South Korean archer An San bagged two gold medals for her country at the Olympics, but has faced backlash for her haircut.
While many support feminism as the equality of the sexes, some misogynists have attacked the Olympic athlete for having short hair on the assumption that she’s a feminist. Some men in South Korea apparently believed the hairstyle was an expression with anti-male undertones after some women in the country cut their hair to oppose beauty standards.
An San won two gold medals in the women’s team and mixed team archery, as she scored 680 points in women’s individual qualification and broke an Olympic record that has stood since 1996. However, she quickly became the target of criticism online.
On Thursday, July 29, after the online hate peaked, An’s coach blocked reporters from asking ‘unnecessary’ questions, apparently aware of the controversy. In response to the abuse, many have now shown their support for the athlete.
Jang Hye-yeong, a South Korean lawmaker, said, per France 24:
Even if you win an Olympic gold medal with your own skills and abilities, as long as sexism persists in our society, you get insulted and asked to be deprived of your medal just because you have short hair.
We are facing a strange day in which Korean archery is now the best in the world, but the national dignity is thrown to the ground because of sexism.
Sim Sang-jung, a lawmaker from a minority Justice Party, echoed this sentiment, saying, ‘With that firm look, please shoot through every prejudice in the world. We stand by your short-cut hair and support you.’
As well as people criticising the hate from anti-feminists, Twitter users posted 6,000 photographs of women with short hair to show support for An San, according to local reports. The Korea Archery Association also received 1,500 messages in support of San.
The hatred displayed by misogynists is reflective of ongoing issues within South Korea. Despite South Korean women successfully campaigning on issues of abortion, establishing a #MeToo movement, and taking action to oppose spycam videos secretly filming them in public places, there has been strong opposition.
Some anti-feminists believe women are selfish in asking for equality and believe that women having the possibility of equal standing is an attack on masculinity.
Many have now called for The Korea Archery Association to make a statement on the situation.
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