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Why S Korean women reclaiming their short hair

International desk || shiningbd

Published: 18:45, 10 August 2021   Update: 18:46, 10 August 2021
Why S Korean women reclaiming their short hair

When South Korean archer An San won three Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, what greeted her back home wasn't just praise. There was a flood of criticism as well.

Why? Because she has short hair.

Among the many insults that flew her way, An was labelled a feminist - a loaded term in South Korea often associated with being a man-hater.

One man said in a post: "It's good she got gold but her short hair makes her seem like she's a feminist. If she is, I withdraw my support. All feminists should die."

But as criticism of her grew, so did a campaign to defend her.

Thousands of women across the country began posting pictures of themselves with short hair - declaring that it did not make them any less of a woman.

Women in South Korea have long battled discrimination and misogyny but over the last decade have made steps forward, from the country's #MeToo campaign to the abolition of its abortion ban.

So will this latest movement do anything to propel further change?

'It doesn't make me less of a woman'

Han Jiyoung is the woman at the heart of the short hair campaign on Twitter and created it under the hashtag #women_shortcut_campaign.

She told the BBC she was troubled when she saw "not one or two, but [many] misogynistic comments [about An] coming up on every male-dominated online community."

These anti-feminists are largely young men, but also include older men and even some women.

"This kind of mass attack... sends the message that men can control the female body and a message that females need to hide their feminist identity," she said.

"I thought starting a campaign for women to [show off] their short hair and to show solidarity to female Olympians would be effective in tackling both issues."

Tens of thousands of images began pouring in - many women showing before and after images of themselves with their long and short hair. Others said An San's hair inspired them to go out and get haircuts themselves.



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