A barrage of criticism of social media! The South Korean member of parliament Ryu Ho-Jeong had to endure this after her choice of clothing led to much dissatisfaction in the East Asian country, where women have been complaining about sexism and patriarchal culture for a long time.
Shortly after images of MP Ryu Ho-Jeong surfaced during the South Korean Legislative Assembly, several social media channels were flooded with comments about her outfit. Her offense? She was wearing a red-and-white dress.
According to some, her outfit was not suitable to wear in parliament. 19 percent of the members of parliament are women, which is the most significant number of female representatives in the South Korean legislature ever. However, it still remains a low number compared to international standards. Others said on social media that Ryu does not deserve to be a member of parliament.
“Soon, she will be working in a bikini,” someone wrote. “Is this a bar?” Another wrote on a Facebook page for supporters of President Moon Jae-in’s left-wing Democratic Party. Some also questioned her age: at 28, Ryu is the youngest member of the National Assembly.
Ryu told the South Korean news agency Yonhap that she had worn the dress to break “the tradition” of MPs in costume, adding that “the authority of the National Assembly is not based on suits.
Although there were a lot of controversies online around Ryu’s outfit, she received support from both her party, the Justice Party and the ruling Democratic Party.
“We completely disagree with those who portray a female politician as insufficiently qualified by relying on her appearance and image rather than her work,” says the Justice Party.
Ko Min-Jung, MP of the Democratic Party, said on the one hand not to approve the choice of Ryu’s outfit. Still, on the other hand, she also disagreed with the exaggerated criticism she received.
“I want to thank her for breaking the authoritarian atmosphere of the National Assembly,” Ko Min-jung wrote in a Facebook post.
Years of resistance
Although South Korea is a country with a vibrant economy, many feminists still see the country as a difficult place to be a woman.
In recent years, South Korean women have resisted discrimination in the workplace, sexual violence and harassment, and unreasonable standards of beauty. The country continues to score poorly in terms of women’s representation in government and pay equality worldwide.