She broke an Olympic record and won three gold medals this week – in women’s individual and women’s and mixed team archery – but in her native South Korea there is more talk about her short hair. The 20-year-old An San’s haircut saw him viciously attack by groups of Korean men who insulted him and even demanded that he apologize and return his newly won Olympic titles. But the attacks have been overshadowed by support: more than 6,000 photographs of other women with short hair and another 1,500 posts on the website of the Korean Archery Association denouncing the sexism of those who have attacked the young archer.
This episode of misogyny on the web is the latest chapter in an anti-feminist backlash that has recently intensified in the Asian country. While the feminist trends that have arrived in recent years have driven the largest mobilizations of women in history – with the adoption of movements such as #MeToo, the legalization of abortion and the own fight against intimate videos recorded without permission in places public – many men have taken an attacking position in front of them. They have boycotted companies that they accuse of “extreme feminism”, forcing them to communicate official apologies.
The instigators, mainly members of groups on-line of men, they conceive feminism as a selfish movement and as a battle of the sexes and argue that they are being subjected to unfair treatment by supposedly “feminist” policies. This week they have targeted An San for her hair style choice which, coupled with the fact that she studies at a women’s university, they say, is evidence that she is “feminist.” They have also questioned some expressions that the 20-year-old archer has used in some Instagram posts, arguing that they are commonly used by feminists in Korea.
When asked by a user why he decided to have short hair, An San calmly replied: “Because it is comfortable.” But it was not enough to silence the wave of insults and offenses that flooded his social networks, like another who wrote: “We did not train you or feed you with our tax money to do feminist acts.”
Instead, what has managed to drown out the noise of the attacks have been messages of solidarity. Thousands of South Korean women have condemned the attacks, including well-known personalities in the nation. The country’s youngest MP, Ryu Ho-jeong, who had been criticized in the past for wearing a dress in parliament, was one of those who shared a photo of themselves with short hair. “We women get tired when the clothes of the politics or the hair of the athletes become controversial subjects. In these times I have grown my hair after having it short for years simply because I want to. There is no feminist appearance because feminists live the life they want. We do not ask permission from others ”.
A bell on-line to defend it, it has also gained strength. The image that has been shared thousands of times calls on the Korean Archery Association to protect the athlete and never force her to apologize.
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