“Korean men are men before they are Korean” is a phrase I first read over at fellow blogger’s Ask a Korean. Since then I have seen it parroted out by many who think they are being progressive and seeing beyond someone’s nationality. While I completely agree with its premise, that our culture has very little influence on our behavior and personality, I dislike what it is stating implicitly.
Why is stereotyping by sex any better than stereotyping by nationality? Is a man supposed to like color blue, be strong, and never cry? What if you are a man who likes pink, who is weak and cries often? Are you not a man any more?
You might think that I am reading too much into this statement, but let’s not forget that we live in a world where a biggest insult you can tell to a boy is: “Don’t be such a girl.” And having worthy attributes, like courage, means being “a man”.
We should not let our sex and nationality define us, and we should fight the prejudices inside us that we have about others. Isn’t it the best to get to know a person before you decide what they are like? So instead of saying that Korean men are exactly the same as all men, I would rather say that they are all unique individuals. As are all of us.
I know some will disagree with me, but that’s ok. I have the boobs to say it publicly.
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