Internet forums and blogs have set into a flurry of chaos and panic this week as a new law came into effect today which some worry might have just banned miniskirts in the Republic of Korea. Don’t panic.
A few weeks back, Korea’s new president, Park Geun-Hye was sworn into office. Park is well known in Korea and abroad as “The Dictator’s Daughter“. In short, her father ruled Korea under a military dictatorship a few decades back after seizing power in a military coup. Park Geun-Hye was, however, elected democratically.
The law that is causing all the ruckus is one that was passed over a year ago, before Park even came into power, though her party had led the charge in having it implemented. It is a general law against indecent exposure, and doesn’t target miniskirts in any way.
But many are concerned because of the ambiguity of the wording in the law, and since Park’s father had set mandatory skirt lengths (and men’s hair lengths) back in the 70’s, a few comparisons are being made.
Police are insisting that they aren’t going to use the law to become the fashion police.
Certainly, there are issues of individual freedom at stake here. And there does seem to be a bit too much vagueness to the law which would justifiably create cause for criticism and concern. But I wouldn’t start the panic yet.
Miniskirts in Seoul are what cleavage is in the west. A quick stroll down the street will reveal more leg, and even “butt shelf” than you’ve ever seen in your life. Whereas western women tend to show off their breasts, Korean girls tend to show off their legs. They’re definitely accentuating one of their best physical attributes.
The prevalence of very, very short skirts is entirely normalized with the youth in Korea. Although western visitors may gawk like drooling idiots (I’m not excluding myself, mind you), it’s pretty much an established norm, at least among the under 30’s.
Just spend 30 seconds watching any given K-Pop video and you’ll get the idea.
It’s unlikely that the police, the government, or anyone else, is going to have the resources to police such a common practice. And if that does happen, they might as well just open up the DMZ and let North Korea take over.