Most Asked Questions
Reproductive Rights
Sexual Harassment
Violence Against Women
Women's History

Ask a Question!

Most Asked Questions
Before you ask Amy please check this section to see if you can find the answer to your question! GO>

Meet Amy

Amy's Resource Guide

opting in
Check out Amy's book: Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself (read an excerpt)



I am a male Korean student from South Korea, who is studying in America. This semester I took a women's study class, and was deeply intrigued how women were being treated very unfairly in many places, including my home country. What I have to ask though, is a little different. In Korea, all able-bodied Korean men are conscripted to the military for approximately two years of service. I myself have proudly finished military operations. However, being a veteran, I cannot help but notice how so many Korean "feminists" react to the idea of giving men a little bit of bonus points for jobs if they have finished military service for two years, as a bit of a reward. I acknowledge that Korea is nowhere as near as an egalitarian society as the United States, but in this case, the feminists seem to be the ones who are wrong. Also, I have learned in my women's studies class that if women wish to they can become as strong and masculine as men. However, while most women in Korea accept the idea of women being conscripted as non-commissioned officers or commissioned officers, they refuse to be enlisted as privates, on the grounds that they are “weaker than men” and “more fragile.” I believe that this statement is flawed. Or am I mistaken? A most common trend among Korean feminists nowadays is to relate birth to military service. They claim that since they give birth to children, that’s the equivalent (at the very least) of finishing military service. While I hold this claim absurd, I also ponder whether if it is I who is mistaken.

I have personally been struck by how concerned people are with the declining birth rate, and more specifically, how so many women deem it impossible to combine work and have children. They have given up without even trying, which seems unrealistic and disheartening. More specific to your question, I think that women have been so conditioned to think of themselves as weaker and men have been so conditioned to think of themselves as stronger, and sadly, we have a hard time freeing ourselves from those expectations for ourselves. When it comes to military service, I think women are extra indulgent of this stereotype because they really don't want to serve. However, that belief, in my opinion, actually does longer-term damage to our assumptions about what women can accomplish. The few studies I have read about this indicate that women and men are different, but both have unique skills and important skills. They have done studies on firefighters and learned that women have unique strengths (lower body) that are just as necessary in fire fighting—different, but necessary. As to the point about birth—I, too, find that ridiculous, but I think it points to a larger issue, which is that what women do contribute is under valued, and so they are trying to claim that space through comments like the one you mentioned.




home | what's new | resources | ask amy | news | activism | anti-violence
events | marketplace | about us | e-mail us | join our mailing list

©1995-2011 Feminist.com All rights reserved.