NATIONAL

Misogyny in Korean online communities a serious concern: report

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Jul 31, 2018 - 17:41
  • Updated : Oct 8, 2018 - 14:53

Misogynistic contents and comments are “rampant” in South Korea’s online communities and content-sharing websites, including YouTube and social opinion aggregator NatePann, a newly released report showed Tuesday.

The report by the Korean Institute for Gender Equality Promotion and Education was released as the Ministry of Gender Equality considers the introduction of a law to regulate hate speech online.

The study monitored 1,600 posts and 16,000 comments shared on eight prominent content-sharing websites and online community forums from June 1-7. During the seven-day period, the researchers identified 90 cases of misogyny or sexism, and 71 comments expressing hatred or discrimination against women.  


A women`s rights rally in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The largest amount of such contents and comments were found on YouTube and DC Inside, a popular internet forum where members share posts anonymously.

Among examples in the report was a post on Ilbe, a notorious right-wing website. Titled “The Ideal Wife,” the post outlined 16 traits that the user considered to be important in a wife.

The listed traits included “serving her husband whenever he wants to have sex,” “being ready for physical punishment if her husband’s shirt is not ironed every morning” and “only listening when her husband speaks, without interfering or questioning.”

Another post, found on DC Inside, expressed an “urge to kill” plus-size women when seeing them in public. Other members responded by saying “I can’t agree more" and "These women deserve to die," among other comments. 

On YouTube, one of the problematic videos caught by the researches had 100 compiled video clips of women celebrities accidentally revealing their body parts, such as breasts.

Some posts and comments were attacking the ongoing #MeToo movement. 

To a post shared by an anonymous user, of which he said he was dumped by his ex-girlfriend only because he had been unemployed, as he struggled to find his first job, others responded by saying, "Your ex is someone who would falsely accuse men of sexual assaut, by participating in the #MeToo movement," among other comments. 

The person who wrote the post also said he recently got a job that pays better than his ex's, as a form of "revenge" against her.

In June, Gender Equality Minister Chung Hyun-back said such misogynistic content especially targets “women who resist sexism and male-dominated social structures, to marginalize their voices by attacking them.”

Kwon In-sook, the Korean Women’s Development Institute president, said there has been an increasing number of incidents were online users attack “women for being women,” without any valid reason or logic.  

“It seems like we really need to seriously discuss ways to legally regulate such comments and remarks both online and offline," she said.

A study by the KWDI last year, which surveyed 1,500 Koreans aged 15-34, showed the highest number of its male participants -- 36.5 percent -- think young Korean women in their 20s and 30s benefit the most from current social structures among all groups in the country.

Among “privileges” the young women enjoy, according to the male participants, were not having to serve military duty during their 20s, and thereby having more time to prepare and apply for jobs than their male counterparts, and not being pressured to financially support family members, among others. 

The study showed that such views were more especially common among men who had posted misogynistic comments online. 

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)