Monday, December 03, 2007

My How times have changed: Dasepo Naughty Girls

There was a VERY good read over at Gusts of Popular Feeling on a movie called Dasepo Naughty Girls (at least it was mostly about that with a tangent or two) and it just gave me some inspiration for a couple of Korea long-timer anecdotes on the subject of Sex and the Media in Korea.

First, I came to Korea in April of 1996. At that time, I recall seeing some Korean dramas and wondering why every time the lovers would come close to kissing, the scene would change or fade to a commercial. I asked my director (I was one of the few who actually made friends with my hagwon owner) and he said that it was 'against the law' in Korea to show people kissing on television. I also recall that a certain drama featuring two married people who were in an intimate relationship that involved NO PHYSICAL CONTACT yet the scandal over this drama was all over the place because the two people were in dissatisfying marriages and decided to (as my director succinctly put it) "share their minds." Needless to say, after growing up coming home to my mother watching "Days of Our Lives" or "General Hospital" I was dumbfounded at what I perceived to be a puritanical society. Of course, I was out in the country and my exposure to the sexual underbelly of Korea was limited but it was obvious that the average Cho Blow was pretty up in arms about it. Nowadays, on both the big and small screen it seems that a lot of these barriers gone well beyond destruction and can scarcely be remembered.

Second story, About 4 years ago, I was teaching a couple of middle school boys and the subject somehow wound up on a picture that one of their classmates had shown them of his sister in the shower (apparently without her knowledge either that the picture had been taken or that it had been distributed). And I recall being disturbed because a middle school student not only had a phone (which back then was not as common as it is today) but had used it for such a sinister purpose. Now, after reading the aforementioned article, that seems to pale in comparison to the way the cellphones are being used today to film things that only a few years ago would have been shocking beyond all comprehension.

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