4.29.2013

Korea Times 'Fashionista' piece on Park's 'enraged' and 'resentful' color palette

In Park the fashionista the Korea Times joins other news outlets in ascribing emotional significance to President Park Geun-hye's color palette. This is the SECOND time this quarter that the Korea Times felt Park's fashion was newsworthy, please see our first post at "Park Geun-Hye & Skirts: HATE this Double Standard." Korean Gender Café also discussed, analyzed and critiqued this trend in previous posts: Part 2 "Still HATE this Double Standard," and Part 3 "A Late-comer to the Race to Ascribe Stereotypes to the President."

Quite unfortunately, with each new iteration, this "news" trend grows more offensive. This latest article ramps up the sexist rhetoric by characterizing Park's fashion choices as indicative of her 'enraged' and 'resentful' attitude. These are word choices frequently ascribed to sexist depiction of women political leaders and their use here in the context of fashion adds to the gendered rhetoric describing President Park. Article quotation and our running commentary below:
PGH Still President in Any Color

"Now, the first Korean woman head of state is changing her style but not baring more." [CBM: Is it necessary to discuss womens' fashion in terms of bared skin, or is this alluding to the recent ban on 'indecent exposure' that went viral a few weeks ago?]

"When Park met leaders of the governing and opposition parties just after the atomic test, she was dressed in a grey jacket with black lapel and looked solemn.

Park wore a dark-green outfit on March 4 when she issued a statement to urge the National Assembly to promptly pass the government reorganization bill so she would able to complete her Cabinet.

She was enraged back then because her nominee for the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning - former Bell Labs head Kim Jeong-hoon - stepped down a day earlier because of the parliamentary impasse. [CBM: Enraged is a quite objectionable word choice to describe a political leader because of the emotional and unhinged tone. Though, to be balanced we also find that South Korean media has criticized "Lee Myung-bak’s angry outbursts."]



As Park highly regarded Kim as the perfect fit to lead the science ministry, which she thinks is most important to achieve her goal of a “creative economy,” she strongly expressed her frustration and resentment [CBM: Again, pointing to resentment draws on gendered tropes that for so long have characterized women as "resentful" and threatening to patriarchal power]."

We have never read that a male politician expresses his inner rage and resentment through fashion choices or a color palette. This media coverage obviously fails the Name it Change it reversibility test and reveals a sexist tone. Journalists shouldn’t describe her clothes unless they would describe a male politicians. "If media coverage doesn’t mention a male candidate’s eye color, haircut, makeup, marital status, children or lack thereof—then it shouldn’t mention those things about a female candidate. When it does mention these things about a female candidate, it hurts her [politically]. That's why it's so important to respond."