Eyes around the globe have been glued to their TV sets as the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games have been underway since Friday, Feb. 9 to much hurrah. However, tabloids have been filled with not the outstanding accomplishments of athletes, but rather, the newfound admiration of North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo-jong, who has been turning heads for her defiant attitude. Between attempting to amend relations with South Korea government personnel to giving a “side-eye” to United States Vice President Mike Pence, according to CNN, Yo-jung has earned a reputation in the Olympic Games that has earned her more prominence than many of the competing athletes. Dig a little deeper though and you’ll find that Yo-jung is one of the top political aides to her brother’s regime and in fact, serves as the director of the propaganda and agitation department of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Breaking that down, this title essentially means that Yo-jung is in charge of propagandizing Un’s repressive regime and in short, promotes the public execution of North Koreans as a way of empowering the regime and stressing loyalty to their Supreme Leader.
What this issue ultimately comes down to is the media discovering minor positive qualities in an individual and blowing them out of proportion in an attempt to generate positive support for a political figure many of us had little to know knowledge of before the 2018 Olympic Winter Games began. Regardless of the media’s intentions in focusing on a few minor promising qualities of Yo-jong, such as her attempts to amend relations with South Korea’s government, as consumers of the media, we must all be wary of assuming that certain emphasized positive traits of an individual determine that that individual is ultimately a “good” person. Any individual is bound to have at least a few positive qualities, even if their negative qualities ultimately outweigh their positive ones. Thus, just because the media has uncovered some promising attributes of Yo-jung, doesn’t mean that we should dedicate our time toward admiring her as much as we have begun to do since the games began. Rather, we should be smart consumers of the media, do our own research, and come to conclusions about Yo-jung based on her political affiliations as a whole, because ultimately, these are the activities that determine who she is as a person and what her political intentions are.
Above all, during the Olympic Games, our focus should not be on the worthiness of certain political leaders of our praise and admiration, but rather on the athletes themselves who have dedicated years of hard work and energy toward getting to the Olympics.