sexual relationships

James Turnbull's picture

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace & the 2001 Equal Employment Opportunity Law: What Still Needs to be Done

 

(Source)

With thanks very much to Marilyn for the translation of the following article from Ildaro (일다), I’ll quickly let it speak for itself:

>고용불안 속, 직장내 성희롱 위협 커져

In the midst of employment instability, the threat of workplace sexual harassment increases

고용평등상담실 10년, 여성노동의 현실과 미래를 말한다(2)

10th year of the Equal Employment Counseling Office, discussing female employees’ present and future

[편집자 주] 2001년 남녀고용평등법 4차 개정으로 고용평등상담실 지원제도가 도입된 지 10년이 되었습니다. 민간단체들의 고용평등상담실은 그동안 여성노동자들의 실질적 보호장치로 기능해왔으며, 여성노동자들이 처한 현실을 사회에 고발하는 창구역할을 해왔습니다. 일다는 여성노동자회와 함께 고용평등상담실에 접수된 상담사례를 통해 IMF 경제 위기 이후 후퇴 일로를 걷고 있는 여성노동의 현실과 과제를 살펴보고자 합니다. 필자 황현숙님은 현재 서울여성노동자회 회장을 맡고 있습니다.

우 리 사회의 성폭력 문제는 온 국민이 알게 된 끔찍한 아동 성폭행, 유명 정치인의 성희롱 등으로 자주 언론에 오르내리는 이슈가 되었다. 직장내 성희롱으로 고용평등상담실의 문을 두드리는 여성들의 호소 또한 가벼운 성적 농담이나 접촉을 넘어서 심지어는 강간에 이르는 경우조차 발생되고 있다. 직장내 성희롱은 그 자체가 미치는 정신적․신체적 악영향, 노동환경의 악화뿐만 아니라 일자리 자체까지 위협받게 된다는 데에 그 심각성이 있다.

[Editor’s note] It’s been 10 years since the Equal Employment Counseling Office support system was introduced through the 4th Amendment to the 2001 Equal Employment Opportunity Law.  During that time, the Equal Employment Counseling Offices of private organizations have been functioning as female workers’ practical safeguards and have acted as liaisons that report to society the realities that female workers encounter. Through the case consultations received in the Equal Employment Counseling Office, Ilda and the Women Workers Association intend to look at the realities and problems of women workers, who are losing ground after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.   Author Hwang Hyun-sook  is the current head of the Seoul Women Workers Association.

Through incidents of horrible child molestation, a famous politician’s sexual harassment, and others of which the entire nation is aware, our society’s problem with sexual violence has become an issue that often comes up in the press.  According to the complaints of women workers who’ve knocked on the Equal Employment Counseling Office’s door because of sexual harassment, there are also cases occurring that surpass light sexual jokes or touching to go as far as rape.  Workplace sexual harassment itself not only has bad mental and physical effects and worsens work environments, but is even of such a magnitude that jobs themselves [of victims] may be threatened.

James Turnbull's picture

Sex and the University, Part 3: University Students’ Cohabitation Culture

( Live Together, 2007. Source )

Much to my regret later, I never properly met any Koreans in New Zealand before I first came here.

But by coincidence, a Korean woman replaced me in my last flat after I left. And as my ex-flatmates soon gleefully reported, she was the perfect flatmate, paying her share of the rent without ever actually spending so much as a single night there.

Glee rapidly turned to genuine concern though, as she completely disappeared a week after moving her stuff in, not answering her cell-phone at all for 2 weeks.

Alas, once she was back from her trip home(!), she explained she was actually living with her Korean boyfriend at his place. But, lest she be caught with him by her parents back in Korea somehow, she needed a separate address and home phone number, and a pretend bedroom just in case they made a surprise visit.

And once they were in the loop, then naturally that was fine with her flatmates, and she would end up spending less than, say, 4-5 hours a week there for the next 6 months.

( Source )

Of course, I’m sure she had good reasons for what she did. And even 10 years later, openly cohabiting is a big taboo in Korea, testament to which is the fact Korean portal sites like Naver require age verification for you to search for anything related to donggeo, “동거”, the Korean word for cohabitation, placing it on a par with pornography and so on.

Granted, along with pregnancy, couples are generally forgiven if they have already made arrangements to marry, or at least do so shortly after being discovered.  But as a Seoul-based friend who wrote his MA thesis on them frequently lamented, that means it can be near impossible just to find cohabiting couples, let alone ones willing to talk about their experiences with a researcher.

Still, that’s not to say that they don’t exist, and fortunately amorous Yonsei University couples at least don’t seem to need to go to quite such extremes to hide their living arrangements, as the third of four articles on the “Sex and the University” theme from the Yonsei Chunchu (연세춘추) campus newspaper explains. Not really giving any background on the subject though, if you haven’t already then I recommend reading this short introductory article I wrote for the Korea Times before starting here, and it also has a list of links to many other related posts for anyone further interested.

James Turnbull's picture

Sex and the University: Part 2

( Sources: left, right )

With thanks to reader Marilyn for translating it, here is the second of four articles on that theme that were recently published in the Yonsei Chunchu (연세춘추) campus newspaper:

대학생들, 신중하게 즐겨라, 섹스 칼럼니스트 박소현 인터뷰

University students, enjoy cautiously! Interview with sex columnist Park So Hyun

현재 「일간스포츠」에 ‘처녀들의 수다’라는 칼럼을 연재하고 있는 박소현 칼럼니스트의 원래 직업은 방송작가다. 연애칼럼으로 시작해 자연스레 섹스에 관련된 칼럼을 쓰고 있다. 저서로는 『쉿! She it!』『남자가 도망쳤다』가 있다. 섹스에 대해 거리낌없이 글을 쓰지만 보수적인 집안에서 자라 지금도 필명으로 활동하고 있다. 박 칼럼니스트에게 대학생들의 연애와 섹스에 대해 물어봤다.

Park So Hyun, whose column “Single Girls’ Talk” currently appears in ‘Ilgan Sports’, originally wrote for TV programs.  After starting with a dating column, she now naturally writes a column related to sex.  Shh! She it! and He Escaped are among her writings.  Though she writes openly about sex, she grew up in a conservative household and so even now uses a pen-name.   We asked Ms. Park about the love and sex lives of university students.

James Turnbull's picture

Sex and the University: Part 1

( Source )

Well, sex and Yonsei University to be precise, with 4 articles on that theme being published in the latest Yonsei Chunchu (연세춘추) campus newspaper, providing valuable insights into modern Korean students’ sexual experience and attitudes.

Unfortunately for the authors though, Yonsei happens to be a notoriously Christian university. And so according to my anonymous informer, they were actually punished for them in some way.

Details are sketchy at the moment, but the main problem appears to have been a sex survey sent to all students, with the first article below discussing the results. Perhaps the board of trustees was shocked and embarrassed that 1 in 3 Yonsei students are quite happy having one-night stands or something?

연세인, 당신의 성의식은 어떤가요? 대학생 성의식은 개방으로 황새걸음, 사회적 인식은 아직도 뱁새걸음

Yonsei students, how is your awareness of sexual issues? While university students’ awareness is progressing by leaps and bounds, Korean society is still only making baby steps

가장 기본적이고 보편적인 욕구인 동시에 가장 은밀하기도 한 것, 바로 ‘성(性)’이다. 아직 성적인 이야기를 스스럼 없이 털어 놓을 수 없는 한국 사회에서 연세인들은 성에 대해 어떠한 생각을 갖고 있는지 「연세춘추」에서 알아봤다. 설문조사는 이메일을 통해 지난 9월 13일에서 10월 4일까지 약 3주간 진행됐으며 1천287명의 학생들이 이에 답했다.

Sex is the most basic, universal desire, but at the same time it’s also the most private one. And in a society in which people still feel unable to speak frankly and openly about sexual matters, how to find out Yonsei students’ thoughts on them? So, the Yonsei Chunchu conducted an email survey for 3 weeks between the 13th of September and the 4th of October, and received 1,287 replies from students.

James Turnbull's picture

Korean Sociological Image #52: Are Celebrities Removing the Stigma of Lingerie Modelling?

After writing about double-standards in the objectification of men’s and women’s bodies in the Korean media last month, this month I was looking forward to wrapping that up. Finally, I thought, I’d be able to remove the prominent “Abs vs. Breasts” folder on my Firefox toolbar.

Alas, I’ve decided some more context is needed first. Which by coincidence, also allows me to get rid of the even more embarrassing “Lingerie” folder in the process.

But while the topic sounds facetious perhaps, having overwhelmingly Caucasian models in lingerie advertisements has definite effects on how Koreans perceive both Caucasians’ and their own bodies and sexuality. If you consider what Michael Hurt wrote in his blog Scribblings of the Metropolitician back in 2005 for instance:

…One thing that I also notice is that in underwear and other commercials that require people to be scantily-clad, only white people seem to be plastered up on walls in the near-buff. Now, it may be the sense that Korean folks – especially women – would be considered too reserved and above that sort of thing (what I call the “cult of Confucian domesticity”). Maybe that’s linked to the stereotyped expectation that white people always be running around all nasty and hanging out already, as is their “way.” Another possibility has to do with the reaction I hear from Korean people when I mention this, which is that white people just “look better” with less clothes, since Koreans have “short leg” syndrome and gams that look like “radishes.” The men are more “manly” and just look more “natural” with their shirts off…

Then I’m sure you’ll appreciate that while that artificial dichotomy between “naturally” nude, more sexual Caucasians (and by extension, all Westerners) and more modest, virginal, pure Koreans is neither new, solely confined to Korea, nor wholly a construct of the Korean media, at the very least this odd feature of Korean lingerie advertisements certainly helps sustain it. And that dichotomy has largely negative effects on all Westerners here, especially women.

James Turnbull's picture

Newsflash: Korean Doctor Sent to Jail for Performing Abortion, Korean Woman Fined for Planning to Have One

 

( Source: Dramabeans )

Yes, those really did happen in the last couple of months.

Perhaps it was naive of me to be so shocked and surprised however? After all, according to the Korea Herald, “about 30 [doctors] have been brought to the court over the past 5 years, mostly resulting in probation or fines”, so presumably this latest case technically isn’t the first time a Korean doctor has been incarcerated for performing an abortion (for 1 year, with probation for 2 years). And then the Lee Myung-bak Administration did signal it would begin enforcing Korea’s long-ignored abortion laws over a year ago too, in a vain and wholly misguided effort to increase the record-low birthrate, so prosecutions had to emerge sooner or later.

Still, I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the first time a pregnant woman has been fined for just planning an abortion, and according to the law she could even face having her baby in jail herself if she tries again. And the fact that she was charged as a result of her husband informing the police? It sounds positively Dickensian.

Seriously, is he physically confining her to their home as I type this? Is she still allowed to divorce him, or has she been stripped of that right too?

My second surprise was that, yet again, I didn’t actually learn of this important news via any English-language media, but rather via the following humble-looking video passed on to me by my Facebook friend Mee-young Cherry, who in turn found it via her friend Heejung Paik of Gwangju Womenlink (광주여성민우회). Simply a very brief overview of Korean’s draconian abortion laws in the global context rather than a discussion of the cases themselves though, I’ve just translated those parts relevant to Korea below:

James Turnbull's picture

Blood Type Condoms?

 

With thanks to Cate Newton of phlebotomist.net for passing it on, here is her handy infographic on the practice of blood typing, which notes the wide variety of blood type-themed products in Japan despite there being no scientific validity to the practice whatsoever.

Known as hyeolaek-hyeong in Korean (혈액형), the practice is also popular here, and definitely a common theme in advertising (such as for kiwifruit and soft drinks). But there are far less actual products available though, and certainly not condoms.

Perhaps because people would be confused? After all, is the required condom type determined by the blood-type of the wearer, or of his partner?

Putting aside the fact that the question itself reveals how completely inane the product is, then I’m guessing the former. Otherwise, some pretty big wallets would be required when heading out for a night on the town…

Any Japan-based readers that can confirm that though, then do please fill me in!^^

Update: See here for a blood-type condom vending machine in Japan.

(Posted at The Grand Narrative)

James Turnbull's picture

Yes, Old Korean People Have Sex Too…

 

( Source )

But perhaps as you’d expect, they’re generally not using protection. A quick report from The Daily Focus on Wednesday:

Number of STD Cases Among Old People Rising

While the national total number of STD cases has dropped overall, the numbers of people aged 65 and over contracting STDs has risen sharply, it emerged on the 28th.

The Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service presented its “Current Situation Regarded STD Treatment Recipients” report to Assemblywoman Son Sook-mee of the National Assembly Health Welfare Committee, according to the data of which the number of cases of people aged 65 and older receiving treatment for STDs was 44,000 in 2007 and 64,000 in 2009, a rise of 43% in just 2 years.

In 2007, people 65 years and older accounted for 4.0% of all cases of people treated for STDs, but this has risen to 5.5% as of March this year.

Little information to go on unfortunately, but Seoul residents may be interested in placing that into the context of the prostitution culture around Jongmyo Park in Jongno, which caters to the thousands of male retirees that spend their days there. From a “Korean Gender Reader” post in March last year:

James Turnbull's picture

Korean Sociological Image #47: East End Girls, meet West End Boys

Yes, it had to happen eventually! A big round of applause to Nextour (넥스투어) for producing the very first Korean commercial to feature a Korean woman literally dreaming of having a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a Western man, and with no suggestion that there will be anything but happiness once she succeeds.

New readers shaking your heads in disbelief however, then by all means prove me wrong by finding earlier examples. But before engaging on what I think will ultimately be a long and fruitless search, please consider reading other posts in the “interracial relationships” category, especially here, here, here, here, here, and here. And please also ponder the following quote from Hyun-Mee Kim in her chapter “Feminization of the 2002 World Cup and Women’s Fandom” in Feminist Cultural Politics in Korea, ed. by Jung-Hwa Oh, 2005, pp. 228-243 below on the then unprecedented public attention by Korean women on the bodies of the Korean players in the summer, and which gives a big clue as to why it has taken 8 years(!) for such an essentially innocuous commercial to emerge:

James Turnbull's picture

Korean Sociological Image #44: Westerners, Nipples, and the Presentation of Sexuality in the Korean Media


( Source: Metro, July 8 2010, p. 7. Cropped slightly)

It’s amazing what pops up in Korean newspapers these days.

Yes, however difficult it may be for overseas readers to believe, that is the actually the first nipple my Korean wife, friends, and I have ever seen in a Korean advertisement. Moreover, it’s probably no coincidence that it belongs to a Caucasian model too, and one that looks like she’s about to get involved in a ménage à trois at that.

Focusing on the nipple first though (as one does), let me provide some context: with the important exception of ubiquitous single-sex bathhouses, Koreans are generally more conservative than Anglophones when it comes to public nudity. Topless males are extremely rare away from beaches, swimming pools, and concert stages for instance, and topless females unheard of, let alone full nudists of either sex (recall also that just 5-10 years ago, women even covered their swimsuits with t-shirts too). In addition, while female celebrities have been showing a lot of cleavage in recent years, this trend has yet to be adopted by ordinary women, whom can expect just as much unwanted attention if they accidentally leave home bra-less.

However, breast-feeding is generally fine if done discreetly, and indeed one of the first things I noticed in my first time in a Korean supermarket 10 years ago was a brand of milk (or soy milk) that prominently featured a large breast and a suckling baby on its packaging. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name to find an image, but I do also recall that it was by no means hidden away in any sense.

Syndicate content
Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system