Perhaps the most stunning plot twist in any nation’s history is unfolding right now in South Korea. President Park Geun-hye has just come forward to apologize for secretly using her authority to carry out the wishes of a mysterious woman named Choi Sun-sil – the same woman who has also been implicated in a bizarre conspiracy theory involving “The Eight Goddesses,” a group of powerful billionaire women who control South Korea from the shadows.
The Shadow Government Becomes Public
This week, Park held a press conference where she admitted that Choi, who has no official government post, had helped the president edit her speeches. Their political relationship stretched back to Park’s 2012 presidential election campaign, when Park tapped Choi for assistance on public relations issues. She did not specify the duration of her connection with Choi.
The announcement sparked outrage throughout South Korea, as Choi is currently under investigation for potentially using her sway over Park to draw $68 million in donations from Korean multinationals, ostensibly made to benefit sports foundations. Choi allegedly diverted the money through a German sports company that she controls with her daughter.
Park and Choi originally met in the 1970s, when Choi’s father – a former Buddhist monk who was accused of taking bribes from government officials – acted as a mentor figure to Park. Choi’s ex-husband served as Park’s chief adviser during her time at the National Assembly, the country’s legislature.
The latest reports claim that Choi has fled South Korea, her whereabouts currently unknown
“It’s Actually a System Where Choi Tells the President to Do Things”
While the surface ties between Park and Choi already seem strong, certain underground reports claim that the conspiracy runs even deeper. A former Choi associate named Lee Sung-han claims that Choi had almost total control over Park’s presidency. She would receive thousands of pages of reports from the administration on a daily basis and Choi would use the information to dictate Park’s schedule and positions on national issues.
“It’s a real break with common perceptions to say this, but it’s actually a system where Choi tells the President to do things this way or that way. There aren’t any issues where the President can decide on her own,” Lee told The Hankyoreh, Korea’s most trusted newspaper. “It’s basically only possible once Choi has been asked about and approves everything.”
Personnel decisions in major government departments, government policy, public speeches, foreign affairs, national security – Choi, not Park, was the person who had the final say in some of the most crucial calls that a world leader must make.
The Eight Goddesses
Prior to Park’s press conference, rumors surrounding Choi and her heavy involvement in Park’s administration had surfaced on the internet. On sites like 4chan, where trolls are often accused of hatching elaborate hoaxes to deceive other gullible users, stories of a South Korean shadow government had surfaced over the years but were quickly swept away by a wave of doubt.
A recent 4chan post has spun the revelations surrounding Park and Choi to the next dimension. The anonymous poster claims that Choi is actually part of a secret society called “The Eight Goddesses” that is “ruling Korea from behind.”
“The 8 powerful Korean billionaire women formed secret society and ruled Korea from behind the veil,” the poster wrote. “They made decisions, from Park’s text of speeches, reforming taxes by their own, maintaining national treasury, deciding every diplomatic moves from toe to toe, assigning secretaries and ministers by their own.”
The post goes on to insist that Choi, who is just one of the Eight Goddesses, is actually a psychic who used her mystic powers to indoctrinate Park from the age of 23, pointing to photos that have been unearthed of a young Park and Choi together. Politicians who tried to warn the public about Choi and the Eight Goddesses were allegedly sent to jail, while Choi managed to escape to Germany before evidence of her corruption became public.
“This is just the beginning… there’s more leaks to come… this is reality,” the post finishes.
So far, the evidence has yet to surface that would directly point to the existence of the Eight Goddesses, a concept which ostensibly seems so far-fetched that it would not be surprising if the poster lifted it from his own imagination. However, several South Korean commenters have begun to draw parallels between the possible existence of an all-female shadow government and the rise of the “Megalians,” radical feminists that have been deemed an “anti-man hate group.”
Park – essentially acting as a proxy for Choi and, perhaps, the Eight Goddesses – spearheaded cultural enrichment as one of her main concerns during her presidency. She created the Committee for Cultural Enrichment and instituted a monthly “Culture Day” in order to encourage Korean citizens to attend museums and cultural events.
Her obsessive focus on cultural matters led Park to butt heads with the Culture Ministry. Any officials who did not agree with the Park administration on cultural matters were promptly fired and replaced, with Choi secretly guiding Park on whom to select to fill the vacancies. A supposed blacklist of roughly 10,000 cultural figures that were accused of being critical toward Park’s government was created. Funding to cultural organizations was stripped if they questioned the changing landscape.
Choi directly benefited from the enhanced control over the culture ministry by establishing the Mir Foundation in October 2015 and the K-Sports Foundation in January of this year. The organizations allowed her to solicit money from well-heeled donors and corporations in exchange for influence and governmental favors.
Enter the Megalians
The tightening grip on South Korea’s culture, however, has potentially allowed Choi and the Eight Goddesses to promote its own brand of feminism that is most thoroughly embodied by the Megalians. The name comes from a portmanteau of the acronym MERS, which stands for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome and refers to a virus that plagued Korea in 2015, and Egalia, which refers to a feminist text in which gender roles are entirely reversed.
Its followers, which alternately call themselves “Megalians” or “Daughters of Megalia,” have been branded as violent misandrists. Although they claim to simply “mirror” the misogyny that women allegedly face in South Korea, critics of the Megalians believe that it is simply an excuse to rationalize their excessive and dangerous amount of anti-male vitriol.
Back in 2015, the Megalians set their sights on Mind C., a Korean cartoon artist who criticized the plastic surgery culture among women in South Korea. They allegedly vandalized his house, threatened to kidnap and kill his family, and crippled his cell phone by constantly sending thousands of snuff pictures. Mind C. retaliated with a costly lawsuit, forcing the Megalians to come up with a hefty sum of money.
They began selling T-shirts online in order to raise funds for their defense. When a female voice actor named Kim Jayeon tweeted a pic of herself wearing one of the shirts, however, she lost her gig with gaming company Nexon. While the company honored her contract and paid her the full amount of what she was owed, Nexon cited the wishes of its player base as the reason behind the decision.
Kim’s firing led to an all-out protest on the part of the Megalians. “They started a boycott campaign against Nexon pretending this is some kind of misogyny patriarchy incident and oppression against all females and free speech,” one South Korean commenter wrote on 4chan, providing photo evidence of some of the Megalians’ more outlandish protests.
The user goes on to describe how the Megalians began spinning the story on social media, claiming that Nexon only fired Kim because she dared to espouse feminist ideology. They allegedly ramped up their rhetoric, calling on Korean women to abort their male babies and demanding that they carry out acts of violence against men.
On their online communities, Megalians frequently posted pictures of disfigured male genitalia for commenters to celebrate and laugh at. They commonly refer to the Korean War as a “meat party” or “barbecue party,” in order to insult the large number of Korean male victims as simple meat shields for American soldiers. Some Megalians posed as gay men to gain access to private communities so that they could out the members.
So far, the only direct link that has been established is the one between President Park and Choi; no ties have yet been discovered between Choi, the Eight Goddesses, and the Megalians. Given that the connection between Park and Choi had been relegated to the realm of conspiracy theory until this week, though, it is safe to assume that the situation in South Korea will grow more convoluted as more information is brought to light.
The massive cultural power grab on the part of Park/Choi that just happens to coincide chronologically with the rise of a terroristic feminist group like the Megalians seems similarly hard to dismiss as a conspiracy. If the mysterious Eight Goddesses of South Korea actually exist, what could possibly be a more fitting way for the group to assert its shadowy dominance over the country than to upend the “patriarchy” and everything that goes along with it?