South Korean radical feminists have been kicking ass in the last few years, with movements like “Take off the Corset” that sees them rejecting cosmetics and strict South Korean beauty norms in droves; organizing massive protests against the depravity of male voyeurism via webcams stashed in bathrooms and hotel rooms; and creating their own female-exclusive spaces online and in the real world.
But one of the most radical and seemingly-harsh movements to emerge from South Korea is the 4B or “4 Nos” movement: no dating men, no having sex with men, no marrying men, and no having children for men.
It’s not the first time women have banded together to issue a sex ban. The Greek comedy Lysistrata by Aristophanes comes to mind, probably one of the earliest examples in literature of women “withholding” sex to persuade men to change their behavior. More recently in 2003 during the second Liberian civil war, the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace encouraged its members to stop having sex with their male partners in order to end the fighting. (And it worked! Within months, the two warring sides were engaged in peace talks.)
So is it time for women in the west to follow their lead?
It may already be happening. Birth rates in North America and Europe have declined, mimicking similar trends in Asian countries, including South Korea. The most popular dating apps are skewed heavily male, showing that women aren’t exactly falling all over themselves to date men. Women are more inclined to pursue a college degree and/or a high-paying career than a wedding ring. And despite the sex-positivity movement touted by liberal feminists, millennials and gen-Zs are two of the most sexless generations in recent history.
So while there may not be a formal movement in the west at the moment, these numbers seem to indicate a growing trend of women taking a good look at what men have to offer and opting out.