South Korean gold medallist wins support after anti-feminist backlash . . .
After South Korea’s female archer An San won her third gold medal at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, her cropped haircut triggered a wave of online misogyny in her home country, with anti-feminist netizens calling her a “man-hater.” In response, many women in South Korea are sharing short hair pictures in a show of solidarity with the Olympian while combating the conventional image of ‘femininity’ in that country. Support for An has also come from the Women’s Shortcut Campaign (#여성_숏컷_캠페인) trending across South Korea.
Chinese shot putter ridiculed for ‘manly’ appearance . . .
Meanwhile, China's Central Television has received criticism for perpetuating sexist stereotypes after its host ridiculed the country's Olympic shot putter, Gong Lijiao's, "manly" appearance and fixated on the athlete's marriage plans during an interview. This is on the heels of the detention of Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu in China following sexual assault allegations. Further, corporate China has been rocked by a rape allegation against a manager at Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. The condemnation of Gong has led to the rise of a social media campaign to reconceptualize women's roles in modern Chinese society (#女性能被谈论的只有婚姻吗#).
Heightening awareness of women’s rights . . .
Although these incidents have sparked considerable awareness online, gender-based discrimination remains a taboo topic in much of Asia. South Korea continues to rank poorly in gender equality measures, with female workers earning only two-thirds of the income earned by male workers in 2020. Similarly, while China recently loosened restrictions on family size with its new three-child policy, many observers suggest it will only put more pressure on working women, who already experience severe discrimination at work and when looking for employment. As the ongoing COVID-19 crisis exacerbates gender inequality globally, it is imperative for policy-makers to prioritize women’s equality in post-COVID policies and planning.