–she’s rarely spoken about anymore and we don’t see her. When I overheard the adults talking about it, they basically said, “She’s getting a divorce because she doesn’t like him anymore. How weird.” And I thought to myself, “…Isn’t that a really good reason to get a divorce?” Sigh.

      • Wow kudos to you for going into medicine :). Keep it up Doc ;). At the end of the day, love and respect your parents for wanting the best for you. But realize that what “the best” is may look different to them than it does to you. You are the only one that can really make that decision. Speaking from a hard won sense of identity, be who you are. You’re the only one that can be yourself, the world needs more people being whole, especially passionate people with skills like yours. (dang, art & medicine, what can’t you do?)

        If they’re anything like my parents, if you keep going after your goal, after awhile they may be less combative and more supportive when they see how much you love what you do. That’s my personal experience and belief.

        If they want to help you “find someone” why not let them? Could you make a deal with them that romance is important but secondary to your goals? Something like the occassional dinner date is fine, but my studies come first? Although my family isn’t Asian, so culturally things might be somewhat different with family responsibilities to parents.

    • I was born and raised in the US but my mother is from Cambodia. It has been ingrained in me that men do one thing one way and women do another. It’s just a really big part of the culture and I was expected to be a “proper” lady and acting a certain way. That included how i dress, how i sit, how i eat, how speak, and walk. I’m 26 now and my mother swears if i dont feed my fiance, he’ll leave me and I’ll never find anyone again. How tragic -_- I’m 26 year old but if we were to split, I’d be the old maid in my family. Its seems like her generation honestly believes women need men in their lives for it to be complete and whole.

      Now i don’t believe you need a man but there have been occasion when I’m in conversion with older female friends and those same ideas have slipped out of me. The first time my friend (who is in her late thirties) told me she doesnt want kids, I was so taken aback and shocked. Don’t you want to get married? Why wouldn’t you want children? Don’t you want to live in a house with yur and and kids?I actually said all that and then when i stopped to think about it, I was so confused as to why I would say those thing when know there is nothing wrong with what she wants and in fact, its actually what i preferr myself. I’ve caught myself saying “because you’re a girl” or “because they’re older” to younger cousin even though I know thats not right but it just slips out. It was an automatic rsponse.
      These ideas and beliefs are so strong in the culture and they are being passed down generation after generation even if you don’t realize it.

    • that “marriage age” doesn’t just apply for koreans, I think it’s the eastern mentality in general … high school>college>job>marriage all before you hit 30 … everyone has to go by that handbook , getting married earlier is even better … marriage= future .. forget your goals and dreams, they’re just accessories/luxuries ..

      *sigh* I have to admit, am an advocate for being independent and getting married only when you find that right special someone you actually want to settle with… However, living in a society where the norm is to get married as early as possible, that stupid mentality starts to get to you, you start questioning maybe you got it all wrong… but when am online and I find people who do agree with my out-of-the-norms thoughts, it gets me back to my senses…

      • I agree with the above views. Marriage is important and it’s wonderful if you do it right. But getting married at a certain age or in a certain way because you feel pressured by culture, family, or religion, or because you don’t know what else to do with your life, or because you just want someone else to take care of you is a bad idea.

    • You said it girl. How ever personally i can never find the right guy so blind dates aren’t something i am againist but i think that whole age thing is dumb

  254. About the female president: she’s president only because she’s a “daughter of”, you know that? Same goes for ALL political women who reached high power in Asia: Indira Gandhi, Benazir Butho, Corazon Aquino, Yingluk Shinawatra, even Aung San Suu Kyi… All “wife of”, “sister of”, “daughter of” someone who occupied their position before. All of them. I’ll be happy to see a women president when I’ll see a self-made-women president, not before.

    • I think it’s a little unfair to dismiss the struggles these women have faced by only tying their success to a man… I believe that these women are all self-made, even for privileged women, it’s not easy to achieve such positions in such patriarchal and sexist societies.

      • I get your point, and I don’t think they didn’t struggle. But without a big name among their close relatives, they wouldn’t be where they are.

      • In the case of Park Geun-hye, it actually does have a lot to do with the fact she is the daughter of Park Chung-hee who seized power in a military coup in the 60s and was a dictator. As for women’s struggles, Park Geun-hye was the most conservative politician running in the election and as a number of Korean women’s groups have noted, she has never supported the struggle of women for gender equality in Korea. Her campaign was actually backed by anti-feminist male groups which oppose feminism and gender equality.

    • Canada had Kim Campbell as Prime Minister, after which she was completely abandoned by her party and out of office in about 4 months. The entire ordeal wreaks of sexism.

    • Do you know most Koreans hated her father as a president?

  255. I wish you could grab that host by the wrist and make him shake your hand. I wonder what would have happened..

    • Ha, I probably would have. I have a feeling I’m going to have to curb my innate tendency to want to piss people off when I feel they’re being sexist towards me, if I want to live in Korea in the future.

  256. As soon as I saw the bit about the new guy in the office, my brain also started typing in capitals. BAHH.

  257. ha ha reminds me of a story my mom told me when she first arrived USA from mexico young innocent newlywed! LOL her n my dad stayed for a coulple of months with an uncle of mine and his family… so time to make dinner. made it, ok mind you there was 2 men 2women and 4 of my unlces kids to feed….. they served the men first and had to wait for them to finish eating in order to serve the kids and then the adult women actually eat! wtf!!! my mom said she was starving by the time she got her plate of food…wtf feed the men first let the women starve… fast forward from then a few years later my mom’s mom came over to visit them a couple of weeks… time for dinner ok….. mom proceeds to serve her kids dinner plates grandma says.. what are you doing arent you going to feed your husband first!!!! LOL mom says NO!!!!! he can eat with us or Last that is his choice!!!! LOL oh my the joys of life…mind you this all happened in the late 70′s early 80′s this kinda stuff still happens though when i see my mexican cousins bring over their very naive young newlywed wifes here since they work “grrr very hard construction” LOL all day LOL…. they Expect to when they walk in the door at the end of the day for their dinner plate to be served ready to eat! wtf!!! oh no does not fly with me!!!!!

    • omg I’m Mexican too and the same thing happened in my family! Ever since I was a kid, my mom made it a point to feed the kids first, and then she would make the men feed themselves. She would always make parties buffet style so everyone has to make their own plate. :D

  258. Omg !! Martina !! That’s just so rude . Awwhh Hun , you just stay strong and firm . Your an awesome , beautiful ,strong , talented and wonderful woman . Never let how they treat you affect you . I hope Korea is changing for the better cause lots of foreigners are actually really interested to visit Korea . Including me !! ^0^ . Hope to see you guys someday . Stay positive guys ;)

  259. So you guys are close to Suzy? woah that’s so daebak :D

  260. Gosh, netizens can be so mean. That being said, I really respect you guys for saying the stuff you say despite juvenile netizen attacks. :)

    Anyway, I totally agree with Martina. Secret Garden especially annoyed me, with the bad ass heroine, Ra Im. But the minute Joo Won touched her, she turned into jello. What the ef bomb?? What, does he have some kind of super power that makes women’s muscles into jello whenever he touches a woman? Idk. I was so annoyed whenever he manhandled her and she didn’t kick him. He needed to be kicked more often. >.<

    I actually was so annoyed with the trend of K dramas (Oh look, purdy rich guy! Oh wait, he's a jerk. But he's so purdy! I'll fall in love with him anyway, even though there's another purdy rich guy who's vying for my attention who's really really nice!) that I started writing my own drama. XD (It's legit, set in Korea, with Korean names and stuff. And I've never been to Korea! haha) I highly doubt it'll ever go into drama format, but yeah…. I just couldn't stand how the girls stood the manhandling. I can't understand why girls don't kick guys whenever they're manhandled. Seriously. It's so easy. That's what my heroine does. Why can't drama writers make their heroines do that too?

    • You should watch Gentleman Dignity :) It’s really good, and it’s the opposite of Secret Garden (I never finished it)

      • I’m the opposite and couldn’t disagree more. All the men in that show had the power in the relationship while the women were running around being silly, and being shown to not act with a brain.

    • Three hands up for Protect the Boss! That’s the closest I’ve seen to a strong female lead that is actually strong, and often pushes around the male lead instead of vice versa. It was immensely satisfying to watch after all those Korean dramas.

    • Meh, I wouldn’t get so riled up over k-dramas. Is it bad that they portray the women like this a lot? Probably, especially with the modern world changing and women being more independent. However, these plots are modeled after fairy tales. Damsel in distress is saved by prince charming. Lots of western movies are all about men swooping girls off their feet and making them fall in love, and yes, even in western media the men save women constantly. It’s just more prominent in korean media. You can’t blame the drama character for falling for the jerky rich guy when I’m willing to bet a large majority of girls would do the same. As they say, girls love bad boys. :P

      I’m a tough girl, I’ve got muscles and can take care of myself, but I still have those girly instincts. I do long for a guy to treat me like I’m special and come to my rescue when I’m distressed. That doesn’t make me any less of a strong independent female.

  261. About the handshaking issue. I come from a culture (mixture of Asian/Arab/African) were it is frowned upon for men to shake hands of women they have just met or don’t closely know. I don’t know if it is a part of Korea’s history and religion; it’s customs of etiquette that have stayed into the modern age like my tradition. However and this is a big however, not shaking hands out of respect or honour for custom doesn’t include rudely ignoring a person. You can still acknowledge a person, greet them and give them due attention and courtesy without shaking hands. This is unfortunately something that is often overlooked in my tradition too and I do wonder if, like in the cases that you mentioned, people or men hold onto to the details of customs whilst completely forgetting the spirit or essence of why those customs began in the first place. In this case it was respect for a woman’s personal space and definitely not to do with relegating them into some kind of perceived station in daily life or as I like to call it, ‘a man’s entourage.’

    I think your attitude is great because I have a lot of respect for tradition and culture, in its truest form when it is applied with its spirit intact and not used pedantically to express attitudes that are essentially faults in character. I think that rudeness should be pointed out and punished in the most politest manner possible. Thanks for an interesting topic. I enjoyed listening to your take on it.

    • I know what you mean. A lot of times, the person will just do a little bow/nod instead of shaking my hand.
      Alternatively, we kiss all the other females on the cheek and just shake hands with the men.

  262. Awesome video guys! Very interesting topic :)

  263. THANK YOU!!! I’m sorry you had to do two more-serious, rile-inviting topics in a row (but way to work in butt-scratching to make it fun). Also thanks for the tips on reading up on Confucianism – I wouldn’t have known to do that. And I’ll look up other sites now on sexism in Korea, but I really wanted a first-hand perspective on it from people who I think (through copious video watching) share similar values as me. Thanks again!!! You are awwwwesome! AND Nasty. :P

  264. I really dislike the fact you have to be so apologetic in these kind of videos that touch upon serious subject matter. I understand the reason of course, some people can be plain stupid, but it takes away from the force of your legitimate criticisms when you always have to be putting up disclaimers and watching every word you say.

    I am amazed by how positive you two always are, in the face of any situation. As an Asian woman (not Japanese despite my screen name) I am infuriated by all types of sexist and gender discriminatory behavior. The fact that I know many in South Korea are extremely sexist and would consider me an inferior (mostly the men) if they met me keeps me from fully enjoying the positive cultural aspects.

    However, with regards to the person who would not shake Martina’s hand- skinship between opposite genders is discouraged in some cultures. Perhaps the person thought from a purely ethnocentric perspective and did not want to touch a woman he was not close with, especially since her husband was standing right next to her?

    But the letters being addressed to the guy only reeks of patriarchy. Martina is a strong woman and co-owner of EYK! XD

    And Simon, you are wonderful man. More men should be like you.

    • I agree about the disclaimers; people are gonna idiots, regardless of the fact that you tried to make them understand that your videos are just your opinion and experiences. It’s just annoying >_>

    • I agree, it does make their argument less fierce when they have to disclaim everything… But then, just think, if they had somehow said something that inadvertently targeted your country (or just anything that hit you personally–no matter how true or false), you can’t deny that for just a half a second you would be offended… And that’s where the people with no self-control flock to the comments to stand up for themselves or their country…
      Lastly, agree with everything else in your post, too… I didn’t think about how other cultures might view that skinship, and you’re right–more men should be like Simon!

    • regarding the handshake thing. I went to a institute to sign up for a
      Korean language course a few months ago. There was a lady who was
      helping me with the paperwork and so on. When we were done. I reached my
      hand out to shake her hand and say thank you. She looked a bit
      surprised but quickly reach her hand out and said thank you. I felt a
      bit weird about it afterwards since I thought a handshake would be the
      polite and professional way to thank her for her time. I don’t want to think much of it, but it felt a bit odd from her reaction. maybe i just caught her off guard.

      i like simon, but i don’t want to be like him D=

  265. Dear Jesus. Don’t even get me started on that wrist grabbing crap. They’re like “I have two choices. Both are attractive, one is smart, funny, cute and TREATS ME WITH RESPECT. While the OTHER guy is smart, funny, cute and is physically and verbally abusive. I’ll pick the OTHER guy!” Really? REALLY? REAAAALLLLY!? She is obviously trying to get away from you. She is obviously uncomfortable. She obviously HATES THIS. Yet YOU keep putting your hands on her. FUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUU!

    I’m watching Pasta and I was hoping that he would be (outside work) the way he was with her when they first met, and NO SUCH LUCK. Granted, she gets even and seems to enjoy his torment. And when she doesn’t, she fucking TELLS HIM. She’s like “WHY DO YOU ACT LIKE THAT!? DON’T BE A DIIIIIIIIIICK!” And I’m like THANK YOU!

    • Haha, I know! I don’t understand the girl’s choices in half the dramas I watch. Scratch that. I NEVER understand the girl’s choices in dramas that have love triangles. Seriously. There’s a better dude who likes you RIGHT BESIDE YOU and you’re going to pick the jerk? Really? REALLY? *sigh* Drama writers….

      • Did you see Full House Take 2? That was some lame shit. First No Min Woo’s ridiculous amount of skin bleaching, on top of the fact that he was the biggest jerk on Earth. I spent half the time screaming at her to kick his ass or go with the other guy.

        No Min Woo DID take his shirt off and get near naked (like mostly naked) A LOT though. I noticed they take advantage of that in Pasta despite him being a minor character.

        • YESSS I saw it. I was SO mad when she broke Park Ki woong’s heart. I mean, COME ON GIRL. Park Ki woong is cuter, you liked him faster, and his hair isn’t in a wretched hairdo that makes me want to throw up! Why? WHY? She’s a martial artist for crying out loud! She threw Park Ki woong over her shoulder! Why couldn’t she do that to No Min Woo? D: D:

    • To be honest, in several dramas I’ve watched so far, the other guy(that she always ends up picking) won’t even be nice or funny or cute. He’ll just be a total jerk, and she’ll still pick him for God knows what reason. I did really like watching Secret Garden though; the idea of the vulnerable weak female and dominant alpha male is definitely a lot less apparent in that show.

      • i see the same thing! the nice guy never wins in k-dramas! it’s like they’re teaching their men if you’re a jerk you’ll get the girl. i don’t think i’ve ever seen a k-drama where the nice guy has gotten the girl.

        • Hope Satterfield

          I have two words for you: Dream High. Sam Dong. Best 2nd lead [turned 1st lead] EVER. (Except they kinda “end” their relationship when he becomes a singer.)

    • I watched Pasta because I a big fan of Lee Sun-gyun but unfortunately out of the recent kdrama’s I’ve watched it was by far the most sexist – starting with the whole premise right from the beginning that the lead character fires all the women chefs because he has a hurt ego. And while its true that the lead female character has some moments of standing up for herself, I found the ending to be annoyingly sexist.

    • Yeah same here, I was glad that Pasta has a character who pointed out how much of a jerk the guy is. Granted, I still don’t see how they are suppose to be a couple, or why she even liked him at all. Oh he helped her with a goldfish, cute, then he fired her. I would would of sued his sorry ass, not try and chase it.

    • Priyanka Gupta

      I had given up on k-drama after watching the same plot line over and over. But I really liked Queen In Hyun’s Man, for once the girl chose the nice guy.

      Sexism seems prevalent in every county, albeit by varying degrees.

    • irritablevowel

      Oh, I picked up on the kdrama relationship rule really fast. The heroine always ends up with the guy who she can be of most “help” to. The one who will be a better man because of her. The smart, funny, cute guy who treats her with respect doesn’t “need” her to make him a better man as much as the other one does. So while he’s very nice, he doesn’t allow her to fulfill her true womanly potential, which is to help a man fulfill his full potential.
      Yeah. Whatevs. I want a man who helps me fulfill MY full potential and I’ll try to help him with his. It’s a shared responsibility. I always think basic chemistry provides the best analogy for this. So many cultures think a relationship between a man and a woman should be an ionic bond. One atom happily gives to another. Yet most women want a covalent bond. Two atoms share their electrons to mutually benefit.

  266. If anyone would grab me by my wrist and try to drag me in a club (or elsewhere) I would beat the hell out of him!!
    I would love to see Soo Zee in that situation, that must be hilarious to watch! Soo Zee 화이팅!! :D

    • I would love to see those jerks try to drag one of my females friends into a club XD First they’d get their butts handed to them by the girl (I seem to attract strong willed females), and THEN, it’d be round 2 by me -_- That crap would not fly around here >_>

  267. Something I’ve noticed is that in America companies have even recently been sexist, but have been getting better (especially if the woman or women are strong and stand up for themselves). For instance, my mom when she started working at her office (she’s the only woman CPA at her firm, while the other two women are kind of like secretaries) she was forced to wear a skirt everyday for the longest time and when she finally stood up to the men they finally accepted her wearing pants. So, I guess what could be taken out of this is that maybe if more Korean women stepped out of their gender rolls, Korea could move closer to equality.

  268. I agree with you guys for this topic and Im korean thats been born and raised in America but i have experienced these sort of situations all the time from my relatives and other korean foreigners. In ways korea still goes through this system of ideas on how woman are suppose to act and look. When i was a lot younger i used to be extremely tomboyish and i dont know how many times others had told me that i should behave and act like a normal girl. I would be so furious that moments where i would wrestle with my sister for fun, my korean relatives would totally freak out and yell at me for not acting like a real woman. Ive been told several times “That is not how a girl should behave!” I still get comments about how i should look even though i dont consider myself a tomboy anymore my family would say stuff like “Wow im so glad you’re becoming more girly now and we were so worried about how boyish you used to be.” Also ive seen countless times (including my parents and mostly for the older generation) that parents or couples who are married would immediately change their relationship into a male dominant relationship where the husband would be the master of the family and no one could go against his will. Now i know this is changing but i still see it even today. Korea sometimes seem to be stuck in the old traditional ways of thinking of how woman and man are different and should behave accordingly by whats accepted.

  269. Martina, people who don’t want to shake my hand happened to me in China as well! Not nice Chinese Manager refused to shake my hand, I just grabbed his hand and forced a handshake on him ^^ He looked like he was super-grossed out…I was SO upset!!

  270. The handshake/ignoring thing must really get on your nerves Martina =/ It is really disrespectful, especially since you and Simon have equal roles in your business / activities and it’s not like Simon represents EYK more than you do. I think next time this happens, you and Simon should definitely say something about it, and let them know it’s not okay
    My country also has a sexist mentality but your stories just blew my mind … (beepbeepbeepee gara mr.simple)
    Anyway, hope with all the development Korea’s seeing, this will also improve

  271. I’ve been in Korea for only a few weeks but I can say that what they said in the video it’s true hehehe, I’ve seen some of this things too, nothing toooo bad though…I still love this country so far, It’s nice to learn about new cultures, hopefully one day (not so far) women here in Korea will have more freedom

  272. hungry.hungry.catapillar

    Bangladesh has a female priminister-her name is…


    …hmmm…what was it again?…oh! it’s hasina!

  273. don’t be too offended about the shaking hands. =)
    from my perspective, maybe the person kept talking with simon although martina added a comment was because martina is a married woman. in asia, (i don’t know if it’s only in my country or and korea) talking with a married woman is kind of awkward and is not that appropriate. especially if martina is talking to a man, although it’s in a public place – without simon, it will make a misunderstanding. well, maybe not really, but still it’s not that appropriate. and shaking hands too…it’s just awkward. but yeah, if that man or whoever the person is didn’t glance at martina at all, it’s kind of offensive too.

    but about the wrist grabbing, it really annoys me. it’s not fair at all. men and women must be treated equally. *sighs*

    sorry for my bad english! it’s not my first language =D

    and again, it’s only from my perspective. =)

  274. Great post Simon and Martina. Thanks for always putting in the effort for serious topics such as this.
    I’ve only had my wrist grabbed once to get away from some street sellers who were bothering us. (The guy was Korean, but I liked him, so I didn’t think much of it.) But I’ve definitely not been dragged off in such a manner that I’ve seen in dramas – seeing that infuriates me. I have been dragged around a clothing store by the store lady when I visited Korea. That was an interesting experience.

    If you’re looking for a more female liberating drama, you may want to watch Rascal Sons. Several of the female characters are rather headstrong and not submissive. One actually beat up her cheating husband while another has quite the sailor’s mouth and isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. Strong female characters are really few and far between as leads tho. They’re always the femme fatales or villains.
    Oh yeah, the comment below re: the lack of females on Running Man. I always find that the show is infinitely more interesting the more women on it – especially the comediennes.

  275. LOL keyboard warriors :’D

    I’m glad I’m not the only one felt uncomfortable with the weak simpering female leads vs. suave handsome male leads in dramas. One of the reasons why I can’t watch kdramas and opt to read the online synopsis lol ;___;

    But the workplace thing sounds so ridiculous, seriously. You’re right, this wouldn’t fly in Canada at all, the manager would get a big fat lawsuit and maybe a big fat lip from me if that ever occurred. And go Soozee! The dragging into the club thing sounds really scary… It’s bad enough girls get groped in places like these but to be taken into them against their will is pretty horrifying :(

  276. This was a great “culture” video. I also subscribe to the Korean Gender Reader – http://thegrandnarrative.com/category/korean-gender-reader/. Some of the articles are great…some aren’t.

  277. I feel it prudent to mention that only 60 years ago, Korea was essentially a third-world country and far behind Japan and the West in technology and such. After the Korean War, they started to industrialize and have rapidly gained pace til today where they are competitive with the superpowers of the 20th century. So, while the US, UK, France, etc. have all had centuries to progress human rights and allow for generations to accept the changes, Korea has had only 60 years!!! It’s incredible they’ve come so far, but to expect the elder generation to be so open-minded and accepting of values opposite those they were raised with is a bit far-fetched (no matter how much I wish they would as well).

    Just thought it might be important to recognize this difference between Korea and other developed nations ^-^

  278. I actually noticed something when I was there for 5 weeks last year. Apparently, a Korean woman dating a foreign man is fairly common and accepted in Korea… but I’m a foreign woman with a Korean boyfriend and maaaaan the looks I got @_@
    I got looks from several Ahjummas that I translated as “you’re stealing/defouling our man, how dare you” @_@ don’t get me wrong~ usually when I caught people staring at me and my boyfriend, I smiled at them and Usually they were nice enough to smile back… but some just looked angrier ^_^;

  279. My Korean friend told me that one of the Korean girls graduating with us from college landed a job with a Korean company in America. He said she was going to earn less than one of his friends who just graduated highschool and got a job there too.

  280. Thank you guys for you hard work ♥ this kind of things (sexism) happends a lot in my country,Mexico (machismo :/ maybe you heard of it? ) But of course to all the people who are seeing this videos they need to know tht you have to see the positive side on things you need to look tho whole scenario, im not saying sexism is good (its not ! its not! ) im just saying people have to understand their culture :/

  281. Kinda funny, I am a forgeiner and I aqtualy did get dragged into a tony moly (make up) store, at first I was like what the…. But afterwards I tough it was kinda funny, since i aqtually still remember the name of the shop because of it.
    Then again it was only once.. if it would happen like all the time it would be pretty annoying O.o

  282. Wow! Didn’t realized that speaking English only can save you from being dragged into a club…I love the language now! <3

  283. To start off with I am a bit of a feminist and absolutely loathe things like “get in the kitchen” and “bi&*es love ____” jokes. Sexism cloaked in humor is still sexism. I love Asia and there are so many good and wonderful things about living here. But I would not want to stay here for longer than a study abroad or a vacation simply because of the rampant patriarchal mentality. For example, the birthrate is extremely low in Japan because women are wising up and realizing that the sooner they enter the institution of marriage, the sooner their independent lives are over. I can’t speak for Korea, but I know that in Japan change is very slowly taking place. But I think that they are so weighed down by ingrained societal pressures that it will be a long time before they have their own Civil Rights movement.

  284. Ohhh, man. This is a touchy topic for me, especially since here in the US the Republican party has been spewing sexist diarrhea out of their mouths more and more lately, the media reaction to the Steubenville rape trial and then international incidents such as the rape of the med student in New Delhi or Malala Yousafzai’s shooting.

    Having grown up in an exceptional Chinese household with a strong, stubborn immigrant mother and only daughters, I believe the patriarchal attitude in Asia is still prevalent but at least waning. You’ll be hard-pressed to find gender-wide discussion about it though (it’s very hush hush). In Hong Kong, there is a term “see lai” for hardcore career-driven women who instantly turn into submissive housewives after marriage–not that being a housewife is a bad thing, but that it’s REALLY expected for a woman to just drop everything and take care of cooking/cleaning/childcare as that is her societal role.

    And there are support groups all over the place here in the US specifically for immigrant Asian women in abusive marriages–they tend not to leave them because leaving the marriage would bring shame to them and their family (and of course the preservation of face is more important than the woman’s well-being).

    I can’t watch Korean dramas due to the portrayal of the incompetent girl and the rich dominant boy theme (with outspoken undesirable bitch on the side lol) that seems to be so common, and the same goes for shows over here in the US (*COUGH*GameofThrones*COUGH* SORRY SIMON). And I can’t stand that it’s the female pop idols that receive outrage whenever they’re caught leaving the house of a male companion. Anyway, globally there’s still a sexism issue and I hope the world continues to progress in the right direction.

    • I actually have to disagree with the Game of Thrones thing… George writes his female characters as strong women (“I think of them like people”)- and not as the damsel in distress poster child.

      You have:
      -Dany, who was that young child, but she quickly grew up to be very vengeful and to be more assertive- to take what is hers with fire and blood. It was said in the books, that after the Khal dies, the Khaleesi is no longer. But after taking a risk that was even beyond her, those who had followed Khal Drogo now followed her (and in the books, it said as if they had no Khal before her).
      -Cersei Lannister knows she is dangerous and is very manipulative and is almost at that level with Tyrion, who is a very clever character.
      -Sansa at first thought from the heart, but after being around people like Cersei, Joffrey, and Littlefinger, has quickly learned “The Game” and how it works and starts to think with her head- she’s a lot smarter than the characters or even people watching make her out to be.
      -Arya is literally snatched from seeing the death of her father and is forced to grow up very quickly. She’s not that strong character just because she’s a tomboy.
      -Catelyn is the one who loses the most, but still has that much to keep her composure and to stay strong for Robb. (Oh, wait until you see season 3/watch the third book)
      -Asha seems to be the one who knows how to get Theon around her finger
      -Osha (in the books, Theon once compared Asha and Osha together) knows what to do to save herself and those she has kind of grown attached to.
      -Ygritte is a strong fighter and isn’t just “a woman” to the Wildings or the Nights Watchers- she has her voice and opinions and seems to get under Jon’s skin

      -Melisandre is one of those dangerous characters, and like Cersei, can be manipulative. She is a powerful character
      -Even Shae isn’t the damsel in distress (for example, the scene where she says to Sansa, “no one will rape me” and shows a dagger hidden under her dress). Tyrion does worry about her, but she is more than capable of taking care of herself.

      None of these characters are the “come save me because I’m useless” female characters.

      • I haven’t watched thaaat much yet (I’m not familiar with some of the characters you listed lol), but what I hate is that if the woman isn’t useless then if she has the strength to stand up for herself, she’s portrayed as a psychotic bitch. What I would like is for a strong woman to be both kind AND strong. I actually love Dany, Arya, and Catelyn Stark for being one of the few strong women in the show who are also kind, and Osha is cool although I might be biased because she’s Tonks in Harry Potter (although I’ve been informed that Dany later gets her entire clan killed? :(). I HATE Cersei and it eats me that one of the strongest women in the show is also a terrible person. I also hate Sansa but only from what I’ve watched (her fixation on Joffrey and letting her sister and her poor wolf take the fall for Joffrey being a complete ass…”You’re ruining everything!” No, Joffrey’s ruining everything -_-). Melisandre is also a strong woman who again is apparently a psychotic bitch. But it’s also the portrayal of women who aren’t main characters that bothers me, and I guess that might have to do with the “time period” Game of Thrones takes place in. Either way, too many bitches for me lol.

      • There’s also Brienne, the female knight who gets crap from men and it doesn’t phased her.
        I remember that in the book, the women have equal footing with men in terms of inheritance rights (matters only if the person is the first born) in the kingdom of Dorne. Not only that, the people are pretty open to sexuality.

  285. Wow I really like this TLDR! Well no… it kinda made me upset since im a girl and don’t like guys trying to dominate me. Ill be like you Martina and beat someone up if they ever try to drag me away. But anyways, what i enjoyed was the topic and how interesting it was. The sexism in S.Korea from what you guys are saying isn’t that bad compared to other countries…. but yeah sexism is everywhere. Martina! I think you should totally be blunt and tell them what you think! If you don’t, then nothing will ever change. Every person makes a difference! Martina and Simon FIGHTING! :D

  286. thank you so much for addressing this topic, as someone from a korean background it is absurd to me how backwards the mentality is in that nation especially when it comes to sexism and racism. year and year again, it continues to be among the lowest ranks in gender equality ranking and this problem needs to addressed.

  287. A couple notes:
    1. I think the only people that count as “Nasties” ARE the nice ones. Abusing you guys with profane language just because you’re stating your opinion and your experiences… it’s ridiculously juvenile.
    2. I can’t tell you guys enough about how appalled I am by all this. When did this all begin? How can women be treated as sub-humans when we’re the ones who carry and bring EVERYONE into the world.
    3. Thank you for your courage and bravery in tackling tough and controversial topics such as this whole sexism business.
    I seriously develop more and more respect for you guys everyday.

    • JENNNNNNNN. I love you even more now. :’>

    • Where did it all begin? Briefly, it’s how we see ourselves as humans and how we socialize with one another; we love making social rules when we get the time. Sighs… I really recommend taking classes on female subjectivity, Confucianism, feminism/ sexism, gender etc. It is a really important subject matter, for both men and women, to understand how we categorize social values. Film can be really great in conveying these ideas. And of course keep talking about various social issues can definitely help in awareness. For example, talking to my friends who are LGBTQ there is one close friend who no longer wants to be referred to as “she”- or in consequence “he”, but rather gender neutral- by name or “they”. Difficult concept, but in Chinese for example there are no gender specific words, and in other cultures like India, there can be up to 5 genders and that classifies how people determine class-structure. Film I’d recommend: Water by Deepa Mehta, a Canadian who did a series on women in India. It’s deep and emotional, but worth the time.

      • In Sweden, we actually just got a new gender neutral word. we have he (han) and she (hon) but now also “hen” which can be either. …I Personally don’t use it, but I guess those who are in middle school now and grow up will it, will use it when they’re older.

        • Oh yes my dad was really annoyed when the new neutral gender word became official. But then I argued that it was really good to write “Hen” in official papers and law so that sexism could not occur. and so on and so forth. I don’t use it ether but it does make writing scientific papers and essays sooo much easier.

        • In cambodia, we also have a gender neutral pronoun. We’ve always had. The Khmer language does not seperate genders. Everything is gender nuetral except for brothersister, momdad etc. But unfortunately sexism still exists. Just wanted to share :) and I like sweden’s effort of reducing sexism.

        • In Tagalog/Filipino, I think all of our pronouns are also gender neutral except for mom/dad, sister/brother, etc., but I agree, having gender neutral pronouns doesn’t necessarily remove sexism, though it is a step towards that.

        • I kinda agree with your dad. The neutral gender word “hen” can seem silly, since there obviously is a difference between men and women. There’s a reason for that male elite athletes run/jump/whatever faster than the female athletes, because men do have better genes for building muscles (and with that, I’m not saying girls CAN’T be strong too). This, however, does not justify any social crap bring brought up by a man or a woman – it shouldn’t be any difference in the way you’re treated because of your gender. It doesn’t justify Martina being denied shaking hands with a company’s representative, or any similar case on Simon’s part.
          I do see what you’re getting at though. For official papers, like lawsuits, etc, it could be very useful, so you can’t judge a person of his/her gender. But otherwise, I don’t really see the need for it. With this, I don’t want to imply that there is no sexism in Sweden (Because it surely is – I had a TEACHER telling my friend some sexist crap some month ago), I just can’t seem to find the word very useful or that it will actually make a change in the Swedish society.

        • Women and men, as proved in scientific studies, are pretty much made of the same stuff. There is a part of the brain in men that tends to be a little bit more “practical”, whereas there is a part of the woman that is made to be more “sensitive”, but apart from that… nothing (well except what you said about muscles :P). All those differences people make are more of the socio-cultural archetypes built thorough thousand of years. So I do think that using a gender neutral word implies people is going beyond those archetypes, and thinking for what we are, and not the roles we are assigned as “girls” or “boys”. Really, the power of a word is stronger that you may think.

          As for the law par, yesh It does help. In my country, whenever you are to talk about both man and woman we use (among other words) “the person” which is, incidentally, a feminine noun in Spanish: “la” persona.

        • Yes, a small biological change, indeed. There’s no psychical difference whatsoever besides from the differences we, the society or others have put upon ourselves. If it’s a cultural relief meant to break a tradition of discrimination, then I fully understand that it is needed.
          Though, that we need a word for this change to happen is quite stupid. I would like to be treated as anyone else, without prejudices or sexism, and still be able to be called “hon” (her in swedish) instead of “hen” (the gender neutral word). This is perhaps hard to do without something to actually make a break through with. So well, I’m not perfectly content with it, but I see what you’re getting at and that it might be useful :)

        • I personally would prefer to be referred to by a gender neutral pronoun, because I feel the presence of a neutral pronoun would stop the LINGUISTIC NECESSITY of segregation based on gender. Differences between males and females are far less than that of, say, differences between rich and poor, but we do not segregate based on those categories. Exaggerated gender stereotypes (such as men are good at maths, women are good at languages etc.) which highlight supposed differences, trap people into believing they have to behave a certain way to be ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’. I think a gender neutral pronoun would give people a chance to distance themselves from gender stereotypes even by just a little bit. It also helps in the case of LGBTQ people as someone mentioned above, as some may not identify with the gender that traditionally corresponds with their sex, or with one gender over another. Furthermore, in English if you are referring to someone who is of unknown gender, the correct term to use is actually ‘he’ the masculine pronoun (although I, and many others generally use ‘they’). I feel though that there clearly is a place for a gender neutral pronoun. Perhaps it could operate as a default, but then in cases like yours Pokis, you can state your choice to be identified by the female pronoun (in this case, ‘hon’) and people are obliged to respect your wishes. Don’t even get me started with titles like Mr, Miss, Mrs etc.

          I guess as someone who doesn’t put a lot of faith in gender stereotypes and often feels boxed in by them, I take the topic a bit seriously :( It’s a bit confronting when you look at all the differences we impose on genders…I just wish we didn’t have to face it everywhere, their is no reason for language to be forcefully segregating in my opinion.

        • I don’t think a gender neutral word traps people in gender roles I mean, the word itself doesn’t. But it can be related to those issues. I doubt the word itself that makes such a difference – instead, it’s the sentence following that does it. Just the word “she” doesn’t put any obligations or expectations on me (personal opinion though), it’s what comes afterwards.
          The exception is, as you said, the people that doesn’t identify themselves with their born gender, or feels trapped in their body. For those people, it’s great. But in public, to merge that word with the entire society, I’m not so sure of. Especially since where the word might reduce prejudices and sexism in writing and official documents, it doesn’t stop anything from happening on a workplace, for instance being sexually harassed by your co-worker. Biologically, you’ll still be a women even if you refer to yourself as “hen” (well, not if you’ve swapped gender), and I think that’s were the problem is. In real life, where treatment based on genders happen.

          I feel for you though. I’ve only felt badly treated based on my gender a few times, but I don’t think I’ve felt limited by it. But, it might be because I simply don’t care what people think…? I kinda do things how I want, and if someone’s bothered by it, I take it as a sign of their narrow-mindedness on gender roles. However, I too get really frustrated when people put limitations on me because of my gender, but I don’t think the gender itself should suffer for it. I guess you could say I’m kinda proud of my gender? :)

        • Yeah, you’re right, ‘traps’ is probably the wrong word for me to use, it gives the wrong connotation for what I mean. You are right too in that even if I have felt gender stereotypes they very rarely influenced my behaviour (perhaps that’s why I kept noticing them :p ). I do feel sorry though for the people that I grew up with and the people that are growing up now that don’t have the confidence to follow their hearts. I didn’t realise until i was much older that it was a lot trickier for some people to ignore the comments and perceptions of others than it was for me, which I always regretted not noticing when I was younger.

          But yes, you are right that changing to a neutral pronoun doesn’t eliminate the presence of gender and gender stereotypes in society, and the real issue is with treatment based on gender because of those stereotypes and prejudices or tradition (or anything else). What I feel is sad about the English language is that it forces you to make a distinction between gender as though women and men MUST be considered separately. I have no option not to speak in a gendered way, and when you consider that language is present in every part of our lives, that interacts in a tangible way with our culture and cultural values in my opinion. If language is always enforcing difference between gender and doesn’t even allow a neutral option, surely it forces us to view the world in a more gendered way.

          This doesn’t make much of an impact if stereotypes aren’t strongly associated with genders, but they are, and for a generally good reason. You will not find many traits that make up ‘woman’ without hitting a stereotype, if you find any at all. So while it is fine and even good to be proud and embrace your gender, you shouldn’t have to embrace a packet of stereotypes with it. I guess what I’m saying is, by English’s forceful segregation of gender, gender differences are highlighted to an unrealistic and problematic level. Real ‘characteristic’ differences are seen when in actuality, there is probably as much variation within gender as there is between genders.

          I actually am quite enjoying this discussion because I don’t find your comments to be wrong in any way, just slightly different to my own perspective, which makes for a really interesting read. I guess I think that having the option of a gender neutral pronoun (as in, not necessarily removing gendered pronouns but adding a neutral one) is a step away from having to characterise everyone in a gendered way. I feel that even though it is only a word, words are the form that thoughts take, which influence action. Do I think a neutral pronoun will stop sexism? No. Do I think not having one encourages it? Yes.

        • A valid point. An easy way to divide people is to create distinctive traits in each one of them. I subtly recall something I read about a study that took several boys with identical backgrounds, origins and growth, and divided them into two groups. Soon enough, the two groups started fighting, claiming that the “differences” between the two groups were to large to be overlooked. I believe the Nazis used the same method in segregating the Jews from the “average German Aryan” using a “we against them” approach.

          The means of having to use a gender neutral word is what I think is necessary. While it might help, I don’t think we should need that to stop creating and having stereotypes in society. Besides being a woman, I’m human too. I don’t see why this should limit me – when will I stop to be judged my gender when were all the same humans? The focus shouldn’t be on my gender, but who I am. But my gender is a part of who I am, and shouldn’t give me advantages or disadvantages. Therefore, I am still for addressing people by gender but I’m not against the gender valued word, just using as a complete replacement.

          In contrary, I don’t believe it’s the language itself, rather culture and people. While the culture might have influenced the language, I think that the main issue here is our own history and culture that create stereotypes for us, we’re basically used to treating women as inferior. The stereotypes linked together with a gender based word don’t come naturally – it is we who create the stereotypes, not the language.

          Yes, it truly is rewarding discussion since there is no real ‘winner’, just a comparison of opinions. I find that the most enjoyable, because I get to hear everything from a different perspective than my own, and compare and value them against my own, and perhaps reconsider a bit. So thank you for a great discussion :)

        • I don’t think that the differences between men and women are down to “socio-cultural” archetypes. I think it’s simply natural and I’m finding it hard nowadays to wonder why people seem to be pitting the sexes against one another instead of highlighting and appreciating the differences between the two (strengths and weaknesses).

        • I want a gender neutral pronoun…

        • Frida Berglund

          There is an English gender neutral pronoun! Not that well-known but still. (I don’t know if anyone else has already said this but still hey hey…) It’s “ze” & “hir”, like “ze gave hir a kiss!”. Use it as much as possible it’s awesome.

        • Hi Frida,
          After reading your comment (very interesting as I was also wondering whether the english language had neutral gender pronouns), i decided to do some research. Now, this is not an attack on you or trying to say you are wrong but the words “ze” and “hir” and other associated words are not “standard”. Meaning they are not actually part of the english dictionary. And I am a little disappointed because I was hoping for them to actual words or at least very old english (I have checked numerous dictionaries and they do not exist). Now, I’m not saying that they have not been used, of course they have (I mean, it’s not like you made it up!).
          This is an excerpt from Wikipedia (i know, not the most reliable!):
          “Some groups and individuals have used non-standard pronouns, hoping they will become standard. Various proposals for such changes have been around since at least the 19th century”

          So maybe some day it may be a proper word!

          Aside from all this, I guess the only “standard” gender neutral pronoun is the word “they” and its associated words.

          Now, saying that, it is possible that if these words are tossed around enough, it will eventually become a standard word, hence, making it valid in a dictionary.

          YES! I know! I blab on a lot!…. this sounds more like a discussion paper!!

        • An actual English gender neutral pronoun would be great for writing papers or when you don’t know the gender of a person you’re writing about! I usually use they and it gets really awkward because they is plural. I know he is what you are supposed to use but personally I feel strange using that if I’m not talking about a guy.

        • michiehaha87

          That sounds like someone speaking with the french accent, no offense hey!, but reading it out loud is heelarious xD

        • Where I’m from in Michigan, everyone says “guys” whether you are talking to girls or to boys. If my friends are walking ahead of me I might say “Wait up guys!”. If I’m trying to quiet down my class, I might say “Guys, listen up!” I know this is not something that happens all over the States, but it is very common in Michigan. As a teacher, I’m trying to encourage politeness in my students by addressing them with polite words. So I am making an effort to address girls as “ladies” and boys as “gentlemen”. I feel like my philosophy does work tho but sometimes I still do resort to saying “guys” for everyone.

        • It isn’t something that happens all over the US? I’m from Georgia and we use “guys” as gender nuetral a lot, I guess I don’t really know about outside of Georgia, but Michigan is pretty far away.

        • Yes, it happens all over the US. I’m not much of a traveler but (a) I live outside of both of these states and we also frequently say “guys,” and (b) YouTube is a very vast place, and I find people living in California that also say “guys” to address their audience.

        • Yeah. It happens in Massachusetts a lot too. I know I do it a lot… My English teacher uses Y’all though to get around it. Pretty interesting though how gender affects the English language heavily.

        • Hokkaido Fox

          This is fascinating! I grew up in Indiana and I used ‘guys’ to address my group of friends but when I moved to Texas, I got a lot of flack from people when I used it. They told me that it was a ‘northern’ thing and that it sounded weird, especially if I was talking to a group of girls. I suppose they used ‘y’all’ in lieu of ‘guys’ which in its own way is gender neutral.

        • Oh wow, that’s interesting. I was born in Texas, but I wasn’t there long enough to notice. I’m moving back there next year for college, so I’ll keep that in mind :)

        • Way more people actually say guys than y’all, especially if you’re going to go to school in the DFW or Austin areas. You might hear a lot of y’alls if you go to Texas Tech, for example, because Lubbock is in West Texas and people from West Texas typically (not always) have somewhat heavier Texan accents. I’m not saying that people don’t say y’all all over Texas because they do, especially some of the older folks and kids from some of the more rural areas, but pretty much everyone says guys.

        • Wow, I’ve lived in Texas for my whole 24 years of my life and I always use “guys” and no one says anything. People say it more often than not as well.

        • Hokkaido Fox

          What can I say? I used it and it got commented on. It wasn’t meant to be spiteful but more of a “Ha-ha! You’re a yankee!” kind of way. I made the switch to the insidious ‘y’all’ and settled for just my northern family making fun of me instead of all my co-workers and students.

        • Hm, well, I guess whatever worked. I’m sorry you experienced something as annoying as that when you were here.

        • Yeah same. I’ve lived in Texas my whole life (DFW and Austin areas mostly) and everyone I know says ‘guys’… Sure, SOME people say ‘y’all’, but that’s mostly west Texas or just slightly older people, and I have NEVER heard of anyone saying that you should say y’all instead of guys or that it’s looked down upon, even when referring to girls. I think the experience Hokkaido Fox had was probably just a one off…

        • Michelle Totoris

          I’ve lived in San Antonio for most of my life (born and raised), and I use “guys” as a plural noun regardless of gender too. I believe some people think that ALL Texans have a “Ya’ll” accent, because I only hear that accent when I am in the far east of texas and the traffic horror of the Dallas area. But I’ved used Ya’ll, however, even being born and raised here I can’t stand those east Texan ccents. On the sexism, I don’t see much of it. The only thing I can say is that I see some Hispanic girls looked down upon.

        • I’m from Australia and “guys” can be used when you’re referring to girls or boys, it’s very much a gender neutral term

        • We use ‘guys’ in England as well :)

        • If you look up the word in a dictionary you will find that guys can refer to anyone, so it is common English usage. BTW, I’m from deepest dark South GA.

        • I’m in Washington state and we do that here also. Everyone is referred to as guys. I like that you’re at least trying to get students to use polite words. It might just work on some.

        • omg i fellow michigander! :D

        • In Bahasa Indonesia (so far that I know of, if I’m wrong please correct me on it) there aren’t pronouns to indicate being a male or female like ‘he’ or ‘she’- you only use ‘dia’ which means ‘they’ as a person. I really like that for it, as 1) the language itself is very easy to learn, and 2) using only a non-gender specific pronoun for everyone means everyone is based as an equal individual regardless of gender. Although in Arabic (and I’m sure in a few other languages) they even classify inanimate objects as male or female! An example is car and school in Arabic- it is denoted as being female. I never knew what to make of it.

        • Aukse Barakauskaite

          A LOT of languages have grammatical gender, actually :) Russian, German, Spanish are only a few examples. But grammatical gender is totally different from the usual gender. For example, in german the word for ‘a girl’ has a neutral grammatical gender.

        • Exactly. (Not so) Fun Fact:

          In German at least the gender neutral form for “girl” (compared to the maskuline form for boy) is a leftover from a time, where girls where considered property and not individuals, therefor they got the gender neutral grammatical gender as a indication for that

        • Ha, that’s really interesting. I thought “dia” just meant “you”. I agree that it’s handy how it’s easy to learn~ Also it would be so much simpler if English was the same.

        • Michelle Totoris

          I took 2 years of Latin and yes the inanimate objects have genders too. Lol

        • In Arabic we use ‘howa” for he and “heya” for she

        • i speak bengali so there is no word for he or she, its the same for both :3
          well actually there is but i’ve never heard it being used

          also if you speak in third person (they) i guess it counts as gender neutral?

        • In estonia i don’t think there has ever been a gender specificating word. We just have ‘tema’, ‘ta’ for short.

        • In the Philippines, we also have a gender neutral pronoun for he/she: siya. I believe Indonesia also has one (dia).

          Asia, in general, I’ve found a bit more patriarchal than the West. Maybe, it’s the belief system mixed in with a bit of feudalism. Our country doesn’t reach the extents you’ve mentioned in the video, but then we were colonised by the Americans for 40 or so years, so…

        • Angelina Li

          Have you guys ever heard of Spivak pronouns? They’re gender neutral, and super fun to use :) Gender neutral language is awesome. Language is such a powerful tool that affects so much of our collective morality, it’s absolutely astonishing to me that we as a society still accept and use language that was created by the patriarchy, for the patriarchy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spivak_pronoun

      • There actually are gender specific words in mandarin, they pronounced the same way but written differently for gender (他 and 她), as well as someone you respect or an elder (您). This may not be exactly relevant to sexism, but my non-asian friends have actually commented to me that women brought up in Asia have a tendency to walk about one or half a step behind a male, even if they are in a conversation (i.e. a male and female may walk side by side, but the female is somehow positioned about one or half a step behind.) Not sure if this is the case in most places, but I have observed in quite a few interactions on the streets here in Asia.

        • Maire White

          Actually for ni there is male 你 and female 妳

        • but as far as I know (I’m learning Chinese), 妳 is used nowadays more commonly only in Taiwan – I’ve never seen it actually in my workbook printed in Mainland China and in any articles, but I have used it during my conversations with Taiwanese friends

        • Maire White

          Yeah.. I speak traditional Chinese… The Taiwanese dialect >_> haha I didn’t know about mainland china

      • actually, china does have gender specific words, not when you say it verbally, but when you write it in characters, there is 他 (he) 她(she) and 它(it) but they are all pronounced the same “ta” which is probably why people think there is no difference.

        • They’re not classic mandarin but 20th century innovations for the purpose of translating foreign, gender-specific nouns in books etc. There’s also written pronouns for God these days: 他 and 你 have the left 人 replaced by the left radical in 神. But point is, originally mandarin didn’t have 她 and 妳

    • Towards your second point, I would definitely do research on the rise of Confucianism (Neo-Confucianism -ESPECIALLY during the Han Dynasty-/Mandate of Heaven/ etc.) in China and other Asian countries. It’s all apart of World History. Confucianism was used for both governmental structure and social rules. You can see the parallels, as families were largely patriarchal (father at the head of the house) and the emperor of the country was basically the father of the country. The way of thinking just assured that it was natural for woman to be subservient. I can’t explain it well myself since it’s just a longggg topic, but the answer is there. Confucianism still has a direct showing in China, Taiwan, Korea, and others.

    • I agree with you on this totally the only this is “when did this all begin?” will it began before 1990. Surprising enough. it actually wasnt’ until resentally that woman had rights and had a voice. It sounds terrible and being a woman myself i don’t like men being sexist to me. but you have to understand that the older generation is teaching the guy to be like this. Because in the 50′s it was seen as okie to still be sexist. (as we call it now) but as much as you say oh thats bad and that should change you can’t make something happen over night. it’s all well and everything to say you want to change it and i would love to change it but before anything can change “you have to understand the Asian History of not just korea but other asian countries because they do the same things in china. Also you have to understand the reason why males are still in power.” really and said thing to say is Woman’s Rights in korea isn’t going to change until all the people who where born in the 50′s either die out or getting kicked out of there jobs. But that probably won’t happen anytime soon. because even if you are a girl in a rich family. if you have younger brothers. the boys will get the company over you. There was actually a drama where all the brothers didn’t want the company. (Kim Tak Gu Baker King) in the end the guys didn’t want the company so they pretended to say they wanted the company got the shares and signed them over to there sister. but yeah. I hope that one day soon woman’s rights in korea change but it’s going to take a lot to being that ideal of men being the dominate down..

  288. About the wrist-grab… I thought the same thing at first too, you know, “What the crap, that’s not romantic…”, haha. And I still am not a fan of the dragging part. But I have noticed among Koreans, grabbing the wrist instead of the hand (not just in dramas but in general) has been described as “manner hands” because it is less intimate and/or lessens skin contact. It’s the same way that people are praised for “manner hands” when they put their arm around someone for a picture but close their fist instead of laying their palm flat on the person’s shoulder or back. Just thought this was an interesting tidbit! :)

    Love Soozee’s story, hahaha! Anyway, I generally love Korean culture, but this is a rather unfortunate part of it. :( If they could balance out the 50s values with some good ol’ fairness, that would be great~.

    • I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s an interesting point. For any actual Korean’s, is there a particular reason for the wrist grab, and would this be a plausible reason why?

      • maybe it is a korean thing… I remember I was wading in the ocean with a korean guy and he held me by the wrist the whole time to keep me from falling. and this sounds weird but something korean in me told me that it would be awkward to ask him to help me using hands

  289. First of all, I must say that I freakin’ love TL;DRs on serious topics. You guys give very intelligent and well-thought-of opinions.

    Next, I’m curious: Do Korean women realize that this behaviour is sexist and unacceptable in the Western world? And are they trying to change that?

    I know some people would just concede that this is “the Korean way” of doing things, but just because it’s tradition, doesn’t make it correct. In my opinion, doing/believing in something just because you’ve been doing so for a long time is the worst reason to do/believe in something.

    • Well, I don’t think its correct either – however, we need to take into account of the cultural difference between one place and another. If we take my background from Norway, we have a flat organization structure we’re leaders are “on the same floor” and they doesn’t imply that they are our boss. So there is almost no hiearchy between the top brass and normal workers.

      Same about being woman in Norway, it’s the place where most woman in the world got a high rank position or CEO position.

      While asian culture is completly opposite of the Norwegian society. Though there is certain changes going on in Asian society as well. More females are starting to get into the top position, though not as frequently as western countries. That’s why I don’t want to point fingers towards South Korea for being something or not doing something, since this kind of “issue” takes a lot of time to change and it usual changes over generations. :)

      But I do agree with you that its a no-go in western countries and I’m not agreeing with their way of treating woman. I just don’t like stomping down my feet and say “hey, look at my country/western world – we’re the best” when we ain’t and shouldn’t have that kind of view. (That statement is not targeted at you, just in case haha)

      • I think sexism is prevalent everywhere still. Even in Western countries there are still glass ceilings for women and people of visible minorities no matter how progressive we all believe ourselves to be. – I mean, how many times have women in power been used as a scapegoat for administrations politics. Too often to count. The world, as a whole, still continues to fight for their rights, and the rights of those unable to speak for themselves.

        I’m actually curious because I remember reading about rape cases and other violent crimes against women and remember seeing a photo of a guy in a suit holding up a sign in his silent protest that what was happening was wrong and needs to be changed. This was in front of a government building that dealt with cases of discrimination. It was rather profound because it was a guy standing up for the rights of women. So, I think the people know there is definitely an issue, but it’s up to the people as whole to make the change – and I don’t think the old guard is ready for that shift in society. It’s as they said, “1950′s mentality in 2013.”

        • Exactly! <3 Nevertheless, I find this theme super interesting, since Martina came up with tid bits of information that the there is small spark of shift in South Korea (smoking). :)

        • I too find this topic super interesting because I’ve always been interested in socio-politics and how the genders relate to each other. To me, males and females are fairly different in how they interpret their surroundings even if they’re looking at the same thing. There have been times where I’ve gotten into quite passionate debates about gender equality in the workplace with males. The guys often don’t see an issue, to which I retort, ‘Of course, you don’t see a issue. It’s because it’s not affecting you!”

          Now-a-days, because I work in a male dominated workplace, I’ve learned to balance and stand my ground with how I’m to be treated – and that has gotten me a certain kind of respect I wasn’t expecting.

          Overall, I strongly feel that women just aren’t being taught how to present themselves properly or how to state their opinions in a manner that doesn’t sound like a question or come across condescending.

        • Great job on you to stand your ground for respect! Even though I’m a feminist and I want to not only show respect to my co-workers/ others, I expect that I should receive in return. However, during the summer I was working with extremely sexist co-workers and I often became so upset I couldn’t get the courage to speak up and argue clearly why what they were doing was wrong. (They would listen to a radio station that glorified beating women, telling them they typical ‘make me a sandwich’, and joked that women could only be successful as strippers or porn stars)

        • It can be really tricky to stand your ground, especially when there’s such a big ‘joke’ culture around feminism. People make the joke about ‘making a sandwich’ which might be funny if it probably wasn’t their mum making them sandwiches everyday. The expectation on women to cook and clean is still really high, as well as the expectation for women to wear make up, have nice hair and to wear pretty clothes. Studies have shown time and again that women in positions of power are seen categorically as more bossy, power-hungry and manipulative than their male counterparts, and women are indeed less likely to win jobs over men, regardless of qualification. Although this is improving, one of the biggest problems is the media and not only in the overt sexism found in kdrama and some other media, but also the covert sexism, shown in the lack of films with female leads, or even with more than one female character. The Bechdel test looks at a) whether there are two women in a movie or more b) if they talk to each other c) if its about something other than a man. This test is easily passable for males in most movies, but with females? Virtually never. This same test can be applied to people of colour as well. It is quite a disturbing insight into our media and our culture.

        • In US history the home front in American History after Second World War are pretty telling. I mean women were capable of doing the jobs which were usually preserved for men and then when the war was over…no more job. It was like you were supposed to give up financial and personal freedom to sit down and raise the kids. It surprised me to say the least.

        • But women aren’t solely responsible for whether or not they’re taken seriously. Many women can articulate their arguments very well, come up with very strong points and still be very polite and respectful, but that doesn’t mean she would still be taken seriously. I have high doubts that on at least some occasions when you stand your ground you’d be told you’re “too sensitive” or “being a bitch”.

          While, on the other hand, if you don’t say anything then nothing changes anyway.

          It’s usually a lose-lose, and it’s so frustrating. Like I shouldn’t feel so happy and glad when I’m being taken seriously when talk about things like this (whether it’s by men or other women) because it should be a normal thing.

        • I much agree. Some people just simply won’t be listened to. I was a pretty mousy person at school and I remember getting my ass kicked during debates. I would always bring up legitimate arguments that nobody would pick up on. They would just stare at me and move on, then the teacher would always chime in at the end of the debate and say “Jen made a great point that I wish would talked more about” I mean people on MY SIDE of the arguments would just dismiss what I said too.

        • You make a very good point … and something I kinda learned while trying to figure out why I wasn’t being taken seriously in the beginning. For myself, at the end of the day, my work spoke volumes and I learned the art of covering my ass. I’m not in it to win battles, I’m in it to win wars – as they say. And yes, I’ve been told I’m being bitchy, too sensitive and told to relax before, to which I retort, “Is there a reason why you’re making this difficult for everyone?” because a remark like that holds emotional baggage. And when I’m working, there is no emotion attached to my task at hand – it’s just get it done.

          Then again, I’m at a point in my life, where I’m fairly respected in what I do and quite frankly, don’t care about what people think of me.

        • xxtine and Saeri. I totally agree. I’m in that particular “battle” myself currently. Although I’ve got 2 fronts. One as a IT professional (which doesn’t frequently get alot of respect from non-technical departments anyhow) and two as a Female IT professional. I’m fortunate that I don’t normally have to deal with such blatant examples as S&M’s above, but I have experienced it.

          With the exception of a few specific instances, most of what I’ve experienced has been dismissive or deminutive treatment or suble insulting comments. Most of the time I’m not sure the person even realizes what they’re saying is rude and offensive. And while I’m also fairly respected by the majority of my colleagues, i’m still frustrated by the fact it i have to work so hard on my “image” in order to be taken seriously. Oddly enough, when I carried myself in a more self-assured and confident manner, it got somewhat better.

          So yes it’s still something western countries deal with to varying degrees. Although to be honest, because i’ve been verbally beaten over the head with “why aren’t you more lady-like?!”, I’m sensitive to expectations of gender roles.

          Martina, the K-drama wrist grab and flighty, “idotic” heroine vs obnoxious also bothers me too. I’m a huge drama fan anyway, which is how I found y’all. But it drives me nuts how they make the poor heroine fall for the abusive jerks. My response would have been similar to yours, if someone tried to grab me and drag me away.

        • Sexism IS still prevalent everywhere. It comes in part from gender constructs. Traditionally, women are supposed to be submissive and men are the rule makers. In American schools boys are challenged in the classroom more and are geared toward hard math and sciences while girls are gears toward humanities. Women are taught that they have to choose between motherhood and a career. And in the work field it is proven that prettier women are hired more often and are given higher leadership positions than their older, heftier counterparts. Everywhere in the world always needs to progress.

        • Yup, but that also gives out this spark – if we look at the Norwegian trend, we clearly can see that its more woman overall that takes higher education then men. So I don’t think it will be too much noticable just yet, but I’m quite sure at some point (at least in Norway) we will have a much bigger shift of power balance. Though I usual try to keep away from the hardcore discussion about sexism, since a lot of is very objective and touchy theme. I rather look at it with no feelings and just numbers to dictate what should be done or not. :)

        • In response to the latter portion of your comment, I have to agree with you completely. (that’s not to say I don’t agree with the rest of your statement, but I think it goes without saying that certain countries who push out of boxes ie: North America often are less so. i have to say more sexually objectified rather than blatantly insulting or ignoring one’s intelligence only due to their gender. not saying one is better than the other, but you know, if i only have to see it in music videos, i guess i’ll take it.) Anyway, I’m 100% with you on the looks department for careers/jobs. I think I have seen 3 documentaries geared toward the same ideas that woman who are more attractive will gain a position over a less “typically attractive stereotype of that region”. Even if the less attractive is more qualified! Man, things are crazy.

          Also, Martina, I love how you’re a tough cookie :) I get irritated by that too. I remember watching Bread Love and Dreams “Baker King Tak Gu” and Joo Won’s character goes into the female’s work and forces himself on her and holds her hands behind her head to kiss her and she’s clearly refusing yet he doesn’t care. Another instance was in the movie Rough Cut (I still really like the movie, but…) So Ji Sub’s character was supposed to pretend to sexually assault the lead female, when he actually really did (in the movie, not real life!) but it was portrayed he raped her for real, and she still ended up being in love with him at the end! W. T. F.

      • A bit off topic, but yay, another Norwegian nasty!! ^^

        • There is always some of us around, I usual just like to keep myself bit away from internet fandoms and/or distance internet with real life. Just this topic is very interesting, since some aspects of this is something I will most likely need to face in big parts of my life when it comes to work. :)

      • I think the difference between sexism in the Western Countries and Asian countries is that sexism is more seen while in the West is very subtle. I can say the same thing for racism and other thing issues of discrimination that goes on in the West. Yes in the West, the stuff like pulling a woman away without consent wouldn’t fly in the West. But the West have their own issues since they practice sexism in a subtle way ( I’m pretty sure the US does this but I’m not sure for all Western countries). It’s more trickier to catch sexism in the West unfortunately, it’s more obvious in places like Korea so that why there a ” Look at my country- we’re the best” thing to pick on Korea on it.

    • Of course they are aware of it but it takes time for the whole country to change and although there are cons to sexism there are also pros. In the work force, men are expected to do all the hard labor work because women are “weak” and in those situations they don’t mind being seen as a “weak female”. But you do have to understand that Korea have developed very quickly compared to any Western countries and it will take time for them to have equal rights for men and women. They have made huge progress though, as not so long ago, women won’t even be considered to work alongside with men but only as secretaries. And hey, Korea just elected a female president so that says something. Even in North America sexism still exists. It is just not to the extent of “grabbing the arm” but the way I see it, it is not that different.

      • I don’t consider a matter of strength-capacity as a social inequality. The person who is stronger will always be the person to do the most difficult labor, regardless of gender. Unfortunately, men and women are not naturally balanced in that respect. Most men are stronger than most women. Therefore, by strength default, men will typically be the ones to do the more difficult labor of heavy lifting and such, not that women can’t and don’t partake in any form of labor, because women do.

        Women are only pardoned when it comes to lifting heavy objects because most women either CAN’T lift the object or they struggle to lift it, more so than their male counterparts. If women had the strength of men, men would not only be expected to do the heavy lifting, because women would be able to as well.

        I also want to mention that I am speaking in extreme terms. Women are not crippled, we can lift heavy objects, and some of us even exceed the average woman’s lifting-capacity. I mean in terms of work that requires consistent endurance and lifting and lifting very heavy objects.

        Furthermore, being required to pour a man a beverage and smoke in secrecy are social inequalities that exist for no reason other than the fact that their society values women less.

        If men were born without hands and only women were, then it would be acceptable for women to be required to pour a man’s drink, since he cannot. However, this would be considered a natural inequality, not socially constructed.

        • Your discussions about social vs biological inequalities are interesting. Yes, most women tend not to be quite as physically strong as men, and people do need to take that into account. Just as you won’t ask a small woman to lift something heavy, you should ask a small man to, either.

          But here’s the thing; the ones that are, are often ostracized for being “unwomanly”. Look at female weight lifters as an example. So while there is a biological inequality (which doesn’t always hold true), the way we treat them is very much socially constructed. And of course, people are idiots and don’t realize that what may be true for the majority is not true for all.

        • I totally agree with you and understand what you mean. It was just an example I listed. I do want to point out that the smoking is not that extreme as it might seem. People in Korea smoke a lot in general and that was actually something I have never heard of. My female friends smoke with their male friends, co-workers or even bosses without having to hide in the bathroom. Most of the time the ones smoking secretly are female students not working adults.

    • THIS. That’s the exact point I’ve been making for years. Just because something is a tradition, doesn’t mean it is good or proper, or somehow sacred. I’m not saying all traditions are bad – just not every single one is good.

    • Please don’t hold the “Western World” on some pedestal or as a standard, because while some of the things mentioned in this blog post/video are really outrageous from a Westerner’s point of view, it does not mean that Western civilization is all that great for females, either. A quick example would be the HORRIFIC victim-blaming and rapist-sympathizing happening in regards to the Steubenville case.

      And, here’s my little TL;DR about women and sexism; most don’t even realize that they’re being marginalized, dehumanized or oppressed. Go up to a random woman and tell her you’re a feminist; you’ll get a strange look most of the time, but a lot of times you’ll be laughed at and told that “sexism/racism/ism-ism doesn’t exist anymore!”, even though they’re totally just buying into what the systematic discrimination is teaching them.

      You bring up the major wage differences between men and women in the sample position of the same field and people will laugh it off, naively tell you “no, you’re wrong/things are changing”, or even say “that’s the way it should be”.

      And slut-shaming, body-shaming, victim-blaming–who do you think are the loudest players in those? OTHER WOMEN. Men will take advantage of a girl who doesn’t mind sleeping around, but other girls will attack her and call her slut and awful things–just because her sexual behaviour isn’t the same as theirs. Most women are taught that this is the norm, this is OK. A girl who is too afraid to say no is afraid because that’s what she’s been told. Like when you report someone for sexual harassment and you’ll be told “boys will be boys, you’re over reacting”. But of course, it stems from even deeper than that, beginning form birth or early childhood. “This is the way it is and is supposed to be”. And we end up having to take responsibility for things that OTHER people do.

      But you’re right in the last part; just because someone has been ingrained in a culture does not mean it’s right. Some cultures will publicly stone a woman for being raped, and do little to nothing to the rapists; some cultures will prosecute homosexuals and sentence them to death; in some cultures, women are still considered property and marriage is a transaction between the families of the “bride” and “groom”. Should we “respect their culture” and leave those things alone, because they’re a part of tradition and culture?

      And it bothers me SO MUCH when people say “oh, well that’s what Korea is like (so it’s OK)”, because it’s not OK. Yeah, you can’t actually compare cultures, as if one is a standard (like “oh, in America sexy outfits, etc, are just fine” or “pfft, in America, marijuana is not a big deal at all!”), because in the end they ARE different cultures. But that doesn’t mean that just because it’s part of the culture, it can’t be critiqued. Luckily, things are changing, however slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say.

      • Most people I know won’t say sexism/racism doesn’t exist anymore, and they won’t laugh in someone’s face about it either. Most women do know that sexism still exists. Are you talking about Western civilization as a whole, or just your own country?

        • From my own and other people’s experiences, this is not true. Granted, a lot of the people with whom I surround myself and interact are very open and usually on the same page, but this is not about “most people I know” and rather people who aren’t in my circle of friends (thus usually sharing a similar opinion). It’s about random people, the “average” person–because life’s not like tumblr where people are (apparently, anyway…god the “social justice” crap on tumblr is so stupid sometimes) educated about social and political issues like this. It’s because a lot of people are privileged or fooled into thinking they’re privilege.

          I get a lot of eye rolls or scoffs whenever I bring up sexism and racism, or that it’s “not a big issue anymore”. I mean, I guess most people aren’t as concerned and they’ll think you’re being strange in some way for seeing it as a “big deal”.

          And for the record, I’m Canadian, and for the most part we’re better than some (*coughamuricacough*) when it comes to gender equality (bless you, section 15 of the charter of Rights and Freedoms), and I compare the reaction of the people here with those in other countries (obviously, this wouldn’t be face-to-face). Most people are naive. “Most people I know” aren’t, because I luckily know pretty good people, but “most people” in general are.

          (Also, please refer to the rest of my comment about how the perpetrators of slut-shaming and victim blaming and such are mostly women; if all women understand that sexism exists *on this level* then one would think they wouldn’t be actively falling into it like this.)

        • So are you saying most Canadian believe sexism doesn’t exist anymore? Because that’s what you’re implying.
          When I said “most people”, I didn’t mean it literally; I meant that the majority of women won’t say that sexism doesn’t exist. But, I guess that’s because I live in America, where the gender equality (according to you) is not as good as some other (*cough Canada cough*) countries’.

        • Lol, Saeri didn’t imply that sexism doesn’t exist in Canada at all. If you weren’t trying to pick an argument, you’d see that. What she’s saying (and I agree) is that it’s simply better over here than in other countries, which includes America. The US is great, but the sexism can be quite awful, so please don’t try to downplay it. Perhaps where you are it isn’t so bad, but you can’t ignore the rest of the country. Canada has its fair share too! This country isn’t perfect.

        • I never tried to downplay the sexism in America though. And I do know that Canada has better gender equality then the US. All I meant was that women in America realize that there is sexism. Lol, I don’t think you read my post.
          And honestly, I was never trying to pick a fight. It just pissed me off that she had to compare Canada to America in gender equality.

        • Dark_Hollow

          Most women might understand what sexism is and see it when it happens, but so many millions don’t. Including women in the USA. Just look how the USA in general is treating their women.

          I agree with Saeri, it’s upsetting how even saying you’re a feminist has become now a very bad word.

        • I never said that. I said that while “most people I KNOW” are on the same page, “most people” that I’ve TALKED TO can barely acknowledge these issues, or believe they’re either non-existent or negligible. And I don’t understand what you’re saying, because you don’t mean “most people” literally but then you just say “majority of women” which is the same as “most women”. So maybe you were trying to say “most women”?

          And also, a number of those people denying racism, sexism, isms in general no longer exist are actually American.

          And again, a number of those issues are backed not only by men, but by many, many women. If these women are so aware that sexism exists, that it IS an issue…why would they be partaking in it, discriminating against themselves? Even as I speak as a feminist, I’ll have to admit that before I really, really looked into these issues, I was unaware of the magnitude of gender discrimination. Oh sure, I knew the basics of it, but up until recently I shrugged most things off as “the way they are” and not sexism. And even when you talk about sexism, people think about “oppressed and developing countries”, and not about the West, when–although granted the microaggressions and political issues present in the West are no where near the level of discrimination in a number of other countries–so much of it is happening right here. So tell me again why it’s unreasonable to think that a good portion of women, even those in the good ol’ West, aren’t savvy about patriarchy and gender discrimination?

        • First off, Hello fellow Canadian!

          Second, I think the “most people” you speak of have other things on their minds to deal with and having to fight uphill battles such as this, register very very low on their things they want to accomplish in their life. I’ve learned to respect that because you can’t force someone to go to bat for you, even if it’s for the good of themselves. (I mean, have you ever tried telling a girlfriend the guy she’s going to marry is no good for her? It’s a terrible place to be in and the only thing you can do is to support and be there for your friend when she needs you.) I know it’s infuriating to know people don’t care/ don’t know/ can’t be bothered but you can’t make them either. – sad reality.

          There is a large group of aging activists who’ve not exactly thrown in the towel, but only have time to control what is in their immediate sphere of influence. (ie: friends, family, children) We get so tired when we see the same things over and over again in the media, but are pleased with how some fight on and keep themselves involved.

          The only thing you can do is to stand up for yourself and be an example to others. If you don’t think something is right, speak up and hold people accountable for their actions. (I one time gave “the business” to my boss after a prank and he completely felt bad about what he did. The trick is not to yell, but deliver messages in a firm tone.) At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is say your piece in the most educating way and leave the responsibility to the other party to do what’s right.

        • How are women being gender disrcriminated today? When you look at it, it’s not as blatantly obvioius as it was in the 1940s, when working women was not as common. Women fought for their rights, and won, so people – women – are content with the situation today. Americans won’t say that sexism ( or racism) doesn’t exist, but they will tell you that it is not that much of an issue ( well, at least sexism isn’t. Racism is still a hot topic)

        • I’m not even sure if you’re arguing against what I said anymore because this just sounds like what I basically said.

          That people think “women won” is naive and you even said that they’ll say it’s not much of an issue. And here’s the thing–no, it’s not as blatant or obvious because there’s all these subtle little microaggressions (remember no-shave November? The shit storm of “girls who participate in no shave November are gross/gonna participate in no-D December” from OTHER GIRLS….naive about how this IS sexism even if it’s not as blatant as it used to be). But women, by no means, have “won”. We’ve achieved a LOT and have progressed a LOT since then, but that it’s not a huge issue…that’s really awful to hear.

          How are women being discriminated today? Now you’re REALLY going to get a TL;DR.
          1. On average, the wages for women in the same position, with the same experience, are still lower than men.
          2. That it is OK for a woman to wear pants or even dress “masculine” (unless you are trying to pass, i.e. you are trans*, in which case that’s a whole other form of gender discrimination, but that’s not the focus of this discussion so I’ll not go into that), but not OK for a man to wear a skirt (unless you’re GD, apparently). That’s the underlying belief that being female is bad but being male is good.

          Another example of that; to insult a woman, you call her things attributed to females; (warning; here there be swearing…) cunt, bitch, etc, etc. To insult a man…yes there are other words that are used that aren’t necessarily “feminine”, but they still use bitch, pussy, etc. So, the worst thing to be for a woman is a woman, and the worst thing to be for a man is a man. Or so to speak.

          3. Rape culture. That a female will be blamed for a crime committed against her, that it’s HER responsibility to not be raped but not the rapist. And the fact that male rape victims are completely ignored, because victim blaming can’t be extended to males in a patriarchal society….(I’m going to pretend that pseudo-feminists that deny the existence of male rape victims don’t exist, because they disgust me ). That women have to be taught to take precautions but men are not told to simply not rape. That people are sympathizing with the Steubenville rapists instead of sympathizing for the victim.

          4. That abortion is SUCH an issue. That a woman does not have a choice to decide for herself what may be best for her health, and the life of her unborn child. It’s a sensitive thing, I know–but the fact that other women in addition to men are trying to dictate what another woman should to with her own body, that’s discrimination. That groups that harass, scam and physically harm Planned Parenthood and other similar organizations are GOVERNMENT FUNDED/APPROVED, is an issue.

          5. Sexism in pop culture and “geek culture”, like that stupid “fake gamer girl” meme. Males finding it so difficult to believe that women are into video games and comics and geek culture and are only quiet about it because of the amount of harassment they receive, be it sexual or elitist attitudes.

          (I’m going to stop eventually, when class starts, but in the mean time…)

          6. Gender roles, like the ones Simon and Martina described in the video, exist in North America, too.

          7. That a lot of males think it’s OK to continue hitting on females even though they’re evidently very uncomfortable, that the only time they’ll think it’s no OK is if the female apparently has a boyfriend–and that’s out of “respect” for the boyfriend, not the female. When a girl is uncomfortable with being hit on she’s a prude, or a bitch–if she’s OK with it and something unfortunate happens, she’s a slut. That men use the excuse of “being uncomfortable with being hit on by another guy” to appear uncomfortable around gay men but don’t see why it’s an issue when they’re hitting on another woman.

          (Annnddd you’re spared from the rest of my tirade because class has begun)

        • I’m not going to say America is better than anyone else, but Simon and Martina did ask people NOT to get into who’s country is better arguments. America is a respectably large country with many regions. Some regions will be more open minded than others. I live in Michigan not but 20 or so minutes from Windsor, Ontario to give you an idea of my area. My area is very open minded. Of course sexism and racism still exist but there’s a big difference between the “rape culture” in this world and the sexism that comes with that versus being expected to pour drinks for your male co-workers just because you’re a female or being told to dress prettier and wear more make up. We are very lucky in the USA that for the most part my life is pretty equal to any man’s by daily living standards.

          Now, I will say this, the election where John Mccain ran against Barack Obama was ridden with sexism. That election was gonna be close and before Obama announced his running mate, many women were hoping he’d pick Hilary Clinton. I was, she was smart, tough, I liked her. But he didn’t pick her and it was a disappointment of course. But what really pissed me off was when John Mccain picked Sarah Palin as a running mate. He clearly picked her to pick up the female vote, as if I’d be so stupid as to want to vote for him simply because of the possibility of a female vice president. What made that move even more insulting was that Palin was an idiot. I felt embarrassed to even see her up there. To me, that was sexist on his part. He was trying to show he wasn’t sexist but look at his standards for who he picked. It was insulting to me and for a lot of women. Obama still got the female vote.

        • No, I totally get that of course not everyone in a country is the same. There are bad, ignorant, closeminded people no matter where you go. I’m talking about systematic sexism, mainly. And yes there is a difference between rape culture and sexism but I chose to talk about that because it IS linked to what was in the video. Pouring drinks for men is one thing, but being grabbed off the street like that is another thing. It’s not “rape” but I think a lot of people would call that sexual harassment or assault.

          Though being Canadian I’m happy that Obama is president and definitely not McCain or…*shudders* Romney.

      • Where did I say that the Western perspective is what we must aspire to?

        • I guess the wording “do they know it’s unacceptable in the Western world” sounds really kind of…ehhh. As if the fact that it’s “unacceptable” in the Western world (and to be honest, it’s not considered entirely unacceptable or even bizarre for a lot of people) matters that much.

        • elizamendrez

          As a woman from a Western culture, yes, it matters that much. Because it is unacceptable. It only passes as acceptable to a lot of people because it’s institutionalized sexism — it’s been normalized for so long that we don’t see a problem with it anymore.

          But did I say that Western perspectives were the ABSOLUTE truth? No, so don’t put words in my mouth, or at least find a better argument than “ehhh”.

        • Jeez, touchy. Like I’m agreeing with what you’re saying but I can’t really do it because that last sentence was dripping with condescension.

          First, I did follow up “ehhh” with an actual argument. Please read. What I meant that you said “Western” in a way that it was to be compared. Of course sexism in Western culture matters–but that’s completely out of context of this discussion. I mean that the COMPARISON–why should it matter to those Korean women that it is “unacceptable in Western society”? Why shouldn’t that question have been “unacceptable” as a general thing? It’s sort of like saying “Oh, well don’t they know that’s not what WE do”, with a rather superior/arrogant undertone. Of course, it’s difficult to really get an undertone in writing, but like I said; wording.

          And second, that wasn’t putting words in your mouth; that was this thing called interpretation and inferring, or implying. Like, reading between the lines. Like I said in my last comment (again, PLEASE READ) that the WORDING seemed like you were holding Western culture as some sort of standard or absolute point of comparison. If I was putting words in your mouth I would have said that “you said Western culture is the standard”. And if you really want to get defense-lawyer-nitpicky, I didn’t even say anything about making an interpretation or inference. I just said “don’t make Western culture into a standard”.

          Anyway, point is that there always tends to be this comparison, unconscious or not, between East and West, and with the wording (again, unconscious or not), it’s so ethnocentric, like instead of simply seeing differences people are gauging another culture based off their own. And when you say “don’t these women realize it’s unacceptable in the West”, it puts emphasis on Korean culture on a scale with Western culture (which actually is pretty broad and vague, now that I think about it). Again, it brings up the question of why Korean women would care about what’s acceptable or not in the West, as opposed to being concerned about sexism as a whole.

        • Hey guys, you are having a really great debate. This is just a reminder to keep it respectful ( don’t worry you are doing a good job of it so far) which is one of our forum rules. Just keep it in the back of your head that on the Internet tone is implied and not necessarily what you actually meant it to come off as and ‘ it is ok to agree to disagree’.

          Please continue with your ongoing respectful and interesting debate.


        • elizamendrez

          Tl;dr. But you’re right, we aren’t disagreeing. So let’s leave it at that.

      • “Go up to a random woman and tell her you’re a feminist; you’ll get a strange look most of the time, but a lot of times you’ll be laughed at and told that ‘sexism/racism/ism-ism doesn’t exist anymore!’”
        Really? Most people I know would just say “Okay” in response to that. XD

        • I think this is probably because people don’t understand what a feminist is anymore. When you say feminist they probably think that you are an extremist in you views, because honestly you really don’t hear the word used anymore, which really is kinda sad. Because things here are better than in other countries, yes, but they are not equal.

    • Maybe this is why many Korean women are attracted to foreign men…..and many Korean guys may not like it, but can you blame them? I hope things change soon. Korea has a female president so it’s possible.

  290. KATHyphenTUN

    The only experience i have felt here in Canada is being a girl and going to school for engineering. (only about 10% of the class is female…. if your lucky). Of course there is some males that don’t feel you should be in the field and should transfer to nursing, but I feel like a majority of them are respectful. However, the girls are not always treated poorly and I have heard of accounts of them getting special treatment and answers from professors because “they are girls”. I don’t feel this is acceptable either and we should all be treated equally regardless of sex, race, religion, etc..

    • Cyber_3

      I had similar experiences as both a girl and woman in engineering in Canada. In school, no profs EVER gave me a break though, just the opposite most of the time because they assumed I had been let in because of a quota 9_9 and expected me to fail out eventually. Most of the guys in my class were great because they would rather have some girls than no girls because you’re with/in your class pretty much all the time for 5 years and it gets boring without the other sex to distract you. Mind you, these guys were sometimes the worst gossips, there were times I had to sit by myself (in a class of 300 – where?) because someone always thought I “liked” a guy if I should sit next to him or be left out of class events because I was cramping their hooligan all-guy style….. In the work place it was actually a lot worse. Engineers can be lonely guys and I got hit on A LOT A LOT. Like, A LOT. It’s funny how the extremely rare days when my group had to pull cables in the ceiling were always the days that I wore skirts. Sigh. As I climbed the corporate ladder I also hit the glass ceiling. When you’re a guy who’s forceful and cares about details – you’re a leader, when you do the same as a woman, you’re thought of as naggy. It’s the “mom syndrome”? It can be hard to keep weedling ego-maniacs to do their job if you can’t pull rank occasionally.

      My solution – find good allies, dress appropriately for your status (skirts and all), bring in cookies only for the secretaries (to get the good gossip to know what’s going on – let them distribute the treats), try to discipline subordinates quietly but never privately, keep contentious conversations via e-mail-rather than talking in person- copy others, and if your boss doesn’t support you, transfer to a different department or change jobs. Seriously, it’s not worth the hassle and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. I think this works pretty well at both school and work.

      Cyber_3 – has a green belt in aiki-ju-jutsu, has never had to use it in the workplace but some days…..oh some days……

      • I have worked with male and female engineers before. I understand exactly where you are coming from. Funnily enough, because I worked in the engineering department at an HBCU there were a lot more females than would normally be in an engineering class, so the gender gap was not so huge. But I do remember the evenings of sitting around while the comp eng guys had their ‘ Warcraft’ evenings and there were maybe one or two other girls there, other than myself and they were the girlfriends of one of the males.

        • KATHyphenTUN

          Ya, I have also heard that central Canada has a much better female to male ratio for engineering (although not close to 50/50). Not going to lie though! I have definitely become so much more of a “man” from engineering lol (must watch more of Martina’s cute tutorials!!!!) My boyfriend and our friends have got me addicted to the game “League of Legends” and I am now one of the few girls at those computer sit down evenings!

        • Well I am a dork so I have no shame in going in with the gaming guys and grabbing a console.

          When I was a little girl though, I remember not being allowed to play Nintendo, but was instead relegated to watching. My male best friend would prefer to play with his male cousin. * rolls eyes*

        • KATHyphenTUN

          Hahaha oh yes! I am such a dork too! I love playing video games with the boys! I’m also a huge cosplayer so I’m used to being looked at awkwardly in public! I have no shame! :P

        • Cyber_3

          Starcraft was the game back in my day……though I always got the slow compy in the basement…….damn you zerg!

        • KATHyphenTUN

          Haha my boyfriend loooooves Starcraft (I made him a StarCraft cake for his birthday here: http://puppichu.deviantart.com/art/Starcraft-Terran-Cake-324193393
          he insists that when we go to Korea he is watching a live game!) I find the game strategy is to difficult for me to understand! It’s intense to play! So I stick to League of Legends :P

        • Cyber_3

          WOWZA! That is one fanf*ckingtastic cake! You must really be in love…..awwwwwww……so cute! My friend gave me a recipe for butterscotch cake with butterscotch fudge icing that I’m going to try to make for Easter….that’s about the level of my ambition – mad props on that cake – you could go into business!

        • KATHyphenTUN

          Awe thanks!! and yes we’ve been high school sweethearts for awhile now! ^.^ I want to make an EYK cake for myself sometime, hopefully I’l get it done and show simon and martina! :D also, Butterscotch is delicious!! :O such a good Easter treat!

        • Cyber_3

          The sad/frustrating part about my class was that there were 4 other girls (in the class of 300) and I didn’t like ANY of them: 1) didn’t speak english, had a boyfriend in the class that just did all her work, 2) chose a new boytoy every term to do all her work then dropped him at the end of the term and faked sick for the exams, rinse repeat, 3)trustfund child who never showed up because she was too busy jetsetting, and 4) just a crazy stuck up biatch. Sigh. I did have lots of male friends but I was too scared to date someone in my class (my class was together for EVERY class for 4 years, all the time, what if I broke up with him? That could get nasty).

          The irony of my life though is that I didn’t want to marry an engineer because I thought that it was better for a relationship to have only 1 person with a high stress career and, when I married my husband he was an electrician. Now, he’s an engineer and I make casual wedding dresses – LOL!

          Cyber_3 – would still be an engineer except for the recession…..but I like pretty dresses and being my own boss too ^_^