Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Yes, Ko Wen-je said a sexist thing again

The ladies of Taipei according to Ko Wen-je

So, it's time we all just admitted frankly that Ko Wen-je is a sexist jackass.

This time, it's over comments that "Japanese women make themselves up more beautifully" than Taiwanese women, with Taiwanese women not wearing makeup "go directly outside and terrify people", and that being aesthetically pleasing not only shows dedication but is a responsibility (presumably, of women).

I mean, I totally understand. What with Ko Wen-je being such a well-manicured hottie, he sure takes great care of his 'aesthetics' and women can't help swooning over him, I mean, just look at that carefully-maintained visage that makes ladies' hearts go a-flutte - -

Oh yeah THAT guy really has standing to talk about how women need to make themselves prettier. 

Oh, wait, that's not him. Sorry. The other guy is Ko. Hmm. Gotcha.

Do you like gardening, Mayor Ko? Because that is one massive glass house ya got there.

Obviously, it bothers me that the mayor of the city I live in, who is likely to be re-elected, is a sexist jerk.

It bothers me that he remains popular despite being a sexist jerk (if he'd committed actual sexual harassment he'd probably be a goner politically, but apparently stupid, sexist comments aren't enough), and that the media seem to cover for him.

I mean, there's no excuse for his recent comments, but please enjoy some smokescreens for sexist comments in the past:

Ko "clarifies" that both unmarried women and men over 30 are a "national security risk" (note verb choice)

"Gaffe-prone" Ko says he's "still learning to be a politician", which sounds like apologia for comments that are shitty even when non-politicians make them - note the way the prominence of Ko's "explanation" and the use of "gaffe" downplay the nature of what he actually said. And not just one thing - this is over two separate comments, both of which were horrible!

It also implies, from Ko's perspective, that everyday men say these things and that's OK (men I know have assured me they and other men typically don't, even in all-male company), but politicians shouldn't. No, dude. You shouldn't make comments that a woman is "so pretty" that she's not fit to be mayor but that she should instead "be a receptionist or model for tourism promotion materials", or "I didn't become a OB-GYN because I'd have to make a living between women's legs" even if you are not a politician. So there's nothing to "learn" to not say about women in order to be mayor. You're just an asshole.

You really think after these sorts of comments that the women of Taipei think you can do a good job as their elected representative? What woman would want to be governed by you?

So, this time around, let's not do that, okay? Let's call it what it is. Ko Wen-je definitely has his distinct personality and so he makes off-color remarks. Fine. I do that too! I live for off-color things (as long as they're not mean to the wrong people). But can we just admit that off-color sexist remarks belie sexist beliefs no matter your personality? Thanks.

But what bothers me more is that he's the best choice we've got in the upcoming election.

I don't care about one stupid comment, not really. I care that he keeps making them and yet there's no other solid choice to vote for.

I'm not writing this stuff because I want to trash Mayor Ko for no reason, and I'm not writing it because I want him to lose the upcoming election (what I say here won't matter in that regard anyway). I'm aware that the other two choices are worse: Ting Shou-jung is a China-loving, anti-independence sack of empty slogans and Pasuya Yao...I mean, lol.

If anything, that's the problem: Ko is a jackass - a smart, hardworking jackass, but a jackass nonetheless - yet we don't have a better choice. We finally get the first non-KMT mayor since Chen Shui-bian and he's...a jackass. It burns.


Gerd said...

I absolutely agree with your take on Ko. In addition to being a sexist he is also an authoritarian who furthermore didn't keep his election promises and regarding China/Independence he seems to have wandered off into the blue camp.
However, what's your problem with Pasuya Yao? Wouldn't he be a better mayor than Ko? And if not, why not?

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

I haven't heard him articulate anything other than vague promises for Taipei, showing that, in fact, I'm not sure he knows the city well enough to run it (I felt the same about Sean Lien, though Lien went even further down that path - proposing projects that were actually impossible, due to his lack of actual knowledge about the city.) "Green energy" and "smart technology" (things he's talked about) sound fancy and modern, but mean little.

I wonder about his stance on free speech. Banning the Chinese flag? I hate the Chinese government as much as the next reasonable person, and I think some of the aggressive, China-funded "protests" that certain associations stage to try and astroturf a viewpoint (and provide video fodder for Chinese audiences) need to be investigated as they come close to constituting interference in a foreign government, but banning a flag is not the way to do that. (I also heard he wants to move central government buildings to cut down on protests? That seems super problematic and he probably can't even do it).

While I'm not an expert in his record at the GIO, it seems as though he was known more for saying/doing idiotic things than actually leading well. (I recall he stayed out drinking with a flight attendant once and dozed off at an important press conference abroad? And ran an ad in which the GIO specifically singled out Ma Ying-jeou [before he was president, this was in the early 2000s?])...let's see, making all sorts of statements he couldn't back up and promises he couldn't keep. I dislike TVBS as much as anyone else, but I recall he went after TVBS in a way that was absolutely destined to fail, oh man, I could go on. I'm literally just pulling out old memories from a well-worn sack here of things I read when I first moved to Taiwan like 12 years ago.

I mean, dude gave himself an indigenous name literally because he thought it sounded cool. I can't take that seriously.

Or, for a quicker summary, look here:


I just can't imagine this guy running Taipei City, and I seriously question his commitment, from the GIO until now, to freedom of speech.

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

Also I gotta say. Ko is a massive jackass and sexist piece of garbage, absolutely. He's "doctor smart" I suppose in the way that Ben Carson is smart (that is to say, not smart in any other way except as a doctor).

But things like the actually useable bike lanes and the re-developed Beimen area actually have made the city better. He did actual tangible things that visibly improved Taipei. I will give him that.

Gerd said...

Thanks for your reply.
Regarding the Chinese flag I can see the other side as well. Why should Taiwan allow the Chinese flag shown in abundance in its capital while China tries everything to eradicate both Taiwan's name and flag all over the world and would never allow the flag to be shown anywhere in China. This is a special situation which I would not (yet) see as a matter of free speech.
Your further arguments against Yao don't convince me to that extent that he is not a valid option for mayor.
On the other hand there's a long list of promises Ko hasn't kept.
If I lived in Taipei and had to choose between a candidate who is not the best ever but has a good team and a reliable party behind him and another candidate who seems to be more and more erratic, is as we both agree 'a massive jackass and sexist piece of garbage' and is also the preferred candidate by both the CCP and the pro-China media in Taiwan, my choice wouldn't be difficult.
Since we both can't vote let's hope whatever happens is good for Taipei and Taiwan.