The South Korean feminist backlash is getting pretty loud lately. Are there lessons to be learned for the United States?
It’s useful to look at what’s happening in different sectors in different countries, and compare it against our own. If you start doing this you are sure to be shocked. Sometimes you’ll be happy with America, sometimes not so happy, and sometimes you’ll realize just how much we are the same with those we share the planet with.
South Korea is a historically deeply patriarchal nation. But keeping the ladies down forever is hard. Their president (a man of course) even vowed to become a feminist president while running for election in 2017.
But alas, like cookies go with milk, feminism goes with anti-feminists. And in South Korea, a band of merry misogynists is growing.
“A Realmeter poll last year of more than 1,000 adults found that 76% of men in their 20s and 66% of men in their 30s oppose feminism, while nearly 60% of respondents in their 20s think gender issues are the most serious source of conflict in the country.”
Military as Requirement
One big hot button in Korea is that men are required to go into the military for 24 months. All men. (get it?)
Women are not required to go in the military. Young men in Korea, do not believe this is fair. Honestly, I see their point.
Interesting factoid: women currently make up 5.5 % of the South Korean military and they volunteer for the privilege. Try to insert that bit of trivia into dinner time conversation tonight.
Men believe they will miss out on career opportunities in the 2 years they serve the military and women will snatch up their jobs and they will be left in the cold. The job market is tough in Korea right now.
Men in South Korea are feeling left out. They are disenchanted, and they are blaming it on women. Thus, the rampant Anti-feminism and South Korean feminist backlash.
Meanwhile, the women in North Korea have the largest pay gap of the 41 OECD nations, at 36.4%. Factoid: The OECD is a consortium of 37 countries. America, Mexico, Canada and the ones you think of our traditional allies belong to it. Sexual scandals similar to our #MeToo movement have rocked their country. Women who work outside the home, are doing a double shift with at home labor and pressure to stay home with the children is strong. Good old fashioned misogyny is huge in Korea.
Seems like across the Pacific, or right here at home, the emotions, the fears, the inequality, and the insecurity are more alike than we often realize.
Women in the Military in the US
Did any of this make you curious about how we handle women in the military in the United States? Well, as of 2015 women are allowed in combat and are eligible for any role that they qualify for. At the moment however, women are not required to sign up for the draft. Here’s something shocking, men still are. Technically they sign up when they are 18, but I don’t think this is happening very much in today’s America. But it is a requirement for men and not for women.
Let’s hope drafts are in the past, and we do not have to worry about them and who has to participate ever again.
Here’s a story from the NY Times that can give you more detail.