Nobody would ever mistake Maxim as a feminist rag, but this time they’ve crossed a dangerous line.
The September issue of Korean Maxim features actor Kim Byung-ok posing with a car, smoking a cigarette. Sticking out of the car’s trunk are the bare legs of a woman, her ankles bound together by tape.
The text reportedly translates: “So girls like ‘bad guys’? This is what a bad guy looks like. Dying for him, right?”
Um, not quite.
The glamorized violence against women doesn’t stop there, either. Inside the magazine’s pages is an entire spread based on this theme, with photos of a woman in the car trunk as well as “an abandoned dead body in a black plastic bag, and eyes looking up the perpetrator.”
A South Korean woman named Megan P has started a petition against this alarming sexism, claiming “We condemn the editorial department of Maxim Korea for glamorizing violent criminals as charismatic, and reducing female victims to sexual jokes.”
The Maxim editorial department responded to the criticism, saying “We did depict the crime of murder and body abandonment in a film noir way, but there’s no hint of a sexual offence in the picture, and no fantasizing of sex crimes either.”
Right. This is the first Maxim cover that isn’t about sex.
Both sexism and violence are serious problems in South Korea, where more than half of married women have experienced spousal abuse in the past year, according to the 2010 Korea National Survey of Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence.
In the words of Megan P, “We should try to cut sexual assault rates, not encourage assaults. Please think of the social implications such a magazine issue can have.”