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Sexism in Korea

March 21, 2013



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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.



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