For the past couple of weeks a certain video has been making rounds on the Internet and invoking deep rage and controversy in its wake. The one-minute clip depicts a pair of Western men shaming and abusing a woman at a Korean night club. The woman is talked about as if not even present and manipulated as though less than human. On its own, the video is enough to incite rage on behalf of women and any others falling victim to those of a Eurocentric mindset. However, it seems that there is an even greater truth that the clip does not reveal.
The video in question was seemingly taken at a Korean night club and shows a couple of Western, male tourists in the company of one local female. From the very beginning, the woman is objectified. The men talk lewdly about her physical assets, as though she is not there, perhaps acting under the assumption that she cannot understand them. Their ogling quickly turns to abuse as one of the men digs his finger up into her nose and forces her to eat her own booger by sticking his finger deep into her mouth.
Then the verbal harassment increases. They call the woman nothing but a slut and pull back her lips to show off her gums. When her dental hygiene fails their inspection, they tear into the woman about getting plastic surgery. The only saving grace of the clip is that the woman shows little patience for the men’s unseemly behavior. By her own will she pulls herself free from them and leaves in a flash of anger and confusion.
Earlier in July this video came to light and spread like wildfire across Korea’s various social networking platforms, but it did not stop there. Hate and controversy over the scene spread to countries across the world after America’s Washington Post picked up the story as well. Net users from all corners of the globe reacted violently to the scene.
But, amidst all of the furious outrage, one comment stood out. In response to the article on the Washington Post, one man claims involvement in the scene. According to his insight the entire event was staged. Apparently, the clip was actually directed by a Korean student at Seoul University in early 2011 as part of a short horror film. In other words, all of the people appearing in the clip, including the poor, victimized woman, are actors. In order to ascertain the truth of these claims, reporters are now seeking to interview the woman in question.
Now, while it is somewhat relieving to hear that the video which incited such rage and controversy was actually staged and that no one was physically or emotionally harmed during its filming, that does not change the fact that scenes such as these do happen in real life. Every day, women, especially those raised in patriarchal societies like Korea are shamed and abused for the amusement of their aggressors. Just because the validity of this particular act of racist sexism was called into question does not mean that the problem represented does not persist. Even if all of the men involved here are actors, innocent of any crime, the behavior demonstrated in the video remains inexcusable and worthy of certain outrage.
▼ Interested parties can watch the video here, but be warned: the contents are quite disturbing, and the language used is not appropriate for a work setting.
[ Read in Japanese ]