A response to The Expat's slam on Korean Sentry, Part III: The heart of the issue.

Cont. from: A response to The Expat's slam on Korean Sentry, Part I and Part II.

The last two posts were just kind of precursors to what I really have to say about this whole thing, and why I feel the need to say it. Which is that, I'm dead tired of having men speak for me and other women. And this is not the first time this theme has appeared in this blog. And it probably won't be the last. I've already addressed my issues with how Korean Sentry itself just completely ignores the Western female presence or perspective. Now, unfortunately, I'm having to go back over it from the other side.

At the end of this entire melodramatic rant, The Expat finishes off by claiming that he thinks the men at Korean Sentry actually crave "this kind" of abuse -- that they're probably used to it. Maybe they do and maybe they are. Who am I to say? What I can say for sure is that I don't crave it, although I should probably be used to it by now.

This was more difficult for me to read than some of the posts on Korean Sentry itself, actually, which is not a place I'm fond of, as I've clearly stated before. It's one thing for someone to attack the basis of my relationship based on nationalistic rambling about pure blood. It's another thing entirely for someone to slam my relationship by attacking the very nature of my partner, and my choices for being with him.

My boyfriend is not Westernized. He has spent, all total, about three years living abroad, but only nine months of that time was spent in a Western country. During his time there, he spoke very little English. He spent most of that time working as a night janitor for an Indian boss and living with a Thai roommate, and hanging out with other foreigners from various Asian countries. He has some "Western" sensibilities at times, but those come from him -- from him, as a Korean raised in Korean culture and society and with Korean values. There is nothing about him that makes him the exception to the rule. He is the rule. And I am American. And I love him. And I can give you another dozen examples, if mine is not enough.

I get where this man was coming from. I really do. And I see what he was trying to do. But he needs to understand that when he speaks in categories about other people, he's encompassing a hell of a lot of people in his summary as collateral damage. And I'm kind of sick of being that collateral damage, on all sides. If you don't understand my relationship, or why I would want to be with the person I'm with, that's fine. You don't need to understand it. Just like I don't need to understand why you're with the person you're with. Although, that's not even an issue -- because I don't assume that all of the Korean women I know and love are somehow the exception the rule. I can see plainly why a man -- any man -- would love a Korean woman.

The point is, the day is never coming when a Western man will visit I'm No Picasso and find a long-winded post rehashing stereotypes about his partner, and about him for being with his partner. For any reason. In defense against anything. I'm going to show you that much respect. And I have a hard time understanding why it's so often not shown in return.

We are all living in this world with Korean Sentry and other people like the ones who post there. What Korean Sentry does is this: attacks foreigners in Korea, attacks Koreans who associate with or accept foreigners, and classifies all of the children born from any combination of these marriages as an abomination. That's enough. And that touches all of us. So, I really think the smart thing for us to do is not to fall into the trap that they've set for us, which means throwing any of these other groups under the bus in order to defend our category, or attack in return. We have enough shit to deal with here, without piling more on top of each other. Or each other's partners.

I don't know. Maybe I've missed the point. Maybe The Expat isn't interested in making things better. Maybe his only intention was to strike out at Korean Sentry, and the rest be damned. That's fine. But I'm not going to just ignore it, as he suggests in this response to someone who was critical of the post in the comments:

If it bothers you so much, you know where the door is. Given the choice, sometimes it’s best to just ignore writing that offends you. For example, I don’t visit the Korean Sentry site. I only noticed it because it was sending me a massive amount of traffic.

I mean.... I don't think I need to go back over my previous points about the fact that The Expat is having some trouble with basic logic, which I think aptly apply here, as well. And, for the record, I've been linked on Korean Sentry before, as have a few of my fellow bloggers, and "massive amounts of traffic" would be quite extreme as a classification for the traffic we all received as a result. At least comparatively speaking. But the fact of the matter is, I'm not going to just ignore it, because it's not just The Expat who is busy speaking loud and proud about my perspective as a woman, and as a Western woman. It's all over the internet, oozing out of the Korean blogosphere, and following me around in restaurants and bars -- anywhere where other foreigners are present and happen to fall on the subjects of Western women or Korean men or Western women and Korean men. And I've really just had enough of just ignoring it. Because you don't get to speak about me, and then turn around and tell me there's no point in me speaking for myself.

And as for the argument that this post was some how meant to be just a "joke".... "It was just a joke!" for me is a refuge of weak minds. Saying anything you want, and following it up with, "It was just a joke!" doesn't cut it for me. A joke is funny. A good joke, usually, is witty or clever. A good joke is fresh or somehow encompassing of an unexpressed perspective.

Spitting out tired old stereotypes that we've all heard thousands of times before, despite having lived within a culture and society for nearly a decade, is not a "joke". Unless the funny part is supposed to be investing a good chunk of your life in a place and still making the same comments as the people who climbed off the plane yesterday. That part might be funny. But it still isn't very clever, is it?


Burndog said...

Heya IMP!

I feel much the same way about the whole bloody mess. I have ranted about the Sentry before...but I directed my rant at Consoleboy rather than going for a generalized view of Korean men as a whole. That's the mistake that the Expat seems to have made. If he just said that the dudes over at KS exhibit this negative vibe, and that pathetic attribute, and this misogynistic way of being...then it's difficult to disagree with. When you say "Korean men" this or "Korean women that"...you instantly lose credibility and insult people who might have otherwise been sympathetic to your cause.

I've had traffic from KS as well...the extra six hits a day over three days...well...they barely caused a ripple, much less a tidal wave!

Burndog said...

I mean INP! Curse my fat fingers!!!!!!

audience said...

Pay attention to neither of them. Thinking about them will aggravate you even more.

Trenton said...

Very witty joke at the end, kudos! lol, I'm still laughing xD