After choosing as the worst foreigners in Korea those foreigners who always speak English or their native language, never learning Korean, and easily meet Korean women they said, “most western men approach Korean women by saying they want to learn Korean.”
They also said there are many foreigners who live in Korea for many years but speak poor Korean. Among the criticisms a particularly strong one came from Japan-born Sayuri, who said, “when you go to a foreign country, learning that country’s language is proper etiquette.”
They also implicitly criticized the attitude of Korean women who get involved with “tall foreign men who speak English.”
Kenya-born Euphracia said, “in Korea it seems that if you’re tall and just speak English well, you’re treated as the king… My other Kenyan friends were so surprised when they went out with they Korean girlfriends.” Germany-born Vera said, “if a German guy is tall then everybody thinks he’s handsome in Korea… They come to Korea and start acting like Casanova.”
UK-born Eva said, “foreign men who were not popular in their home countries are treated like kings… It’s so strange that western men who of course have very plan features are always being followed by pretty girls.”
Eva added, “if a Korean friend of mine is thinking about having a western boyfriend I tell her to let me see him first. Once my Korean friend’s boyfriend from the UK turned out to have a girlfriend back in the UK.”
I'm not going to pretend there aren't foreigners who make no effort to learn Korean, or who use English everywhere they go, or who assume that they'll have an easy time getting dates. They actually hit on a couple good points, judging from the article, but I will leave those for another time. Right now I just want to ask why they'd get into such a topic in the first place. I like how commenter Xnay put it:
I would have hoped that given the opportunity to be seen and heard on TV by many Koreans, these women would have avoided making broad generalizations about people. Instead, maybe they could promote the idea that foreigners come in all different shapes and sizes and are not identical. I don’t think they have the right to judge the nature of a relationship between two consenting adults.
The show's been on for years, and they're bound to run out of ideas now and again. I did give the show a mention in my 2008 "Top 15" list in the Korea Herald---and not simply because I was told to include some positive items---and wrote
The continued popularity of "Global Beauties Chat" has been a pleasant surprise. Some object to the premise, and say that it plays into the fetishization of foreign woman, but these women are smart, sexy, well-spoken and cultural ambassadors for countries many Koreans wouldn't care about otherwise. Plus, whoa, they're speaking Korean!
But I'm bothered about this topic, and the longer I thought about it, from the time I read the Korea Beat post this morning until now, the more upset I got. This isn't one of the playful stereotypes they talk about from time to time, this is an ugly one that has been circulated in the media lately with renewed vigor. Why would a panel of women gifted enough to speak the language enter into a discussion of this topic? Did they simply acquiesce to the demands of producers? Are the women fed lines, as has been suggested? Do they look down on foreigners who aren't privleged enough to study Korean full-time or be on TV? It's one thing to be angry with arrogant pricks who come to a foreign country and don't make an effort to learn the language---though to be fair women are just as guilty of this as men---but it's quite another to conflate that with stereotype of the sexual predator, or to demonize what two consenting adults do with their time (though the article itself does this as well). Furthermore it's especially ridiculous to hear this from people who, let's not kid ourselves, are famous because they're foreign, exotic, and borderline attractive. The show isn't called "Chat with the Foreign Minds" after all, and while most of them have better Korean than I do, we oughtn't pretend the show places higher priority on quote-unquote the issues than on having them wear short skirts and sit on a terraced stage.
I also want to remind readers that this isn't a one-way street. I tried to make this point in a January post but I guess it didn't work, though it's worth pointing out that there are countless websites out there geared toward helping Koreans meet foreign friends. There are even "Special Mission" videos out there that show Koreans how to approach foreigners in Itaewon.
You can look at it one way as ambitious Koreans looking for language exchanges, or you could look at it the other way and assume these women are looking for sex, a break from their regularly-scheduled boyfriends, a night out on the town, or a sense of adventure for a little while before they settle down. Oooh, see how sensational it sounds when I highlight "Special Mission"?
To echo what I wrote as a comment on that post, I wonder when they'll have a "Chat with the Casanovas" episode about why white girls in Korea are so fat, or why Russian chicks put out, or why Korean girls date foreigners under the pretense of learning English. Oh, that's right, they're not mature enough to handle a show with foreign men flirting with Korean women. About the only time we saw a positive portrayal of a white man dating a Korean woman was a program with former Playboy Playmate Lee Pani, a woman who is already considered a slut for posing nude.