Sexism and Voyeurism

If you google the word ‘street’ in Korean, all of the images contain women walking down the streets, most of them wearing clothes that reveal their body. Meanwhile, if you google ‘street’ as it is in English, it shows plain pictures of the streets with buildings and roads. The purpose of the pictures is obvious; the angle of the pictures, emphasizing legs and hip. Knowing that the search engine shows the most popular results, it is reasonable to assume that Korean users preferred these images over a pictures of a plain old street. This stark difference in search results demonstrates the widespread voyeurism on the internet in Korea.

길거리

Figure 1. Google ‘street’ in Korean (Kim, 2015).

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Figure 2. Google ‘street’ in English (Kim, 2015).

In October, a video showing the women’s shower room of Caribbean Bay, a water park, was released on the Internet. The video revealed the bodies of innocent women in there without editing. The link of the video was scattered through the SNS and the fact that such crime was committed at a public place shocked the internet users. The incident was the ignition for the public to recognize the act of voyeurism on the internet that remained undercurrent. It also stoked criticism that there should be some measures to prevent such crimes.

In Korea, the crime to take pictures of private parts of women is called molka, which is short for the expression to take pictures discretely. The molka crime varies from taking pictures with their phones in the subway to installing hidden cameras in public toilets or changing rooms. According to the Korean National Police Agency, the crime has sextupled over the last five years with the total of 6623 cases last year. Averaged, it is 18 cases per day (Park, 2015). Although total number of criminal cases and violent crimes such as murder or armed robbery in Korea have reduced for the first time in five years, the number of sex crimes have exceeded the maximum point. Among them, molka crime has increased dramatically. The crime took about three percent in 2005 in total sex crimes, but last year the rate has increased to 24.1 percent (Yang, 2015).

The ways to take pictures or recordings have evolved in a malicious way. The molka crime could be largely divided into two types. One is to take pictures on the subway manually and the other is to record videos from pre-installed hidden cameras in toilets. Smartphone is usually used to take pictures, but there were many other gadgets sold for the purpose. There were watches, ball-point pens, and even camera-installed shoelace according to the Police (MBC, 2015). For the latter purpose, pre-installed hidden cameras were widely used. Mirrors were even used to record the videos of women coming out of the toilets (Kwon, 2015).

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Figure 3. Watch-Camcorder with full HD resolution (Park, 2015).

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Figure 4. Camera-installed Mirror (Kwon, 2015).

It is perceived that the cause in the rapid growth in molka crime is the widespread use of smartphones. Smartphones provide an environment where it is easier to access the secretely taken videos that are scattered around the internet. If one constantly watches the video, it could increase the desire for the viewer to peep inside one’s private life themselves.

A university student surnamed Ahn said that he had a chance to come across the video accidentally while downloading a file for his paper. At first encounter he did not feel anything, but after watching those videos for some time he was sexually stimulated by them and even felt the urge to do it himself (Park, 2015).

In response to the heightened crime rate and fear among the public, the government implemented a measure to give reward to those who reported suspicious activities regarding molka. The reward is up to 20 million won on serial, organized cases, 10 million on cases with commercial purposes and a million won for personal use. After the incident with the water park on October, eight people reported molka cases and took the reward (Kang, 2015).

For another measure, the government shut down a website called ‘Soranet’ which was blamed to be the epicenter of such crimes. The website was infamous for sexual promiscuity as the users posted texts and pictures of unconventional sexual acts like swapping. However, shutting down a website is merely a knee-jerk reaction because the members of the website does not stop the acts even if they do not have an agora of sex. Instead they form small groups in other websites and carry on with what they were doing in their new home.

As discussed, it is evident that the environment allowed the crime to flourish, it is not the only thing that should take the blame. The bottom line is that the phenomenon reflects sexism in Korean society, and it is manifesting as a crime spree.

In a study on ambivalent sexism in Korean society, it was revealed that women were relatively less resistant toward sexism beneath the surface, or benevolent sexism than more expressive and hostile sexism.

This result demonstrates that the existing studies that showed benevolent sexism appears among women in countries where sexism is prevalent. The study also demonstrated that both hostile and benevolent sexism are still prevalent among men, compared to women. Further, it was also appeared that men are less compassionate toward the victims of sex crimes (Seo, 2015).

The increase in smartphone use may be an ignition for the molka crimes. However, the underlying cause is more associated with sexism rampant in Korean society. It is not about legislation, but more of an issue of a cultural lag where the people cannot follow the development of the system. In order to resolve the situation, it is necessary to check whether the education on sexual equality is effectively conducted or not. To eliminate sex crimes and promote gender equality, there should be a revision in education from the most fundamental level for consciousness on equality to root into Korean society.

 

Bibliography

  1. Kang, Y. (2015). Water Park Cam Incident, It Could Happen to Anyone. Retrieved December 18, 2015 from http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr/bulletin/2015/12/04/0200000000AKR20151204124400061.HTML?input=1195m
  2. Kim, N. (2015). Google ‘street’ in English. Retrieved December 17, 2015 from https://www.google.co.kr/search?q=street&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjewqHfw-PJAhXDJ6YKHYoXBakQ_AUIBygB&biw=1242&bih=545
  3. Kim, N. (2015). Google ‘street’ in Korean. Retrieved December 17, 2015 from https://www.google.co.kr/search?q=street&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjewqHfw-PJAhXDJ6YKHYoXBakQ_AUIBygB&biw=1242&bih=545#tbm=isch&q=%EA%B8%B8%EA%B1%B0%EB%A6%AC
  4. Kwon, Y. (2015). Molka Is a Weapon If Used Inappropriately… There Should Be a Registration System. Retrieved December 17, 2015 from http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=102&oid=277&aid=0003583893
  5. MBC. (2015). Sexual Harassment On Subway. Retrieved December 17, 2015 from http://imnews.imbc.com/replay/2015/nw1800/article/3689753_17808.html
  6. Park, H. (2015). Watch Camcorder with full HD resolution. Retrieved December 17, 2015 from http://news.heraldcorp.com/view.php?ud=20151202000083
  7. Park, J. (2015). Korea, a Heaven for Molka crime. Retrieved December 18, 2015 from http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&oid=020&aid=0002889816&sid1=001
  8. Park, S. (2015). Discrete Molka Crime and Raging Society Gives Birth to Violence. Retrieved December 17, 2015 from http://www.breaknews.com/sub_read.html?uid=407734&section=sc2
  9. Seo, Y. (2015). Ambivalent sexism, hostile sexism, benevolent sexism, sexual offense, responsibility judgment. Retrieved December 18, 2015 from http://sproxy.hufs.ac.kr/bbd64ed/_Lib_Proxy_Url/kiss.kstudy.com/journal/thesis_name.asp?tname=kiss2002&key=3260836

Yang, D. (2015). Largest Number of Sex Crimes… Less Rapes, More Molka and Harassment. Retrieved December 17, 2015 from http://news.heraldcorp.com/view.php?ud=20151202000083

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Week 15 Nayeon Kim, Min-jung Kim

Songdo’s Global Education Hub will fail because of three reasons: Low demands, expensive tuition and the ambition to live abroad.
First, most Korean students are focused on getting into domestic universities with high name value. Even if the universities that are imported to Songdo are well-known globally, the tendency of Koreans to disregard second campuses of universities would not apply there, so it is likely that the Hub couldn`t survive for a long period. Even if the Korean government provides financial support, it is useless if students won`t apply for colleges in Songdo.
Second, it is expansive compare to domestic universities. Students are not willing to pay the high tuition colleges require in order to sustain, because there are a lot of other choices already exist in the market. This is related to the first reason. Almost every college student feels that tuition for domestic colleges are expensive, while global education institutes in Songdo are far more expensive compared to Korean ones. It means that students from the middle-class will not apply for those colleges, knowing they might face financial risks.
Moreover, students from wealthy families who can afford to pay higher tuition fees want to gain a variety of experiences and get a better education. However, even those who can afford these universities want to go abroad in order to attend the original ones, not second campuses on Songdo.  For the European or US universities provide better living conditions and academic environments compare to Korea which is too competitive and lack of creativeness.

Weej 15: KAIST

It is hard to agree with the first part of the statement that Korea is not going to gain any profit out of KAIST in Kenya.

First, economic benefit is not the only part that counts as profit. By building a Korean university in Kenya, we can introduce Korean culture in Kenya. For instance, we can build language school and make a student-exchange program between Korea and Kenya.

Furthermore Korea could gain economic profit necessarily from the university. In the long term, if Kenyans will develop a good impression  on Korea, it will be effective for Korean companies to expand their markets to Africa. For example, Kenya is suffering from shortge of power and they are in need of a nuclear power plant. The major project of Korean construction firms is to win a contract in building power plants in foreign countries. When Kenyan government tries to hire foreign companies to build them a plant, good impression Korean education have cultivated would be fruitful at that moment.

Week 14: Education

I agree with the statement that it is bold for Korea to export is education system to Kenya. First, it is beneficial for Korea to have an ally in Africa, the last continent on earth with the possibility of growth and ample natural resources. Not only the oil reserves, it would be helpful for Korea to invest in agricultural sector, since Korean domestic agricultural sector is diminishing. In order to sustain the demand and prevent Chinese food import to dominate the market, it is essential for Korea to have another source to compete with the overwhelming power of the Chinese. Furthermore, China has been investing millions of dollars in developing the basic infrastructure for trade such as railway and port. However, it has been causing environmental and social problems in the process of expanding development. It is possible that the sentiment toward Chinese is not that amiable, and it was the right choice for Korea to invest in the education and influence Kenya with its soft power.

Second, Kenya is the suitable choice for Korea to make as an ally. Kenya is the most advanced economy in east and central Africa. The economy has grown in accordance with the strong performance in the service sector and higher education. Kenyan version of KAIST is going to focus on ICT sector, and it is going to be helpful for the economy to develop the infrastructure for information flow and thus raising the possibility of the economy to flourish.

Lastly, there is a proven number of students that demand the education that KAIST is going to provide. The article mentioned that the government is planning to add Master’s and Ph.D. courses to existing ICT-focused undergraduate multimedia university of Kenya. Since they are expanding their courses in an existing university, not building a new one, there would be a solid level of students that are willing to take the courses if there are enough funds on their tuition.

Week 13: Rebuttal – Kim Nayeon, Kim Min-jung

A part of Korean culture the other group proposed to promote was soju. They were targeting Germany, where drinking beer is casual and a part of everyday lifestyle. They proposed that they will lower the alcohol content of soju, which is normally between 18 to 21, for German customers who are used to drinking beer, which has much lower alcohol content. They also stated that they will sell soju with various flavors such as grapefruit, pomegranate, blueberry and so on in order to appeal to the Western customers. The last point they made was about somaek, the mix of soju and beer.

One strong point of their strategy is that they planned to sell the kind of soju with various flavors. Such drinks are largely famous among relatively younger customers, mostly in their 20s and 30s because the flavor is similar to that of cocktail and they can drink it casually with its lower alcohol content. Furthermore, since Germany is an alcohol-friendly culture, it would be easy to raise sales if the marketing strategies suit the culture properly. Germany is also the mother country of beer, and it would be helpful to introduce Korean somaek culture.

However, their proposal has certain shortcomings. For one, the alcohol percentage may be too high for Germans even if they lower it. Beer contains about five to six percent of alcohol in it, which makes it a casual drink. Compared to this, the traditional hand-crafted type of soju-current ones are diluted- contains 45 percent of alcohol, and if they lower the alcohol content too much, soju might lose its own identity. Also the marketing strategy they suggested, to hold a tasting event may not be suitable. Beer in German culture is more like water in other countries. The beer drinking culture could be traced back to 11th century, when hygiene was of great importance in human health. The medical expert in 11th century Germany, Hildegard of Bingen, said drink beer instead of water, according to many sources. Meanwhile, soju in Korea is more like a drink that people consume to be drunk, or for the effects that alcohol brings to human body. Plus, soju is a still drink, compared to beer which is a sparkling one. The taste is completely different, and it is not certain whether soju would satisfy German taste. Another defect in their strategy is that it is hard to define whether soju is Korean or not according to their proposal. For instance, printing out Korean letters on the labels of the bottles would have helped the customers to recognize that it is Korean-made. Many Korean brands such as Samsung or LG were taken as Japanese brands in the Western societies, even though it is said that they intended this because of the sales and image-making. In this case, they should have covered this because they are not selling a product, but culture here. For instance, the label ‘Sunhari (순하리)’ may seem cute in the eyes of foreigners, as some data suggested that the favorite Korean letter among foreigners was ‘ㅎ’.

To be successful in German market, they need to identify customers` needs and anticipations. Even if some say that Korean culture is well-known compared to the past, Europe is still not the case. Therefore, it is the key to raise awareness that Soju is a Korean product. There are some ways that they can verify people`s awareness of Korea. First is to conduct some surveys with a few simple questions. However, they need to be careful when they make questions. Giving out the questionnaires to the customers when purchasing is so obvious that respondents will notice the intention of the questioner. Thus the questions could manipulate the result of the survey. They also have to establish a strategy to lead soju to success while letting people recognize soju as a Korean drink. One of the most effective ways to measure demands is to participate in an exhibition. They could find out how many people recognize Soju as a Korean culture as well as promoting their products. In addition, various people visit exhibition not only ordinary people but also experts. It means that Soju can be accurately evaluated by experts and actively receive feedback from customers` point of view.

Week 11: Soft power

Kpop is exerting its influence over US customers with soft power. Kpop will bring positive economic effect, not on its own selling but also because of its influence on other parts of industries.

Selling culture is the key to 21st century economy as former president Kim Dae-jung predicted.

To compare manufacturing and multimedia industry, the latter is superior in terms of operating profit. For instance, the revenue of Samsung electronics in the first quarter of 2015 was 44 million dollars, with the operating profit of 5.63 million dollars. Compared to this, the total operating profit of YG entertainment in 2009 was 7.39 billion dollars, with the total sales of 39.69 billion dollars.

Korean boy bands not only promote good images of South Korea as a country. They also sell the image of South Korean-made-brands.

Week 10: Rebuttal

While I concur that your opinion is mostly correct, I would like to clarify the connection between the understanding of elderly and the solution. I think you could explain more on why the current solution is not apt for Korean society. I can see that the lack of tolerance of the elderly is one of the underlying causes, but it is not easy to identify this point immediately. Also I think you could change the topic sentence, “attention is unwelcome for pregnant women because the elderly are nonchalant” because the elderly being nonchalant and getting attention does not seem to be related so much. It would be a better essay if you could recise some of those points.

Week 9: Subway Seats

In most countries, it is considered that pregnant women should be cared for, especially in public transit. With their burgeoning belly, it is hard for them to secure a balance in wavering subway or bus. Even the women whose pregnancy is in its early periods should take a seat because of morning sickness. However, in Korea, pregnant women are merely another passerby in subway and buses. Not because it is rare when people willingly give up their seats for pregnant women, but the priority seats are de-facto exclusively for the elderly. It is revealed from the article that pregnant women avoid taking public transit in fear that they might be humiliated by the senior citizens if they sit at priority seats. According to an anonymous internet post that has once stoked fury from younger population, when a woman is sitting in priority seat and it is evident that she is pregnant, the older people do not verbally criticize her. They rather try to shoo her away from their privileged seats by deliberately trampling on her shoes or pinching her arm, because they know that it is a shame for them to cast slurs at pregnant women. It is an abominable behavior, as some of the so-called elderly have shown. There are many other elders whom we should respect, but the misdemeanor of some of them have roused severe social problem.

The solution the government came up with is a knee-jerk solution for rousing concerns. Recently the government set up priority seats for pregnant women, colored pink. It is written in bold letters that the seats are for women bearing a child, most of the time people who are clearly not pregnant, such as men or older women past menopause, are occupying these seats. The fact that it is hard to spot a pregnant woman in transit because they are clearly avoiding the hassle of commuting with other nonchalant passersby would have contributed to the uselessness of the solution. However, being a cultural dilemma masquerading as a social one, it is hard to remedy the phenomena by a social measure. A more fundamental solution to shift the general perception on pregnancy is needed.

Week 7: Academic Fraud

As shown in the article, there were some fraud scandals in academic credentials since Shin Jeong-ah. After the infamous art history professor’s demise, the student from the article is the next scandal that has been around for some time although it was not as shocking as Shin’s case.

Most of the people who furiously responded to Kim, the student, were relatively young, the main users of social media platforms. There were more than ten thousands of comments on Facebook when a page posted the URL of the news about Kim’s overly outstanding achievement. There were many envying comments, and some were skeptical of her credentials even before the whole lie unraveled. The younger generation has gone on a practical witch hunt when Stanford and Harvard officially announced that they do not have a joint program that Kim mentioned. As much as people value academic achievement as a defining factor of social status, they respond to fabrications more fiercely compared to other scandals.

Kim is not the only one who should take the blame for her lies. Although it is not clear whether her father knew the truth or not, it is highly likely that he acknowledged the fact by the time he went on to media to brag about his daughter. He would have gained some, maybe not a lot, of money out of those TV shows, and he should also be responsible for the scandal.

The lies that Kim built up were so absurd that she became “the scarlet letter” for academic fabrications, but there are some cases that are not uncovered around the society. For instance, there was an internet post claiming that there would be no person who is more of a waste than himself. The post goes on that he has been cheating his parents that he got accepted to a university although he was rejected from all the universities that he applied. He made a fake account and told his mother to transfer money in there. He searched for schedules from the college website and made her believe that he is attending all the events and even got her to send some money for these events. He got away with this and bragged that he will post again if he succeeded the next time, which was the spring semester of 2015. There was not another post from him, but it is not clear whether he failed. There is a possibility that he decided not to write again because every comment called him with names that he definitely would not enjoy. The scandal with Kim was a big one, but there possibly are many other people who are worse than Kim, as the one illustrated above.

Week 6: Cram School Rebuttal

While I agree with your main point that the government should be more active in banning private educatuon to suppress severe competition, I would like to clarify one of your points. You mentioned that parents should believe that their siblings will study by themselves. It is an ideal situation and all will go better if all students can study by themselves, but not all of them can be like that. In your essay, the example you gave was your own experience on studying alone. I think this weakens your main position, and it will be better if you could put some more objective supports and examples in the essay. Also, I think you could change your thesis because the point you elaborated on mostly on respecting students’ own choices is somehow disconnected from the main topic related to government and legislations.