Sweet Distraction? North Korea’s feminine touch at Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — To pour on the charm at the Pyeongchang Olympics, North Korea has turned to ball-gown clad singers, pompom-waving cheerleaders and two of its most influential women.

And the media, the South Korean public and the Olympic audience worldwide seem to be thoroughly enjoying the spectacle.

But should they be?

Despite the focus on campy weirdness and implications of salaciousness, the North’s feminine touch in Pyeongchang is a potent and deliberately manipulative political statement.

Young and attractive women, intended to put a “soft” face on the North’s totalitarian regime, have long been one of the ruling Kim family’s favorite propaganda tools.