Why Young South Korean Men are Fighting Against Feminism

“We are a group for legal justice, anti-hate, and true gender equality,” said one Moon Sung-ho who is the leader of a small group of angry young men who are expressing discontent about being left behind since feminism has come to the fore in South Korea. The country has been known for its deep-seated patriarchy, however, many men are angry because all it takes for a man to be convicted is the word of a woman.

Many men think that women in their 20s and 30s are not being discriminated against

“Feminism is no longer about gender equality. It is gender discrimination and its manner is violent and hateful,” adds Sung-ho who found that the problem lies in feminism as a movement and the issue was even discussed at the National Assembly, Korea’s top legislature in September 2019. Many believe that this issue has come up at the right time since South Korea ranks quite low in terms of the global average on the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report, and there are many disparities in equal pay and the earnings of women in general. Also, the country has been the news because of sexual abuse allegations which have all involved high-profile people, like politicians and K-pop stars, not to mention average men. Also, there are many men who do not think that women in their 20s and 30s are being discriminated against, while they do agree that women in their 40s and 50s do face a lot of bias.

76% of men in their 20s and 66% of men in their 30s oppose feminism

Although these men were once on the side of feminism, they now think it’s become the supremacy of women where they are aiming to bring men down. Another angry young man, said, “When a woman wears revealing clothes, it’s gender violence and sexual objectification. But the same critic will enjoy a similar photo of men. Feminists have a double standard. Patriarchy and gender discrimination is the problem of the older generation, but the penance is all paid by the men in their 20s.” These men are not alone in their opinions since a Realmeter poll in 2018 revealed that ‘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.’ On the other hand, these men also want to end compulsory conscription which is again only for men and the youth today do not believe in this traditional male duty. However, Ma Kyung-hee, a gender policy researcher says that “We have a generation that never learned about feminism. Unlike young women, young men lack the language to understand the hardship that they face.”

Image credit: CNN.com

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