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A Reflection About Women Empowerment from the Korean Entertainment Industry

I am Arin, 24 years old, and have a keen interest in Korean entertainment industry. I have been into K-Pop since 2009. Along the way, I develop my love for other Korean culture, ranging from their dramas, movies, even their traditional culture as well. Through my observation about Korean entertainment industry, I see that women are often put in vulnerable positions.

For instance, it is not rare to see dating news involving idols where the comment sections are on fire. Most of the time, the fangirls of the male idols condemned the relationships and attacked the girlfriends with mean words, thinking that their Oppas did not deserve such lovers. Not only that, I frequently notice denouncement towards female idols if they make any bold movement such as what happened to Sulli—the late singer of girl-band f(x). She received tons of hate comments, was called as “sl*t,” “bi*ch,” just because she decided to upload her braless photos on her own social media account. What is more ironic, once again, is that the comment sections were filled by mostly women.

For me, those examples are tragedies. It is saddening to realise that women are talking bad about other women in such an unmannerly way. Moreover, this is what typically happens to women as if it is a destiny—something natural to take place. In fact, I imagine how meaningful it will be if women can support other women instead. As women share similar physiological and psychological conditions, isn’t it possible for them to share similar understanding towards an issue as well? Therefore, they can support each other better.

However, I am not implying that women should always take other women’s side regardless of her deeds. Of course, we should comprehend what is really happening in a situation first before fairly judging women’s position in that moment. If women are to be blamed, we should call them out in a loving manner. I infer that (1) being encouraging to other women when they are facing the rough parts of their lives and (2) being able to educate them when they are committing wrongful actions are what truly women empowerment is.

My view in this issue is not intended to criticise Korean culture. I am fully aware that these kind of stereotypes towards women may happen in other countries’ entertainment industry too—Indonesia is not an exception. I just happen to be enthralled by Korean culture hence, in here, I only express my two cents on something that I am familiar with. This piece hopefully will be a medium of reflection, to see whether we have witnessed such structural oppression in our own surrounding and how far our empowerment actions towards women have been— in responding to the persecution.

About Author

Arindha Nityasari is currently a full-time research staff at university-based think tank on international studies in Yogyakarta. She received her undergraduate degree on International Relations, focusing on international political economy. Now, Arindha starts to learn more on gender studies and is determined to promote “women empower other women” cause.

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