Logo of South Korean feminist website Megalia 56b56

In South Korea, An Itty Bitty Emoji — And Fragile Male Egos — Caused A Huge Backlash Against Feminism

by Natalie Frate


 Feminism is facing a huge backlash in South Korea, and it’s all thanks to itty bitty male masculinity.

The pinching hand emoji, often used to mock penis size, was used by Megalia — a South Korean radical feminist group, now since disbanded — as their logo, and has become the battleground for the latest backlash to the #MeToo movement. 

Worldwide, men — particularly young men — are accusing feminists of man-hating behavior that unfairly vilifies and disparages men, causing anti-feminist resentment and often, retaliation.

IMG 6049 51564 f25c0A feminist gathering in Seoul.

According to the LA Times, Korean men belong to “one of the most unequal societies in the developed world.” Despite this, in South Korea, the backlash has reached new and rather disturbing levels, with anti-feminist men targeting companies and individuals — including celebrities — that have used the emoji in advertisements, photos, and other imagery, and have bombarded them with outraged comments, complaints, and even boycotts.

These tactics appear to be getting results, as according to the LA Times, “Major corporations have disciplined or demoted employees for advertisements that used the pinching hand, government ministries and municipalities have apologized and revamped promotional material, museums have dismantled displays, and celebrities have seen their careers threatened.”

These increasingly volatile backlashes worry women, who have only recently formed feminist groups, and human rights organizations, who fear that women and the problems they face will be silenced for fear of further retaliation.

Photo: Chaewon Chung

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