Wed, Feb 20, 2019 - Page 13 News List

‘Escaping the corset’

Rising feminist movements and changing ideas of beauty see South Korean women cutting their hair short and giving up makeup

By Seulki Lee  /  Thomson Reuters Foundation, SEOUL

Popular Korean cosmetics brand Missha, meanwhile, has featured a short-haired female model in one of its latest commercials, and other local brands like LAKA are the same.

“While still in its nascent stage, it is important for brands to note that the ‘Escape the corset’ movement has the potential to grow further in the future,” the analyst said.


Supporters of the movement said giving up makeup is only the start of a bigger push for greater gender equality, as South Korean women confront daily sexism.

“It is about women’s choice... The movement is about changing our everyday culture,” said Shin Ji-ye, a 28-year-old politician who stole headlines last year when she ran for the post of Seoul mayor but lost.

But campaigner Heather Barr said it would be a long haul for feminists in South Korea to achieve greater women’s rights, including introducing stronger legislation against abuse and sexual harassment.

“[It] will take a sustained effort, but they show no signs of giving up,” said the senior women’s rights researcher at global watchdog Human Rights Watch.

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