Stop signsThe city of Gwacheon in Gyeonggi Province has decided to abolish all advertising signs that portray women as a commodity.
We welcome the decision.
The ad signs found in many cities in Korea have gone well beyond merely polluting the environment and have become a soundless form of violence.
Provocative and sexual signs have caused much harm, indeed.
The sample signs that the Gwacheon city government displayed, such as “a town full of lonely widows,” are modest compared with the many other signs containing blatantly obscene language or photos of half-naked women.
They make our faces burn with embarrassment when we go out with the family and see them.
It is staggering to think that young people who grow up seeing the offensive billboards might learn to see women only as sexual objects.
Although many organizations for women’s rights have objected to those signs, our society has long been silent about such criticism.
Fortunately, not only the city of Gwacheon but many other cities, including Paju and Dongtan and some municipal districts that are a part of Seoul, as well, have participated in the regulation of the offensive signs.
The crux of their policy is to limit each building to holding two signs, and regulating their length or the amount they can jut out.
Other cities are encouraged to take the opportunity to implement a more resolute policy and ban signs that include expressions that are derogatory toward women.
In line with the changes, local governments should not only support the cost for the regulations but also be able to provide alternative designs that feature an urban philosophy, highlighting a particular city’s unique tinge.
They are expected to take the lead in building the identity of the city via harmonious and coherent designs, while avoiding homogeneous sizes or outlines.
A city with elegance, a street that you want to walk on, and an agreeable hometown made out of the combination of these two things would all enhance the competitive standing of each place.