South Korean archer An San has proudly taken home two gold medals, breaking an Olympic record in the process, but despite her achievements, the 20-year-old athlete has come under fire by a growing anti-feminst movement in her country over the length of her hair.
An won gold in the women’s individual and mixed team events but instead of receiving praise, she was the target of what New York Times staff editor Kelly Kasulis Cho called an “online anti-feminist movement.”
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“South Korean Olympic gold medalist in archery, An San, is being criticized by male netizens for her short hair – yet another display of the online anti-feminist movement in a county where haircuts can still be controversial among select groups,” the journalist wrote on Twitter.
“For context: There is a prominent online anti-feminist movement in S. Korea. Ilbe comes to mind – it’s a site where a lot of men campaign against women, and sometimes their taunts move from the web to the real, physical world,” she explained. “A hair style can launch a hate campaign.”
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Following Thursday’s elimination round, An’s coach told reporters they would not be answering “unnecessary” questions, seemingly referring to the online bigotry, according to Reuters.
An also declined to answer questions unrelated to the Games.
According to a report from Korea JoongAng Daily, An has been criticized in the past for her choice in hair length but in a recent post on her social media, she fired back at some of the internet trolls.
“While you’re sending messages in your room driven by your inferiority complex, I’m winning two gold medals at the Olympics,” she wrote in her Instagram Stories over a screenshot of the messages she’s been receiving.
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At the same time, An has also received an outpouring of support.
“With that firm look, please shoot through every prejudice in the world. We stand by your short-cut hair and support you,” Sim Sang-Jung, a lawmaker from a minority Justice Party, said in a tweet, via Reuters.
An continues to dominate in Tokyo. In addition to two gold medals, she broke a 1996 Olympic record after scoring a 680 in the women’s individual qualifier.
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