Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Conundrum of the day: Shin Saim-dang's picture on a South Korean bank note

According to the LA Times, the decision to put Shin Saim-dang's picture on the 50,000-won bill is controversial, both because she's a woman and because she is known as the "wise mother."

So...basically...no one is happy. A convenience store worker doesn't want "a woman's face on [his] money." A university student hopes "people don't think she represents women in this culture. She doesn't."

From the LA Times article:

While some applauded the move as an equal rights gesture in a country where men control nearly every facet of society, others say choosing Shin reinforces sexist stereotypes about women's roles.

Known as Eojin Eomeoni, or "wise mother," Shin for 500 years has been a model of both excellent mothering skills and filial piety, according to Bank of Korea officials.

Shin was the mother of seven children, including Yi I, a famous Confucian scholar whose image adorns the nation's 5,000-won note.

The officials point out that Shin was a respected female figure in Korea's Joseon Dynasty, which ruled from 1392 to 1910.

Shin's success in fulfilling her duties as a mother, wife and daughter while succeeding as an artist has brought her great respect in modern-day South Korea, the proponents add.
I don't know enough to have an opinion on this one (hence the heavy quotage), but I thought it was an interesting story. Any thoughts from people with more knowledge on the subject?

5 comments:

Andy Swan said...

Further proof that some feminists are eternally unhappy people.

Always something to bitch about.

Anonymous said...

I happen to be korean and when I read the news I thought it was nice. Although Yu Gwan-sun (legendary student organizer against Japanese occupation) would've been my personal choice, I'm sure you would've loved her because she fits into your philosophy more than the "wise mother".

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for your input. It's great to hear an opinion from someone who knows what she/he is talking about!

Anonymous said...

@ Andy--little harsh, don't you think? Did some female emasculate you or something?

contactos barcelona said...

Well, I do not actually imagine it is likely to have effect.