Bonuses for bikini-clad bathers anger South Korean women's group

July 13, 2005


Bonuses for bikini-clad bathers, while poular, are angering South Korean women's groups. Meanwhile plans for a nude beach further stir emotions.
Seoul - A local government campaign to attract more bathers to a South Korean beach resort by offering incentives to swimmers wearing bikinis has upset women's rights activists.

Ahead of the peak summer bathing season, Buan County administration southwest of Seoul renamed its Byeonsan Beach Bikini Beach and promised wearers of skimpy swimsuits a 10-percent discount on bills for hotels, meals and beach equipment rentals.

The county put up wall posters with pictures of bikini-clad beauties and the inscription: "Show off your beauty and get a 10-percent discount."

Women's groups denounced the campaign as exploitation.

"This is an outrageous attempt to stimulate the regional economy by exploiting the female sex," said a statement from the association of women activists of North Jeolla Province.

A campaign to attract more visitors should focus on publicizing the southwestern county's "natural beauty instead of the naked female body," it said.

"We are appalled at this preposterous campaign and cannot suppress our mounting anger," it said.

But officials at the Buan county office were unrepentant and said by telephone that they had no plan to stop the campaign.

"I don't understand why they are so angry. This is just part of a publicity campaign aimed at promoting the name of the Bikini Beach. We have no intention to exploit or commercialize the female sex," an official told AFP.

This latest controvery comes amid tentative plans for South Koreas first nude beach. Last month authorities in Kangwon Province announced that they would seek public support for their plans to designate a part of Kangnung or Kosong region beaches for nude bathers.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

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2005 Asian Sex Gazette.
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