Doing research on Korean customs and poses for the upcoming open class, I re-ran-across the Asian poses site:
When I first got here I was appalled to see billiards tournaments on t.v. It wasn’t the billiards which was appalling, but the barely dressed bimbos they had bending over the tables playing. Kind of reminded me of when Hugh Hefner had a network t.v. show on with playboy bunnies when I was a kid. He did nothing that could be censored or that I, as a little child, could not watch but it was totally prurient and grossly emphasized T. & A.
I haven’t seen the billiard show lately, but I do accidentally stumble across this horrible show more than I’d like. It’s kind of like America’s Top Model, only it’s to be the queen of the racing models. And though they do have some glamor shots, most of the time they are bouncing around badly trying too hard to be sexier than each other.
One other time I serendipitously ran across this book and I nearly threw up all over my keyboard. Someone on a forum for men who wanted to pick up Asian women referenced it. That cover art really pisses me off, btw…I think because that should/has nothing to do with orientalism…
And then there are articles like this one, Top Reasons Why Men Like Asian Women and I think you can see why I would have preferred to be white growing up in America. Asian women love when men are men (whatever that means) and never henpeck and they and their children are happier than white women and children. Yeah, right…
And coming here and witnessing the above elevation of the vacuous doll, I think you can see why I’m happy to go back to America. Now, to be fair, your common everyday Korean woman is not posing for a camera all the time, but it’s still disturbing that they do this stuff when a camera gets put in front of their face. And to be fair, girls are very much moving up in the workplace and having to juggle running their domestic households AND workplace equity issues every day. And further, being sassy and strong is being exulted in pop girl groups like 2NE1, but they are also guilty of pandering to these ideas of feminine “beauty,” and for every one of them there are ten other girl bands acting like nothing but boy toys. It’s not that this doesn’t happen in America too: it’s just so endemic here.
But I’m rambling now…just wanted to jot this down…I’m glad I grew up in the west, though it’s not that much better, no wait, it’s a lot better, but it’s still bad, if that makes sense…but it also sucked growing up in the west when they’re writing books like the one above and ogling you every time you step outdoors. But mostly, mostly I’m just beat down by what it is to be a woman today. It’s still so wrong.
5 thoughts on “So far to go…”
You really don’t get it if you think Korean girls posing like that is meant to be sexual in any way. A lot of your criticism of Korean women has to do with the media conditioning in America that Asian women are more subservient and that Asian society is more sexist rather than any factual evidence. There is sexism in Korean society, but unless you actually have evidence to point out that posing is sexist, you really have no leg to stand on. Pointing out how sexist Korean society is has more to do with your own desire to feel superior as an American woman. Try understanding Korean culture instead of serving your own ego. It’s too easy to point the finger, which many expats do, but self-reflection is harder.
I don’t think I in any way said anything about Asian women being subservient. In addition, I did qualify that I experienced the same kind of sexism in the media growing up in America during the 60’s & 70’s. Actually, I didn’t say anything about Asian women being subservient at all – it must really be weighing on your mind.
What concerns me most is infantalization of women. I guess I should have s-p-e-l-l-e-d it out better. And I bet money if I take that posing photo above and show it to my students, they would think it had something to do with being sexy. Now, SOME of the poses from asianposes.com are not sexual in any way, but A LOT of them are infant-like primarily because they are pandering to some disturbed males who prefer their women as child-like as possible. The sheer quantity of infantalization of women in Korean media is/should be of concern to all Korean women, of which while here, I am one by default.
I’m not sure, commenter, if you realized that I am also Korean who was raised in America. This entire blog is documenting my effort to try and understand Korean culture, and it’s a growing/evolving process for sure. It is not an academic tome citing references or gathering evidence. It is my opinion. And btw, I think asking for evidence for the connection between posing and gender differences in sex is a little unrealistic, as its obscure enough to be a thesis gathering dust on some university shelf – and even a thesis is going to be based on drawing connections vs. hard science, unless there are direct measurable effects.
I DO GET SO TIRED of people who have nothing to lose defending criticisms about Korea. I, however, being Korean have to bear the burden of all these critiques and also the consequences of non-critical thinking. I mean, I’m glad you love love love my birth culture so much. and understand my people so much. I think it’s funny when other expats “get it/them” so much better than I would. Especially when it has to do with any latent racism or stereotypes…And on the flip side, who are you to know with such certainty that YOUR assessment that business-as-usual in Korea is all good and all right? And also on that flip side, your comment seems to serve YOUR ego about YOUR holier-than-thou more-open-minded-than-thou-ness.
Some things need to be criticized and changed, and God damn it, in this patriarchal society there are many many many attitudes about women and sexuality that need to be changed. JUST like they had to be changed in America and still need to be improved upon. And in no way did my post suggest everything was perfect in America. I criticize only in the interest of improving. I have serious issues with those who are not critical. AND, I am deeply suspicious of foreigners who want to keep Korean women the way they are..especially when a lot of beautiful, intelligent, amazing Korean women very much want these attitudes and this limiting environment to change.
take THAT! well said
aw phsaw! but thanks!