As a female, I lived my life being watched and spoken about by others. 23 years: It is neither short nor long lifetime, but I had a lot to feel. When I was in elementary school, I was gossiped at the PTO meeting by my classmates’ parents for being a girl who is “big-mouthed and show-off.” I was 10, and I just wanted to answer the question the teacher had asked on the day they visited the class simply because I knew the answer. When I was 14 in middle school, my friend’s mother said to my face that I should “act more ladylike.” At the university, my peer told me that my style of clothes, makeup, and hair makes other students “uncomfortable” because it is not “conventional in Korea.” She certainly did not forget to insinuate that if I dress myself in more feminine outfits, I will have more guys to date. It is a mistake if men thought that I did not notice them averting my eyes with a sardonic expression whenever I presented my opinions explicitly to them. Sexual harassment, some not so verbal or mild, has become part of my life to tolerate. And I am only 23 years old, still in a safe environment of school.
Surprisingly enough, some of the most offensive sexist comments I have ever heard came from women themselves. Men with narrow minds and women with internalized sexism against themselves criticized me for being me because I was not a woman they had to have me be. The 21st century chastity belt is the very crease between people’s eyebrows and their abusive tongues that recite purity, ignorance, and submission like a binding spell on women. It is time for them to redefine what it means to be a woman. I do not need to stay quiet in social gatherings to compensate men for their self-esteem deficiency. I do not need to change how I express myself through my appearance for anyone, especially not men. I should not be subjected to what others say about how I should behave as a woman. My life is not about finding a man but myself. When I cry for equality, I am demanding anyone and everyone’s rights to stand on equal grounds not because I am a woman, but because I am a person, and it is only right that I have such rights.
Recently, a recording from about two years ago of podcast by three male comedians which contains severely derogatory and anachronistic comments on women was issued again. They responded to the dispute with condescending apologies, and no virtual disadvantage was given to them, nor did they take any responsibilities for their malicious words. Open sexual discrimination and harassment on women are still being done yet are condoned and overlooked by the society. The equality between women and men will be truly achieved when women in career are not asked how to balance job and personal life, and when everyone knows why it is wrong to ask women that question.
This time, The UOS Times interviewed the new literature Central Club, Geuldasom. Dear fellow students, how helpful were your textbooks for midterms? Cover Story looked into our textbooks. As for Society, we discussed one of common but often neglected parts of our lives-mental health. If you’re feeling blue or possibly depressed, please have a look at Society. Please give a hearty welcome to new faces in The UOS Times, Prof. Lee Joo-kyeong, Prof. John Grimmett, and four new Cub Reporters. Let us visit Singapore once again; this time, we explore art. Last but not least, we prepared the yellow ribbon in Photologue for all who have left us all too abruptly. May they rest in peace; we will remember forever.