This is reality to us, Korean women
- The Percentage of female victims of violence crimes: 85.6% (Statistics Korea, 2012)
The global gender equality index:
out of 142 countries (a 2014 report by the World Economic Forum)
Physical security of women:
, low level (womanstats.org)
Rapes against women:
, rapes often happen (womanstats.org)
We condemn the editorial department of MAXIM KOREA for glamorizing violent criminals as charismatic, and reducing female victims to sexual jokes.
On the cover of September 2015 Maxim, a well-known magazine whose readers are mostly adult males, a picture implying sex crime and a phrase making fool of the victim were displayed. For the details, a male actor who played the villains in films "The New World", "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance", "Old Boy" is smoking with his face frowned. Next to the man are legs of a woman, tied and stretched out from a car boot. The phrase reads:
“So girls like ‘bad guys’? This is what a bad guy looks like. Dying for him, right?”
As the cover came under fire, the editorial department came up with an insensitive and irresponsible excuse: “We did depict the crime of murder and body abandonment in a film noir way, but there’s no hint of a sexual offence in the picture, and no fantasizing of sex crimes either.”
Maxim targets adult males and that’s no secret. Sexual objectification of women is its daily work and expertise.
It is just natural that sexual crimes are implied when a sex-related medium deals with a male criminal and a victimized woman. Still, Maxim just chose to say ‘it is a crime against a woman that isn’t necessarily a sex crime’.
Adding to the cover, pictures inside the issue were a woman lying in a car boot, an abandoned dead body in a black plastic bag, and eyes looking up the perpetrator from the boot. These are all part of actual crimes that actually happen in Korea, and the crimes are delivered to women with fear by news. Other lines came together: ‘What’s my bed scene like today?’/’Sir, it’s a murderer today, not a rapist’/’Yes it is (a rapist). Why not.’
Can we really say that Maxim Korea organized the issue to raise awareness or reflect reality like films or other art forms often do?
Is it ok to capitalize on the ongoing pain of real victims, just for sexual jokes and beautification of distorted male images?
Learning from Dolce&Gabbana and Calvin Klein
A 2007 ad by Dolce&Gabbana and a 2010 ad of Calvin Klein jeans were harshly criticized by media and civil organizations worldwide, for alluding group rapes. The ads were eventually banned in Australia and other European countries.
Korea is gaining growing popularity thanks to media content such as K-Pop and Korean soap operas. It is the country under the public eye. We should show some efforts being made toward gender equality and female rights.
We should try to cut sexual assault rates, not encourage assaults. Please think of the social implications such a magazine issue can have.
Please start acting.