If you ask some of my university friends back home about me, they would probably describe me in three words: Cute. Sweet. Pink. And to some extend that is true. Give me some chocolate, seat me in front of a Disney movie and I’ll turn into a clingy, whiny little girl again. But don’t you dare expect to the see the same person in me now, after ten months of living abroad. Granted – I still wear my pink backpack when I go to a Hello Kitty Cafe. But after all those months of clubbing, drinking and lots of dating, I realized: The feminist in me doesn’t want to be called cute anymore.
Looking around Seoul you might see the following scene a lot: A young girl dressed in a short tennis skirt playfully squeaking the words ‘Oppa Oppa’ while pulling at her boyfriend’s hand begging for attention like a dog begging for treats. And although this might seem like a scene from one of the newest K-Dramas, it’s exactly how girls are expected to behave: Cute. Submissive. You will see them on campus wearing a bow in their hair and a school-uniform like dress while posing for a selfie with blown up cheeks and a slightly lost look on their face. Their voices so high-pitched and sometimes even accompanied by a playfully offended undertone that they seem like teens from an all-girls-middle school being told by the ice-man that their favorite ice cream is sold out. If I got a thousand Won for every time one of my dates patted me on the head or even worse commented on me being ‘too energetic and talkative’, I could quit my part-time job.
I get it. Many guys follow that one specific ideal: A girl hot enough to turn them on in bed but innocent enough to claim she’s a virgin, a girl whose clumsy behaviour makes them laugh out loud but she better not talk to much or heaven forbid raise her opinion. Welcome to the world of double-standards and sexism, where a man is being praised for his manliness when he stands his ground, but a girl is called a bitch when she does the same. And a world where a girl’s NO is still not enough (Yes guys – victimshaming is a legit thing here!).
It seems like society only accepts cute, innocent, submissive girls where you better do what your man, your boss or SOCIETY IN FUCKING GENERAL says. And the most mind-blowing part? People don’t even fight against it … and even worse: They come to accept it. They accept not to talk about problems like rape and sexism. They accept that the worth of a boy’s life is based only on job-related success and a girl’s worth based on her looks. Granted – Seoul is definitely not the only place in the world that struggles with that – but it has just shown me once again that I tend to be taken less serious because of the fact that I have boobs and a vagina. Yes, I love spending years in front of my mirror doing my make up every morning. And yes, I enjoy wearing those 10 bucks girly clothes from one of Seoul’s underground shopping malls but don’t you dare expect me to act like an insecure 15-year old in front of you. I am a grown up woman, that knows what she wants … and I want to be taken seriously – with or without a bow in my hair.
xoxo Laura Belle