Rapper San E has been in the news both in Korea and internationally for his two latest songs about feminists. His songs have received some praise but have also received a ton of backlash by not only netizens but by other rappers too.
The first song he released was “FEMINIST” and it immediately became a hot topic. Not only had he released the song shortly after posting a controversial video about the Isu Station assault case, but the lyrics were also very bold.
While the song started off with the singer declaring himself a feminist…
“I am feminist
I believe women and men are equal
See, I mentioned women first
As mother comes first in mother and father”
ㅡ “FEMINIST” by San E
Later lines left a bad taste in many people’s mouths as they didn’t sound like he was very supportive at all.
“If you want those rights so badly why don’t you serve in the military
Why do I always pay when we go on dates
What more do you want we gave up spaces on the subway bus and parking lots so why
Oh girls don’t need a prince
Then pay for half of the house when we get married
I’m no f*cking prince”
ㅡ “FEMINIST” by San E
Many people thought he was openly mocking feminism while making the typical arguments against the movement.
a few women were literally just victims of an awful hate crime in korea for being feminists and not fitting with men’s standards and san e thinks it’s the perfect time to release this trash ass song. anyways
— 🌩 (@girlsgaIaxy) November 16, 2018
san e: blame the system, not men
who built the system? men.
san e: if women want equal rights, serve in the military
but you’re exempt from military training, even though it’s compulsory
san e: i’m a feminist because i love women
no… that’s not quite how it works.
— 萱慈 | ip zepeto 📌 (@b_wenjun) November 16, 2018
wow. san e is really a disgusting piece of shit. imagine writing a whole diss track addressed to feminists just to vicitim blame, slut-shame, spread erroneous info, and overall show how much of a misogynitic asshole you are. i hope you rot in hell, bastard.
— ㅇㄴㅂㄹ~♡ (@moonsunight) November 16, 2018
Including two rappers, Jerry.K and SLEEQ, who are known for openly supporting the feminist movement. These two rappers then released their own tracks attacking San E.
First, there was Jerry.K’s “No You Are Not” which directly referenced points in “FEMINIST” while pointing out some major flaws.
“Let’s break that patriarchy together, why do you hesitate?
Let’s destroy that 36.7 percent wage gap
Then you can ask your date to cover half the expenses whenever you want
We (men) get positions as CEOs, high-level employees, and politicains
Yet you’re talking about having to give up your seat on the subway, bus, and parking lot”
— “You Are Not” by Jerry.K
Then female rapper SLEEQ directly addresses San E’s claims in “Equalist”.
“The thing is, you’re saying things that even the old grandpas on Subway Line 1 don’t say any more
You say, ‘I’m no fucking prince’—did anyone even call you a prince to begin with?
‘I don’t hate women; rather, my problem is that I love women too much’
You’re debating about misogyny when you can’t even read the word; everyone except for you can see your level”
— “Equalist” by SLEEQ
In response to all the negative attention he got from the track, San E then countered with “69cm”, this time calling Jerry.K a fake feminist and saying that he had missed out on the original intent of “FEMINIST”.
“The meaning of my lyrics saying I read a book us that
The narrator with a point of view that narrow…ugh… let’s stop
Your brain and below-average level Megalia who need me to explain
Like this to understand my bad, sorry”
— “69cm” by San E
While Jerry.K was not biting San E’s dig and responded as such online…
대응할 노래 안만듭니다 행사 짤려서 화난 건 회사한테 화내시길 그전에 회사 입장도 한번 생각하시구요
— ᴊᴇʀʀʏ.ᴋ (@JerrykMusic) November 18, 2018
“I’m not making any song to respond to this one. If you’re angry about being cut from the event, then be mad at the company, but also think about it from their point of view before that.” — Jerry.K
San E’s “69cm” had some people wondering if they had misunderstood “FEMINST”. Shortly after posting “69cm”, the rapper also uploaded a message on Instagram that the original song wasn’t from his point of view but rather a character portrayal of the typical Korean male.
“First, the narrator introduces himself as a feminist and as a believer in gender equality. He then backs that statement up with a childish statement about how he puts women and his mother first. He says he has only read one book. In this case, it is easy for a thinker to become biased, and it is especially difficult to have a broad point of view in areas of expertise.”
— San E
Since most of the controversy surrounding this song stemmed from the fact that a lot of people thought those were his views in “FEMINIST”, if he was playing a character as he said, then it could change a lot of people’s views.
Read through San E’s full Instagram message below.
“Hello, this is San E. At first I thought that if I wrote an explanation about my latest song, it would be seen as an excuse. Since, I thought someone would understand the song’s true meaning, I thought it would be better to stay silent. But someone I love, a fan of 10 years, recently told me she felt betrayed and that she regretted becoming my fan. When I saw what she wrote to me, asking me if the lyrics were how I truly felt, I realized it didn’t matter if other people thought I was making an excuse.
‘FEMINIST’ is not a song expressing hatred towards women. If you listen to the song one more time, you’ll see that the narrator of the song is not me. I thought that people would understand what I was doing but it seems that my set-up was weak. The original meaning of the song is to criticize people like the narrator. Those that say they respect feminists, gender equality, and women on the outside but on the inside are hypocritical. I hope that this explanation can bring comfort to my friend and people who think like her.
First, the narrator introduces himself as a feminist and as a believer in gender equality. He then backs that statement up with a childish statement about how he puts women and his mother first. He says he has only read one book. In this case, it is easy for a thinker to become biased, and it is especially difficult to have a broad point of view in areas of expertise.
In the beginning, he makes a gesture towards being on the side of women but then the narrator’s true feelings start to emerge. The OECD’s report on the wage gap is a fact but the narrator is someone who believes in false rumors. He believes in random information found online rather than the facts.
As you know, I immigrated when I was young and have American citizenship. Therefore, military service is not something that I have a right to talk about. In order to protect his true self, the narrator begins making increasingly childish claims. In the end, he gets mad and later says its the systems fault. However, he still insists he’s a feminist.
The narrator does not represent all men and I am not even saying that most men think this way. Rational men and women respect and love each other. I won’t deny the existence of Megalia and Womad, but they are not feminists. They aren’t gender-equality groups. We recognize that this is a world in which women can become the targets of crime just for being women. I know that because I am not a woman, there will be difficulties that I will never face and will have trouble understanding. However, men also do not want to live in a world where people have to be afraid of crimes that could happen. I do not believe that attacking all men is a valid approach to this. I’m sorry. I hope that all the misunderstandings can be cleared up. I will humbly accept any and all criticism in the future.”