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Ok, so this was a bit of a difficult topic for us to handle, because there’s so little to talk about. For starters, we’re not Korean teenaged girls. Kinda makes talking about it more difficult. Hell: we’re not even Korean! Also kind of an obstacle when it comes to talking about teenage pregnancy in South Korea. And, since Korean teenage pregnancy is SOOOOO low – just about one of the lowest in the world – what can we really say about it apart from talking about its lack? It’s a great thing, yes, that teenagers aren’t getting pregnant in Korea, but we’re not sure if the reasons for it is because of “wholesome” values, or for the purposes of saving themselves for marriage, or anything like that. Our guess as to why there’s so little teenaged pregnancy is because there’s so little opportunity for teenagers to have sexual relationships, primarily due to lack of free time and privacy. That’s our guess, at least. If anyone has any better ideas, please feel free to share them. We’re not fully convinced by our own explanation on the subject, love to see different standpoints on this topic.

Also, kind of like how we said that there’s very little crime in Korea, that’s not to say it doesn’t exist. Similarly, though there’s very little teenaged pregnancy in Korea compared to the US, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, either. It happens. And when it happens, from what we heard, it’s really quite difficult for the pregnant teenager. We spoke with Soo Zee about it, and she told us that there are centers for pregnant teenagers, because – in many situations – they’re kicked out of the house and aren’t offered any support from the family. We have no statistics on this, mind you, so we can’t say that ALL houses do this, but it happens enough to worth mentioning. There were also instances a few years ago in which pregnant teenagers were forced to drop out of high schools, which shocks us. Like we mentioned in our video, we had classes with pregnant girls in them, and they had a lot of support from the school, and we couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Side note: anyone see the movie Juno? You should see the South Korean version, “Jenny, Juno“, which was made long before the Ellen Page version :D

Back to the point, we’re only speaking here about the small glimpses that other people got from watching documentaries or reading the news on the matter. Our first-hand experience with the matter is non-existent, because teenage pregnancy in South Korea not that big of an issue. If you have more info on the matter, let us know in the comments, and maybe we can all together get a better understanding of what the situation’s like.

When we were planning for this TL;DR, we spoke with a few people about it, and the topic did generally turn to sexuality in Korea, which – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE DON’T ASK US! We know so little about it, and can only tell you stories that other people told us, and that’d just be odd. “So, I knew a girl that _____” That’d be an awkward TL;DR. But I know that some of you Nasties take your name to heart, and probably will ask about it. PLOT TWIST: JUNSU IS SECRETLY A NASTY AND POSTS ON THE SITE.

ToFebruary
  1. Me too, it makes me oddly sad and hopeful

  2. As a Mexican in my 20s I dodged the teenage pregnancy thing. In past decades, until around the 80s it was still a very morally reprehensible thing to get pregnant in your teenage years… BUT only if you stayed single. A lot of marriages that produced my generation were what my family calls “engagement baby” marriages.

    In Mexico to get married you have to go the civil registry and before you get to sign your marriage certificate, you have to take a couple of talks, they cover contraception, and other things. In my brother’s first talk (he’s 30, has been married for about 3 years) they asked the couples to say why they were getting “legally” married. There were a couple of older couples who had been living together, had kids and everything but were not legally married. But among the younger than 30, everybody, EXCEPT by brother and sister in law, was getting married because they had gotten pregnant.

    Abortion has become legal in Mexico City, but as far as I know, that’s the only place. Everywhere else it has to pose a risk to the mother’s health as in could kill her or have major birth defects. If you are sexually assaulted and get pregnant, you can’t have an abortion. I mention this because there has been a couple of very loud scandals about minors getting sexually abused and getting pregnant as a result of the abuse who had to embark in legal battles to interrupt the pregnancies, some of this girls being as young as 12-14.

    I have friends form high school who got pregnant as teens and now have 2-3 kids, we are 27. We have grown so used to the idea that you look only with a little bit of sadness to the teen couple with a baby, teen mothers are often left alone, teen fathers often go have more children with other teens.

  3. Koreans’ sense of honor and shame is also much different from westerners’. The family is so important and in Korea the family is one unit; whatever happens to one family member happens to the entire family, too. Any shame a teenage pregnancy would bring to the girl, it would also be felt just as much, if not more by her family members and she would never be able to remove the stain from her and her family’s reputations. So the pressure to stay clean and pure in their eyes is heavy. Even unmarried adult women in their late 20s get scolded by their parents and pressured to have abortions for the shame having a baby out of wedlock would bring.

  4. yeah. That would be so awesome. Wouldn’t it be great that EYK was mentioned/talked/shown on a TV show?!

  5. can u tell us abt the haunted room in ur studio??

  6. Having lived in both a major US city and a Korean city, I have to say that Korean cities seem much less stressful in my experience. To Koreans, they know all the problems with Korea cities and they are surprised that foreigners express as sense of safety in Korea. In some neighborhoods in my city there are shootings and other forms of violence regularly, the one I lived in had a drug bust that resulted in a shooting the first week I moved in! If you walk anywhere alone in the city I lived in after dark you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings and prepared to defend yourself or run from danger. I know that foreigners may idealize Korea, but you have to understand what they’re comparing it to. However, there is a lot of domestic violence in Korea, which I think is not reported. :/

    Someone mentioned Itaewon being a safe place for foreigners… I have heard foreigners say that Itaewon is the place is Korea they fell the least safe! Which is interesting!

  7. Wait, the teachers told the kid to not use protection or told the teacher to not bother talking with the kid?
    Either way, I’m sorry for whoever had teachers from the US that are like that. It is completely opposite from every teacher I have ever had. My teachers always would say you shouldn’t have sex until you are married, but if you are having sex be smart and use protection.

  8. Great video! I’d also like to add another oberservation of mines. Ii believe status plays a role in the south korean society and so if a teenage korean were pregnant and the parents as well as others find out, then this will bring down the status level of the teenage girl and her family.

  9. Thanks Simon and Martina. I just spent my evening watching Jenny, Juno instead of doing my homework. >.<

  10. oh, I see. Yeah I was wondering about this question because although I guess you can find about Sasaengs online, but I was wondering more about what the korean general public thinks of Sasaengs/or if they really care, because tbh there’s really not a lot about that. But thanks anyway! :)

  11. Hi guys, this might not be the most exciting question ever but here it is. Seoul is one of the world most expensive city in the world to live in! How can middle class people survive on a daily basis in that metropolis? Are living condition of middle class people ok? I know it is a very large topic, but I would like to know more since you always say that street food is so affordable… is it really affordable for an average Korean?

  12. How about Haeshindang Park aka the Penis Park? Eh, eh?

  13. I’ve seen “Jenny, Juno.” I liked it even more than “Juno.” It doesn’t have the witty dialogue that everyone either loved or hated in “Juno,” but the love was much sweeter and pure. It used to be available online at Netflix, but now I think you can only order it on disk, at least for now.

  14. Isn’t child prostitution an issue in Korea? I think it was a huge deal a few years back. If I remember correctly.

  15. I think poverty and lack of education and birth control play a big role in Teen pregnancies. where I lived In Vieques PR was one of the worst districts in Puerto Rico for teen pregnancy. Vieques is also one of the poorest districts in Puerto Rico And Puerto Rico has a higher teenage pregnancy then the U.S. And since it’s a tiny Island outside of the mainland there isn’t much for teenagers to do with there time. Also majority of people are Catholics so birth control isn’t something that’s taught as much as it should be. It seem to me Parents and the the church want to teach there kids abstinence but the media, TV and the music industries are teaching them something different. What ever the reasons it’s definitely a big problem in my country. I wish we knew the magical formula on what’s working for South Korea so we could make it work here. Thank you S&M for touching on this subject.

  16. That would be AWSOME if Junsu was secretly a Nasty that posted on the site!! O.O I wonder…..

  17. Well, I went to a Catholic all-girls high school in NY and I think there was one teen pregnancy when I was there. I wasn’t sure what happened to that girl because she disappeared for most of my senior year, but then when graduation rehearsal came around she was noticeably pregnant. I’m not sure how the girl was able to graduate because she wasn’t even a good student, but I think she did like some kind of home school thing so she could at least complete her final year of high school.

  18. We want proof that Junsu is a nasty!

  19. TL;DR Question–Since you spend a lot of time discussing current Korean music, trends, events–could you tell us about some awesome old school Korean songs, traditions, rituals(folk/history-type things) that everyone still does? How do the old folks get down in Korea? Thanks!

  20. I think it’s better that the rate, for teenage pregnancy in South Korea, is low. That’s how it actually should be(it sets a good example). In highschool/college you barely have time to study (and prepare for the future) not to mention taking care of a kid. People have plenty of time afterwards to procreate. First you decide your way in life and find the financial material to support yourself (cause you can’t live off your parents’ “back” all your life) and then you can think about having children (wether you have enough money to assure the child a life and a proper growth and so on…)

    I was expecting to hear your oppinion on the matter in your blog post…

    ♥♥♥♥

    • Well… even if they did had more time I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t due to their values teaching system….and that’s how the Asian education works in general. There is a lot of competition and some parents like the Western kind won’t be satisfied with passing grades… not to mention jobs…there’s probably a lot of competition on those as well…

      I think this topic should be more brought up in schools . I’ve seen far too many teenage girls on the streets not being able to support their kid, they drop out of school obviously, so they’d start to work but don’t have the skills for it, and end up living a life of misery…well that would be different if the parents are rich and don’t mind the whole situation…

      Yeah you need a certain maturity when the time comes…

      • Yes I know… there is need of a balance… but don’t know if things would change in this life
        “you can indeed succeed even without a university degree.” I don’t know about that…

        • I was speaking in general :)) those are fortunate cases…about the money part…there are some countries (Romania) where there isn’t a balance between salaries and market prices or services… if you want to live a life where you don’t pay almost all your salary for taxes and house expenses you need a better salary… just speaking from personal experience…

  21. oh man, I thought Juno was a horrible movie, but now I want to see the korean take on it xD

  22. How do you learn to speak Korean? Does the Canadian Embassy offer Korean language courses? Do you take private courses or just study by yourself? I can only imagine how it is to not speak the language in a foreign country.

  23. DON’T HAVE SEX CAUSE YOU WILL GET PREGNANT AND DIE

  24. Oh my Gawd what? Why Kenyan? I’m Kenyan and i’m confused.

  25. Sex-ed was always weird. In my midwest American high school, I had sex ed classes starting in fifth grade. But I was so oblivious, and it took me until two years later to figure out what sex actually was, when I stumbled upon an explicit scene in a book. Now, looking back, it should’ve been obvious, haha! My Chinese parents avoided the subject at all costs.

  26. I spent most of my high school years at a school in a kind of…not bad, but not so financially well off neighborhood in northern California. And I never saw a single pregnant teenager. I heard there was one who did independent study through our school, but I never actually saw her or any other girls on campus (or even just in the city in general) who were pregnant.
    Although I think my school probably had more gay kids than your average high school. I was literally the only person in my group of friends who wasn’t gay/les/bi.

  27. I live in Ohio, in a high-middle class suburb. I knew one girl who got pregnant at 14, and three at 18. There was another girl in my school who pretended to be pregnant to get attention – and then tried getting out of it by saying she had a miscarriage because her sister punched her in the stomach. Yeah, right. Pregnancy is highly frowned upon here, but I personally knew many girls who were sexually active in middle school. I’m Chinese-American, and my mom always looks shocked everytime she hears about this kind of thing. I guess I’ve gotten used to it!

  28. Where i come from and i went to a girls school for about 10 years i never once saw a teen pregnancy even when i transferred to another high school and i graduated a few months ago. There was no such thing. Its generally looked down upon maybe you could say the middle class/upper class are more “understanding” i guess but forget about going to school as far as i know that will not work. You can even hear cases about someone being kicked out of their house. If there is ever a taboo in Kenya, its that.

  29. Ohhh love the new design ending!

    For my experience in highschool: There was a school in the area that forced teenaged pregnant girls out of school, so it does happen in Canada as well. Then those girls would end up transferring to my highschool. My school was very excepting of it and we even had a daycare set up on campus for the girls to use.

    Otherwise, great job handling a difficult topic!

  30. Interesting ! I feel that in Canada we tend to have a bad image of teenage pregnancy. Not bad in the sense of kicking them out of school, but in the sense of thinking “poor girl, she just screwed up her life”. I spent a long time in Japan and was surprised to see many young – very very young – mothers, and I talked about this to a Japanese friend. He told me that in Japan there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a baby at a young age, and that nobody would pity the girl for this. I don’t know if it was only his opinion, but I found this quite interesting. I was wondering if it was the same in Korea.

  31. I’m super curious about this, are there any prostitutes in Korea?

  32. best game ever ^^. Who is he/she ?

  33. ok can you have a another thing about north korea my kid lives in japan and he scared so you must have new ideas

  34. By the way, if you are lookng for t-shirt ideas, I think that a square of the TL;DR opening text would make a great shirt. If someone knows what it means, it’s cool, if not, it’s still safe for work and looks neat and you can feel superior in your nastiness wearing it. ;)

  35. I don’t know about teen pregnancies in particular but being an unwed mother in Korea is not acceptable. That is why I and tens of thousands of others were abandoned/given up for adoption. There are several offices throughout Korea, last summer I visited the one in Gangnam. Not only do they have the babies reception home but also a home for the young mothers, who would otherwise may have to live on the street.

    A 2008 survey showed that unwed mothers are the second most discriminated group in Korea after LGBT-individuals. They also get less child support from the government than women who have a husband.

    Here are two articles about the subject:

    http://www.koreaherald.com/lifestyle/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20091113000068

    http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20111123000239

  36. I also find this subject very interesting. And as a european nasty(swedish, to be exact) I can also compare to how it is here. As far as I can remember from school there was only a few cases of pregnancies. Also in school we got to know how our bodies worked in 5th grade, when we were 11. You know all about having your…time of the month *cough cough* n why you have that.

    So I guess my point is the different cultures are very interesting, expecially comparing them. I’m not sure if the all over look at sexuality in the different areas also has to do with it. But this definately made me wanna do more research ^^

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