Title: Bad Feminist (2016)
Writer: Roxane Gay
“Roxane Gay” is a New York Times best seller of “Bad Feminist”. However, she does not pressure you to become a feminist or actively involved in related activities. She claims that it is enough to realize what’s happening in your surroundings. People feel guilty whenever they find themselves acting just the opposite of their beliefs and values. The author says this contradicting behavior is perfectly normal and goes on to say that she herself is a “Bad Feminist”. The context of this word doesn’t necessarily indicate man-hating hysteric women full of distorted bias. Roxane confess she is an abnormal feminist who loves women-degrading hip hop music.
In this book, the author constantly criticizes that the US is tolerant towards “rape culture” and that it has penetrated deeply into people’s consciousness. The book illustrates various examples of the rape culture in mainstream music and movies which irrelevant sexual assault or rape associated joke is included without any filter. The rape culture is highly problematic seeing how it does not take men’s violence and aggression towards women seriously. Unfortunately, this is also happening in Korea at this very moment.
Last June, the Korean Subcommittee on Broadcasting Review has been summoned due to the controversial scene in the drama “My Uncle”. In the first episode, the woman was brutally beaten by a man with a following dialogue of “You like me, right?”. Great number of netizens complained this scene is unacceptable because it highly resembles dating abuse not to mention beautifying violence. If the “My Uncle” displays an aggressive violence, “Why does Secretary Kim acts like that?” presents a subtle violence camouflaging as romance. In one scene, the handsome boss stubbornly offered to share a bed with Secretary Kim in concern of her security was presented as being romantic despite of the woman’s objection. Some netizens expressed frustration with this because many sexual assaults occur when the male refuse to take woman’s consent.
Last June, the Korean Subcommittee on Broadcasting Review has been summoned due to the controversial scene in the drama “My Uncle”. In the first episode, the woman was brutally beaten by a man with a following sentence of “You like me, right?”. Great number of netizens complained this scene is unacceptable because it highly resembles dating abuse not to mention beautifying violence. If the “My Uncle” displays an aggressive violence, “Why does Secretary Kim acts like that?” presents a subtle violence camouflaging as romance. In one scene, the handsome boss stubbornly offered to share a bed with Secretary Kim in concern of her security was presented as being romantic despite of the woman’s objection. Some netizens expressed frustration with this because many sexual assaults occur when the male refuse to take woman’s consent.
The author says one thing she cannot compromise is an underlying patriarchy and violence against women in the overall society. In detail, she asserted that Feminism is essential due to male-centered perspective in our society of not respecting the woman’s decision and transforming man’s aggressive actions as romance.
Personally, I recommend this book because it easily approaches feminism by combining media and how it influences our consciousness. In my case, I had a major perception shift of viewing the media after I came across this book. I became more attentive if the contents imply or indicate any messages of tolerating sexual violence or sexualizing woman. I hope many people can have the opportunity to read this amazing book.
Written by Seon yeong Lee, Human Asia Intern
Title: Hidden Figures (2016)
Director: Theodore Melfi
The movie ‘Hidden Figures’ is based on a true story of three black women, Katherine, Dorothy and Mary who had worked at NASA. This movie is set in 1960 when racism and sexism ran deep in the US. Main Characters in the movie are not very defiant towards segregation. A scene in the film, a bunch of black people demonstrates shouting “Segregation must go.” After seeing the protest, Dorothy says “Don’t pay attention. We are not the part of the problem. Come on,” and hurries off with her children. In this way, ‘Hidden Figures’ shows general African American people in the US society who adapted themselves in the environment. Many movies which are about racism show confrontation between white people being hostile and black people resisting to this. White people in those movies often use swear words to black people and use violence. However, ‘Hidden Figures’ does not focus on these kinds of extreme situations, but it shows the discrimination which was impregnated in everyday life. For example, ‘colored only’ is written on all office supplies which black people use in the office of NASA. Colored bathrooms are separated from those of white people as well. These are used naturally as the background of the movie. Also, when Katherine asked a white woman where the bathroom is, she answered simply to Katherine, “Sorry, I have no idea where your bathroom is.” These settings and lines emphasize the discrimination of the time when it was so naturally embedded in American society.
Discrimination and prejudice taking root in American society in 1961 are so easily seen even after nearly 60 years. There is still lots of news about racism on black people and abusive remarks are rampant. In general, among people who foster discrimination, more people quietly agree with it and remain as spectators rather than explicitly express their prejudice. Holding the ring ultimately makes the situation worse for the socially underprivileged. The film ‘Hidden Figures’ portrayed the implicit discrimination rather than treating the wicked who shows it explicitly. The movie shows the atmosphere that was naturally penetrated in society. This atmosphere is sadly ongoing.
‘Hidden Figures’ also shows the diversity of people who are discriminated against. Some people actively resist and join a movement, and some others like in ‘Hidden Figures’ endure the discrimination and break down discrimination by revealing their abilities. In our society, not the film, various people try to eliminate discrimination in their own way. If these efforts continue and expand, we will be able to move to a better society.
Written by Yena Lee, Human Asia Intern
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