Magic Mike XXL Trailer - My Reaction

I just watched the Magic Mike XXL trailer:

This movie trailer treats me like Magic Mike's moves might erase my memory. I am sure that I can remember that the title is not just LARGE, it is Magic Mike XXL.

I don't need a power tool thrust to help me remember. Nor do I need that water bottle to stand in as ejaculate to understand that this film will try to emphasize sexual tension. But, you know, points for clarity, I guess *^.~*

But this begs the question, is there a Female Gaze? I feel like you're telling me where and how to look, Magic Mike.

So... basically, my body is metaphorically made into a machine, Joe shoots in my face, Mike pulls my hair... and this is supposed to be erotic for female consumers of this film? This and 50 Shades of Gray are our mainstream and popular sex stories?

I guess I don’t hate it that much, I’m just disappointed. This really isn’t creative.


Gender, Sex and Politics in Korea: What the Saenuri Party really meant by "Prepared Woman President"

The Park Administration response to the Sewol sinking was absolutely inadequate. Protests and hunger strikes to demand accountability and preventative measures continue to grow five months after over 300 people, mostly students on a field trip, lost their lives.
A family assembles to demand a "safe world for my son."
Apparently some politicians demanding a transparent report on the Presidents' response have been gossiping and speculating on her sex life. Opposition lawmaker Sul Hoon referenced (and dismissed) rumors that President Park was engaging in a "tryst" during a 7 hour period during the tragic Sewol sinking.
President Park participates in mourning the deceased. 
“What did [President Park] do for those seven hours at the Blue House?” Sul asked. “I don’t think it’s true what people are saying about her having a tryst. I think that’s probably not it.”

The resulting political controversy has centered on demands that Sul resign and whether his words were intended to malign the President or to dismiss the rumors. Lost in this discussion is the sexism that the majority party is also leveling at President Park.

While Sul's accounting of the rumors demonstrate a sexist tendency to focus on the unmarried female President's leadership, they also highlight a sense of betrayal and mistrust. The gossip centers on what might have kept the President preoccupied specifically for the 7 hour period during the Sewol sinking.

On the other hand, Saenuri party spokesperson Park Dae-chul's statement blurs President Park's public office and private sex life, and are not limited to a discussion of the Sewol sinking, but extend to a general comment about women's sexuality:

“It’s troubling to think what might happen if there are rumors about ‘the President of the Republic of Korea having a tryst’ going around,” Park added. “The Saenuri Party intends to examine a possible complaint against Sul Hoon to the National Assembly Ethics Committee.”

What might happen?

By emphasizing the "Republic of Korea" in his statement, perhaps spokesman Park calls upon tried and tested fear of Korean womens' bodies and sexuality and the national image. He asks, how might Korea look to other nations?

Is the Saenuri Party particularly sensitive to North Korea state media describing President Park as a "crafty prostitute" in thrall to her "pimp" Barack Obama?" Or is Saenuri still unclear what they meant by the election campaign slogan "Prepared Woman President?" The party cultivates an image of a woman's body and sexuality sacrificed as the "mother of the Korean state" and in control in contrast to the womens' bodies the state aggressively polices and regulates.  

Campaign Slogan: Prepared Woman President

Hankyoreh, Opposition lawmaker causes firestorm by referring to president’s “tryst”
Posted on : Sep.13,2014 14:15 KST  http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/655017.html


Pop Culture & Gender: Why Baekma?

Guest post by the band Baekma. KGC readers will know by now that I (Chelle) dislike the term Baekma,so I asked the band why they choose it and how they are using it to call attention to gender issues. Find the band on Facebook and listen to their music here

“What’s the name of your band?”  “Baekma.”  “Huh?” “BAEKMA!” 

The name we chose for our band warrants many types of responses.  Foreigners or Korean women must think we like galloping beautiful ponies when we explain the definition. Korean men, however, are left with looks of surprise, shock or comical amusement. These men almost always ask, “Do you know what that means?” as if we weren’t privy to their dirty little secret. Well, we do know what it means and we chose it to shock you, on purpose.

The phrase literally translates to ‘white horse’ taken from Chinese.  A Korean male friend informed me that it began a few decades ago as slang used to refer to the only Western women one could find in Korea, Russian prostitutes working the streets of Itaewon.  It evolved over time to mean any Western woman.  If this is the true origin, it’s no wonder that the word implies sex. Mumbled drunkenly among chingus when a wayguk woman passes them on the street at 4 am, or mentioned when a buddy returns from a vacation abroad, this word is tossed around between Korean men with curiosity: “What’s it like to ride the Baekma?” “Did you ride a Baekma on your trip to Europe?”

After Korean men realize we are aware of the negative connotations behind our name, we get responses like, “Why would you name your band that?” or “That’s so sexual!”
First off, I suppose we WANTED to be controversial and expose the stereotypes surrounding Western women. We started as an all-girl Western band, coming together after mixed experiences playing in bands with all boys. Besides feeling like we had more to prove since we were women in the music scene, we wanted to confront and challenge the idea that Western women are easy to get into bed or are only valuable in a sexual way. Just because a woman is in charge of her own sexuality, doesn’t mean she is promiscuous or dirty. Just because she has a nice set of legs or arms, doesn’t mean her wish in life is to use them to please a man. Just because she prefers to decide how she wants to look or act regardless of how a man says she should, doesn’t mean she is less beautiful. It’s easy to get disheartened in Korea if you do not fall into the limited impossible standard of beauty. We believe women shouldn’t be seen as less talented, less driven, less intelligent, or weaker than a man because cowardly men prefer it. It’s easy to get disheartened in Korea if you are not used to or do not fall into the very narrow ideal of feminine beauty within this culture. This standard is impossible to uphold without expensive treatments, surgery and/or hours wasted on grooming. Also, many men seem to be holding on the antiquated idea that women’s role in life is to serve them. Sam Hammington, whether speaking from his own mind, or instructed by a producer, said on the Global episode of Happy Together in 2013 that he married a Korean woman because “Korean women are really good to men,” implying that Western women are NOT because they “have their own lives”, “are never affectionate” and “never act cute”. In one quick comment, he reduced Korean women’s existence and demonized the concept of independent women in charge of their own lives. We know that Korean women are tired of their stereotypes and expectations as much as we are. We channeled our frustrations of living in this hyper-sexualized and misogynist society into our music.

There hasn’t really been anyone providing a voice for the foreign women community within the indie rock scene in Seoul. We feel we have a unique perspective on gender issues as we compare progress here and abroad. We hope our voices can support the movement towards gender equality and freedom of women to choose what they want to become not only in Korea, but also worldwide.

So we are BaekMas. We are not offended by that word. We are Baekmas. We act and dress how we want. We say what we feel and believe in. We write songs about the shitty stuff we see happening to people around us that’s sometimes based on gender. We sing about how we want the world to be. We will probably disagree with you. We may even piss you off. We may or may not sleep with you. But we will definitely make sweet love to your ear holes with our synth dance pop rock.

Find information on Baekma's upcoming podcast here.


Queer Corner: Walking while Queer, "homonationalism" and "pinkwashing"

Someone unknown to me commented on my Facebook profile photo (below) sarcastically referencing "homonationalism" and "pinkwashing" because my photo and text (written in Korean) reads "Let's not stigmatize against LGBTQ people."

I took this photo in December at the launch of Hollaback! Korea. At the time, a group of volunteers made a series of photos to respond to their experiences of street harassment. Our project is (meant to be) inclusive of a wide group of people living in South Korea and a safe space to share experience of street harassment, which may include sexual, racial, homophobic and other verbal, non-verbal and physically harassing behavior in public places. So, we wrote our messages in Korean or English and then edited the photos by adding English or Korean text to overlay the photos or by captioning them so that they could be read and shared in both languages to include our whole community of leaders and supporters.

I took a long time to come out as Bisexual and it is an ongoing process of personal reflection and dialog with trusted friends. When I lived in my home country (US) I only let very few people know and I was very intimidated and lacked the confidence to participate in a supportive community. I have lived in Korea for most of the last 8 years and finally became a part of a community that felt safe among my friends to begin to come out. Since I lived in Korea, several times I have heard in Korean, and a few times in English (the English-speaking population is just smaller) Korean nationals and non-nationals alike target lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual or gender-role non-conforming people (including me) in public places for street harassment. As a bystander or as the person targeted in those situations, I didn't always speak up. Over time and in the few cases when the comment was directed at me or someone I know, I was more likely to say something or take action.

I made this photo and message because in the classroom, on the street, in a restaurant, in media and in other settings I overhear(d) homophobic comments made in Korean and sometimes in English, but since I live in Korea, I overhear them more often in Korean. Coworkers made homophobic comments in front of and at me, and in a few cases even friends who know that I am Bisexual make homophobic "jokes" directed at me. So, I took the opportunity to respond in ways that I always wish I could/did/would when I hear these statements.

The comment gave me a lot to think about, particularly questioning my position as a person speaking out about homophobia. For example, I consider and critique the U.S. State Department for not evaluating its' own human rights record for far too long while leveraging its critique of other states against them in international affairs. Yet, speaking up for myself and supporting friends is not the same thing as "pinkwashing" and "homonationalism" and as a person anywhere I can add my voice to the discussion and I can respond to the harassment I experience. It does not mean that I am an expert, it does not mean that I am condemning anyone, etc. As I put it before, it simply means "Let's not stigmatize against LGBTQ people."

I am glad to belong to communities of people that share experiences with me and support me, and I am glad to have the opportunity for discussion. I am not going to silently endure homophobia and I will continue to use resources available to me to cope with homophobia, so I am very thankful to have a supportive community that is willing to discuss and hear about experiences of street harassment.


"On May 31st I was raped in Itaewon"

I do not know how to start this gently, so I am just going to come out and say it: on May 31st I was raped in Itaewon.  I was out drinking with a friend at G--- Bar (ladies night) and the last thing I remember was doing shots with a man whom I had just met. The next thing I knew I was waking up (in a blurry state of mind) in a dirty love motel and he was raping me. I was unable to do or say anything because I was still very drunk, or drugged, and then I passed out again. The next day I woke up wearing only a t-shirt of his, with vomit in my hair and bruising on the top of my left foot. I had a massive headache and was very confused about what had happened the night before. Immediately I was told that I had vomited and I urinated on myself.  I asked him if we had sex.  

His first reply was no.  I told him that I remembered having sex to which he then confirmed that we did. I could tell that he was also feeling uncomfortable.  At this point he told me I still had my wallet with me and that he had used a condom. Like he had done me a service and I should be thankful for his assistance.  I quickly got my clothes on, which were soaking wet, and went home.  At this point I had not labeled the act rape.  I just wanted to get out of his vicinity as soon as possible. I was so hung over and confused. I had not registered what happened to me.  This is not an unusual response from a person who has been sexually assaulted. Often victims feel that they are somehow responsible and hold themselves accountable for the violation. I experienced a very textbook reaction to the situation.
Later that day, it hit me that I was raped. This harsh realisation came to me when I was retelling the incident to some of my friends. I had to hear my story from a third person perspective. I knew that if another person was telling me this exact story that I would tell them that they were raped. Coming to that realisation was a very difficult process.  I felt very dirty and extremely violated. I did not want to admit that I was a rape victim/survivor.  I did not want to have a personal relationship with that word, a word I had feared for most of my life.
I had R----’s Kakao information (phone number) from the previous night so I messaged him saying I felt that he took advantage of me and that I was in no state of mind to consent to sex. He wrote back saying I was passing out on the street so he took me to his motel where I vomited all over myself and urinated in his bed. He became very defensive and claimed that he had nothing to do with me sexually. He felt that he was entitled to a thank you and not an accusation. This was disturbing for many reasons.
With the support of my friends I went to the one-stop center (sexual assault clinic) at the police hospital. I initially did not want to go.  I wanted to shower and pretend that nothing had happened. I thought that I was to blame. I did not want to retell my story because I was terrified that I would not be believed. That I would be held accountable for the incident.  I did not want to experience the shame that comes hand in hand with victim blaming. I feared that I would not be taken seriously because I was unconscious for the majority of the rape.  All of these reactions are very common for victims of sexual assault.  After I did go and decided to press charges I felt empowered. I had taken control back.
One week later, I saw R----- in Itaewon, which sent chills down my back. He was just walking around like everything was normal.   His normalcy was so unsettling because he appeared to be unchanged by what he did to me.  Meanwhile, I was experiencing anxiety, mood swings, fear and depression.  My sense of safety and security had been taken from me.  I was having dreams of him violating me and me being defenseless to stop it.  I also had dreams of people telling me that I should not drink so much or wear that tank top; of people saying that they hoped I learned a lesson from all this.  R---- seemed as though he was taking a leisurely walk on a sunny day without a worry.
I am an advocate of women’s rights and identify as a feminist. I am passionate about empowering and advocating for women; educating others on the very real inequalities that exist between men and women; and educating others on the impact of rape culture.  I am currently in school for counselling women and would one day like to support victims of violence.  I have feared rape my whole life. I have taken precautions to walk down busy streets at night instead of short cuts. I have asked friends to come to public bathrooms with me. I have had terrifying nightmares about rape since I was 12 years old.  I am well aware of the high incidents of rape, and that most rapes are unreported.  I have friends who have been raped by strangers, boyfriends and acquaintances.  I know that most victims of rape experience re-victimization because of a justice system that was created in a rape culture that blames the victims.  Even with all of this knowledge and my feminism my initial reaction was ultimately the fear of judgment.
While most of my friends were supportive and reassuring I still encountered discouraging comments.  I was told that I was too drunk to really know what happened, that I should not go to the police because there were too many grey areas. I was kindly reminded that I had been sexually irresponsible in the not so distant past.  Essentially, I was told that because I engaged in consensual sex I put myself at risk of being raped.  Essentially, I was being told a woman who is drunk equates to a woman who gets raped and that is just the way the world works.  Recently, I was asked if I felt part of the club now. This is not a club that women desire to be a part of.  I don’t get a free t-shirt and a spot at some imaginary victims’ table.   I am not a “rapable” woman, nor did I or any other victim want this membership.  I was even instructed not to tell my father because it would upset him too much.  Like it was something that happened to him and not to me.  Like I needed to shield him from being ashamed of me.  Like I am damaged now and it is best to keep quiet about it and move on.  All of these reactions by people I love and who love me are examples of how deeply embedded rape culture is in our collective consciousness.
I am writing about this incident openly because I want other women who are unsure if they were raped or are afraid to disclose for valid reasons know that they are not alone.  They are not to blame,  it is not their fault and feelings of confusion are normal.  Sex without consent is rape.  A person who has sex with you without your consent is a rapist.  Just because you drank too much does not mean that you somehow asked for rape.  Just because you have sex does not mean that you put yourself at risk of rape.  Just because you talked to a stranger at a bar does not mean you want to have sex with him.  The responsibility of this dehumanising act lies with the rapist.  Why do we still have to tell grown men and women that rape is not the victims fault? Why is this not common sense in 2014?
I am not damaged goods, I am not a part of a rape club, and I am not defined by this incident.  This act happened to me, but I will not allow it to limit me.  I believe some people would feel more comfortable if I decided to stay home and never to go to another bar again.  That I should learn my lesson and suffer the consequences of constant fear, depression and isolation. That I should act like the victim of rape they see on TV or in the media.  My strength makes people uncomfortable and skeptical of me.  But it is my feminism and my belief in myself that helps me to heal.  My world has not been shattered only readjusted.
I am not a victim or a survivor first. I am woman who has been a victim and a survivor of rape.  I am not ashamed because I know that the shame belongs to R----.

One-stop center at the police hospital is a resource every woman in Seoul should know about.   If you are sexually assaulted find the strength and a friend to go to this center.  They will give you antibiotics to prevent infection, a physical examination, blood and STD tests, a counsellor to talk to and the choice of reporting the incident to the police.  This service was 100 percent free and the staff were professional as well as sensitive.


Update: Those interested in further information about police response to sexual assault might be interested to read Raped and alone in a foreign land


On Breastfeeding and Being a New Mom in Korea

Guest Post Written by Cyndie Miniscloux

I recently became a mother and moved (back) to Korea when my baby was 2 months old.  Since then I have made observations on the mother’s experience here in Korea.  The following are just my perceptions, but perhaps there are others out there who see and feel it as I do. 

One of the topics that my professor talked about quite a bit when I was studying Korean society at SNU was Korea’s low fertility.  When I look at it now, I think, “No wonder.” It’s just hard being a mother in Korea, especially if you’re a working or single mom.  If you want to raise a kid, well don’t expect much help from the rest of society.  This is also why Korea still has so many “orphans”, kids who in most cases are not orphans at all but children of unwed parents financially unable to care for them. 

I have thought about going back to work (my last job before pregnancy was a contract job in Korea, so that means I need to find a new job).  But I’m breastfeeding and my baby will not take formula.  The thought of pumping enough milk so that she can have enough everyday if I have to drop her off at daycare is overwhelming as it is.  But would a potential Korean employer even allow me pumping breaks?  Of course it’s common to take smoking breaks.  I mean if it’s so you can go pollute the air and screw up your lungs, go ahead take a quick smoking break.  But pumping?  Woman, if you’re gonna need time for that baby stuff, to produce the healthiest thing your baby can have, stay at home and be a mom. 
Caption: Johnathan Wenske & Kris Haro's poster campaign raises awareness about public breastfeeding, read more here.
I have a friend from middle school who lives in Florida and literally we both got unexpectedly pregnant at the same time. Our baby girls were born 5 days apart.   Neither of us were married at the time we got pregnant and neither of us were really prepared to have a child.  Yet she not only got maternity leave from her job (which was not a contract job) for 2 months, but when she came back, she had daycare available on-site.  Not only did her company allow her pumping breaks, but also she could go see her daughter during lunch time to feed her and see her, so the child doesn’t go the whole day without seeing her mother.  And I envy this friend.  That kind of situation would be perfect for me.  I could still give my baby what she needs to be healthy and earn the money we need to support our family.   But go and find such a job in Korea.

And then there is the whole ordeal of going anywhere at all with a breastfed infant.  I once decided to go visit some people who were literally 40 km away.  I had to basically cut through all of Seoul from one part of Gyeonggi-do to another.  So basically I figured the subway ride alone, stop to stop would be one hour long.  Now, I commend Korea for its nursing rooms in many subway stations.  Those are awesome.  However, when the subway ride alone is one-hour long, chances are a 3 month old will want to feed during the ride itself.  So I came on the train with my nursing pillow and nursing cover and got nice and comfortable in the seats reserved for the elderly, disabled and mothers of yet to be born or young children.  But in Korea, it’s been my understanding that nursing in public is taboo even with a cover, as if I was doing something nasty under that cover.  People are not even used to the idea of a nursing cover; they just don’t really use them.  So when this lady got on the train and sat next to me, she was all excited that I had a baby, and without asking starting to lift up the cover to see underneath.  She didn’t realize that I was nursing.  She thought, apparently, that the cover was just to help the baby sleep.  I was embarrassed when she lifted the cover because across from us were some older men.  I tried to whisper to her to stop, because I was nursing and when she finally understood she seemed uncomfortable. 

Another not-so-pleasant experience was when my husband, daughter and I went to a reunion dinner with my husband’s elementary school friends and their 6th grade [male] teacher.  We had brought pumped breastmilk and some juice, but the baby drank all of that and after a while became fussy and demanded more.  I told my husband, “Perhaps I should breastfeed her.”  My husband whispered back, “Not right now, it’s not polite to do it in front of Seonsaengnim.”  Although it’s beyond my understanding why it’s rude to feed my crying baby in front of this man, I had no choice but to accept the situation.  It so happened also that the restaurant we were at, despite being high end, did not have one of these nursing rooms.  But I am still angry thinking about how my baby had to go hungry because of these social norms.  Why, oh Korean people, is it rude to breastfeed my child with a cover in front of a well-respected older man?

I guess these are the changes I’d love to see.  I get it.  Women’s breasts have been messed up by our society to be a sex object and no one wants to see an exposed breast.  But my baby needs to eat.  And she needs to eat when I leave home too.  Although I believe that breasts were designed by God to feed infants and not as sex objects, and that therefore women should be able to openly breastfeed, in the name of cultural understanding, I will meet you halfway and cover up when I breastfeed.  But please don’t look at me funny when I’m sitting in the subway feeding my baby. 

I’d also like to see more companies with daycare on site or in the same building.  I know every business cannot afford to do that.  But don’t tell me that those big daegieop can’t afford it.  I’d like to see a society where it’s normal for a mom to pump at work, and that companies wouldn’t have this attitude of “What dare you ask?? Breaks to pump?!” I’d like to see decent hours for workers with young children so people have at least a bit of time to spend with their children.  Overall, I’d just like to see a change in attitude towards mothers, so that having a child would be considered a contribution to society rather than something only women with well-off, higher salary husbands are allowed to do.  Think about it.  If Korea has no children, there will be no one to support the older generation (aka our generation) in the future.  Sometimes it feels that lawmakers are so near-sighted.  Think of the future too.

Also I’d be nice if the state could do more to help young/unwed parents in a difficult financial situation.  It’s true that assistance programs can be quite costly.  But what I don’t understand is that it’s probably so much more costly for the state to run orphanages and fully support the children whose parents are forced to give them up, than to partly support  those families through various programs and/or subsidies.  


Attend my talk on Korea's Sex Trafficking Prevention Act, International Norms & Local Legal Rhetoric

I will present a part of my research this Friday afternoon at the International Studies Academic Conference hosted by Yonsei University. The event will run from 1PM to 6PM in New Millenium Hall Room 101. I think I may be the last speaker on the second panel in the flyer below (after 3:30PM presumably). Just FYI, venue is located closer to the Ehwa University back entrance bus stop although you can enjoy the walk through the campus from the Yonsei front gate if you'd like. Hope to see some familiar faces in the audience~


Korea Queer Pride Fest & unofficial after-party

You can find detailed information about Korea Queer Pride Festival at their website. I am sharing some major event details below:

Festival Breakdown
- Event: The 15th Annual Korea Queer Culture Festival 2014
- Date: June 7th-15th, 2014
- Slogan: Love Conquers Hate
- Program: Queer Parade, Queer Film Festival, After Parties 
- Organizers: KQCF(Korea Queer Culture Festival) 
- Donors: IVANCITY, Google, 80 individual community organizations made up of culture organizations, women organizations and civil society organizations. 

Last December, the 15th Annual Queer Culture Festival started with the slogan Love Conquers Hate, which is now the name of the LGBT campaign spreading throughout the world. Asia Pride in Seoul, will be the main concept of the festival. This event has been organized to invite all Asian LGBT organizations. With this festival, the 15th Annual Queer Culture Festival wants to fight against homophobia, which is a constant problem around the world, including Korea. LGBT organizations and individuals from Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, China and India are invited to join the festival. On June 7th, Seoul will be a place where we can express our refute against discrimination and homophobia, and ultimately celebrate our queer culture.

- For additional information please visit:
- Official Homepage. www.kqcf.org

Main Program  
Queer Parade
- When: June 7th, 2014 from 12:00-3:00PM
- Where: Sinchon transit mall, Seoul 
- Concept: Asia Pride in Seoul (Asian LGBT organizations and individuals will come together to celebrate their pride and to feel a sense of unity)  
- Content: Event Booths – Opening Ceremony – Pride Parade – Closing Ceremony
- Expected attendees: More than 20 thousand

Also passing along information about the Korea Pride Fest unofficial after-party with Meet Market at CLUB MWG in Seoul.

ABOUT The Meet Market:
The Meet Market is a safe space and party for the LGBTQIA* community and their allies in Seoul and S. Korea and has been going on since 2011! It features drag, burlesque, dance and all other things good and queer!

Meet Market 소개:
퀴어 커뮤니티를 위한 파티!
2011년부터 시작된 퀴어파티 미트마켓은 게이, 레즈, 바이, 트랜스, 퀴어 서포터즈들 다함께 즐길수 있는 파티로 드랙쇼, burlesque (야한 익살쇼), 등의 다양한 쇼와 음악 ,또 멋진 친구들이 함께하는 파티입니다.

The Event / 이벤트
The Pride Meet Market (The Unofficial Pride Afterparty)
Hosted by: "The Butch-hers"
A party for ALL kinds of queers AND their allies since 2011

Place: Hongdae: Myoung Wol Gwan (MWG) 장소 : 홍대 클럽 명월관
SATURDAY 7 June 2014 9PM-2:30AM 토요일 6원 7일 9~2:30
Cover: ONLY 10,000 won incl. 1 free drink* 임장료: 만원

TWO full shows for Pride
1st show at 12.00am
2nd show at 1.30am

Check out more event details at their Facebook page:


Does "Get your arse out, mate" Trivialize Sexism, Street Harassment and Survivors?

The Guardian posted 'Get your arse out, mate': we turn the tables on everydaysexism – video” which is getting praise from some, but I am critical of the video and its potential to education the public or build solidarity. You can watch the video at the link above or embedded here:
The Everyday Sexism Project aims to document “experiences of sexism, harassment and assault to show how bad the problem is &create solidarity.” How does The Guardian's Leah Green work to that end by targeting random men in the street?
The idea of “turning the tables on men” grabs attention, for sure, and we’ve seen very successful scripted videos like OppressedMajority that speak volumes about sexism and street harassment without, actually, harassing anyone in the process.

Maybe the Guardian video can even been seen as a platform to make people hear the words that have been used against those contributing at Everyday Sexism Project. Great, but that can be done by other means.

Having watched the video, I cannot get behind the method.

First, and most importantly, NOBODY should be spoken to in ways that make them uncomfortable or are intended to intimidate, humiliate, shame, etc. The Guardian’s Leah Green does not work for Everyday Sexism, but “performed” scenarios inspired by the project on men. Let’s unpack those euphemisms a bit. The Guardian/Leah Green read real accounts of sexism and harassment, and decided to pick random unsuspecting men on the street and “perform” intimidating actions, harassment, and hate speech on them. I have been harassed on the street, I would absolutely abhor seeing my story as a ‘scenario’ ‘performed’ on another human being. 

Yet, the issue is controversial and it is sparking debates, like this
Second, the scenarios do not necessarily promote awareness of sexual harassment or street harassment and in turn may even contribute to homophobia or trivializing street harassment survivors. When Leah Green drives by and catcalls out the window, did that teach anyone about the harm? Worse, when Leah Green targets and asks pairs of men if they have "ever made out," the Guardian reporter is making big assumptions the men being asked, such as about their sexuality. 

The segment absolutely overlooks the reality that gay men and trans men and others also suffer street harassment. Further, in the minds of the men being asked, or folks watching the video, the ‘scenario performed on’ the men in the video may either trigger memories of other times they have been targeted for harassment based on their sexual and/or gender identity. Or, rather than promoting awareness about harassment, the question could spark socially heteronormative or homophobic responses, rather than clicking so that they 'get' how this question connects to street harassment of pairs of women. The Guardian comes off as policing masculinity and echoes hate speech that some LGBTQ viewers may have experienced, rather than educating anyone about the Everyday Sexism Project.  

Third, the randomly selected men are not necessarily those that attack women that contribute to the Everyday Sexism Project site. We don’t know anything educational about this project, it’s method, etc. we don't know what was explained to these men that were "performed on" or what opportunity they had to learn from this experience. How does that build solidarity, which is the aim of the Everyday Sexism Project?

Street harassment is painful, and being targeted may have been painful for the men in the video, too. One news outlet titles the image below “Guardianreporterprank_large” and yet the same article commends the ‘undercover reporter’ for maybe raising “some much-needed awareness along the way” through what is labelled a prank. Harassment is not a prank. As Jezebel's Tracie Egan Morrissey points out, "the construction workers didn't like being catcalled at all." Harassment simply shouldn't be trivialized like this: 

The Everyday Sexism Project does powerful work by bringing these stories to light. Taking the project onto the streets and getting people who might not otherwise take time to self-educate is impressive. i would commend the Guardian and Leah Green for doing that. But, I am not sure they achieve public education, or do they potentially damage the reputation of the Everyday Sexism Project by using its' name and coming off as serving up random retribution to?  Careful consideration no doubt went into producing this video, and it is a really notably different video with raw reactions from real people that are not scripted. There will be discussion and reflection, for starters:

How seriously are the media taking this issue? How well does the Guardian understand street harassment? Does the video come off as retribution or as a public education project?


Seoul Event by Hollaback! Korea: Let's put an end to street harassment in our communities!

Join Hollaback! Korea in Seoul for a discussion about street harassment and how we can end it. Hollaback! Korea supporters will meet Saturday, February 8 from 2-4PM at Ben James coffee shop near Hapjeong station exit 5. Hollaback Site leaders from Seosan and Seoul will be present and welcome all members to participate in the discussion and/or share their stories for support. Hollaback! Korea supporters will strategize how to end street harassment in our communities.

Saturday, February 8, 2014
2:00pm until 4:00pm
Cafe Ben James, Seoul Mapo-Gu Hapjeong-Dong 411-5
See details and RSVP on the Hollaback! Korea Facebook page

Community members of all genders, sexual orientations, race, and national origin are welcome to join Hollaback! Korea. Hollaback! Korea founders and supporters are friends, daughters, students, sisters and brothers, workers, supporters, partners, wives and husbands who are Korean nationals, people of color, adoptees, foreigners, ethnic and overseas Koreans, LGBTQ, young and old, single and multicultural family members of Korean society. we come from Seoul, Gwangju, Busan, Daejeon, Jeju, and Daegu to share these stories. We are building an intersectional space to address street harassment and welcome anyone to join this movement.

This is a map depicting the geographic location of (some of) the stories shared to Hollaback! Korea in the two months since the project launched. See the full map at the Hollaback! Korea website. Pink dots visually depict stories shared by the person targeted for harassment, green dots are stories shared by a bystander who witnessed harassment.