So-called "Reverse Sexism" in Korea 소위 ‘역차별’

In this post I want to discuss the claims of “reverse sexism” or victimization of men made by two blogs in response to recent Korean laws designed to prevent sexual abuse or promote gender equality. This is not to say that men cannot be abused, but according to groups like Man of Korea (남성연대described here) and the site formerly known as Boslachi (보슬아치 사이트) which is now called Men’s Korea (맨즈코리아 described here) Korean men suffer from “reverse discrimination” based on gender as a result of these and other laws. The argument stems from the establishment of ministries and laws to rectify historic gender discrimination, prevent sexual violence, and address social and political inequalities that subordinated women's human rights. Last November, Eri Kim wrote a powerful piece rebutting the supposed “over-empowerment”of women in Korean society. Eri Kim asks, why a group of men keep referring toprograms for women’s rights as “reverse sexism.” I don't think that designing such policies is 'reverse discrimination' against men because: 1) they do not strip men of their human rights, but rather enforce women's human rights, 2) they are enacted to bring about gender equality, 3) 'reverse' implies that men do not enjoy social and political privileges, but they still do (please see The Grand Narrative for a discussion on women's workforce participation here and here for starters), 4) this is a much weaker argument, but the vast majority of politicians and judges presiding over Korean law are men, and finally 5) women do not occupy a hierarchically superior position to structurally discriminate against men in the way that women have been recipients of discrimination in the past. 

여기서  소위역차별 남성들의 성폭력예방법의피해자라는 인식 대해 얘기하고싶다. 지난 11월에 김에리씨의 기사가 인상적인 이야기로 남성연대나 보슬아치사이트의 소위 여성들이 월권행위를 한다는인식을 반박했다. 김에리가 유독 일부 한국 남성들은 같은 상황에서도역차별생떼를 쓰는 것일까냐고 했다.

The first issue I would like to discuss is the Korea Men’s Union’s attitude toward the regulation of the sex industry (I previouslyposted about their attitude toward sexual harassment here). The group opposes the current legal regime that attempts to address sex trafficking. Recently the Court system upheld a case protecting the rights of a minor in a coerced sex scenario, under the sex trafficking prevention and youth protection laws. In the September 9, 2010 ruling, the Supreme Court found that:

 “A (male) and B (male) approach a pregnant runaway 16-year-old teen C (female) and tell her that they will help find a way for her to earn enough money for abortion. B then solicits C to take takes naked photo shots and then forces C to sign a contract for sex. In the meantime, A gets arrested for an unrelated crime and is sent to a prison. In addition, B, C, and A’s wife split the money earned by procuring and coercing C to have sex with at least 12 customers. The court rules that even though A was physically absent, he still is guilty because he did not prevent his partner from coercing the teen to have sex or take photos.”
첫째로 남성연대의 성산업의 규제에 대한 인식을 비판하려고 한다남성연대 성매매특별법을 반대하고 있다. 최근에 대법원의 판례중에서는 십대소녀가 성행위를 하도록 강요했던 악덕 포주들을 성매매특별법으로 처벌하여 여성의 인권을 보호했다. 대법원 2010.09.09 선고 20106924 판결에 따르면,
갑이 을과 공모하여 가출 청소년 (, 16)에게 낙태수술비를 벌도록 주겠다고 유인하였고, 을로 하여금 병의 성매매 홍보용 나체사진을 찍도록 하였으며, 병이 중도에 약속을 어길 경우 민형사상 책임을 진다는 각서를 작성하도록 , 자신이 별건으로 체포되어 구치소에 수감 중인 동안 병이 을의 관리 아래 12회에 걸쳐 불특정 다수 남성의 성매수 행위의 상대방이 대가로 받은 돈을 , 갑의 등이 나누어 사용한 사안에서, 병의 성매매 기간 동안 갑이 수감되어 있었다 하더라도 갑은 을과 함께 미성년자유인죄, 청소년의 성보호에 관한 법률(2009. 6. 9. 법률 9765 아동청소년의 성보호에 관한 법률로 전부 개정되기 전의 ) 위반죄의 책임을 진다고 원심판단을 수긍한 사례.”
The Korea Man Union opposes the laws because they are worried about their personal interest, insofar as they do not want to be criminalized for buying sex. However, they do not express much concern for sex workers human rights and working conditions, nor for the prevention of sex trafficking or for minors trafficked into the sex industry. Although the Law is not perfect (which we discuss here) rather than focusing on so-called ‘men’s rights’ the group should realize they share common interests with women in Korean society. The Korea Man Union should more carefully consider the social and legal conditions for sex workers in Korean society.

남성연대의 성매매특별법을 반대하는 이유는 개인적인 이익을 위한 성구매로 불법 형사처벌를 받고싶지 않기때문이다. 그들은 인신매매된 사람들과 십대소녀들의 인권에대해 별다른 우려를  표명하지 않는다. 성매매특별법은 완벽하진 않지만 소위 남성의 권리 주력하지 않고 한국사회에서 남자들과 여성들 사이에 공동 이익을 위하여 함께 도움이 있는 방향을 지향하는 법이다. 남성연대가 인신매매, 여성인권과 성노동자의 법적인 사회지위에 대하여 신중히 문제를 고찰해야한다

Secondly, I will discuss ‘everyday sexism’ by some men and women in society. For example, some men  complain about reverse sexism these days but they do not understand what it is to be a woman in society.

둘째, 사회의 일상 성차별 대해 얘기해보자예를 들면 몇몇 남성들은 역차별 대해 불평하면서 여성들의 일상 생활에서 겪게 되는 성차별을이해하지 못하는 같다.

Sometimes when my close (usually) male friends get upset about the laws designed to prevent sex crimes, they say that are all men are treated as ‘potential criminals’ by the law. I get very frustrated because if those men really want to change society and do something about rape culture (which contributes to the threat and fear of sexual violence), first they might consider carefully voting for sound political platforms and politicians that will pursue policies to end violence, or they should take everyday action to criticize other men's sexist language and discriminatory actions toward women, obviously they themselves must not rape and should learn how to prevent rape (by learning about rape culture, for example), and they should think about gender issues.

주변 남성들에 따르면 그들은 항상 자신들을 예비 성범죄로 보는 시선에  불편하다고 얘기를 하며, 이는 나를 화가 조금 나게 한다. 남성들에 대한 불편한 시선에 사회적 인식변화를 만들려면  우리는 성범죄 혹은 성차별에 대한 올바른 인식을 가진 정치가들을 선출하여 모두가 인정할 있는 법을 만들어야한다. 또한 일부 남성들은 그릇된 성의식을 가지고 여성을 비하하거나 성차별하는 행동들을 개선해나가는 노력이 필요하다. 물론 성폭행은 일어나지 말아야한다.  그들은 젠더 이슈에 대해 생각해야 한다고 생각한다.

Finally, due to high incidence of rape, victim-blaming and social acceptance of the conditions that promote or permit rape we can say that Korea has a rape culture (which is criticized by SlutWalk Korea 잡년행동_슬럿워크 here and on Twitter @SlutWalkKorea ). Sometimes when news of a rape or sexual crime comes out these male friends may think that they do not have to bother to care about these issues, instead they complain that they are looked at by women around them as if they are potential sex offenders. But, in that case they should first think about the purpose of the law to protect women and children from crime, and carefully consider the anxiety that women and children experience everyday in society. In addition, if they really want to see a change they should get involved in elections and in demanding a widespread change in our rape culture society. 

결론으로 성폭력을 방관하는 현상 사회적으로 성폭력행위를 안일하게 생각하는 행위때문이다.어떤 남성들은 뉴스에 나오는 성범죄 사건들이 자신과는 상관없는 일이라고 하며 사건에 관심이 없지만 몇몇 남성들을 예비 성범죄자로 보는 시선을 불만느낀다고한다. 하지만 이런 사건들로 인해 불안해 떨고있는 여성들과 어린이들의 입장을 생각한다면 그들을 어떻게 보호해야하는가를 먼저 생각하는게 중요하다고 생각한다. 또한 이러한  문제를 개선하고 싶다면 선거에 참여하여 공정한 의식을 가진 정당을 뽑아  우리 사회의 성폭력 방관현상 금지 요구해야한다고 생각한다

Court Case Referenced:
대법원 2010.09.09 선고 20106924 판결 【사기·청소년의성보호에관한법률위반(강요행위등청소년의성보호에관한법률위반(청소년이용음란물제작·배포등미성년자유인·절도·공문서부정행사】 [2010,1960]

*About the image: This image was found as part of a series titled 남녀 역차별 posted on 2009/08/12 by VertiGo. This particular image was captioned 여자가 남자때리면 용감하다 or "If a woman hits a man she is brave."