No discrimination against men, please

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No discrimination against men, please

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Well-groomed men have been around for some time now, and Korean men pay extra attention to the way they look. The male cosmetics market is worth more than 1 trillion won ($865 million) as of last year, the world’s largest after growing 15 percent a year on average for the past five years. One in 10 men uses makeup, such as blush, eyeliner or lipstick.

The growing focus on appearance doesn’t stop at cosmetics. In 2010, a plastic surgery clinic specially catering to male patients opened. The clinic named itself “Man and Nature.” Men in their 20s get plastic surgery, while those in their 30s are more interested in hair transplants. Those in their 40s want to focus on blemishes, while clients in their 50s prefer botox shots. Nose jobs cost about 2.5 million won. While business has been slow due to the economic slump, the number of clients is growing. Patients share their before-and-after photos on online cafes, where members advise, “You should have made your eyes bigger” or “It would be better if your jaw line was smoother.”

Beauty is no longer monopolized by women. Manliness has become extinct and the so-called “Herbivore men” are growing. The Alpha Girls and Gold Misses are on the rise. The world has changed and men can be happy when they please women. Many trendsetting female celebrities are marrying younger men. Anchorwoman Jeong Se-jin’s husband is 11 years younger, and singer Baek Ji-young married an actor nine years her junior. ?

A female applicant with an outstanding background couldn’t get a job after applying to dozens of companies. She sought advice from a family friend who was a HR manager. He said, “Your resume is perfect, you have a good personality and you are even beautiful. However, you lack one thing. You should have been a man.”

A male applicant with her qualifications would have easily made the cut. In fact, HR specialists admit that female candidates perform far better than male applicants in job interviews and employment exams. It would have been even harder for male job seekers to land employment without gender consideration. When it comes to academics and employment, it is considered courteous for mothers of daughters to be sympathetic to those with sons.

The Ministry of Defense is promoting extra points in the hiring process for those who fulfilled the mandatory military service. Awarding additional points for military service was ruled unconstitutional and abolished in 1999 because it discriminated against women and the handicapped. Fourteen years have passed and supporters say the system should be reintroduced now that the situation has changed. But we are almost there. At this rate, we may see a headline like this a decade from now: “A law banning discrimination against men needs to be legislated urgently.”

* The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by YI JUNG-JAE

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