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Actress Jung sparks controversy over feminist film

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Updated : September 13 2018

Audiences were strongly divided over the casting of Jung Yu-mi for the film adaption of the feminist novel “Kim Ji-young, Born in 1982.”

A torrent of comments followed Wednesday’s news that Jung, who has appeared in hit films like “Train to Busan,” had been cast for the main role in the film.

Many were critical of the actress’ decision to take on the role.

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Jung Yu-mi pictured above (Management SOOP)
Her Instagram soon became a forum for heated debate as critics and supporters of Jung headed to her account with clashing views.
“Did you even know what the film’s story is before you agreed to be on the film?” one comment read in response to one of her recent posts.

“A feminist champion. … I’m so creeped out. From now, whatever you do will be dislikable,” another user said.

Jung also found herself on the receiving end of a lot of support, mostly from women.

“I’ll watch the film 10 times. I’m already so excited,” one Instagram user wrote.

“Thank you sister for making this awesome decision. I very much appreciate it. I know it would have been a difficult decision. You, my sister, are very cool!” another supporter said.

Not every critic slammed the casting for the film’s feminist nature, as some had a more nuanced criticism, casting doubt over how suitable the role was for a conventionally good-looking actress.

“It’s ironic that even the film adaptation of ‘Kim Ji-young, Born in 1982,’ a novel championed by feminists, had to cast a pretty female actress for a commercial success. I wonder how they will put the so-called ‘corset-free’ attitude into the equation with this film,” one Twitter user said.

In Korea, the term “corset-free” refers to a controversial feminist movement that encourages women to recognize and reject expectations bestowed upon them by men, such as having to wear makeup to look good.

In a 2014 interview with Newsen, Jung said she likes challenging films that can stimulate debate.

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Singer Irene from group Red Velvet (Yonhap)
Jung is not the first woman to find herself at the center of controversy after being involved in a pro-feminist message.

In March, Irene from K-pop group Red Velvet experienced a hostile reaction after sharing that she had read the book during a fan meeting, with some male fans feeling “betrayed” and threatening to exit from her fandom.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)

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