5.01.2013

You Look Like a Woman, Stop It

Guest blogger Tamara Gater adds a voice to our discussion of the Korea Times 'Fashionista' piece with this comparison to their coverage of sports broadcasters "Are sports shows going too far?" Read more from Tamara here


Un-Dress to Impress

Ladies, ever feel like no one is listening to you? As if though what you’re saying is going in one ear and out the other? Is your skirt below the knee? Shirt buttoned all the way up? Yeah. See there’s your problem right there.

Don’t despair. You’re not alone. Even the fashionistas[1] amongst us get it wrong; like our female president Park Geun Hye [PGH] for example. Recently, the Korea Times, has been giving PGH a bit of a hard time over her wardrobe choices. The newspaper points out that her outfits are a clear indication of her emotional state which can be described as “enraged” and “resentful”. Naturally, it is risky to have a commander in chief who wears her heart on her sleeve. Just think what would have happened if Kim Jung Un happened to see an image of PGH on the day she so foolishly decided to wear her camouflage green jacket? He could have easily interpreted her ‘enraged’ ensemble as a threat and nuked us in preemptive defense.

Luckily though, days later Park was spotted wearing a white coat, in what can only be understood to symbolize Picasso’s dove of peace and so a nuclear crisis was averted. However the fact remains - all of this could have been easily avoided if only PGH wasn’t so hell bent on being “solemn” and “dignified”. The Korea Times tried to give PGH a gentle push in the right direction with a subtle hint that "now, the first Korean woman head of state is changing her style but not baring more.[2]" And why in the name of national security is she not? What’s so wrong with giving the people what they want and showing a bit of leg?

At least some women out there are getting it right though, as the Korea Times are quick to point out (always ahead of the curve they are).  Meet the female sports broadcasters on the network channels. Bet these women have never had to repeat a sentence in their lives. Their audience is all ears:
 “I am convinced that it is good to watch a sports show hosted by beautiful and sexy women. What’s more interesting is that I started to care about sports that I really did not care about before watching the show,” Oh said.[3]
Sure it’s possible to ask whether it’s Mr Oh’s interest in sports or his attraction to the sports presenter that spiked. But that would be cynical. What’s the colour for resentful again?


So it’s time to own up, ladies. We got it wrong. Ever since the day when you put on a crisp white blouse and an Aline black skirt for your first job interview, you have been living a fashion lie. An urban legend that says dare you not confuse your male colleagues with any of the following: bare skin (how’s anyone meant to look you in the eye when your shoulder is staring at them?), bright colours (black means you have a degree/ pink means you have lady parts) and above the knee lengths (are you here to meet a deadline or a future husband?) You’ve faithfully abstained because every sensible woman knows that your male colleagues will not appreciate it, what’s more – they will not respect you. Show up to work looking like a woman and guess what? You’ll get treated like one. Is that what you really want?

Well apparently – yes. I know I know. I am confused too. But the evidence presented by the Korea Times is undisputable – it’s not what you say, it’s what you’re wearing when you say it.

The advocates of the sexy and beautiful broadcasters, who the Korea Times explains are “self-proclaimed “master” of adult videos”[4] enjoy the sports shows because it gives them an adrenaline rush distinctly different from “such videos” which are understood to mean pornography. And suddenly with those words, the sports shows become an alternative to porn and the sports presenters …well definitely not the PGH of this world.

The opponents of the sexy broadcaster ladies only confirm this point of view by declaring that
they [the presenters] can show off their beauty in other preferable ways; not by revealing their bodies. I think it is their obligation to keep their dignity as a presenter and not become a feast for men’s eyes…If some of them want to wear such revealing dresses, rather than being identified as a spokeswoman of public opinion, I think they do not deserve the title of presenter”[5]
Ah dignity! There it is again. So before you run off to the seamstress to have all your dresses hemmed in and taken up, word of caution. Once you go (little) black (dress), you can’t go back. You are either somber and dignified PGH or sexy and beautiful broadcaster. Choose one and choose wisely because according to the Korea Times, woman only gets to be one or the other, never both.

Or you could write your own story.




[1] The Korea Times, Park the Fashionista, 26 April 2013, http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2013/04/116_134686.html
[3] The Korea Times, Are sports shows going too far?’, 23 April 2013,  http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2013/04/135_134471.html
[4] Oh, a self-proclaimed “master” of adult videos, said he felt an adrenalin rush different to what he experiences from such videos when watching the sports round-up. “The announcers in such shows are not explicit, but sexy, and at the same time they are active and elegant,” The Korea Times, “Are sports shows going too far?’, 23 April 2013, http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2013/04/135_134471.html
[5] Please note that in the article, the speaker Choi is identified as a woman,  which would cement an all too obvious of a stereotype promulgating that it’s the men who in support of these adult video cum sports shows whilst the women are the moral bearers of society banning these female presenters from the public view, The Korea Times, “Are sports shows going too far?’, 23 April 2013, http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2013/04/135_134471.html