South Korea: Barbie film flops, signifies anti-feminist mindset

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie film has been smashing field workplace information throughout the globe since its launch. Nevertheless, the film has been met with a lukewarm response from South Korea. In accordance with critics and activists, that is due to the reluctance to embrace a international film with feminist themes.

The Korean Movie Council acknowledged that Barbie has offered simply over 460,000 tickets since its native launch on 19 July. It obtained solely an 8% share of whole field workplace income for its opening weekend and simply 3.9% for the second weekend. 

Comparatively, since its July 12 launch, Mission: Unattainable – Lifeless Reckoning Half One has offered over 3.6 million tickets. After its launch on 14 June, the Pixar romance Elemental has amassed greater than 5.8 million viewers, making it the 12 months’s hottest international movie.

Disinterest or anti-feminism?

Shim Haein, a South Korean girls’s rights activist, mentioned that cinema goes might need been turned off by the movie’s theme. The reception to the movie factors to the truth that a “woman-centered movie with feminist humour continues to be thought to be a taboo topic.” 

Even girls, in accordance with Shim, may be hesitant to observe the film as a result of “the concern of being labelled as a feminist in South Korea is actual”.

In Korea, like many different nations of the world, ‘feminism’ continues to be thought of a grimy phrase to a variety of people. And like each different patriarchal society, Koreans are reluctant in addressing and uncomfortable confronting the deeply rooted patriarchy and misogyny that has been working issues to this point.

South Korea scores poorly within the gender equality index among the many developed nations. Constantly rating final on the Economist’s Glass Ceiling Index, the nation has the worst gender pay hole among the many OECD nations. The World Financial Discussion board’s International Gender Hole Report positioned South Korea 99th out of 146 nations in 2022.

Korean girls face immense societal pressures to sacrifice their careers for household, and sexual violence instances are rampant. The South Korean justice system usually seems to present gentle sentences to perpetrators.

The present president of the nation, Yoon Suk Yeol, rejected the time period “feminist” when he ran for workplace. He has argued previously that feminism is in charge for South Korea’s traditionally low birthrate and claimed that there’s “no structural gender discrimination” within the nation.

Censored promotional campaigns

Localized Korean variations of the pre-release promotional posters have been lacking the unique iconic slogans “Barbie is every little thing” and “He’s simply Ken”. The posters have been simplified to indicate solely the characters’ names. 

South Korea: Barbie movie flops, indicates anti-feminist mindset - Asiana Times
Unique Barbie poster alongside its Korean model. Supply: koreaboo

After drawing criticism for allegedly undermining the movie’s feminist message, Warner Brothers Korea acknowledged that the transfer was not intentional. The corporate asserted that the early phases of its promotional marketing campaign centered simply on the pictures and names of the characters.

Other than this, netizens complained that the Seoul Barbie film occasion on July 2, with director Greta Gerwig, producer Tom Ackerley, and movie stars Margot Robbie and America Ferrera, centered primarily on selling Korean tradition. Out of the 18-minute-long occasion, solely 3 have been reserved for really discussing the movie. 

Native movie critic and researcher into the Korean movie trade, Jason Bevhervaise, mentioned that native female-led films carry out manner higher than these produced internationally. He instructed the Guardian that Smugglers, a regionally produced, female-centric movie is topping the native field workplace. The film is about Since its launch on July 26, the film has drawn greater than 2 million spectators.

South Korea: Barbie movie flops, indicates anti-feminist mindset - Asiana Times
Smugglers poster. Supply: IMDB

Youn Sung-Eun, a movie critic, acknowledged that though South Koreans might agree on gender equality in principle, there are teams inside the conservative tradition that vehemently disagree with what they view as “radical feminism.” Greta Gerwig’s advocacy for gender equality just isn’t very interesting on this state of affairs, in accordance with Youn.

Apprehension about Western concepts of feminism being extra radical, and subsequently threatening, might be a part of the explanation why Barbie underperformed whereas different female-led films like Smugglers do outstandingly nicely.