Sat, Oct 27, 2018 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Ko’s chauvinistic tendencies

While discussing the subject of aesthetics at a youth enterprise forum on Saturday last week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) remarked that he thought Japanese women are rather beautiful, because they always put on makeup before leaving the house, in contrast to many Taiwanese women who go outside without makeup and look “frightening.”

Ko’s comment is discriminatory, objectifies women and although he probably thought he was making a humorous aside, his latest gaffe is a reflection of his deeply ingrained male chauvinistic attitudes.

Some women are in the habit of wearing makeup, while others prefer not to. Some women, working hard to make a living, do not have the time or money to wear makeup daily.

Sometimes a woman will wear heavy makeup, akin to wearing a face mask, while at other times she will sport a fresh and clean unmade-up look to show off her natural beauty. A clean and tidy, understated look can be just as beautiful.

Men like Ko should not admire women on a superficial level purely for their appearance alone. Instead, the appreciation of inner beauty and character should be equally prized.

There is a saying in Chinese that admiring a person starts from their facial appearance, moves on to a respect for their talents and ends with an appreciation of their personality.

Since Ko became mayor he has committed a series of gaffes, in particular expressing opinions that are discriminatory toward women.

The most memorable of these was in 2015 when Ko blurted out that “Taiwan has already imported 30,000 foreign brides.”

Ko’s use of the word “imported” revealed an undisguised commodification of and prejudice toward women — and in particular new immigrants — which, as an immigrant myself, made me extremely angry.

We have made Taipei our home, explored its every nook and cranny, studied and worked here, given birth to and raised our children in this city. Yet in the eyes of its incumbent mayor, we are an invisible caste of unworthy “imported brides” and second-class citizens. It is a view unbecoming of the mayor of the nation’s capital.

To attract the immigrant vote, during this year’s Lunar New Year festivities, Ko learned a few words of the languages of Taipei’s immigrant population and scribbled a few New Year messages in Vietnamese and Thai.

However, Ko is sorely mistaken if he believes he will be able to fool the capital’s new residents into voting for him while continuing to parade derogatory views toward women.

Why on earth would we vote for a candidate who holds such antediluvian, sexist opinions?

Lee Ya-chi

Taipei

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