“Want to Sleep With a Foreign Woman?”

James Turnbull's picture


A provocative article title from Yahoo! Korea yesterday, yes?

Alas, actually it’s only about one lawmaker’s concern over the growing number of “lewd” internet advertisements these days, among which presumably that’s a common slogan. But that does underlie some of the street harassment and groping that many foreign women experience here, so it’s interesting in its own right.

As is the irony and hypocrisy of Yahoo! Korea posting such an article in the first place too. For Korean portal sites are virtually like The Sun newspaper in their content, tone, and adherence to journalistic ethics, like I said of them last year:

Unlike their English-language counterparts, you have roughly a 50% chance of opening Naver, Daum, Nate, Yahoo!Korea, and kr.msn.com to be greeted with headlines and thumbnail pictures about sex scandals, accidental exposures (no-chool;노출) of female celebrities, and/or crazed nude Westerners.

And indeed, scroll to the bottom of Yahoo! Korea as I type this, and just today’s “image galleries” below include lingerie photoshoots and “beautiful Russian news anchors”, let alone the links on the rest of the site.

Not that I mind those in themselves of course. But if they’re the standard for Korean portal sites, then you can just imagine what it’s like for the rest of the Korean internet.

Take those of “serious” newspaper websites for instance, the main focus of the orginal article, and which are already notorious for posting pictures of women in bikinis or even middle-school girls in short skirts:

‘외국인 여친과 잠자리?’ “인터넷 음란광고 강제 퇴출해야”

‘Want to Sleep With a Foreign Woman?’ “Lewd Internet Advertisements Should be Forced to be Withdrawn”

[아시아경제 김성곤 기자]인터넷 광고시장이 급성장하고 있지만 법적 장치의 미비로 선정적인 내용의 음란광고로 홍수를 이루는 등 부작용이 심각한 것으로 나타났다.

While the internet advertising market is experiencing rapid growth, its legal oversight is imperfect, and there has been a flood of lewd advertisements with suggestive contents, with serious side effects.

김성동 한나라당 의원은 27일 방송통신심의위원회로부터 제출받은 자료를 분석한 결과, 인터넷 광고시장은 2004년 4800억원 규모에서, 2005년에는 6600억원, 2009년에는 1조2978억원 등으로 매년 크게 늘고 있지만 성적 호기심을 자극하는 광고가 난무하고 있다고 지적했다.

On the 27th, after analyzing data submitted by the Korean Communication Standards Commission, Kim Seong-dong, an assemblyman from the [ruling] Grand National Party, concluded that the Korean internet advertising market was worth [at today's exchange rate] US$419 million in 2004, US$576 million in 2005, and US$1.132 billion in 2009, rapidly expanding every year. However, he pointed out that this is also true of advertisements stimulating sexual curiosity.

이 자료에 따르면 국내 종합 일간지의 인터넷판 광고에는 ▲ 외국인 여친과의 술자리에서 헉 ▲ 그녀가 원하는 건 크기·힘! ▲ 보통여자 명기 만들기 등 선정적 광고가 전체 광고의 11.8% 수준에 이르렀다. 특히 스포츠 연예지는 선정적 광고의 비율이 20.6%에 달해 전체광고 5개 중 1개는 음란 광고였다.

According to the data, if you look at all the internet advertisements of national newspapers, sexual advertisements with lines like “At a bar with a foreign girlfriend…Wow!”, “She wants size and power!”, “Make a normal woman a famous kisaeng (Korean geisha)”, and so on make up 11.8% of the total. In particular, the rate is 20.6% in sports newspapers, or 1 in 5.

문제는 이러한 인터넷 광고는 다른 광고에 비해 소비자 피해가 즉각적으로 발생하고, 피해 범위도 광범위하다는 것. 특히 피해가 발생해도 광고주의 이동과 은닉 등으로 피해구제가 어려운 것이 특징이다. 아울러 판별능력이 부족한 어린이, 청소년에 대한 무분별한 광고의 노출은 부작용이 심대하기 때문에 규제의 필요성이 절실한 형편이다.

The problem is that compared with other advertisements, consumers instantly suffer a wide range of damages from them. In particular, the producers of the ads can move and conceal themselves easily, making relief and help for the damages difficult (James – I think what these “damages” are exactly should have been made more specific). Accordingly, because the side effects of children and teenagers seeing sexual advertisements is serious, as their ability to understand them properly is lacking, then there is an urgent need for their regulation.

김 의원은 “이러한 현실이 인터넷 광고에 대한 내용 규제가 제도적 미비로 인해 제대로 작동하지 않은 것에서 기인하고 있다”며 “정부, 인터넷 사업자, 민간단체 등 모든 주체가 참여하는 공동자율규제 도입을 고려해야 할 때”라고 주장했다.

Assemblyman Kim claims that “This problem is caused by a lack of and/or poorly-functioning regulation of internet advertising at present,” and that “this issue of regulation needs to be considered by all participating and/or concerned parties, including the government, internet businesses, NGOs, and so on.”

한편, 현재 인터넷광고는 2007년 발족한 한국인터넷광고심의기구가 자율규제를 하고 있지만, 법적 구속력도 없고 비회원사의 참여를 강제할 수도 없는 구조적 모순 아래 놓여있는 형편이다.

There has actually been an organization to regulate Korean internet advertising since 2007, the Korean Internet Advertising Deliberation Organization, but its authority is insufficient as its decisions have no legal binding, nor can it force non-members to participate. This undermines its role as an advertising relief(?) organization. (end)

( Another wholesome ad from October last year )

Meanwhile, observant readers will have noticed two other links in the original screenshot: the first, a Korean blogger’s opinion piece saying that if you’re a Korean woman and want a foreign [male] friend, then you’ll have to get over everyone’s suspicions that you’re with them just for the sake of English and/or sex.

Which may well be true, but unfortunately my wife says it reads like it was written by a 16 year-old.

The second however, another blogger’s advice about getting a foreign girlfriend, actually looks rather good, so I’ve decided to translate that also. Several thousand words long though(!), then wisely I’ve decided not to do it all at once, but to follow its format of giving 9 specific pieces of advice instead. Expect a 9-part series in the near future accordingly!^^

(Posted at The Grand Narrative)

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