The Week Unwrapped: Tracking apps, BTS and stay-at-home girlfriends

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Arion McNicoll, Leaf Arbuthnot and Sorcha Bradley.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Covid tracking apps

China turned off its Covid-tracking app on Monday, as part of a wider loosening of coronavirus restrictions. The demise of the national app is a significant milestone – and a symbol of the limitations of the high-tech approach to the virus that was once thought to hold the key to eliminating the virus, in China and beyond. As the last bastion of the zero-Covid policy makes a sharp U-turn, what can we say now about how democracies and dictatorships handled the pandemic?

BTS and K-pop

Jin, a member of the South Korean boyband BTS, has enrolled for compulsory military service – a universal male requirement given his country’s tense relationship with its neighbour. The announcement (and the images of the singer with his military buzzcut) have provoked two very different debates: is this the end for BTS and the international success of K-pop more generally; and will it have any impact on South Korea’s international standing?

Stay-at-home girlfriends

A growing number of young women are choosing to stay out of the workplace and live off their boyfriends’ salaries, according to several recent reports. While some commentators have suggested that TikTok and other social platforms are giving the supposed trend undue prominence, others believe that it’s real. “There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here,” Harriet Fletcher of Anglia Ruskin University told i news. “This seems to be part of a wider trend in recent years where young women are reclaiming certain gender roles, or certain types of femininity that were previously labelled as regressive.” Who is right?



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