An San Won Her Third Gold Medal. Detractors Are Criticizing Her Haircut.

An San Won Her Third Gold Medal. Detractors Are Criticizing Her Haircut.
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An San Won Her Third Gold Medal. Detractors Are Criticizing Her Haircut.

An San Won Her Third Gold Medal. Detractors Are Criticizing Her Haircut.

SEOUL – South Korean archers have been a dominant force, winning all women’s team competitions since the event was first introduced at the Seoul Games in 1988.

In Tokyo on Friday, An San, 20, won gold in the women’s individual competition, beating Russia’s Elena Osipova, 6-5. This is her third gold medal at the Games, after South Korea’s victories in the women’s and mixed team events this weekend. An also broke a 25-year-old record last week when she scored 680 in the individual qualifying round.

Despite An’s achievements on the international stage, some South Korean social media users attacked her – not for her performance at the Olympics, but for her short haircut.

Thousands of online commentators have accused her of being a feminist, a word that often has more radical connotations in South Korea, where some people associate the label with hatred of men.

“Are you sure An San is not a feminist,” wrote one commentator on Instagram. “She meets all the conditions to be one.”

On one of An’s Instagram posts, a user asked why she had cut her hair.

“Because it’s comfortable,” she replied with a smirk emoji.

Members of South Korea’s women’s volleyball and air rifle teams with short hairstyles were similarly abused during the Games.

Leading figures are often targeted by anti-feminists in South Korea, and An has been in the spotlight because of her Olympic success, said Lee Wonjae, professor of social media analysis at the Korean Advanced Institute. science and technology.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in spoke on Friday evening, issuing a statement congratulating An on his third gold medal in Tokyo. “His pride is our pride,” he said, praising his “solid” focus during the competition. He also mentioned his struggle to overcome discrimination, in an apparent reference to anti-feminist messages.

An’s supporters flooded the Korean Archery Association’s bulletin boards, calling on him to protect the Olympic gold medalist. Korean hashtag #women_shortcut_campaign is all the rage on Twitter, with users uploading photos of their own hairstyles to support An and other women who choose to cut their hair short.

In a statement earlier Friday, a spokesperson for the Korea Archery Association said the group is asking the public to refrain from commenting on the controversy over An’s haircut. “We will do everything to support our athlete,” he said, adding that a closer look would not help An at one of the most important competitions of his life.

Choe Sang-Hun contributed reports.

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