Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Plague on All Our Houses - The Mistreatment of Women in Society

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction." - Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals

The above is one of the strongest beliefs I hold. It is the first formulation of the categorical imperative by Kant and basically states that you should never do something that you wouldn't want other people to do to you, if the shoes were on the other foot. I shouldn't kill others because I wouldn't want it done to me. I shouldn't steal because I wouldn't want it done to me.

This forms a bedrock for my actions. Something that I reference my behavior from. I'm human, and I want to be respected as a human by others, so its only right that I show everyone else on this planet the same courtesies that I would like shown to me. Not everyone holds this belief and I can accept that. But when I see videos like the one that has been doing the rounds on the Korean corner of Facebook lately, and I see the sheer level of disrespect shown by some men towards women in this day and age, it truly makes my blood boil.

Now, here is the video. Be warned though, this video is deeply disturbing. I would strongly recommend that you do not watch it, especially if you have ever suffered mistreatment at the hands of a sleazy prat like the fellows in the video. If you would rather skip the video, read below for a quick overview of what happens.


A drunken Korean girl is sitting down looking rather dazed. An American films her and makes lewd comments about her body. Sitting beside her is an Irishman who begins to touch her inappropriately. From the video, I can't make out if she even knows them or not, but I assume not as she doesn't seem to understand their English. The man beside her decides that its an awesome idea to put his finger up her nose(disgusting freak of a man!) and then proceeded to make her eat the contents while he and his mate laughed. What kind of sick fetishist does that? The man touching her then notices her teeth and says shouts many explicates about them (Oh the irony! People on the eastern side of the Atlantic are not known for their good teeth!) The American proceeds to join in with the abuse hurling and both men say many derogatory things about Korean women.

That old stereotype about Irish and British teeth. Oddly relevant here

Now, where to begin... There is a lot of heat going around the Korean sphere of the internet right now. That heat is directed at both the guys in the video, and the poor girl who was abused by the guys (Can you say victim blaming?). I want to talk about the fires raging in both directions.
First, with regards to the men in the video, many of the angry commentators are brushing them off as just Yankee scum(not quite true, unless Ireland is the 51st State). I feel that is quite a dangerous line of thinking though, as it will merely promote more baseless hatred and distrust towards all western foreigners, regardless of disposition. This is after all the kind of think that groups like the Anti-English Spectrum thrive on. No, I do not think this is just a "western men" thing. You would have to be born yesterday to think such foolish things. This is a "Men in general" thing. This is not because of race, or any specific culture. This is a systematic failure of men across the board. No matter what culture we come from, many of us fail to show women the respect that they deserve by virtue of being human. Many of us treat women like objects, or animals and that, quite frankly, is appalling.

There are many examples of this, but let me focus on the whole club culture thing for a bit. As we saw in the video, this took place at a club (probably in itaewon)

Itaewon, a hive of villainy at night.

Now, as you all know, clubs can often feel like an ocean of people and for some reason, that ocean of people always seems to bring out the predatory shark in a number of guys. This happens in Seoul. This happens in Glasgow, This happens in Boston. This happens all over the world. Its not a "Foreigner thing" or a "Korean thing". Go into a club, and you are bound to find a school of sharkmen circling around any girl who has been cut off from her friends(usually by the said sharkmen). They won't strike up eye contact and try to talk to the girl, rather, they will sneak up behind her like a ninja and begin thrusting away/grinding. In their defense, they will claim that she was asking for it just by virtue of being there, or wearing a short dress, ignoring the fact that she may have just came to party WITH HER FRIENDS. These sharks go around looking for the most vulnerable girl in the club, and then jump on her. I've seen foreign guys do it. I've seen Korean guys do it. Usually the girl is so drunk that she can't fight him off, not while he holds her tight anyway. Sometimes it gets really bad...and well you can guess what happens. Its disgusting. 

Wanna dance?

Now on the other side, some naysayers might say that it's the girls fault for getting drunk, or the girls fault for putting herself in that position, or the girls fault for wearing a dress so skimpy that guys get the wrong impression about her.  
To this, I say BULLSHIT. That is blatant victim blaming. This is not only offensive to women, because you are basically demeaning them to mere sex objects that should have less freedoms than we do(and ergo, inferior by that line of thought), but it's also offensive to men because you are demeaning us by casting us all as hungry lust filled beasts that can't control ourselves when we see a little skin. I'm not like that, and I'm sure that if you are reading this, you are not either. Part of being human is being able to control your base impulses, it's what separates us from lower living organisms like mice and cockroaches. It's called self control. It's called willpower.  Why should women bear the blame when a man is deficient in willpower? 

We need to stop casting blame on women in these situations. The girl may have made a mistake by drinking too much, but its just that. A mistake.  If a guy drank too much and got into this state, no one would bat an eyelid. No one would call him nasty names such as 'gigalo' or 'rent boy'. No one would make derogatory comments about him other than "haha lightweight!" Why must it be seen as such an evil sin if a girl does the same? The Korean commentators on the original video referred to her at various times as 'a prostitute', 'whore' and 'pathetic woman'. These are baseless judgments from idiots.  What basis are they making these claims on? Because she was drunk? Because there were 2 guys filming her? That's a mighty double standard there.
What right do we men have to talk down to women about the dangers of drinking in public, and then publicly disparage them as careless *insert explicative here*, when we refuse to do the same to men, or worse, pat ourselves on the back for drinking each other under the table.  What right do we have to be condescending bastards about something women have known for a very long time, when we in fact should be teaching our sons and grandsons that it's NOT okay to act like wild animals, that it's NOT okay to show women less respect than you would show a man, regardless of the situation.

Now, getting back onto the video, she may have made a mistake, but she is blameless from the moment the men started to abuse her.

The men in the video, quite rightly, deserve the full blame for this incident. They filmed her. They touched her, they hurled abuse at her. They acted like wild animals. That is not how we men are supposed to act. This video should be a lesson and a reminder, not for foreigners in Korea or Korean women, as the media here will try to no doubt paint it as, but for men in general. We need to teach our sons to be gentlemen, not rampant, uncontrollable wildebeest that cause trouble and respect no one.

Gimme your man-card punk!
Now, I am fully aware that this video may not be all that it seems. All mentions of it lead back to one source, which is a shock jockey Facebook page. All videos on the page are only there for the purpose of shocking the viewer. I have tried to find this video on Youtube and Naver to no avail. It does raise some suspicions, but I digress, there is currently no evidence out there that it is anything other than real.
Even if its not all that it seems, it still raises a number of questions about the way women are treated by men in society.. It might not be real, but we all know fine well that scenes like the above are constantly happening across the world.

Anyway, Peace out.


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