Last week’s presidential election in South Korea featured two candidates who advanced radically different visions to the electorate.
Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party of Korea campaigned on a platform of progressive policies such as 30% gender quotas for females. “I think it’s very important to acknowledge the inequalities and issues of gender inequality that women suffer structurally in our society,” he emphasized. …
Yoon Suk-yeol of the conservative People Power Party … ran on an openly anti-feminist platform. He called for the abolition of the Ministry of Gender Equality and accused its officials of treating men like “potential sex criminals.” He promised to enhance punishments for false accusations of sexual violence. Yoon also charged that Marxist-inspired feminist ideology undermines healthy relationships between men and women.
Yoon’s charges were buoyed by a 2021 poll in which 84% of Korean men in their twenties, and 83% in their thirties, said they had experienced “serious gender-based discrimination.” …
Yoon’s improbable campaign was propelled by outrage over a feminist group named Megalia that promoted an image of a thumb and index finger held closely together, seemingly mocking the size of the male genitalia.
And the winner was…
Last Wednesday, Yoon emerged the winner, carried largely by male voters who felt marginalized by the Democratic Party’s gender policies.
Pundits from the mainstream media were aghast. …
The Guardian claimed the election result augurs a “‘pivotal moment’ for public discussion of women’s issues.” Time magazine opened its lengthy analysis by citing an anecdote in which a man allegedly removed a cell phone from his girlfriend’s hand, presumably an act of unrelenting patriarchal oppression.
But rather than analysis by anecdote, the debate is better served by an examination of the data. These are the actual statistics that compare the status of men and women in South Korea:
- Life Expectancy: Men in South Korea have much shorter life spans than women: 80.5 years versus 86.5 years.
- Occupational Deaths: A national survey of occupational deaths found higher mortality rates across the board. For example, among machine operators and assemblers, the mortality rate was 380 males per 100,000 workers, compared to only 158 females per 100,000 workers.
- Suicide: In 2020, there were 35.5 male and 15.9 female deaths by suicide per 100,000 population — more than a twofold difference.
- University Enrollments: In 2005, identical numbers of high school students enrolled in college. Since then, the gap steadily widened. By 2018, 73.8% of females, compared to only 65.9% of males, were enrolling in universities.
- Dating Violence: A survey of dating violence among university students found that females were far more likely than men to be abuse perpetrators: 39.4% of females admitted to assaulting their partners, compared to only 24.7% of men.
The media’s reflexive hysteria over Yoon’s election reveals how the media consistently misrepresent the gender equality debate.
The left’s identity politics strategy took its motivation from the success of feminists at creating a strongly pro-woman narrative that has won women so many gains by the methods of politics, above what could be achieved on merit or in the marketplace. The key is narrative control, omitting discussion of anything that might disadvantage women’s status and power.
But finally, push back! The much humiliated men of South Korea have pushed back directly and won, obviously with the support of many South Korean women.