Lee Min-ho gave an interview on MBC Section TV, he said,

I have an older sister and I don’t really like it when she wears short skirts. Even with any girls that have some sort of relation with me, even though they are my friends, I nag at them if they wear short skirts.

This quote bothers me and it adds itself onto a list of reasons why even though I like Lee Min-ho as an actor, I’ve always been kinda iffy with him. (During his BOF days, he was asked about his ideal type, and he said he replied with women with “really white/light skin.”)

Anyway, I think what he said about short skirts isn’t really an opinion that only he holds, so maybe it’s not fair that I hold it against him personally, but since he’s a famous actor and someone a ton of people like/admire, it’s relevant.

Just this more general statement of a man (sometimes a woman) projecting dislike over what he deems is appropriate attire is an issue. Other than the obvious fact that it really isn’t his body or his personal clothing choice, it gives off the idea that a woman wearing clothing a certain way is an invitation for something to happen. Like if she wears a short skirt, if she gets raped, well it’s her fault for wearing something sexually suggestive. Or if she wears a shirt showing a lot of cleavage and she gets thrown perverted remarks, she was asking for it.

This sort of stuff places all the responsibility of maintaining abstinence on the victim, and none of it on the attacker. It’s so completely ingrained into our culture that women are doing themselves some kind of disservice if they wear something suggesting promiscuity, but it’s entirely unfair because why do women have to go through several lengths to tamper down an image just so that nothing happens? How about the men just keep to themselves?

At the end of the day, you can argue that this is just Lee Min-ho’s preference and that he isn’t being offensive or discriminatory, but this type of opinion, voiced by a famous and well-liked actor, just perpetuates this stigma against women dressing a certain way because it’s an invitation for attack. I’m not saying I’m a fan of breasts hanging out of shirts or shorts that don’t cover anything, but it’s ridiculous how many things girls have to do in order to “feel safe” in an environment.

Some posts of relevance regarding news on a condom introduced pre-World Cup that was meant to “prevent” rape (but by doing so, placed the responsibility of preventing rape on the women, not the rapists. Ergo, if a woman was raped, she wasn’t doing enough to prevent it.):
Rape-aXe Condom Distributed During World Cup
Penis-Shredding Condom Can’t Actually Prevent Rape

  • kit


    I’ve been a silent reader for a while but I just had to comment on this. I totally agree with your opinion of Lee Min-ho’s comment. I always find it offensive when men feel like the can dictate what women wear. The ‘nagging’ comment really got under my skin.

    But I have to say, that the idea of the “rape condom” placing the responsibility of rape on the women is really offensive to me.
    South Africa the highest rape rate in the world and this condom is a response to that. It’s women wanting to protect themselves and others. This is an act of desperation.

    This particular sentence really made me rage: “Rape-Axe completely undermines rape and the harm it causes, treating it like a minor inconvenience or slight, rather than the soul-destroying, violent and hateful act it is”. Um no, if women feel the need to stick a condom with TEETH inside themselves, it’s sure as hell a big deal. The women who wrote the article has the benefit of not living in a country defined by it’s crime and rape rates. Women have to live in this society and feel this threat every day. South Africa is a crumbling country. Men “taking responsibility” is not going to happen (or at least any time soon).

    I guess my point is that saying this encourages victim blaming is actually victim blaming people for trying to do something about it.

    Okay that’s my rant over. I actually really enjoy reading your blog so I hope I haven’t offended you. I just think it’s an important issue. Thoughts?

    • Amy

      I understand what you’re saying. And I get the realistic POV behind your statement, because it’s true, people like me and the Jezebel writer waxing poetic about how women shouldn’t have to prevent rape themselves — it doesn’t really do anything. But I still think that it’s indicative of the type of attitude that women have to take on, and I’m sure most of the time it’s unwillingly. There should be something done by the government that prevents this, something done by UN — whatever it may be — so that something as uncomfortable as the Rape aXe doesn’t have to be imposed on women who don’t want to be victims.

  • kit

    That’s true. I guess it’s about finding a balance between idealism and realism, knowing how the world should be but also finding a way to live in it as it is. I did like the second article’s perspective though, with the idea of not pointing fingers at the creator of the condom but rather the society that necessitates it. It’s just a sad issue all around. :(