[OP-ED] Reactions from Conservative Koreans Toward Kim Ji Young, Born 1982 Novel and Film Shows There is a Serious Issue

Jay Yim, Oct. 23, 2019, 4:53 p.m.


The original novel of Kim Ji Young, Born 1982, was published in 2016 and sold more than a million copies. The books tells the story of an ordinary Korean women in her 30s who is juggling between work and family, on top of the gender discrimination she faces.

The book received mixed emotions, some calling it one of the most important feminist novels in Korea, but others, the anti-feminists, did not approve of it.

The release of the movie is just adding more fire to the flame.

The story of Kim Ji Young is told in the persective of her male psychiatrist, from her birth to motherhood. She was born into a typical patriarchal family, and Kim's mother apologized to her mother-in-law for having a girl.

Wherever she is at in her life, she always faces discrimination.

South Korea is still a very conservative country, so to have so many people oppose the movie, is somewhat not surprising. However, it certainly isn't a good way to live life. The treatment of women in Korea, especially now, is getting far worse. There have been so many cases of sexual assault by men because for some reason, in their minds, these women are their sex toys or just objects.

When I heard about actress Jung Yu Mi, who got cast as the lead, received a lot of hate comments, it broke my heart, and angered me. This novel, and now movie, is trying to the show the struggles of women in South Korea, nothing more really. So for people to get so angry about, it makes no sense.

Even female singers and actresses who supported the movie and the book became targets of online hate commentors.

For example, Suzy liked an Instagram photo of an event related to the movie. Netizens took the time to screen shot it and spread it online, attatched with a lot of hateful comments.

Irene of Red Velvet said she had read the novel at a fan meet-and-greet event, which later netizens took to her social media account to flood it with insults.

The fact that these female celebrities are receiving hate for supporting this book, it goes to show how stuck many Korean people are in their conservative ways. They do not like the idea of women progressing, and expressing themselves. This can be further justified with the fact that male celebrities have talked about the book too, but have not received as much backlash.

It's like if a female celebrity reads the book or supports it or the movie, they are, for some idiotic reason, testifying that they are victims of gender inequality. Maybe it is true for some of them, but, in general, the women of Korea wants to show the serious issue of inequality, that women are seen as second-class, objects even sometimes compared to the men.

It is obvious that South Korea needs to start shifting their mindset toward women, viewing them with respect, dignity, and equality. It really is scary how angry society gets when anything slightly related to a feminist idea is supported. The government, and the men and women of Korea, need to speak up and transform the minds of the conservative Koreans.

What do you guys think about this issue? Let us know down in the comments below.

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