Resolving to rein in the ‘male instinct’“Korean leeks are in season, but don’t even think about buying them,” a friend told me. I asked what’s wrong with the green vegetable, and she responded, “It’s a joke for those with sons.”
Recently, actor Park Si-hoo was investigated for a rape charge, and in the United States, promising teenage football players were sent to juvenile detention facilities for a sexual assault. In Gyeongsang dialect, Korean leek is called jeongguji, referring to a vegetable that boosts stamina, particularly for men. So my friend said that it would be best not to give such food to boys.
A mother said that she has taught her son to always ask a girl if he can hold her hand. He should not assume that he can take her arm just because she allowed him to hold her hand. And just because she said yes yesterday, he shouldn’t assume that he needn’t ask again. She stressed that he should always ask for her consent for every step in intimacy. Then her son asked, “Should I record her answers on my cell phone?”
In the wake of a series of sexual assaults and violence cases in Korean society, mothers of sons are increasingly concerned. They want to make sure that their sons don’t end up ruining their lives and harming victims with improper behavior or a slip of the tongue. So mothers cannot leave sex education to fathers. Young men today cannot simply model their fathers because standards have changed a lot.
Of course, mothers are also worried that sons might detest women altogether. On top of the concerns about their children, they now also have to worry about their husbands as they watched the sex tape scandal involving a high-ranking government official among other social elites.
When I had a chat with a few friends, the sex-for-influence scandal came up. Then, some of them asked me with a hint of criticism, “Why are journalists digging up these stories?” Well, how couldn’t we question their sense of ethics and social acceptability when the high-profile businessmen and government officials re-enacted the sex party from the movie “Eyes Wide Shut”?
Women may have their own take on the issue. Someone said that she could not criticize others involved in this kind of scandal because she also has a husband and sons. While she trusts their morals, she said she could not be sure of their “male instinct.” Another lady said, “I thought they had to be wary of call girls and gold diggers, but they should beware of cell phone cameras as well.”
Mothers and wives in Korea usually display amazing might for their children and husbands, but they don’t have a clear solution for this “male instinct.” The best they can do is prepare foods that curb stamina. Mothers and wives feel deeply concerned when they hear about sex scandals involving other men and hope their husbands and sons are different.
*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Yang Sunny