A couple weeks ago, former SECRET member Hyosung featured in a video by the Ministry Of Gender Equality And Family (MOGEF) for their Drawing Hope Campaign, in which she shared her thoughts on dating violence and expressed hopes that views would change.
The video itself was basically innocuous to any reasonable person. In it, Hyosung shares her dream of living in a safe South Korea where there’s no more violence.
The “problem”, apparently, is that she talked about gender violence at all, “When I watch the news these days, I feel there is more news about gender violence. I participated in the campaign because I want to help out even a little bit. … I believe that it is an ambiguous issue for many people, to whom it is a fine line between a crime and love. I came to realize that this is definitely a crime and I feel that still a lot of people are unclear about this. … Because of this tolerant atmosphere, I believe that the reason and motive behind the crime can be blamed on the victim. However, the crime is solely the perpetrator’s fault, yet the victim is blamed with the view that ‘the reason the crime happened is because of you.’ So, I believe that is wrong. I want this tolerant atmosphere to change. … I believe this occurs because the perpetrator tries to satisfy their feeling of deficiency through someone else.“
She also spoke about feeling unsafe at times, “When I go home when it gets dark, I’m always thinking, ‘Will I be able to make it home alive?’ I go home with these thoughts. … People ask, ‘did you get home safe?’ and that became the norm, but that should not be the norm. We should be able to express our thoughts freely, travel when we want to, love when we want to, break up when we want to. I believe this kind of freedom is a safe society.”
It’s baffling that there was any backlash over this, but it apparently pissed a lot of people off. The implication at the end that she felt unsafe in Korea especially sent the anti-feminist crowd raging, and Hyosung got a bunch of hate even at the time (look at the dislikes or the older comments on the video).
Outrage over things like that happen, but they usually die down if one just ignores it for a bit. Since Hyosung didn’t say anything else, I had assumed things were gradually relaxing for her, but that was foolish in retrospect. In fact, the mess has only escalated, with anti-feminists terrorizing her YouTube channel and making her lock Instagram comments on a post of hers due to the backlash.
Basically, anti-feminists have made her a representative feminist celebrity in Korea, which could be a cool label in theory. However, in Korea right now it means that over the weekend a “men’s rights group” held a rally calling for the abolition of the MOGEF, marching around three hours for their “cause”. During the rally, they held up a picture of Hyosung from her appearance on Saturday Night Live Korea, taking a dig at her about ‘femicoin’, insinuating that she’s taking these stances for monetary reasons.
This of course, despite the fact that she’s currently suffering greatly as a result of honestly rather boilerplate, innocuous comments and that there would be no notoriety to cash in on either now or later if they themselves didn’t make her into some kind of feminist figure. But hey, these people are never one for critical thinking.
Meanwhile, Hyosung is now off from her radio show for a week for what is being called scheduling issues, but it’s impossible to not feel like it’s connected to all this backlash.
Thankfully, Hyosung is receiving support from people like Shin Jihye, a feminist politician, but it unfortunately doesn’t seem like the hate and harassment is going to abate anytime soon.
There’s not much one can do for Hyosung internationally except send her support and hope for the best, so hopefully she comes out of this fine and can move forward with her career.