One of the best posts I’ve seen to date on the ongoing Foreign-English-Teachers-Are-All-Sex-Maniacs mediafest in Korea can be read at Scribblings of the Metropolitician. As for me, this crap is old news.
A few weeks after arriving in Korea, I was accused of being a sex maniac and a tempter because I was having a conversation with a female Korean bartender, who was explaining the names of the various bar snacks to me.
Which says a lot about the idiot who was saying that to me, much more than it says about me. Most human societies are obsessed with sex in some way. North American society is sex-obsessed in a way that it’s kind of unspeakable, but visibly everpresent. I find in Korea, it’s more invisibly everpresent. Euphemism covers up for overt sexual displays. You can’t kiss on the street, but a huge chunk of the economy is still, even now, tied up with the sex trade.
As a result, I find that Korean society is sex-obsessed in the same way (some?) parents of teenagers are sex-obsessed. All such parents seem to think about is their kids having sex — they think about it more than the teenagers themselves do, at least until teenagers get interested in that. There’s a lot of worry about what kind of sex is being had by whom, where, in what circumstances, and frankly, there’s a lot of worry about miscegenation. In Korean society, race matters in every area of life, so it’s bound to matter more when it comes to such a touchy subject (!) as sexuality.
When you’re brainwashed to think that race, on a moral level, signifies more than the arbitrary genetic pool you happened to be born into — and there are people everywhere who think that way — then you’re bound to worry about miscegenation. The fact that race-consciousness brainwashing has long been a part of the primary school system here, and is a basic element of culture, means it’s going to be even more widespread. We don’t brainwash people in, say, Canadian public schools to think this way, and we still have a racist problem. How much bigger a problem do you get when you have a school system convincing the young and impressionable that race means so much and is so important?
But you can’t worry about miscegenation unless you’re also a misogynist. You can’t worry that some woman of your race is led astray by a man of another race unless you assume she’s a vulnerable, gullible idiot. People who respect women are much less capable of worrying about miscegenation. It’s a simple, sensible fact.
And here’s my thought: if Korean society integrated respect for women more in general, the issue of the sex going on between individual Korean women and foreigners would be of no interest at all, except perhaps vague passing curiosity of the universal kind.
Which is not to say they’d not care about foreigner teachers and younger females, but really, Michael’s post pretty firmly points out why that is in fact a non-issue. I’ve never even heard of anything between a foreigner and an underage school girl. Really, the films about adult men fetishizing over teenaged girls are coming out of Korea, not Hollywood; this does betray something about the society in which such films succeed. Personally, I find such plots disturbing.
In any case, my disjointed rambling aside, Michael’s post is worth reading. Go for it!
UPDATED: I’ve clarified a few of my thoughts, and I’m hoping this is more sensible and clear for the effort.