설렘 · @sullaem

15th Jul 2015 from TwitLonger

[trans] 150712 jonghyun’s dm conversation with ‘chen’

translator’s notes:
all commentary inserted by the translator are written in [square brackets].

< chen’s disclaimer >

hello. this is milsa. i use the nickname ‘chen’ (@enchenfd) on twitter, and i’m a feminist.

this post has been created with the goal of publicly archiving the message i shared with jonghyun-nim on twitter on july 12th, and the letter i sent him. the context leading up to this can be verified by reading jonghyun’s tweet and the 4 mentions i sent him in response. please read this only after full knowledge of the prior context.

all capture images of the twitter dm and letter have been uploaded with jonghyun-nim’s prior permission. any malicious secondary edits or sharing with removal of context is prohibited. if you intend to share the content of this post please write a comment and please indicate which method you are using to share the link to this post.

i had initially thought of only uploading the letter i sent to jonghyun-nim, but jonghyun-nim was concerned about distortion of context and proposed that i upload the direct message as well. i’m revealing the entire conversation that took place regarding this issue.

feedback can be given through email ( or as a comment on this post. i also welcome twitter messages if they’re short opinions within 140 characters. however, i will not be accepting feedback through twitter mentions as i’m concerned they’ll turn into meaningless wars. i hope you will understand.

(p.s. i added three captures that were cut off at the end of the dm on july 13th, 1:01 pm)

(p.s. july 13th, 4:35 pm - i want to clarify that the expression i used that ‘we joked around and had a great time’ that keeps being brought up in the comments was not referring to the part of the conversation that i’ve captured and posted here. i said this in a mention to a friend when i was upset about seeing people talking about reporting my twitter account and blowing it up, and it was referring to the private conversation i had with jonghyun-nim after the message uploaded in this post. i deleted this mention after deciding it would cause unnecessary emotional expenditure. of course, i have no intention of publicly sharing said confidential conversation, which involves jonghyun-nim’s privacy and has no relation to the incident. i humbly accept the problems posed by my attitude and will self-reflect, but please refrain from maliciously distorting the truth.)


< chen’s original mentions to jonghyun >

@realjonghyun90 i don’t believe you said these remarks with ill intentions. however, i hope you know that since the dawn of history, the majority of leading artists’ perspectives of treating women as muses originated from seeing women as being unequal to them.

@realjonghyun90 to praise and worship women as existences that provide inspiration, is no different than scorning women as you are not treating them as equal human beings. and this is where the famous virgin-whore dichotomy comes from too.

@realjonghyun90 the love received by a muse is not a healthy love. that type of love impoverishes a person’s life. us women want to be loved as equal human beings and agents. we don’t want to be yearned for hastily, nor do we want to be revered.

@realjonghyun90 just treat us as another human being.


< chen and jonghyun’s direct message conversation >

J: hello! this is shinee jonghyun!
J: it’s late, are you perhaps asleep..?

C: hello jonghyun-nim :-)

J: yes!

C: you’re still up at such a late hour.

J: i always go to sleep late~!!ㅎ

C: i’m worried that you might perhaps be going through distress..

J: after seeing your mention a lot of thoughts

C: i see huhu

J: crossed my mind
J: ~~^^
J: first off thank you

C: yes, i also thank you

J: because each person has a different perspective
J: in order to gain a little more understanding
J: i wanted to ask you
J: i have a mother and sister
J: and my reason for living
J: is those two
J: so i decided that i need an absolutely precise understanding
J: about this incident.
J: that i myself [need to understand]

C: indeed, jonghyun-nim..! you’re great..!!

J: and so..i thought there might be some things that i could ask you
J: so i’m [messaging you] like this even though it’s late..

C: not at all. thank you for messaging me.

J: yes ㅎㅎ
J: mm

C: though it hasn’t been long, i too will reply to you sincerely to the best of my ability.

J: first off, the sentences that caused offense
J: or words
J: what would they have been?

C: first off, in the words you posted up..

J: y
J: yes

C: i don’t think there’s a specific part of it you could clearly point out and say, ‘this is a misogynist remark!’, and i also think it is indeed an issue of context.

J: yes

C: i didn’t listen to the whole broadcast so it’s hard for me to know the overall progression, but to my knowledge

J: would it have been an issue of nuance?
J: yes

C: the person who appeared as a guest was an artist

J: yes

C: and it appeared that she wanted to speak about the predicaments of a female expert.

J: yes
J: for now, i’ll just listen to your thoughts and then i’ll re-explain the circumstances at the time!

C: from the conversation you had on record, i felt like that part of it was brushed aside as not being very important, so i thought it was a shame. to me, it felt like she wanted to add some kind of commentary to the idea that ‘i believe women are blessed, all artists get inspiration from women and create works,’ from the position of being a woman herself. and that’s probably not much different than the problem i perceived in your comment.

J: mm

C: first, i’ll listen to your explanation about the circumstances.

J: i see
J: i had perfectly understood the position of the guest
J: there were conversations we shared while the music was going out, that is, when we weren’t being broadcast. [t/n - this would have been BEFORE the part of the conversation that aired, while “girls in the city” was playing.]
J: she spoke out about the difficulties of being a female artist, and i agreed with her opinion on that part, and i believe i did so during the broadcast as well
J: and

C: yes

J: i have never said
J: that all artists get inspiration from women and create their works.
J: with the expression about “making poets write poetry, singers sing, painters paint”
J: i meant that among those things [that inspire], there’s something about women that is a part of them. i didn’t wish for it to be interpreted as it solely being women [who inspire artists].

C: in that context, i can agree with that.

J: poets can write poetry with women as their subjects, and even windows as their subjects.
J: singers can sing as women, and also sing as men.
J: and painters too, of course
J: was it the part about saying “all artists” perhaps
J: that made you uncomfortable?

C: in my case.. mm,
C: i believe there’s been a considerable tendency for women (compared to other objects, or living things) in particular to be revered as muses, from ancient to modern times, and that this kind of tendency is a problem.

J: i believe women can be inspired by women, and men can be inspired by men as well.. i’ve also heard that saying “all artists” only designates men, so i wanted to ask you if this is a universal thought
J: is it a problem to become a subject of inspiration??

C: as jonghyun-nim said, anything can become a subject of inspiration and i don’t think that’s problematic in and of itself.

J: yes
J: then..which part would it be..

C: merely, the history of women in particular being treated as an object that provides inspiration undoubtedly exists, and it’s the same in the present. i believe this part is problematic.

J: ah
J: yes
J: mm

C: under that kind of context, i think feminists probably

J: yes i believe that’s a problem as well.

C: would have been quite shocked by your comment.

J: ah
J: i
J: could it be that
J: i could come across
J: as only seeing women
J: as objects of inspiration?
J: is that under the presumption that i’m using the term “muse” to allude to historical and artistic records that have built up until now?

C: to be more precise, i think it was possible for you to be seen as being insensitive to the reality of gender inequality where women are given the role of an object that easily provides inspiration, and that you unconsciously affirmed this fact.

J: oh no

C: yes (to your last reply) [regarding the possible perception that jonghyun only sees women as objects of inspiration and that he was conscious of the historical connotations of “muse”]

J: [it’s a shame that] it was portrayed that way
J: yes thank you.
J: that absolutely wasn’t my intention
J: and whether male or female
J: ah
J: i’ll probably be discussing
J: a bit of a heavy topic
J: anyway
J: whether male or female

C: that’s alright :-)
C: yes

J: i don’t believe either side is above the other
J: and i also don’t see humans and animals
J: as having an “upper-lower” hierarchy between them.
J: the context in which i was speaking

C: yes

J: i used the term “muse” because their existence in and of itself is beautiful (and this is the same for men as well), and because this beauty can be expressed whether through writing, art, or music

C: (yes, i also believed you said those remarks in that kind of meaning)

J: and what i said regarding the beauty of existence itself also goes for anything that has, or had, life. there are things that have life even if they don’t have a beating heart.
J: an object steeped with precious memories would be like so

C: that’s right.. i agree.

J: anyway, in that sense
J: i’m someone
J: who believes that human beings are not superior through their existences themselves, but that they can become superior through growth.

C: i’m happy that you think that way. i feel the same way.

J: in any case, the conversation from that day
J: because we couldn’t resolve it by going through each sentence at a time
J: as it was a situation where music was the focal point
J: do you think that’s the reason things came to this point? or
J: is it possible that i have a perspective that sees women as being lesser because of the history and social atmosphere i learned throughout the course of growing up.

C: mm.. this is a difficult issue [for me to comment on].

J: to

C: i don’t believe you perceive women as lesser beings. i have always thought you’re an honorable person who fundamentally strives to be respectful to other people.

J: converse seriously like this, or
J: yes

C: the conversation at the time was also probably during radio broadcast

J: yes
J: i remember the radio broadcast as being live.

C: if it’s the case that it was live broadcast.. then even more so, i think there would have been some degree of difficulty in leading the talk in the right direction.
C: also, on a different note,
C: i personally believe that this country makes it difficult for people to live practicing righteousness. i think there’s too much we don’t know about those who are weaker than us [in society],
C: and i think we often face situations where we commit indecencies as we keep growing more and more ignorant.
C: so i think men don’t understand women well; able-bodied people don’t understand the disabled well; people who have homes don’t understand the homeless well; and so i think whether the intentions were good or bad, people can sometimes cause harm without even knowing it.

J: yes

C: moreover, when it comes to doing something wrong i don’t think it’s important whether the act was done with good intentions or bad intentions. although in jonghyun-nim’s case, to call it a “wrong” feels like an overexaggeration, and i believe it was more of a slip of the tongue.

J: so you’re saying that from a woman’s perspective, my remarks felt like i was objectifying them, and some people could have felt offended.
J: mm

C: yes, i think that was possible.

J: i understand what kind of context that is very well.
J: that wasn’t my intention, so it’s a pity.

C: thank you for listening.

J: yes ^^

C: it’s a shame, but i don’t think it could be helped.

J: i respect women
J: and love them.
J: that
J: is [the attitude] my family taught me [to have]
J: and because it’s the group with the same sex as my mother and my sister
J: my feelings of respect and love are doubled.

C: yes :-)

J: i see all humans as being equal but because it was my personal family upbringing
J: or say, process of growth, that formed this view
J: i had personally thought of this as a point of pride.
J: but since i’m not in the position of a woman
J: i think i didn’t realize
J: that i needed to express admiration of beauty or the blessing of existence with a little more explanation.

C: i see..

J: after speaking with you, i think my curiosity has been settled to some degree.
J: mm

C: if my words were even a little bit helpful, it’s a relief and i’m happy.

J: it’s regrettable
J: if there are many people
J: who think the way you do
J: it’s to the point where i wish
J: i could tell each and every one of them that it wasn’t my intention..
J: there are cases where
J: women also create art with women as their muses..
J: and there are also many cases
J: where men also have men as their muses

C: that’s right..

J: the restriction of the term “muse” itself
J: is also regrettable

C: that would be an area that will need to be changed by history from here on out..

J: i wasn’t trying to allude to the dictionary or historical meanings [of “muse”]
J: yes
J: it was a pleasure speaking to you
J: ^^
J: i hope the misunderstanding gets resolved

C: yes it was a pleasure for me too!
C: mm.. in my opinion
C: i think it might even be good to write a simple post that explains your intention.

J: ㅎㅎ no, no
J: many peop
J: people
J: are already
J: in sorrow
J: if i keep putting up more posts, i think it’ll be hard for me to handle whatever comes beyond that.
J: although that’d probably be the same for anyone
J: my personality is the type where i have a lot of thoughts and burrow deep down into them so

C: i think the position you’re in must be quite unmanageable..

J: so it isn’t easy for me to say something again myself
J: but with this incident

C: yes, i understand.

J: i couldn’t just stand by and do nothing
J: although i’ve lost the chance to wholly explain myself
J: in any case i’ve been freed
J: from the dishonor
J: of being a misogynist
J: so i’m satisfied with that.

C: you suffered through a lot of heartache..

J: if i go further than this it will make my fans sad.
J: because i’m neither a social activist nor a human rights activist..
J: it’s challenging for me to make everyone understand!

C: ^_^

J: in any case, i’ve realized
J: that the use of the term “muse”
J: or the part of the conversation that went on air that day
J: should have been communicated with a little more specificity.
J: thanks to the things
J: that you told me
J: i’ve learned which words, which sentences
J: that women could have heard and felt offended by that i didn’t foresee

C: thank you. and i’m happy.

J: to chen-nim as well,

C: i just think, if jonghyun-nim and other people can gain an opportunity to think about feministic sensibilities through this incident, that’s enough. i think the world will become that much better for it.
C: yes?

J: i would like to apologize.

C: i’m fine :)

J: ^^

C: along with putting up kang eunha [t/n - the bisexual transgender woman who put up an open letter at her university] nim’s hand-written poster as your profile pic that time

J: it was a poetic expression meant to comfort her wounds. i didn’t know that it would come across as more hurtful.
J: ㅎㅎ
J: yes

C: really, i.. have always thought that it’s fortunate someone like you exists.

J: ㅎㅎ

C: i will always support and root for you.

J: no, no
J: thank you~~^^
J: this world is full of things to learn from

C: you’re right..

J: anyway
J: at this late hour
J: i’m sorry

C: i think i also might unknowingly commit violence to those who are at a weaker position than me, so i need to always stay alert and study

J: i hope you’ll hurry and get some rest^^^)

C: it’s ok ^^ i also don’t sleep much late at night so..

J: i see
J: ㅎㅎ
J: ok^^

C: it’s very late but i hope you’ll get plenty of rest :-)

J: ah, you don’t have to keep our conversation a secret, just in case you have a reason to quote it later on
J: if there’s any content you want to share
J: it’s ok
J: to put my name in. what we talked about today

C: i thank you deeply for your consideration.

J: ~~^^
J: no, it’s nothing
J: there’s nothing in the conversation for me to be ashamed of either
J: that’s all ㅎㅎ

C: yes heheh

J: take care!

C: yes please get some rest!


< chen’s letter to jonghyun - paraphrased >

after the end of their dm conversation, chen sent jonghyun a letter that she wrote on her phone, in which she summarizes which statements she felt were most problematic, and reiterates why it’s unfair for women to be singled out as objects of inspiration and that a woman must be loved as just another human being (instead of being loved only for her gender).

she says she was touched by the message jonghyun sent her and received strength and hope from it. and that his desire to understand his wrongdoing and to self-reflect and try to fix it is exemplary.

she hopes for a world where the term ‘muse’ can be considered as simply ‘an existence that inspires’ and is rid of its historical disgrace, and believes jonghyun will be part of that world when it comes.

in the letter, she refers to these tweets of hers that state her opinion on muses:

@enchenfd: when treating someone as a muse you naturally go through a process of highlighting specific elements about that object and erasing the rest. i believe artists need to be self-aware that this is a type of commodification and objectification and that it inevitably strips away [the muse’s] humanity.

@enchenfd: as someone who is a creator as well, i also don’t want to condemn artists’ commodification and objectification of humans as being an unconditionally bad thing, but i believe there needs to be an effort to maintain an appropriate line. and that these are the ethics [that should be followed by] artists.

source: , @enchenfd on twitter

* please do not edit my translation
* please do not take without translator’s notes
* please do not take without credit

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