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Dog Poo Girl (Korean: 개똥녀 ; Revised Romanization: Gae-Ttong-Nyeo), also translated as “Dog Shit Girl,” “Puppy Poo Girl,” “Dog Dung Girl,” is the nickname given to a woman who refused to clean her dog’s feces after the dog defecated on a subway car in Seoul, Korea.
Another person who was on the same car submitted her photograph of the incident to popular online forums and the story quickly attracted the attention of Korean netizens and bloggers. Within hours of the posting of the photograph, much of her personal information was posted online and soon enough, she was harassed and humiliated with netizens asking for punishment.
On June 5, 2005, the woman brought her dog onboard the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, Line 2, near Ahyun Station. One passenger, who only identified herself as Miss Kim describes what happened next (translated):
The dog pooped right next to the old man and [the girl] was embarrassed so she said to dog, “What’s wrong? You have not done that before!” She had many bags to carry so she was embarrassed. She didn’t know what to do at the time. So my girlfriend took out a tissue from her bag and gave it to her and the old man, me and my girlfriend, gave her some space. She said thank you. And she sat down and cleaned the dog’s anus with the tissue. I was ten meters distance from her. “Hey, you have to clean the poop, too. If you bring the dog, you have to be responsible for that,” I yelled at her.
From that time, people started paying attention to her. The ajumma who was near her, said, “Hey, you have to clean! Clean! Clean the poop!” The ajumma pushed and threw a red rag at her to use to clean.
I took out my camera and I was taking pictures and pushing her to clean the poop, but she didn’t say anything. She was just looking at her dog and petting it. The subway way train got to Ahyun Station and when the doors open, she got off. At that time, she said something rude to the ajumma.
[Note: Ajumma, Revised Romanization for 아줌마, means old woman but has negative connotations]
The infamous pictures were taken by “Miss Kim” with a digital camera and camera phone. When she returned home, she posted the images online to her personal blog, (Now 404’d) which was on [insert popular website here].
The Investigation / Attacks
She quickly became one of the hottest search terms after other bloggers labeled her as “개똥녀”, or Dog-shit-girl.
Her identity and her past were completely revealed within hours.
As blogger Don Parker explains:
Within hours, she was labeled gae-ttong-nyue (dog shit girl) and her pictures and parodies were everywhere. Within days, her identity and her past were revealed. Requests for information about her parents and relatives started popping up and people started to recognize her by the dog and the bag she was carrying as well as her watch, clearly visible in the original picture. All mentions of privacy invasion were shouted down. … The common excuse for their behavior was that the girl doesn’t deserve privacy.
Users also repeatedly called the university that she attended.
However, according to the Gusts of Popular Feeling blog,
A week later the Hankyoreh spoke of ‘unspeakable verbal abuse unleashed on…the so-called “dog shit woman”’, and the Korea Times wrote that ‘some Web surfers revealed her name, age and school after seeing the picture at many Web sites’, and just a few days ago the Herald wrote that ‘thousands visited her personal Web page to criticize her’, none of these sound as serious as the situation Don Park described on his blog (for example, they never mentioned the calls for names of family members).
In the internet frenzy, Dog Shit Girl was also “mashed up” with posters from Korean pop culture:
People started to recognize her on the street by her dog, her bag, and her watch . The woman reportedly left her university out of humiliation.
Desperate and pleading for sympathy, the woman posted an apology along with a picture of her dog [insert date here]:
I know I was wrong, but you guys are so harsh. I regretted it, but I was so embarrassed at the time that I just wanted to leave the poop there. I was very irritable because many people looked at me and pressured me to clean the poop. Anyhow, I’m sorry. But, if you keep harassing me on the Internet I will sue all the bullies and in the worst case scenario, I will will commit suicide. So please stop.
Interest in her has dwindled, and people rarely talk about her anymore, except in the context of discussing Internet Vigilantism.
The incident received a lot of media attention in Korea first, but it later became famous as an example of the cruelty of Korean netizens in Western news outlets after the story was posted by Don Park in his blog. Don Park’s post is posted to Fark soon afterwards, and eventually, the story soon spread to Western news outlets; one of the most notable articles is from The Washington Post.
Korean Herald Article:
Twenty-four percent said it violated privacy, while 26.2 percent believed that witch hunts are necessary. Apparently, ‘979 cases of cyber witch hunts were reported last year. There were only 33 reported cases in 2001. Defamation of character complaints increased from 245 in 2001 to 1,306 this year’.
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