South Korean Olympic archer An San receives support after misogynistic criticism over her short hair

Archer has won two gold medals and set new Olympic record at Tokyo Games

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Thursday 29 July 2021 21:50 BST
People are defending Olympian An San from misogynistic criticism of short hair
People are defending Olympian An San from misogynistic criticism of short hair (AFP via Getty Images)

Olympic viewers are sharing their support for South Korean gold-medalist An San after the archer faced criticism over her short haircut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Since the Games began in Tokyo, San, 20, has won two gold medals for South Korea, and set a new Olympic record.

However, despite her achievements, attention in her home country has instead been focused on the length of her hair, according to reports.

On Wednesday, New York Times reporter Kelly Kasulis Cho described the harassment targeted at San on Twitter, where she said it was evidence of an “online anti-feminist movement” in the country.

“South Korean Olympic gold medalist in archery, An San, is being criticised by male netizens for her short hair - yet another display of the online anti-feminist movement in a county where haircuts can still be controversial among select groups,” Cho wrote.

In a follow-up tweet, Cho revealed that there is a “prominent online anti-feminist movement” in South Korea, where a “hair style can launch a hate campaign”.

The controversy was also referenced by another person on Twitter, who claimed that the online groups had declared San a “feminist” because of her haircut, with some trolls alleging that she should have her medals taken away.

The misogynistic backlash has prompted many to come to the 20-year-old’s defense, with women sharing photos of their own short hair in support of San, according to Reuters.

According to Channel News Asia, which cites local reports, there have been at least 6,000 photographs of women with short hair posted to social media platforms in support of the Olympic archer.

“About to cut my hair short again in honour of An San,” one person tweeted.

South Korean politician Sim Sang-jung also publicly defended San, writing on Twitter: “With that firm look, please shoot through every prejudice in the world. We stand by your short-cut hair and support you.”

The gold-medalist has also reportedly spoken out against the criticism on her Instagram Stories, where she shared a photo of some of the comments she has been receiving and wrote: “While you’re sending messages in your room driven by your inferiority complex, I’m winning two gold medals at the Olympics,” according to Korea JoongAng Daily, which notes that San previously informed a commenter who asked why she cut her hair short that it is “because it’s more comfortable”.

On Thursday, San’s coach reportedly declined to comment on the controversy when he blocked reporters at the Olympics from asking “unnecessary” questions, according to Reuters.

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