North Korea’s propagandists have no love for South Korean presidents. State media scribes often likened former President Lee Myung-bak to a rat, labeling grotesque caricatures of him with descriptors like “the dirty hairy body of rat-like Myung-bak is being stabbed with bayonets.”
Recent attacks on Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s female president, have combined this long-standing love of vitriol with a deep and abiding sexism. The strategy seems to be to portray her as a feeble-minded female, someone inherently unsuited to the office. In the last two weeks alone they have called her a “babbling peasant woman,” and a “childish girl,” a “pumpkin” and a “witch.”
It gets worse. Rodong Sinmun, a state newspaper, on Thursday published a series of articles titled “We accuse the bitch” parts (1), (2), and (2) [sic]. The pieces blasted Park for not being married or having children. “It is really ridiculous that such a cold-blooded animal talked about human affairs, feigning to be concerned about our women and children,” one North Korean allegedly told the paper. “It would make even a cat laugh.”
The name-calling seems to be a response to President Park’s recent trip to Europe, specifically a speech she made in Dresden, which was once part of East Germany. Addressing a crowd of students, Park called the reunification of the Korean peninsula inevitable and outlined a new plan to build trust between North and South. She also promised humanitarian aid to the North — an heinous move, it would seem.
Although the sexism is not new — North Korea welcomed Park’s presidency by referencing the “venomous swish” of her skirt — it seems to be intensifying as tensions ratchet up. South Korea has not responded to the Rodong Sinmun series, but earlier this week asked the North to “act discreetly.” Clearly, that call went unheeded.