South Korean archer An San won three gold medals at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics. However, rather than praise, the 20-year-old Olympian has faced criticism back home. The reason — she has short hair.
A barrage of online abuse has been directed at San, with many labelling her a ‘feminist,’ a term associated with being a man-hater in the country. San’s appearance received a number of negative comments, with many saying they would withdraw their support for her if she was a feminist. Take a look at here —
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However, the trolling has also prompted several women to come out in support of San. Thousands of South Korean women have shared pictures of their short hair on social media with the hashtag “#women_shortcut_campaign”. Many wrote that San’s hairstyle had inspired them to shorten their hair and shared their before and after pictures.
The campaign was started by Han Jiyoung on Twitter to show solidarity with San. In an interview, Jiyoung said that she was disturbed by the hate that San received. She was also troubled by the implication of the comments, that men could exert control over the female bodies, who “need to hide their feminist identity”. She hoped that the social media campaign could deliver a message of solidarity to female Olympians.
South Korea has seen a growing animosity towards feminism in recent times. The negativity, spurred on largely by young men, is based, to a great extent, on the intense competition for university seats and jobs. Many men in the country feel they are at a disadvantage due to the compulsory military service they have to undertake.
However, stark inequalities still exist between men and women in matters of employment and wages in South Korea. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, women only earn 63 percent of men’s salaries.