[ENTERTAINMENT]There's No Taming These Young Shrews

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[ENTERTAINMENT]There's No Taming These Young Shrews

Young people in Korea are going crazy these days over the movie "My Eccentric Girlfriend," starring Jeon Ji-hyun as the aggressive young woman in question, constantly bombarding her submissive boyfriend with threats and insults. At one point, she shouts at the poor boy, "I will kill you if you ever look down on me just because I am a woman." Although mostly panned by critics, young people have flocked to the film, to the tune of over 3 million viewers so far.

It looks like women in Korea are at long last fed up of being weak, docile, "good" girls that they've always been told to be. And now TV commercials are picking up on this trend, presenting a wide variety of shrews who rule and even terrorize over their men. Traditional Korean advertisement images, such as the pretty, coy young woman making eyes at her love, are considered passe.

Instead, one of the most popular TV commercials is for the Samsung Card. Sure, it still features an attractive woman - Koh So-young. But in this ad, she does much more than smile seductively while wearing revealing clothes. Koh strokes and pats the derrieres of various men as they pass by. This is supposed to let the viewers know that Samsung Card is so useful that you don't need any other credit cards. Men usually wear their wallets in their back pockets, but with nothing but the Samsung Card there, to the precocious toucher, it feels like there is nothing there. Get it?

If the roles in that commercial were reversed, and it was a man patting women on their behinds, the Ministry of Gender Equality would undoubtedly have been up in arms and would have sued the advertising agency for sexual harassment. But no one has accused Koh of being a vulgar woman, nor has the advertising agency been hauled into court. No, in this coquettish age, people say that Koh has introduced a new, strong type of woman, almost a role model for young women.

"I tried to show the inner desire of women," said Kim In-su, a manager of Cheil Advertising Agency, the company that designed the commercial for Samsung Card Corporation. "What is interesting is that we got a good response from men as well," Mr. Kim said.

This kind of reversal of the usual concepts and roles for men and women, at least in commercials, is not uncommon. In advertisements for the Klasse brand refrigerator from Daewoo Electronics, the tantalizing and ambiguous statement, "I want to have him just once," accompanies a series of three portraits of the "Friends" ("Chingu") star, Jang Dong-gun. Or, more precisely, the phrase accompanies three pictures of the star's near-nude body shot at different angles.

In a TV commercial for a soft drink, the actress Ha Ji-won stars as a strong-willed girlfriend training her feeble boyfriend hard in military maneuvers.

Considering that advertisements, especially TV commercials, have a great influence on Korean young people, here is a tip for men living in Korea: Watch where you keep your credit card. Many young women want to be the next Koh So-young.

by Chun Su-jin

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