While Squid Game is quickly becoming one of Netflix‘s largest titles, it is not exempt from critique. In fact, many Korean viewers have been calling out the show for misogyny. According to Korean viewers, the show has portrayed women in a misogynistic light. But the director, Hwang Dong Hyuk, has denied the accusations.
In particular, with regards to the character of Han Minyeo, viewers found it misogynistic that she used sex in order to survive as well as to gain monetary means. In the show, she uses sex to cozy up to the gangster boss in order to come under his protection. Not only that, but the painted figures in the VIP room were also exclusively female and were used as decoration, which many viewed as an objectification of women.
In response to these accusations, 8director Hwang Dong Hyuk explained that the character of Han Minyeo showed that she was someone that would do anything in such an extreme situation. He simply thought that it was a portrayal of human behavior and survival instincts in the worst situations. On the other hand, he defended that not all of the painted figures were female.
It was to show the actions of someone who can do anything (to survive) in an extreme situation. I thought that it was an action that a human would do when placed in the worst situation.
[With regards to the painted figures], I thought that it was a show of those with power and just how far they would belittle other humans. Not all the painted figures were female. Every VIP would have had a female and a male next to them like a figure. It’s not accurate to say that it is an objectification of women. I used body painting to show how the VIPs objectify humans.
— Hwang Dong Hyuk