01 October 2004

Asiapages on Gender Roles and Sexual Practices

Jodi of Asiapages has a couple of posts on gender role expectations in Korea (and Japan) and sexual practices in Pitcairn that are, in turn, discouraging and disturbing. First, Korea (and Japan):
Yesterday and last night, I was scolded to the point of tears for being too confident, too honest and not submissive enough. I was told that as a woman, I had to be quiet. If asked my opinion I should always say what the boss wants to hear, not what I honestly think....

The colleague spared me no mercy and went through every single culturally insensitive thing I have done during my first month on the job:

I was too honest when asked my opinion.

I was too confident when talking to my seniors.

I didn't follow protocol....

It does amaze me that we are in the one department in the entire building that works with foreigners. This means we have constant interaction with investors from other countries, especially Americans. And yet, some Koreans cannot accept an American working among them. Sometimes I think I am at a disadvantage because I am Korean American and people only see the Korean part of me and therefore, are shocked at my true Americaness. I am convinced that if I were Caucasian, the expectations would be different. (But that is up for debate of course.)
Next, a quote from a witness at Pitcairn's trial of the century.
"We all thought sex was like food on the table."

-- Mrs. Olive Christian, 48, wife of Pitcairn's mayor, describing her introduction to sex as a young girl as part of her defense against the sexual abuse accusations brought against half the male population of Pitcairn Island ...

These statements were made by Pitcairn women to the media in defense of the accusations brought against the island's men. They are arguing that sex at a young age was a very casual, acceptable, normal part of life on the island and that claims of rape were really just part of the island's unique culture.

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