TOKYO: The short haircut of South Korean archer An San, who has won two gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics, has attracted anti-feminist sentiment at home.
Online abuse, calling her hairstyle “feminist”, comes against a backdrop of rising anti-feminist sentiment among South Korean young men.
The 20-year-old archer won South Korea’s first gold last Saturday, then claimed another gold in the women’s team event.
After she won a matchplay in the 1/16 elimination round of the women’s individual event yesterday, her coach blocked reporters from asking “unnecessary” questions, apparently aware of the controversy.
An San herself said she would answer only questions related to the Games, even before a reporter finished a question about the online hostility.
Growing animosity toward feminism and public policy to promote women’s rights has become a hot topic in South Korea.
Some South Korean politicians and celebrities posted messages and their own short-hair photos to support An San.
“With that firm look, please shoot through every prejudice in the world. We stand by your short-cut hair and support you,” Sim Sang-jung, a lawmaker from a minority Justice Party, said in a tweet.
“Even if you win an Olympic gold medal with your own skills and abilities, as long as sexism persists in our society, you get insulted and asked to be deprived of your medal just because you have short hair,” tweeted Jang Hye-yeong, a woman lawmaker.
“We are facing a strange day in which Korean archery is now the best in the world, but the national dignity is thrown to the ground because of sexism.”
At least 6,000 photographs of women with short hair were posted on social media platforms to show support for An San, according to local reports.
Among women posting the images were actress Koo Hye-sun and lawmaker Ryu Ho-jeong -- the country’s youngest MP, who was once criticised for wearing a dress to parliament.
Another post urged people to call the Korea Archery Association to defend An San from online hatred.
The website of the association was flooded by at least 1,500 messages in support of her. — Agencies