[ANOTHER VIEW]Korean men match West’s styleDo you think there are differences between Asian and Western men besides appearance?
If I was asked a question like that, my answer would be that these days there are not many differences, except for the obvious physiological ones.
I know that a lot of people I have met in the past in the United States where I am studying say that there are big differences. Specifically, they point out the way that Koreans treat women and Confucian values instilled in their upbringings.
When I am staying in the United States, many American women ask me if Korean men still treat women as badly as they did in the past. When they ask me that question, I understand why they do so ― because maybe they learned that in the old days in Korea, and maybe in a lot of other Asian countries as well, men always treated women as second-class citizens.
Even though that was true then, these days are very different and the situation has really changed, even during my short time on this earth.
Korea’s main opposition party ― the Grand National Party ― has Park Geun-hye, a powerful woman leader. There are also women in high-level positions in the government. Jang Ha-jin is the minister for gender equality and family affairs, and Cho Ki-suk is the senior presidential secretary for public affairs.
If Korean men still treated women as, admittedly, they did in the past, this could never have happened.
Modern Korean men are much like their Western counterparts. There are good men and as well as bad ones in any country and of any ethnicity.
They behave much more like gentlemen to women. They know how to open the door for women and try to listen to them more carefully.
I would say Asian men have become more Westernized in the way they treat women. Not only have they changed in the way they treat women, but also in other ways as well. For example, Korean men don’t wear traditional clothing anymore but wear suits and clothing similar to that worn by Western men.
Today, the world has become much more globalized than before, and therefore the differences ― if any ― between Asian and Western men are not so big anymore.
With regard to the column that prompted me to write this piece, I think the writer was somewhat stereotypical in her view of men. Her description of Asian men as somewhat effete with their emphasis on looks, applies to only a single class of men, and this is not peculiar just to Korea ― the term metrosexual was coined in the West to describe footballers such as David Beckham and Michael Owen.
Young, talented and rich men who can afford to spend a lot of time and money on their looks, they are courted by fashion designers to act as walking advertisements.
I think that the writer perhaps has only limited experience in the differences between Asian and Western men. Modern Korean men have few differences.
by Jang Du-bong