Ok, this is a very touchy subject. Our last week’s TL;DR was mostly about how women have high standards for men. This TL;DR touches on men’s perspective, but then it spins off into issues of gender inequality, which is a giant can of worms to deal with. We’re not as thorough in this subject as many other sources you can find online. All we can do is offer you the stories we’ve been told and the discussions we’ve had.

So, when we started thinking about this TL;DR, we really wanted the video to be just a few seconds long. Guys want a pretty girl. Subscribe for more. GONG! That would be pretty effective, in my opinion. It wouldn’t say that much in the video, but it would say a lot altogether. All guys want is a pretty girl, and the brevity of the video would match the superficiality of the requirements. Brilliant! But then we decided to talk about it a bit more, because we were worried that people will think that men are just shallow a-holes.

Story time: a friend’s friend was looking to be set up with a girl. He’s not particularly attractive, but he’s got top grades in a top program in a top university. And so his requirements for the girl was for her to be SMOKING hot. Why? Because he’s got a great life set out for him, as will whatever girl he marries. Also, he worked really hard to get to where he is now, so he needs an appropriate girl to reflect his achievements. The phrase “trophy wife” definitely screams out at this moment. And, you know what? Even though this sounds ridiculous to us, he’ll totally get a smoking hot girl because of his circumstances.

Why doesn’t he want a girl that’s more than just really pretty? It’s not so much that men are utterly shallow, but more that women are oftentimes overwhelmingly pressured into dropping their careers and dedicating their lives to being stay at home wives, so a woman’s career stability isn’t an issue, since she going to be provided for once they’re married.

And, yes, things are changing now, and women are more and more continuing to pursue their careers, but their treatment at home at times hasn’t caught up to speed with their career fulfilment, in that they’re still required to do all the work of a housewife, on top of balancing their careers. That SUPER sucks, IMO.

More story time: we know of a Korean woman who, when she started her job, she was getting promotions left right and centre, up until she hit her mid 30s, when she hit a career roadblock. She wasn’t getting the big projects anymore, wasn’t growing in her career anymore, and she was frustrated, up until her late 30s, when she started getting promotions and big gigs again. Why the plateau at her mid 30s? Because it was assumed that she was going to get married and pregnant soon, that’s why. HARSH.

For women who are deciding to pursue their careers instead of their relationships, they’re still suffering from unfair treatment at work, not only for being a woman, but for being single as well. Who’s gonna get the shitty shift with terrible hours? The boss isn’t going to make the woman married with kids have that role! That’d be unfair! So give it to the single lady who has nothing to go home to. This is especially true for high school teachers. No one wants to teach the third grade, the university prep grade, because you have to work from 6AM to Midnight. We know of some high school teachers who will plan to get pregnant right around the level-assigning season, so that they can have an reason NOT to be given that position. But if you’re unmarried? Screw you: you get the job that no one wants.

So, yeah, we’re getting side tracked here. TL;DR – guys want pretty girls because that’s all that matters if you’re going to be a stay at home wife, while women pursuing their careers are treated unfairly.

To us, it seems like these ideal types that we’ve been talking about for the past two weeks are emphasizing the most pragmatic approach to pursuing an old-fashioned relationship. For other people – like in our case, for example – marriage is a joining of two life-partners, that want to be happy together and want to experience life together and to share experiences and stories and such. We got married for love, not for family economics, and though both are not mutually exclusive, the description of the ideal types suggests that old models for relationship are emphasized above love for marriage. Does that make sense?

Every country has different approaches, I’m sure, so we’d love to hear what things are like for you where you grew up.

Yeah! That’s it for this week. I hope you found this topic interesting, because we sure did. If you like these TL;DRs, subscribe for more! Speaking of marriage for love, our WANK is almost ready to be uploaded, and the video’s about us going on date night and showing you what we did. OOOH SO SAPPY. No, but seriously, how many of you could understand what we were saying to each other at the end of the video? Hands up if you did. Two hands up if you were slightly disturbed by our weirdness :D

  1. Everyone here is like, “let’s all move to Sweden!”
    While Sweden does a great job in gender equality, remember that it is HARD to be a Swedish immigrant or a citizen.
    Because of the conflict with Muslims throughout Europe, EU in fact, is shutting down immigration doors.
    France is currently not accepting immigration, or not very easily at least.
    So good luck with that. I personally like a society like Sweden,
    but I would rather put the effort to change the community I live in,
    instead of getting shitload of paperwork done and learning a new language.
    It will be strenuous, but will be worth it in the long run.

  2. Rewatching this I’m reminded of the cultural components we sometimes came across when I was studying in Japan. Among the many grammatical examples along the lines of “my Dad has this and that job” and “mr Tanaka’s wife is very good at cleaning” (and never the opposite, that is. It was a strong tendency), one of them was “if you earn a lot of money, you can have a pretty wife!” And that wasn’t even an example sentence. It was the teacher who said it. I almist threw up right then and there.

  3. I mean the ideas don’t differ that much. I mean in South Africa you do get guys who want a girl who will just cook clean and do all the house work, which is all fair and good and like some korean men they may not want their wives to persure a career but they could make here do it if she wanted to but she would still need to perform the roles of a house wife as well. Which in some cases people may find okay or unfair. I for one live in a home where my father was medically rid off from the army cause of an injury that he had. In all honesty its hard for him to find work but the main bread winner was my mom who worked at her job for a while she then just retired is year but all seems well cause my dad has got work now. But in all the roles will depend on how people a raised because you can find that teens or youth these days still think that the traditional way of dating is okay but it all depends on an individuals view on the subject. I for one would not mind being a stay at home mom but i would first like to do my career before i get a family.

  4. Keeping half of the population uneducated and their minds untapped can be disastrous in the long run. I have a Korean friend who threw away her career as a brilliant nuclear physicist (masters in nuclear physics) because her new husband couldn’t bare the fact that his new wife was incredibly smart. Even though she earned more than him and obviously had more potential, he didn’t want to be embarrassed and demanded that she have a baby immediately.

    Reading some of these comments make me grateful for my Korean girlfriend. She is hard working, refuses to let me pay anything more than what is fair, and is my equal in each and every way. She is very pretty, but is not subservient to me in any way. While I would welcome her raising our kids at home if we were ever to have any, it is just as much my responsibility and just as feasible for it to be me who works and chips in at home. Marriage is teamwork, not servitude.

  5. About women not being hired or promoted when in their mid-30s, my Japanese relatives were telling me about that happening in Japan.
    As for marrying for love, I feel like Korea is at one extreme and America is at another. Koreans apparently don’t marry for love as much as they do for family economics. Where as ALOT of Americans marry purely for love/lust and don’t pay any attention to family economics, the evidence being our high divorce rate, and fact that the most common reasons for divorce are money related.
    I think marrying because you both have common goals in life and similar interests is just as vain as marrying someone because of their career or status. My dad likes gaming, my mom likes watching costume dramas and looking at fashion magazines. My dad studied to be an engineer, my mom was an art major. But they both have mutual respect for each others interest, and honestly that’s all I think is necessary. The most important thing is respect and have the same life principles and values.
    I think there could be a balance between the practicality of Korean marriage and the emotion of American marriage :)

  6. Where I come from, men look for women with jobs. It’s mostly arranged marriage where the girl and guy don’t meet until the engagement day. The girl doesn’t even have to be that pretty as long as she has a paying job!

  7. I understood what you were saying in the end! I’m not kidding, I’ve been watching your videos for so long, I started baby talking a few years ago, and it’s spread to my brother. I am ABSOLUTELY sure it will spread to my boyfriend whenever I find one. XD Enjoyed the shabu shabu, I hope. :)

  8. So as far as Mirotic being your favorite, I think Breath, by Beast was a pretty ground breaking MV, but still…sigh…not the best.

  9. I think the girl from Mirotic is very pretty. What do you think?

  10. Do you guys plan to have kids? Other then Spudgy and Meemers?

  11. I’m not sure if this was already asked, but why is there so much playback/lypsinc in Kpop?

  12. since we’re talking about gender roles i was wondering, how do koreans feel about how that is depicted in dramas, like when male characters grab a girl and pull her around or when they try to make it “romantic” for a dude to call a chick ugly and stupid or when gu jun pyo…well ALL of boys over flowers really. since they are so worried about junsu thrusting on tv i was wondering if they are worried about what sort of impact things like this could have on thier young women especially.

  13. Martina said something along the lines: Ducky I love you. I’m really really hungry. Where are we going to eat?
    Simon: We are going to go somewhere after the shoot.
    Martina: Are you going to wait for me [something something meemers?] ?
    I’m not really sure about the last one…lol

  14. Carolynn

    I understand about gender equality–and I think its super important! I love my husband, and when we got married I was very happy to quit my job making cheeseburgers to pursue my dream of owning my own knitting/blog business full time! I also married for love. My husband does not help out around the home a lot, but thats really because he works 60 plus hours a week. Poor thing. But, he LOVES his job (works for the mounted police in Canada–he’s not a police man, he does programing for their radios) I love our relationship and the things we do to help each other.

  15. That was kind of the way that was in my country (México) a couple of decades ago my grandma still grew up with that kind of mentality, that the wife must stay at home, clean the house, cook, do the loundry, take care of the children and be ready when her husband came. But recently everyting is more equal it doesnt matter if she has a better job, if it brings more money to the house is welcome, it doesn’t matter if she doesn’t know how to cook, in fact all those thing are becoming more irrelevant, boys now want girls with ambition, with things in common to pursue, the newest generations are more like: both of them contribute to have a nice home; there’s nothing weird in men cleaning the house, or cooking (i can say that my uncle cooks almost better than my aunt) of course the “machismo” is very present even now but i can say that things are getting better. Women now have the same oportunities as men in almost every area (we still have some to improve), in the house most of the parents tell their kids( boy or girl) that the most important thing is to study and go to the university, and to have a good job. Of course there are some pressure from old people (the aunt that never fails in telling “when are you going to get married?” while your mom is more like: “you better not have any children until you finish colleage” so yeah now it has really changed a lot, and i can say that for the way that my family has raised me i would rather pursue my dreams first and become independent than marry at a young age, NO WAY. What i want in a partner is someone who can understand me and can ecourage me in my dreams and goals, someone who can be like my bestfriend, and one of the things that i’d like the most someone who i can laugh until my sotomach hurts, and of course i’d do the same for him, i think love is give and take, you can not ask for something that your not willing to give
    And there’s a phrase: Love is about flying together but not tied… (something like that, dont know how to translate it well)

    PS. I love the way you love and support each other, really guys you are a very good role model for marriage, .<

  16. all i thought of when you guys started furbie talk… :/

  17. Well, lmao, looks like I don’t meet requirements to get married in Korea.

    Maybe when I was 18 that would’ve made me sad but 10 years older and wiser and I figure I probably won’t get married and even if I ever did, I definitely won’t have kids (a matter that would be discussed with anyone who could likely be a life partner).
    In the meantime…
    *continues learning new hobbies and playing video games*

  18. Lee Baumann Hogwan Specialist
    Lee Baumann Hogwan Specialist

    Hey guys, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The name’s Lee. Maybe we could talk about the gay ideal man in Korea. Even though, through your older videos (older TL;DR’s) you have mentioned homosexuality in Korea. However, I’m an avid Asian studies student. I’ve come to find out that people in the Philippines and Japan pay men to have relations with them. But they are not seen dating. Now, I know that this has changed over the years, but it’s still a thing. I just want to know from your homosexual friends if there are any ideals, seeing as gay men kinda go against the mainstream (because they’re totally hipster that way).
    I’ve been a long time watcher, even since your older posts (yes, including the ones you wanted to send only to your parents to let them know you’re okay) and I was wondering when are you going to bring the challenges back for the W.A.N.K.’s? If they’re not coming back, please let me know. You can even send it to my email.

  19. although my dad works longer shifts and earns more, his job means he has 3 days off a week, and that he’s home during the day 2 days a week, so he cooks 5 days a week and is a much better cook than my mum! lol

  20. Gender inequality in the workplace gives me a headache simply by thinking about it. It’s interesting that a lot of ladies (such as myself) start thinking about work/maternal lifestyle balance way before they even have kids, or are even in a relationship.

    It’s funny that I watched this Ted talk video yesterday that helped clear my mind on when the big elephant that is pregnancy pops in the corporate room. I encourage others to listen to it as well. It’s about the lack of women in leadership roles. The beginning does raise some eyebrows but when it starts getting more enlightening towards the end. esp. at the 3 pts/solutions she raises.


    The point about going back is really what gets me.

  21. Here in Germany We don`t have the Ideals like which uniiversity you coming from, what your working blah. Its about if you love each other that much, then get married.. After the womans pregnancy ,you get 8 weeks automatic as maternity.THEN you can get the Maternity leave( Parentstime) The funny Fact is you can choose who can have it.. Like the woman is working and the men use the Mother Holiday ( 3Years.) Or both together. Until the baby is old enough. for the Kindergarten(german word tehe)

    It think my country is really open, even that we have dark sites too. But I mean our federal Chancellor is a Woman LOL

    It was a big change for everyone.

  22. Martina, your hair looks AMAZING here btw. Just thought I would tell ya.

  23. Where I am it’s kind of looked down upon to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. Because women CAN pursue careers now we simply HAVE to. I’m pursuing my career, which is one of the reasons why the man I’m with is with me; he loves that I know what I want and that I’m working hard to get there. However, after he and I were together for a while I decided that if we had kids I’d be a stay-at-home Mom and put my career on hold until the kids were in school. I’d probably try to work from home, though… But, I mostly want to do that because I’d NEVER trust anyone with my kids, lol.

  24. In my country, married women usually both have a job and do housework, while men just work and do no housework…So unfair!

  25. omg are all families like this..?

  26. Bubalooy

    I literally had to pause the video for about three minutes just to laugh at Martina’s bagel face XD

    So am I the only one thinking a bagel shirt would be awesome? Something like “The perfect woman” with a picture of a bagel underneath. And nobody would truly understand but the Nasties!

  27. I’M Indian, but for most of my life (like literally from primary school) i was brought up in Oman and Bahrain (Arab countries). so in my household, we have mix of Indian culture and Arab culture and not to mention the occasional are worlds that pop into our conversation. this later changed coz i moved to England and now we have the influences of the English culture too. now when it comes to thins such as fining the your Prince Charming or Princesses Charming, our extended families still look into the fact that the person is INDIAN. so we literally start from the nationality. (Some of my family members even asked me if i have an English BF, where even one went unto the extent of asking me, if i’ve lost ‘it’ to an English guy!! weird!) then of course comes the education. the guy should at least have an MBA or an advanced degree. then we also do have the culture of giving dowry (which is like a cash or jewellery or property that the girl’s parents gig tot he guy for taking care of their little girl. ridiculous i know!) so, it all comes down to, 1. the guy should be from a well off family, must be educated in a good university and if he is educated abroad he is Superman,. 3. he should have a great job and if he is working abroad, he is Avengers put together. now mind you, in the Indian culture, arranged marriage still exist. so when the guy’ family is looking for a girl, they do want their daughter -in-law to be again from a well off family, educated, but not as much as the guy, should have a job which she should quit after the marriage, and she should be at least an inch shorter than the guy. so, it’s mostly like the guy will protect you kinda thing. however, with this being said, the mentality of men and with more modernisation, things are changing now. men are looking fro girls who are well educated (to have a decent conversation), a good job, a fantastic fashion sense, really good English, skills such as driving, scuba diving and stuff. the arab culture is also changing in this perspective, as men are allowing their wives to work and be another bread winner.

    Now mind you, i’m an talking about the general population. things and opinions vary for every family and individual. my family…..we are bit crazy…so lets not got there! :)

  28. Ah the gender inequality is a vast factor in India, but the things improve a lot after the British abolished lot of unfair practices like sati, etc. But you can still find subtle hints of gender inequality, i think even girls sometimes don’t want to work or study hard because they believe they will end up with their husband any day, and would be a housewife, so why bother studying, but things definitely is going for better. Woman became conscious and even men wants their woman to work to support the family

  29. This is obviously one of the biggest reasons why (most) Korean women love getting plastic surgery. Why be ugly when you can be pretty and marry a rich guy who’s seeking a pretty wife? It’s a domino effect essentially. A small majority of girls get PS and become pretty and find nice husbands? More women will opt to go under the knife in order to do the same. It’s a sad state really of traditionalist values.

  30. IMHO most developing countries still have this kind of mentality (seeing that Korea took the twilight express into being a developed country, its not surprising that the traditional societal norms still exist). I’m from Malaysia, and women are always expected to shoulder traditional housewife roles regardless of careers, education background, etc etc. Besides, it wasn’t too long ago that women in developing countries (including Malaysia) started getting opportunity to enroll in university and get better education for themselves. Most women who are now in the age range of 50 and above are housewives. 30+ years ago they would have been in their prime education years, but very few had the opportunity.

    I will say this, though – in modern Malaysia, it’s mostly acknowledged that one source of income in a family is often times insufficient to get by with. Nowadays women are actually EXPECTED to work, especially if you’re a graduate. The pressure is actually for women to become “superwomen” – be flawlessly beautiful, graduate, work and help pay bills, cook, bake, clean, keep husband happy, have children, short maternity leaves, do all sorts of amazing things, etc etc. Similar to the Korean norm, I think.

  31. Do you think the Plastic Surgery epidemic will result in future situations like the recent case in China where a man sued his wife for giving him “ugly” children?

    (She had spent over 100k USD on plastic surgery and totally transformed her look, and the children predictably didn’t look like her.) Plastic surgery in Korea seems so prevalent and skilled, if men are really only looking for pretty wives to have their babies, and prettiness can now be bought, this seems like a disaster waiting to happen?

  32. In all honesty, many Western cultures are also struggling with adjusting to changing gender roles, etc. I see women, here in Canada, who are expected to work (mainly because one income is no longer enough to support a regular family of 4) and take care of the household. Granted, Canadian men appear to be more willing to share household chores and take care of the kids, but I believe we still have a looonngg way to go before we (as women) reach parity with men in this regard. There are still double standards that exists with reference to expectations held for women in almost every modern society. GREAT post guys.

  33. HEy! I love me some seemingly brick-chewing man.. haha <3 Simon … too funny haha

  34. I found a site that shows you what your name looks like in Korean! Totally cool! Classic American names are not always available.
    An example would be Jet, It really doesn’t make the jump to Korean.


    (This really has squat to do with the video but I figured this was the video the most people would visit.)

  35. Martina: Ducky, I thought that you said after we did this we would go get something to eat
    Simon: I didn’t, I said after work we were gonna get food
    Martina: ???????????????????????? shabu-shabu xD

  36. I’m pretty sure both of u know (like u mentioned breifly in the
    beginning of this TLDR) that it’s obviously common in all cultures…no
    one sets out to find an unattractive life partner. Let’s face it, most
    of us will notice looks before anything. I’m always so intrigued by
    your TLDR’s…2 non-Korean people, 2 non- Korean speaking people living
    in Korea for only approx 5 yrs seem to “know” so much about the
    culture. Asking Soozi or a few of your friends or watching K dramas is
    not something I think either one of u can form opinions on and discuss
    same in an entire segment. Obv men would want their women to go to
    school so that they weren’t living with someone who was less educated
    despite the fact that some women do choose to “abandon” what they
    learned in school to become stay at home moms. Although even this point
    I disagree with as these days many Korean women are choosing careers
    over marriage and settling down. I do for the most bit enjoy some of
    your vids mostly WANK’s and FAPFAP’s only cause I find your other ones
    are getting tiring. No offense, been a long time fan and this is not a
    negative bashing thing….but on a side note, I remember a time where
    Martina wore WAY less makeup and was so less animated. I find her so
    hard to watch these days. Again, no offense, it’s my own opinion just
    like u guys have yours, but I have to say, its one of the many reasons I
    don’t really watch your vids anymore. Martina….less is more, u are
    really pretty, but not with all that insane eye makeup and strange
    hair/head accessories

  37. If a man’s sole requirement for a wife is her looks.. then what happens when he’s no longer able to provide for the family (woman tends to live longer and there might be unforeseeable circumstances like accidents or divorce).. woman should be (or should prepared to be) independent

  38. As someone who is half South Asian I can say that the marriage and gender standards in general, are pretty screwed up. I could seriously write a book, but I’ll have to dumb it down. Marriage is viewed not necessarily as two people getting married but more as the joining of two families. Whether the bride or groom get along doesn’t matter much, because its more as whether the bride will be able to serve her in-laws and provide kids, and whether the groom can earn money. Divorce is looked down upon.

    Pretty much most people still have arranged marriages. Its looked down upon if you’re marring for love, and even worse if you marry outside your culture if your a women (Like my mother, who some of our relatives refuse to talk to her still. We also don’t get invited to family events. For men it doesn’t matter.) or caste if your hindu.

    Some families are less traditional than others, and nicer. Granted this is mainly IN South Asia. Second generation South Asians who live in the west, don’t conform to these standards as much.

  39. I think you guys were a little off though at the end when you included kids. I’ve been in Gwangju since June and I work closely with small children and I know for a fact that Dads here in Korea pull their fair share of responsibility with the children. In fact, just from walking in the streets I can tell you I’ve never seen so many fathers with babies strapped to their chests.

    • probably because they are of a younger generation than the generation that were like the ones Simon and Martina discussed. i did notice, while i stayed in korea, that a LOT of fathers were carrying the babies (in a baby sling, of course :p) and pushing the prams

  40. Since you said about blind dates, is there any arranged marriages in Korea? What type of marriages do the Koreans have? I was really curious because I read too much fanfic and wanted to know if this really happens in Korea. I will be glad if you answer this question. Thanks for sparing your time!

  41. the 30 year old woman sound like the drama “still marry me”(the woman who still wants to get married) everybody said that if you are a 30 year old woman and you arent married with kinds its so sad. when i heard the video i was like OMG so unfair but yeah its like mexican culture (my culture) man works and provides money and she take care of the kids and house and if you work you look for a “mom job” one that you can go out as soon as your kids go out from school and your husband came from work to eat and with vacations that matches your kids holidays too. and if he doesnt work and stay at home its like “whats wrong with him? why he is ok with his wife providing everything?, he needs to look for a job and be a man”

    the diference is that mexican men like pretty girls for dating but for marriage they want someone that cooks >.<

  42. the 30 year old woman sound like the drama “still marry me”(the woman who still wants to get married) everybody said that if you are a 30 year old woman and you arent married with kinds its so sad. when i heard the video i was like OMG so unfair but yeah its like mexican culture (my culture) man works and provides money and she take care of the kids and house and if you work you look for a “mom job” one that you can go out as soon as your kids go out from school and your husband came from work to eat and with vacations that matches your kids holidays too. and if he doesnt work and stay at home its like “whats wrong with him? why he is ok with his wife providing everything?, he needs to look for a job and be a man”

  43. Is this mentality still going strong with the younger generation? If it is, it seems like for foreigners that don’t think the same way, such as Americans, it would be a bad idea to marry a Korean guy, no? (Which is unfortunate…)

  44. My step-father is black and has that mentality and we live in the U.S.A. so it’s not country but culture and how you were raised. It really pissed me off that my mom, who’s in her early 60s still had to cook for this man because he doesn’t know how…WTF! But they’re separated now and he’s trying to find someone to cook for him and even suggested I do it…..I think you know my response to that!

  45. Question: Have you or any of your friend teachers ever had a western student in your career span? (like exchange student or of the like)

    • I teach in a public school and I had an exchange student in my fourth grade class for about 3 months (during the summer vacation in America) She was from Atlanta and she came to learn Korean. I loved having her and all the kids loved having her too.

  46. Cute and Sexy comes together in Kevin…you know this already. Not sure about girls though.

  47. its exactly the same for us~ frickn again culture….my family has this mentality that girls who are smarter are less worth than girls who are pretty and are good at house work….most guys dont want to marry girls who are smarter than them, it ruins their man pride…so alot of of girls just drop out of high school coz “whats the point anyway”…and after marriage its even worse……but nobody even speaks up to stop it…luckily my parents arent like that but i know my cousins and its just sad, coz when i tell them its unfair, the just shrug as if its so normal…plus everybody bullies the fat kid. sad story.

  48. such long comments

  49. Love the sweater Martina! I actually almost bought it when I was Seoul, but I was already over the luggage weight restrictions XD

  50. Hey guise.

    Maybe the whole situation (employee – single/married) would change if some people… more people would come up and stand on firm positions… and maybe… it would change slowly… if only… I think the companies think they can get away with it and that’s why they have all these restrictions…

    …and about guys… most of them want a pretty girl…no matter if they worked hard to get where they got…or not… rarely …you find someone that’s interested less in looks and more in what the person has to say or what the person thinks..

    …your friend’s friend… I’m pretty sure he’s gonna get what he deserves.


  51. I would like to know about counter culture in Korea. I know here in the states punk and goth culture isn’t uncommon, but how about in Korea? Is it as prominent? If so, how is it handled by society and schools, work, etc. Thanks!

  52. One thing my family did is that my father always worked but my mom only stayed at home until all of the kids enrolled into school. Hence, once my youngest brother started kindergarten she went back to work because none of her kids were babies anymore who needed constant care. I think it’s important to be very close to your children when they’re infants/toddlers but as they get a bit older and become less dependent then you’ll have more time to pursue a career again. Seeing that most people will spend decades in the workforce anyways, taking just a few years off for your children (if possible) is reasonable.

  53. I grew up being raised by my mom, my dad was never around but that’s not the case. Since, I told my mom that I wanted to move to Korea in the future after I finished college & marry a Korean or marry at least marry a Korean American. My mom has no problem with the whole different race thing but she always told me that whoever would be my future husband…he had to treat me right & we both had to treat each other equally. In other words, I shouldn’t be a stay at home wife & rely on just my husband for income, we both need to pull or wait. I should have a successful job just like my husband & we both each do our fair share of household chores. This is the requirement for not just me but for also my future husband. Besides, my mom will kick my ass if I ever become a stay at home wife.

  54. I think Martina said something about going to get something to eat like a sandwich or “somefing” But yeah, the gender qualities are pretty much as expected..

  55. KATHyphenTUN

    Ok.. I’m gonna raise a half hand…. and do my best to decode (which might be a fail)
    I got some thing like….
    “Ducky, I love you. But when are we going to go to eat?”
    “I think we’re going too go after we film and get some food”
    that last sentence though…. o boy i’m not really sure at all….
    I’m guessing your saying you want to go eat something specific?… but I really don’t know what that is at all. XD But It’s super cute!! ^.^

    The language thing really is a must couple thing though XD
    My boyfriend and I speak in quarter english, quarter mandarin, quarter japanese, and quarter “chup” language.
    it could be something like “haii, but what the choup are chuchuing? ahchu baka boy :P ” or when saying good bye “wo ai chup! zai jian<3"
    And I'm sure you two can agree that the language is a habit! and you get weird looks from friends when you attempt to speak to them in that language by mistake. XD

  56. Polish standards are quite similar.

    they say that something is changing…. but not fast enough.

    still women should work, have their careers, and make all housework. and these are the standards that women themselves pressure other women to follow!

    you should be this and that, you should serve your husband well, you should be the geisha in the bedroom and the perfect housewife in the kitchen. if not – your husband will surely cheat on you or change you for a better model :p
    some new progressive marriages are different.
    but still, women must brought up their husbands to make them understand that they will have to help in the house too :p
    bringing up is sometimes tiring, I know it from my own experience [hopefully my husband likes cooking. I dont.] :)

  57. There are some things I’d like to say as a Korean male. While I agree with most of what Simon & Martina said, there ARE some qualities other than being pretty to be the ideal Korean woman. Yes, society expects women to marry successful men, have kids, and be full-time housewives. But the thing is, good looks alone doesn’t make you a good housewife. The ideal role model for the traditional housewife is Shin Sa Im Dang, who raised and educated Yulgok, one of the greatest Confucian scholars during Chosun Dynasty. Therefore, the ideal Korean woman has to be intelligent and caring in order to raise the children.

    And that’s the reason news presenters are considered to be the best candidates for marriage. They’re usually pretty, intelligent, and nice(at least on screen). You’ll see that many news presenters marry into the chaebol(richest families in Korea), or marry celebrity sports players like Park Ji Sung. Women in teaching jobs are also preferred for the same reasons, but I think it is only fitting to consider only the few top-class TV presenters for this topic since Simon & Martina had set such high standards for the “ideal man” last week.

    To summarize,
    qualities of the ideal man = rich, smart, attractive. (in order of decreasing importance)
    qualities of the ideal woman = attractive, smart, rich. (in order of decreasing importance)
    Of course, these are just a generalization, and not every Korean person agrees with it.

  58. My Korean fiancée will be coming to the US in a few weeks, and will be a house husband until he gets his green card, but he’s a good sport and a lot better at cooking and cleaning than I am anyways. ^^

  59. Ridding or changing gender roles sounds great on paper, but in practice, I don’t see how it has edified society. Consider Japan for example: low birth rate, less people are getting married because they see no point, both men and women can exist as independent, self-sufficient individuals, a marriage would put a burden on their career—let alone having children—and as a result more adult diapers than baby diapers. If they continue this way over the generations, they’re going extinct. In the USA (which is where I live), I don’t see the improvement either: instead of more “freedom”, I see more of a burden for women to HAVE to work in order to survive, especially with high divorce rates, neither men nor women having a sense of life-long loyalty to any particular person, at least that’s the common consensus of the people around me, and a preference for single-hood too (though not necessarily celibate). Regardless, if I had to identify the root cause of the inequality, I would say it’s a selfishness issue. Even if the gender roles were flipped, that would still be the problem. Selfishness is failing to think how this affects the other person (whether it’s your female employee or your spouse whom you’re holding ridiculous expectations from), that is the problem. When people get selfish, expecting the other person to do everything while they remain at ease (or, like the example of withholding promotions on the 30 year old woman, only thinking about your selfish monetary profit), that’s when it gets abusive—like anything else that gets corrupted from its original intent.

    Not even in the bible, which people claim to be sexist, is it ever like that (i.e. Aquila and his wife Priscilla both worked; the woman in Proverbs 31 worked, Lydia who sold purple cloth worked, etc…) they were not told to “stay confined to the house because you have a vagina, children, and are past a certain age”. How much more “conservative” can you get than the bible? and if even that doesn’t agree with you, you’re just being flat out oppressive. The honest gender role of married women in scripture is to be a “help meet”, Genesis 2:18 KJV (side note: it goes without saying that ceIibates, virgins, and eunuchs in the bible aren’t forced to have kids/start families, Jesus says as much in Matthew 19:12 [I decided to quote Jesus out of convenience, but the Old Testament makes mention of eunuchs and "virgins for life" too i.e. Isaiah 56:4-8 and Jepthahs daughter, Judges 11:37-40, off the top of my head]; though virgins/celibates/eunuchs could help the household they’re a part of, lending a hand, or getting a job, or deciding to be less of a burden whether by consuming less or contributing monetarily too, what have you /end side note). I think the role of “help meet” is most fulfilled when both spouses are working in the same profession: two farmers like Adam and Eve, two tanners like Aquila and Priscilla (two teachers which eventually turned into two vloggers, Simon and Martina :P). Scripture-wise, it’s never forcing the other person to take on a full career by themselves, separately, and on top of that forcing them to do all the housework too. So a disclaimer if anyone is thinking it—because I use to think this at one point—do not tie “biblical” with everything falling under the “conservative” label in your country (a lot overlaps, but not everything; that said marriage was only ever between male and female in the bible, can’t help anyone there). And Jacob was the one who cooked with his mother (sure he wasn’t married, but to break the mold that a male can’t help in the kitchen that apparently some folks have, that’s not biblical [i.e Genesis 25:29]; males can help in the kitchen lol). Not to mention it was common place even for poorer people to have maids/servants to help around the house. That’s not really the culture here in the USA, all the more reason such a role (working housewife) is seen as too much in this country, because it is (and from what I’ve seen [from afar], South Korea is no different in that aspect). It’s just rich people who have maids to that extent. Though in the Caribbean islands where my family is from, they still hire poor people around them to help around the house; it’s nothing regulated the way it is here in the USA though.

    It’s been a few years now since I’ve started to see things differently, but reflecting on what I see around has led me to appreciate the gender roles and distinction between the sexes. (I hope no one gets offended, but I can’t heIp but suspect that we’re doing something to the environment and food supply that we have people born as transgender, in such confusion). I must admit that YHWH’s commands, including those over gender roles, do help keep things in order. For the record: I have no environmental bias in favor of such conservative thinking: I was born in ’89 and live on the coast, even my birth was illegitimate lol, so I’m not a product of a conservative upbringing whatsoever (grew up agnostic too, immersed in the occult, and pretty much free reign to do what I want). Though, I can clearly see (now) how those conservative roles do help maintain the functioning order in society. Reading the bible afterwards only helped to put the proverbial nail in the coffin. :P

    I’m meditating and reflecting outloud at this point. But if I got down to the bottom of it, I honestly feel that if people sincerely kept YHWH’s instructions in every aspect in life, leaving the selfishness behind (because the motivation behind all you do at that point would be to serve God and others) there wouldn’t be inequality or imbalances—emphasis on sincerely. In so doing, we wouldn’t eat more than we need to, we wouldn’t eat certain animals from the ecosystem that could lead to imbalances on land and in the sea, we’d stay loyal to our spouse thus less divorce, we would actually carry out justice instead of accusing innocent people and letting criminals go, and just bodily well-being all around avoiding so much lust, envy, rage), and like I mentioned earlier, under a sincere observance of gender roles, married people wouldn’t feel like one spouse is carrying more of a burden than another. Employers, society in general though, shouldn’t assume things about their employees just because they reached a certain age; deal with people on an individual basis, not firing based on what the majority of people do, but just/righteous assessment. Gender roles aside, that’s not a very smart move (to fire someone just because they’re 30-something now).

    • “I hope no one gets offended, but I can’t heIp but suspect that we’re doing something to the environment and food supply that we have people born as transgender, in such confusion”

      I have to politely disagree with you on this. Transgender people have existed since long before all the modern day environmental damage started-the Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut, for example, was born female but identified as male. Also, I know quite a few transgender people, and I wouldn’t describe any of them as “confused.” They know they have female or male anatomy; they just don’t feel like they “fit” with their anatomy.
      And I’m totally not offended, by the way, I just thought I’d add a bit of my own information.

  60. There is so much about this discussion that is both frustrating and fascinating. Being an American man living in Korea, it’s very frustrating to see the rigid conformity of both genders in Korea that puts so much emphasis on what is often quite vain or unreasonably traditional. The gender roles are somewhat like western cultures, only cranked up a few notches. I’ve asked many Korean friends things like, “why don’t you find someone with similar values?” or “what do you want? You know you don’t HAVE to go to such-and-such university to be a worthwhile person.” Yet, these individualist mindsets of mine don’t seem to penetrate the MASSIVE cultural pressures Korean people face. There are definitely too many “shoulds” in this culture and it’s something I hope the younger generation will grow out of.

    On the other hand, I do think too extreme of a mindset on gender roles is negative: one of no gender roles whatsoever (like the West is leaning towards). At least when couples have children (if they choose so, of course), it makes perfect sense for one parent to primarily raise the child(ren) while the other brings home resources. While it doesn’t have to be the woman the whole time, it certainly makes sense evolutionarily and biologically that she stays with the children while they’re infants. I think the fact that there is a strong emphasis on father/mother culture in Korea is somewhat positive, and if they didn’t treat children like cattle in Korean schools they’d be in pretty good shape. The problem is they still take the traditional blueprint too far, which makes sense considering the rapid change in technology and culture here. Effective, widespread birth control is still relatively young (historically speaking), and is not fully grasped/accepted in Korea; so they still kind of set up their gender roles as if childbearing was an inevitability instead of a choice. I still think there’s space for somewhat traditional gender mindsets, and that having participatory, mindful mother/father roles is ESSENTIAL if couples peruse children. The lack of mindful, duel-parenting (do people even talk about children when they date in the States???) is something I think is damaging in the West, and could ultimately be its demise.

  61. As shitty as this sounds, there’s an evolutionary thing driving these “checklists” for potential mates, and it’s a CROSS-CULTURAL AND UNIVERSAL phenomenon. Men want women who are young and pretty, typically a couple years younger than he is. Beauty is a health indicator (particularly when you have clear skin), and the waist-hip ratio (think of the hourglass figure) indicates signals her reproductive status and how she is able to bear children. Being younger gives her a few more years to pump out a few babies while she still can.

    Women, on the other hand, want an older man who has that great career and high pay. This relates to parental investment theory. Women have to put so much into carrying the baby and letting the baby feed off the mother’s body’s nutrients while in utero, and then have to take care and breastfeed this dependent newborn for a few more years. If she’s doing all that, she can’t go off and collect resources of her own! Resources used to be things like food and meat, but in a more modern context, MONEY. Him being a few years older is often associated with him having a savings account and already having resources that he could provide for his future offspring.

    Despite all this, that’s not to say that I don’t want other things in my guy, like being funny and kind and a total gentleman, and I will NOT let him pick up all the bills when we go out to dinner. This girl’s gotta chip in 50/50! <3

  62. Did you guys coordinate your outfits for this video? The colors are very matchy, matchy.

  63. I remember the first time I heard the phrase ‘Bagel girl’ I bust out laughing because I’m a native New Yorker (#USNASTY holla!) and I pretty much thought exactly what Martina did.

    But what you guys mentioned in the video and in the blog post doesn’t exactly surprise me. Stereotypical women are super picky and expect the men in their life to provide for them, while stereotypical men want someone hot who will look good on their arm and produce good kids. That doesn’t apply to everyone, but from a purely biological level it does make sense. Women have a longer gestation and a limited amount of babies she can produce and she will need help when she’s pregnant and afterwards to care for the child. Why shouldn’t she want someone who can provide for her and her future offspring? And men have unlimited amounts of children they can sire, so why not pick out the best mates and have children with them?

    The one thing that did irk me was that the glass ceiling for women arrives so suddenly in Korea. I know in North America some women work up to and through their 30′s and 40′s and are still offered jobs and projects. However, this is often at the expense of their love life and then at that point not many people want to marry someone who they can’t provide for, who is established and only has a limited number of years left in which they can produce healthy children.

    It’s an interesting situation.

  64. Maya Hayslett

    I think the most important things in a relationship are the you have a similar outlook on life and find each other interesting. Sure I think my husband is handsome but there are probably other men who are more handsome. What I really appreciate about my husband is that we work on problems/goals together and that he is FUN. I mean you have to see this person EVERYDAY. What a miserable life to have a partner who is beautiful but boring.

    I’d also like to say that there is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom or dad. Kids are a lot of work and childcare is expensive. The problem is when you are pressured into it when you would rather work. I have two kids and my husband and I both work, so we pay for childcare because we both want to work.

    In the US there is definitely still a lot of gender inequality, but most of the women I know don’t feel pressured to stay home when they want to work. I even had one friend who thought she wanted to stay home but changed her mind after a while and went back to school and her husband fully supported her. Also, in my experience most husbands do at least some housework and childcare (although women usually do more).

    Is this other people’s experience in the US?

    • From what I see, in the US (I live in Chicago, by the way), most families of religious backgrounds tend to be the most traditional and old fashioned. Whether they are Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, etc.
      And it seems like big cities like where I live have more gender equality than the countryside.
      I heard that in many parts of southern US is still very conservative, and many women
      are stay at home moms.

  65. Hey Simon and Martina can you please do a TL;DR about how to prepare for the ultimate Kpop concert since most of us are Kpop fans. Thankss!

  66. I think the main thing that should be taken from thIS TL:DR is the fact that you do NOT have to be wealthy, or have something material to offer your spouse. Look at Simon and Martina, they mutually love each other, and they try to support each other in every way they can, without something in return. Thats probably why they are still married, and don’t fight a whole lot. In America, divorce is pretty common. So common, that my parents are getting divorce. This isnt supposed to be a sob story or anything, but from what I have seen, being able to depend on each other, is one of the greatest factors in a relationship. Relationships are not to be taken lightly, (I sure dont) and you really need to make sure that your partner has the same values as you, and if they don’t, talk with them and work it out.

  67. This video reminds me a lot of the traditional values of my culture. I’m hispanic, my mom is from Mexico and my dad is Puerto Rican and a lot of the desirable traits are the same. Women are seen more as objects than life partners and this also happened in my parent’s relationship. Over time, things got a bit better, but my mom was expected to do all the housework, cooking, etc. regardless of whether or not she had a job while my dad was the breadwinner. It’s actually one of the main reasons why I avoid dating a guy who is hispanic, because I want to avoid any of the traditional mindset that may have been ingrained in him from infancy.

  68. lady_kire

    In Chinese culture, the ideal woman is that she is obviosuly pretty. Pretty=best. However, the extra requirement is that a girl is skinny and pale skinned. I think there is the requirement that she is smart but I’m pretty certain that’s obvious.

    Again, I’m not sure if the skinny aspect applies to all of China, or regions of China. My mom is from Hong Kong, and she insists that I try not to be fat. In China, parents want their kids to be chubby because it means the kids are healthy. However, in Hong Kong fat=the worst thing EVER. My bf mom thought I was too skinny and that I should eat more. But I think she understands that I look fine being skinny. Now she agrees that my bf is fat. IDK maybe parents want their kids to be skinny after they are teenagers…

    I think another requirement is to have..um.. a decent upper chest region (you know what I’m talking about) since a lot of girls in the culture are not.. uh blessed in that region. The problem is… I am way above average in that region and I think that may attract guys… I’ve never really tried, but I don’t really care to try and show off.

    Oh and some girls expect the guy to always carry her bags, and buy her expensive stuff. I don’t see a point. I can carry my own bag. I’m not weak. Also, what if they broke up with the person? THere goes 1000s of dollars…

    I never did get to date a guy from Hong Kong. A lot of adults expected me to because my mom is one and that being one is in my blood. Honestly, I think it was because I didn’t fit the requirements in high school. (I was fat, and greasy) Now that I look better, I don’t think it matters. Most of them that I’ve met are jerks anyways.

  69. When I think about how Korean dating is different from what I know from my own experience, for one it’s how often a guy drags a girl behind him during romantic moments or dates. I’m not talking about the drama-like “I’m a fabulous rich jerk and now you’re going with me”, more like “we’re on a street date and my girl follows half a step behind”. I wonder if it’s as obvious as it seems to me, though. Did anybody notice it too or is it my misinterpretation?

  70. Giant bias here, just fair warning. I live in the Mormon capital of the world, and from observation both outside the faith, and now several years fully invested in it the culture here puts tremendous pressure on young people (I’m talking 18+) to get married as soon as physically possible (girls right out of high school, boys immediately after serving a 2 year proselyting mission away from home – which is now generally started right out of highschool).

    This means there are many girls getting married between 18-22 (a mid-20′s unmarried girl here will get strange looks from her church community, especially if she’s not obviously in a serious relationship), and guys 20-24. As with what Simon and Martina mentioned about Korean expectations, there is a strong gender bias towards women primarily just needing to be pretty, and ready to be stay-at-home wives and mothers (though there’s no outright opposition to them pursuing some college and career goals – so long as their greatest desire is to raise children).

    While the words you’ll hear are more of the “get married for love” type that I would imagine contribute to a more successful marriage, it does appear to me that with such social pressure to start popping out more Mormon babies… a fair percentage of these young couples would really do better to spend a few years as adults before jumping into something like that.

    My personal view, sorta like Martina said, obviously nobody is looking to spend their life with an especially ugly person. That being said, I have noticed from the half dozen girls I decided to try dating here that personality has a HUGE impact on how they appear to me. A ‘cute’ girl with an awesome personality ends up looking like the prettiest thing ever… while an initially gorgeous-looking girl who ends up being not-so-friendly ends up literally looking less attractive pretty quickly. Education-wise, I haven’t found that a degree makes anyone more or less pleasant to be around, but the attitude of wanting to always learn/improve/grow as an individual makes for great company.

    Lastly, I have noticed a peculiar scrutiny since I’ve admittedly fallen in love with Korean culture due to introduction to their music (I don’t consider Psy to be pop, and no it was not Gangnam Style that really drew me in :P). So many people say that because I’ve found so many K-pop stars to be ridiculously pretty that I have an Asian fetish. How does merely finding certain traits more attractive than others make a fetish? If I liked blond-haired blue-eyed busty Swedish swim team-looking girls most of all I don’t imagine that people would say I have a European or Aryan fetish.

    Sorry for the long rant, but thoughts/comments would be appreciated! ^_~

    • Cyber_3

      I don’t think that you necessarily have an Asian fetish (I would have to know you better to really know). Kpop idols are meant to be attractive, not just to Koreans, but to all men, they are sculpted/trained, and engineered so it’s only natural that you would admire these ladies. However, I would say that, given your situation, you would have extremely unrealistic expectations if you wanted to find a Mormon girl with similar or Korean traits.

      I am not Amish but I live in an extremely Amish community. I have noticed that people can be satisfied with something less than their ideal when they have to choose from a particular pool in a small window of time, instead of from the whole world, within their whole lives……..what becomes important under these circumstances, is rarely looks. You do realize that the 2 year mission is planned/timed to stir the genetic pool between communities as much as possible, right?

      • Thank you very much for your input! :) Honestly as the years are passing by I think it’s unrealistic for me to find a Mormon girl at all, certainly one within this geographic region. The kind of person I’m searching for seems to be fictional at best.

        I have noticed a similar ‘settling’ as it were, as you mention with that Amish community, but rather than pickiness being inversely proportional to the desire for a wife (as seems to be the norm), I’m becoming more sure than ever of the traits (personality-wise) that I seek after – even if that means never finding the right type of girl.

        I think you may be onto something with that genetic pool stirring as well. This may be counting against me, but if I may be blunt here – the lack of similar genetic background has made all women who don’t share my genetic history seem more appealing. Albeit not the most easily-handled, but in my mind the most ‘simple’ and logical way to kill all birds with the same stone is for me to simply relocate to where the types of women and social traits that appeal to me are more abundant. Certainly can’t hurt the odds of meeting this dream girl compared to spending even more years piddling around this place, right?

  71. So what if you’re a woman who doesn’t want children? Does that make you unmarriageable?

    • Or can’t have children. Now I’m curious…

      • That’s a good question. Many women have reproductive issues and cannot have children easily. Would a woman’s inability to have children be a reason for her husband to divorce her?

        • Maybe if she lied about it, or they didn’t discuss it before marriage and the husband expected children. If you’re honest about it at the beginning, there’s no reason to get divorced over it.

  72. I´d say you where talking about when you’re going to eat. ;)

  73. I ´m
    Mexican, and also it´s expected that women work all day, also take care of the
    kids and house. The younger generations are already changing (as my case)
    where man is more participatory in housework. .. but mostly the woman is doing

  74. I work in a lab and people (not from the US!) always ask me what I’m doing after my contract is up next year–I tell them nursing and they give me this look and ask me why I’m not going for a PhD or MD. Apart from the reasons I want to be a nurse because I actually like it lol, I told one of my coworkers (Swedish) that nursing would allow me to time my career properly. I could start having children after I’ve completed schooling and started working somewhere for a few years. This way taking time off wouldn’t be a big deal.

    She stared at me for a few seconds as if I had snakes coming out of my head, haha. She said she never even thought of that–that in Sweden, men absolutely have to take time off from work to take care of the baby. Meanwhile she personally said she was going to make her husband bring their baby to her workplace every 2 hours to let her breastfeed. I said unfortunately paternity leave isn’t really a thing here yet, but that I might have it a bit easier after the whole breastfeeding thing is over–my boyfriend wants to be a house dad while I’m his sugar mama afterwards. An arrangement I like :P

    • brb moving to Sweden.

      Reading your comment makes me think of the comment that I posted earlier with a Ted talk video link. It talks about lack of women in leadership roles (aimed more towards the west but can be applied anywhere). NOT that I find any wrong with nursing, rather I find it a very respectable/important position and it can also be considered a leadership position. Plus you like it, so there’s no argument there. But it talks about women thinking about children and working at the same time. Do check it out if you have the time.

      Heck look at chefs. For some reason although the stereotypical place for the women is the kitchen (>.>), the lack of women (celebrity or executive) chefs in comparison to men simply makes me scratch my head. (article on macleans -> http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/11/02/missing-in-action/)

      It would be great if paternity leave was a world wide thing and then everyone will be investing in the future (the children).

  75. Aaron Ho

    I too would like to have a sugar mama in my life.

  76. i wonder what the percentage in females going to this SKY University is………and also makes me wonder “in this theory”, if it is frowned upon for females to be really really smart and a go getter. What is the point when korean business only refer to men when talking businesses (as noted in one of your vids)

  77. Simon and Martina I am sure both of you already know this but, SEXISM and UNEQUAL GENDER EXPECTATIONS such as enforcing all childbearing and home caring responsibilities to a woman to cripple her potential career, knowledge and ultimately freedom—-is NOT unique to Korean culture. PATRIARCHY IS EVERYWHERE. It is evident everywhere in the world but Korea just manifests patriarchy in perhaps the most glaringly blatant ways like all that you guys talked about in the video.

    I love East Asia for all its rich culture and sense of community love but realistically speaking, it is sexist as fuck and WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT.

    Happy thanksgiving! I am so grateful I found you guys on the internet. You guys give me so much hope.

    • Oh, of course! We’re not saying that this is unique to Korea. We’re just saying what it’s like in Korea :D

      And Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! We didn’t celebrate because we’re not American, but Leigh is supposedly out enjoying Turkey and potatoes!

  78. Ok so all I’ve watched is Martina talking about hamsters and…I had a dwarf hamster. She was evil. The end. [On another note, black bear hamsters are the best and the sweetest.]

  79. Actually while I was living in Korea, my friend has this wild epiphany that the plastic surgery epidemic would result in a downward spiral of ugly people marrying ugly people masquerading as pretty people, worsening the societal problem of ugly people and not enough pretty people. Which raises the question: Why the obsession with prettiness guise. Why. It’s OKAY not to look like a model. Or is that just my opinion?
    On an unrelated note, i feel like Martina was channeling the Hunky One today. What with all the skulls and the dog-collar style hairband that was similar to the Hunky One’s hairband in “I wish”. Just me? Okay then DX

  80. Looking at this blog post, I can honestly see why korean women are very picky when it comes to their ideal men. The criteria that was shown in the previous TL;DR was nothing more than a wish list on the part of the woman; a fantasy written on paper in bullet points. It’s a form of release, a voice towards their patriarchal culture. Personally, this talk about ideal men and women is really unfair to both genders and it contributes a bit to the very sensitive topic of gender-inequality in Korea.

  81. Hello, I’m fairly new here so please forgive me if this topic has already been discussed.

    You always seem to hear that it is difficult to be a vegetarian in Korea, but what about intolerances (gluten, spicy foods, dairy, etc.) and allergies? I work in a restaurant in Australia and if a customer comes in and has particular dietary requirements the chefs cook dinner to cater for them, even if its not on the menu, and makes sure that the food is cooked separately from the other meals. Will restaurants in Korea do this too? and when you were teaching was there a ban on what food the students could take to school?

  82. I live in Songdo – a really wealthy area in South Korea – and I work at a hagwon that is for pretty wealthy families. I see a lot of couples like the ones that you mentioned: husbands with fantastic jobs and trophy wives who pretty much send their children off to school and then hang out in coffee shops with their friends. However, something that I have been impressed with since moving to Korea is how often I see men taking care of their kids in public. Men holding their babies while shopping in the store, or on the subway, or playing in the park with their kids, or walking their kids to school. I see it more often here in Korea than I ever saw it in the United States… Perhaps things are changing among the younger generations! I hope so!

  83. In Portugal, looks are important, but it really depends on what sort of person you are. I can say that the majority wants to have a pretty/handsome partner but I can also say there’s a handful of people who just fall in love and don’t really care if the person is pretty or not. Before the crises kicked in females were more likely to stay at home while the males would go to work BUT I also know that some male partners would make their girlfriend/wife get a job + clean the house + take care of kids + go shopping + etc. Nowadays you see a high number of guys staying at home, without a job, doing the cleaning and cooking and taking care of kids while the girls are working.
    I think it has become more equal about what gender does what, there’s not much of “girls should do girls chores/jobs and boys should do boys chores/jobs” around anymore, now it’s more “let me help you however I can” and I think that’s how it should be.

  84. So, really, only a couple decades (if that) behind America? We tell ourselves we’re all ooooh equality for the genders and blah blah blah, but I live in the South, in Texas, and if anything here it’s worse because the men who want to have all this power in the relationship don’t even always have to bother with lots of schooling and great jobs, and they still get pretty (or fake pretty), vapid women to marry and breed with them. It isn’t prevalent in *my* social circles, but I saw a TON of it and the result of that kind of relationship when I was working in retail. I think I’d be happier if they all at least had an ounce of intelligence to put behind it. /bitter

    But then I do know a ton of people personally who actually date and fall in love and even more people who are in their 30s heading into 40s single because they have no idea how to meet anyone outside of work anymore. We dated when we were in school, we try to pick up people in bars (generally a bad idea), you can date coworkers (generally a REALLY bad plan) or you can try to find some kind of Singles Mingle thing in your area, but that’s only going to hook you up with other people trying to singles mingle. It’s freakishly hard, I can see how speed dating and blind dates could seem real appealing. But if you’re doing that sort of thing, wouldn’t it be hard to really get to know a person?

    Rambling now, bleh.

    I guess I just hope that everyone everywhere can be as in love as you two are. The world needs more Nasties feeling schmoopy with people they love. And there was a comic I used to love called Lore that did a strip once that I’ve always found inspiring. Just remember, no matter what, everyone is somebody’s fetish.

  85. For my culture, it’s not only prettiness, but how well she can dance. Her education does not matter. That’s why a lot of girls marry right after high school. My mother was married at 17. My grandma at 9. Yes, I kid you not. Nine. (But that does not happen very often!) They are both very pretty and they could dance which made them perfect for marriage. 90% of the girls here marry when they’re under 25.
    I realize I probably presented a really messed up view of this culture, but if you live with it it’s really not as bad as it seems! It’s just a cultural norm that works with the circumstances of the society.

  86. omg you guys are sooo cuteeee and you guys are matching :D

  87. This is another way the American South has perpared me for life elsewhere. Plus, my exhusband wanted me to (ideally) have a 6 figure income, make his dinner, take care of kids and clean his house. I’m an artist, probably not going to happen. His logic was YOU wanted equality (meaning women/feminists) you still have to handle YOUR work.
    Anyway, I still think that this is another case cultural perception vs individual reality just like everywhere. Still it is kinda BS that there aren’t specifics for women like you shared for men. Even if they were specifics about body/face.

    • Ahhh…the Large Southern U.S. Peckerwood. A species that believes itself to be unique but actually can be found globally in different sizes and colors. I know this bird well.

      • LOL! Ain’t that the truth?! I laughed so hard when I read that. Stupid bird. In the spirit of spit-shining turds, I figure it made it easier for me to live in other places, I’m pretty immune to this manner of gender bias. ;)

        • Yeah pretty much why I recognized Korea in the first place. Not any more repressive than living in the Bible belt.

  88. OMG..wow..the ideal korean women just need to be pretty,and no need for them to be smart, so that they can pass they pretty genes to their children..?? Probably they’ll pass down the stupid genes too.

  89. Would majority of Korean men prefer to go for Korean women or is it pretty much equal that many of them would also be interested to go for foreigners? And when I mean ‘interested’, I mean up to the point they would marry that foreigner woman.

    • oh there is a huge amount of korean men who want to meet foreigners.
      it’s not because they are fantasizing pretty model-like white women,
      but more so because the standards for the men to be ‘ideal’ is too high.
      and of course, the expectation is from the woman herself.
      not all non-korean women are all for equality and aren’t gold diggers,
      but the cultures outside korea tend to be much less emphasized on how much
      the man will buy expensive louis vuitton bags for his date.

  90. My country, Singapore, has this 5C requirements (for guys). Cash, car, cards (credit cards), condominium (which is like super expensive here!), and career.

    P/S: cars are expensive here. The cheapest car will cost you around 70,000USD!

  91. I’m from Brazil and it is really different from Korea, usually both, husband and wife, work and do house work. But it is separated to be fair, the one who works the more do less house work and vice-verse… people are also learning to deal with the women earning more money than the men, although it stills a bit awkward…

    I think the most important is the couple to be willing to work in the relationship, to be fair with each other and, above all, to be happy. How it will work out is up to each person…..

  92. In germany the whole thing changed a lot in the past years, for example there will be a min women rate in high rank jobs in companies so it is made sure that they are treated the same. Also interesting is the fact that men have the possibilty to take a break from their job to look after the children while the wife continues to work and more and more families do that.
    So in my family, my dad didn’t really know anythinv about housework and cooking but my mother made it clear right from the beginning that if he wasn’t going to help she would break up. So he learned everything because well my mother is very convincing. His parents were first really shocked about it and kinda wanted to “help” my father (they are really old fashioned) but my parents made it clear that they wanted to live like that. Interesting was that my grandfather after some time started to take a liking to baking so he makes fresh bread every week and he is really proud of it :)

  93. I think Latin American countries are also very traditionalist when it comes to marriage and kids. Although there isn’t the pressure of marrying someone with money or good looks or whatever and just find someone that you truly want to be with, there are people that expect their kids to be married and have kids at a certain age, male or female. Apparently the best age to get married is between 29-32, if you’re not married at that age people start questioning you “why aren’t you married?” and it’s annoying.
    Then there’s also the fact that the EXPECT the daughters to get married and have kids. I’m 22 right now, and my mother keeps asking me why I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t want to get married and I don’t want to have kids either, it’s a personal decision, but every time I say I don’t want either, my mom (and my friends too, that just happened like two weeks ago!) just look at me like I’m crazy or that I’m too young to know what I want or something along that. I just don’t want to get married or have kids. I just imagine how it’s going to be when I’m a few years older if it’s like this now. smh.

    • The absolute worst for me is when you tell someone you don’t want to have kids and the first thing they say is “oh you say that now, but when you get older you’ll want to.”
      How about respecting my decision, regardless of if it will change or not? Why do people always have this need to disregard someone’s personal opinions because socially it is normal to want to have kids and get married and settle down?

      • happens to me all the time. When i say i don’t want to get married or have kids I get the same response “thats what you think of now” and “oh you say that now but when you are in love….” ugh

      • yes, that’s exactly my point. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to say it over and over again, and people still don’t respect it.

    • I actually face this issue on a daily basis. I have known since a very young age that I didn’t want to get married or have children. Not that I’m not open to that possibility if it presents itself, but, those things were never goals in my life. I have never dreamed of my wedding day or the birth of a child, and if I ever did I’m pretty sure it was a nightmare… ok not a nightmare… eheh… but not exactly what I picture as things that would make me happy as a fulfilling life goal.

    • Claudia Carvalho

      I actually face this issue on a daily basis. I have known since a very
      young age that I didn’t want to get married or have children. Not that
      I’m not open to that possibility if it presents itself, but, those
      things were never goals in my life. I have never dreamed of my wedding
      day or the birth of a child, and if I ever did, I’m pretty sure it was a
      nightmare… ok not a nightmare… eheh… but not exactly what I
      picture as things that would make me happy as a fulfilling life goal.
      Ever since I was 15 years old I have made it well known to my family, my parents, especially my mother, that I was not going to get married or have children. Of course, she dismissed it because she didn’t believe it… but I kept saying it, and she kept not believing in me. And now I’m 35 and I still do not want those things and she still hopes that I will get married and have kids. My whole family keeps asking if I have a boyfriend and whatnot… and after all these years of me saying the same things over and over again it gets a little depressing and frustrating to think that my family thinks that being happy in life comes down to getting married and having children…. because they truly believe that I’m unhappy and wasting myself, judging by the faces they make when they hear that I’m still single ._. I don’t think of myself as a selfish person. I know that I could possibly be a good wife and mother, but I just don’t consider those things as essential or a priority in my life. In all of the relationships that I had, I always made it very clear what it was I wanted. Yes I have had relationships, but until I find someone who sees it the same way as I do, I may well have to wait until the next life for a partner that rather wants to travel the world with me and dance on the streets instead of having babies. Am I crazy for wanting something different?

      • My cousin is a career woman and I would love to have had her life. Children are a problem I will not lie. Children can add stress to an already fragile relationship. Children are expensive. Children are people so every emotional battle you have already raged with parents, siblings, friends, significant others, coworkers etc. will not prepare you for raising a child. When they say nothing can fully prepare you people aren’t lying. If you don’t like kids there is no need. Even if you do like kids but decide that having children isn’t for you, it’s your life. Being pressured to make this kind of decision by anyone else is tantamount to handing over your life.

      • No, no you are not crazy. I am pretty much the same. My mom is encouraging me to find a good man and have kids, because she wants grandchildren (thankfully she also wants me to stay totally independent).
        But when I say that it’s not really in my plans and that adoption is more of an option to get her grandchildren than marriage is, she tells me not to be ridiculous. I don’t want to live a good life, I want to live an excellent life – running around and enjoying life, doing the things I want, not what the society expects me to, so, like you, I want something different than simply marriage and I have friends who are like that too.

      • Cyber_3

        That’s really admirable that you know yourself so well and what you want. If you love yourself and your life as it is, then why mess with a good thing? I guess that since humans are communal animals, people (relatives) tend to feel that being in a relationship is always desirable but not everyone will fit into that mold and you may be one of those people. There are however, individuals who are too proud and aloof to be vulnerable enough to be happy in relationship, maybe your family is just worried that you really want a relationship but are too embarrassed to say? All you can do is reassure them that you love yourself and are happy with your life and maybe they’ll leave you alone.

      • Definitely not crazy!
        Lets be honest, there are a lot of people out there who *shouldn’t* be having kids. It takes courage to step up and say, hey, maybe I shouldn’t have kids because of “x” reason.
        That’s not selfish. Having kids and then realizing you don’t want the responsibility or added pressures can make people despise their families.
        I’m 28 now and unmarried and childless and frankly, it would be a bad idea for me to have kids. I work hard and do what I need to but admittedly, I’m lazy and I have long discussions with my dogs about them being so needy.
        (those are my kids)

  94. Martina, did you ask Simon if you guys could get something to eat? (or something among those lines anyway)

    Also, I’d be completely single 5ever if I lived in Korea


  95. Hey Simon and Martina!

    TOTALLY appropriate question for the upcoming holiday season (eating gingerbread/shortbread cookies as I write) but I’m curious about Korea’s attitude towards different diets (veg*n, halal, etc.) and if it has changed in recent years. A while back, you mentioned how it’s become a bit easier to order at restaurants to accommodate your low-carb diet, as well as doing a FAPFAP at a vegan restaurant (Loving Hut). With the influx of foreign visitors to Korea, has the selection increased and has it become easier to maintain different diets? Also, are there any crazy diets (eg. “cabbage soup” diet) that are popular?



    Toronto, Canada

    (P.S: Would you consider having a small holiday meetup with the GTA nasties in December? I’ll bring the aforementioned gingerbread/shortbread cookies, if you do)

    • Hey, a vegan here. My family lives in Korea so my partner and I have visited a few times for holidays. I think for the most part, Koreans don’t really *understand* being vegan. I don’t think there’s any hostility toward it so much as just confusion. It takes a bit of maneuvering and going a little bit out of your way, but in general, eating out as a vegan is very doable. There’s a lot of veggie presence, especially around Insadong and Jongro-3-ga, with traditional style veggie-centric restaurants and restaurants catered to Buddhist diets. Traditionally, I believe Koreans ate primarily vegetables and legumes for sustenance, as increasing meat consumption is not surprisingly related to rising wealth and ease of factory farming, a symptom of the modern times… There’s also a good number of cafes and restaurants in Itaewon that will cater to your dietary restrictions. As for Loving Hut, I think the quality also differs depending on the particular store (there’s, I don’t know, maybe a dozen in Seoul alone?). While, eating out as a vegan is doable, because of the lack of widespread awareness about alternative diets, it is fair to unfortunately expect some “accidental” consumption of non-vegan foods while in Korea…

      • Addendum: regarding being vegan in New Zealand. Specifically Christchurch. It’s arguably harder to eat out as a vegan in Christchurch than in Korea. New Zealanders are voracious meat and dairy consumers. The variety of vegan foods is also miserable in comparison. When asking for vegan alterations, most waitstaff in non-vegetarian-specific establishments haven’t a clue what “dairy” means: So far, 10 out of 10, they seem to think that coconut milk and cream are dairy items. Also, most places put EGG in falafels here!! D-: Seoul is a pretty neat place to eat vegan. The food really is topnotch.

        • Cream IS dairy though. It might be fatty, but it comes from milk. Coconut / rice / almond / soy milk aren’t dairy though, for sure.

          “Cream is a dairy product that is composed of the higher-butterfat layer skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization.”

        • Yeah, I meant coconut milk and coconut cream.

        • That would make a lot more sense.

      • I hear you. It’s hard even being a vegetarian in the US. I lived in Texas for a short time, and I got treated like crap whenever I told someone I was vegetarian. Even after explaining why ( it’s how I was raised, and now it causes pain and illness if I try to eat meat ), they still treat me like I’m some psycho PETA-obsessed idiot.

        • Carolynn

          I am vegan in the US and have had a really good go around with it. :P maybe just where we live?

        • I don’t live in Texas anymore, thankfully. I live in a tiny city in the middle of nowhere in Oregon, but we have a huge Seventh-Day Adventist population, and they’re mostly vegetarian. Lots and lots of vegetarian and vegan-friendly places and shopping here! I’m lucky. But most of the rest of the country… not so much.

    • Yes please! A Toronto meetup would be AMAZING if you guys have the time! :)

  96. Totally not just Korean culture. Many of the Chinese culture also think like that.

  97. There are some women who want to be full time moms ;) and it IS hard work…and full-time mom doesn’t equal uneducated…I know that’s not what you’re necessarily saying….buuuut I just hope you don’t have a negative view of full-time mothers :/ not all of them are victims of social oppression.

    • Sure there are and it’s being a full-time mom is not a negative thing… but when it’s pressured, expected and almost required by society and the people close to you, I don’t see that as a good thing because often you rather bend to the mold instead of fight against the views of everyone else.

      • It’s also a gigantic waste of a very expensive education.

        • Depending on the situation, it could totally be a waste of education. I have something to add though, mothers’ education levels have been shown to make a huge and lasting impact on their children. In early childhood alone, mothers’ educations/critical thinking skills influence crucial lifestyle choices while conceiving and during pregnancy, as well as, early childhood literacy and world view. Wow, just thinking about it now — the school I teach at is good, but even among that set of privileged kids, I can tell usually tell which students have intellectually involved mothers before I meet their parents. But here’s another way it could be a real waste, a mother can be highly educated but not transfer that to her children.

        • It does work that way. Educated people produce more educated people. It does make a difference if you grow up in a household that values education. There are exceptions of course. Also, educated people tend to make more money and in the U.S. educational funding is also a huge factor for future success. It really does appear that pulling yourself by the boot straps when you are born to poor and uneducated parents is masterful feat.

  98. I have to ask this, I know that the president of South Korea is female. Is she married? Because if she is her husband would probably have a hard time coming to terms with having such a powerful wife, right? I’m just going by this tl;dr

    • I went to read a quick bio on her to see if I could answer this for you. Turns out, she’s never been married, and has an Engineering degree, and I’m sure people have commented on it, but she has jokingly claimed to being married to her country…

      BUT DUDE, her father was once President, and her mother took a bullet for him so she became the First Lady when she 22, then later her father did get assassinated, and that’s when she got into politics, and when she became Chairwoman someone attacked her and slashed her face, but she woke up and asked about work like it was nothing. Like I don’t think people hold her in the same regard as other women. (:3 Sorry had just had to add that mini-bio because it was too interesting not to share.)

      • Oh my god that’s terrible! She must be such a strong woman.
        Thank you for looking it up :)
        I might have to look into it more now because this is really interesting stuff.

  99. Boy oh boy! This is so familiar to me after just barely living in Korea for half a year x) I was an exchange student at Korea University (one of dem SKY universities..*and shooting stars*) and I saw quite a lot of couples..usually a really average looking guy and a really, VERY pretty girl. And whenever I would meet new people (Korean..naturally lol) we would exchange our CVs to see if we have what to talk about…just kidding! But of course, everyone shares a bit of This is Who I am, so whenever I would tell people I’m from KU, they would kinda quiet down and stare (moreso than they stared before..). I’ve met quite a few guys, from various universities, and the conversation would usually hit the shallow end whenever I’d mention KU. Then there would be a long couple minutes of ‘Oh my god you are so smart’, and…that’s it, folks!
    Being a foreigner, even at KU, I dealt with a lot of ‘OMG you’re so smart’ moments, and people would actually be SCARED of talking to me…because I’m foreigner AND because I’m smart.
    There was this really funny (read – depressing) happening: I was taking a class, and throughout the entire semester, none of the Korean students in the class try to talk to me. During groupwork they would exchange a few sentences and compliment me on my earrings, or my brain, but nothing outside of that. So I sincerely thought they are just not interested! At the end of the semester the prof decided to throw a little pot-luck get together at the end of the exam period, for us to get to know each other (in my mind it of course was like WHAT?! This should have happened in the beginning…), I brought my share of the ‘party’ and was prepared to hug the wall awkwardly…when suddenly I was surrounded by the guys from my class – literally, a wall of people in front of me. And everyone was saying ‘you’re so smart! Wow, you’re so interesting!’, talking to me, asking about what I like, why chose Korea – BASICALLY communicating (on steroids) like any normal people. Same happened when I wiggled my way out of that group – the girls surrounded me with ‘You’re so pretty, so smart’ and again, talking to me like it’s the first time they saw me. WHAT the hell…I asked them – why didn’t you talk to me earlier, it’s not like I was there TWICE a week..And I got the same response from everyone – you’re so smart, and you speak English, we were SCARED of talking to you..I was so depressed after that – they were really nice people, and I would have loved to hang out with them, be friends..but I’m too smart?!?!?!
    Aside from gender inequality, which even I as a foreigner had to deal with very often, I feel that being a girl AND with a good head on the shoulders is actually a disadvantage…I mean sure, the guys don’t want a stupid girl, most girls I met in KU were really bright! But when you pair it with confidence, to my mind, it scares people because you probably have aspirations that won’t fit with the pre-determined lifestyle.. which is just so, so sad!!

    • Cyber_3

      I totally know that feels. While I’m sure that it happens WAY more in Korea than Canada, all through high school and even university I found that guys had a hard time staying interested in me the moment they found out I was smart and/or I beat them at something (even something like pinball or pool). Sigh. It really SUCKED! For years I tried to find ways to “hide” how smart I was and lost e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g on purpose. But it gets tiring and depressing. Also, my Dad who is really smart decided to marry someone dumb and pretty after he divorced my Mom (because she was smart but talks WAY too much) and you know what? He realized his mistake too late because he incredibly lonely since he didn’t have anyone to carry on a conversation with or share deep thoughts with on a daily basis.

      All I can tell you is that, a few years out of university, I married a wonderful, handsome, and incredibly smart guy (is he smarter than me? I don’t know ;) ) who likes smart women. I know that it may seem like there aren’t many of them out there, but then again, there aren’t many super smart women like you out there either and since you’re bound to travel in some of the same circles……I’m sure you will meet someone great eventually, it will just take longer since what you are looking for is not so common, but it’s out there. HH! (HUGS! & HWAITING!)

      • Thanks for the support :) Although at this point I’m not really hunting for a mate, it just sucks that even making friends is crippled by this kind of attitude towards women…
        and I’m really glad to hear you found such a wonderful guy :D Best of luck to you both!

    • OMG! I’m quite scared now…. Although I’m Brazilian I’m living in London and studying here, and I really want to go to Korea, which will probably happen as the British-Korean relationship is growing a lot…

      and I’m always being complimented by my teachers, college staff and friends, things like how smart I am, I learn fast, I’ll do well in anything I want to and etc…

      I thought it was a good thing, until now… :/ lame… it’s gonna be hard to find a korean boyfriend…

    • Probably mostly because you’re a foreigner. And the English thing does scare off a lot of Koreans. I doubt being intelligent was the main thing, IMO. Then they wouldn’t talk to each other, lol. Then again, do you mean “so smart” as “too smart”, or just “so smart”? it makes a difference.

      • I asked my friends, whom I met first in Korea, and they also said that they find it intimidating talking to highly intellectual people. Plus, everyone I met in KU speaks nearly perfect English, and they had no problem talking to me during the ‘party’, so I really doubt the foreigner/English plays a big part in such settings. Even now when I talk with my friends, some of them say that sometimes they feel a little scared to say or ask something of me, so that I wouldn’t assume they are ‘stupid’.
        Outside of that I do agree that the prospect of speaking English scares people off, especially when they’re not confident in their own skills/can’t really speak very well.

        • sannetussch22

          Sometimes it works to say something like I won’t bite or maybe it even works to say something like questions aren’t stupid.You have more things like that and it kinda works especially with shy people. It might also work with other people.

        • You think I haven’t done it? The problem is – it’s difficult to say things like that when people don’t even approach you XD

        • sannetussch22

          It’s not that I didn’t expect you not to have done it but was more like maybe could try something like that if you haven’t done that. Yeah then it’s indeed difficult to say it. But what happens if you approuch them? Sorry got suddenly all curious about that. ^_^

        • Oh I understand the curiosity lol usually, from my experience, if I’m the one to approach a Korean person first, the conversation starts with the usual pleasantries..and when it turns to the education background…people quiet down. Same happens if they see me in any kind of intelligence-related context, smiles and pleasantries, yet a dead conversation.
          Myself I’m not the most outgoing person, and after I figured out that the intelligence part really puts a plug on things, it’s been even more difficult just casually talking to new people, since I kinda have to watch what I’m saying -_- I’ve mastered the ‘quiet person’ move, just sit around the table, laugh and don’t say much..but that doesn’t create friendships, now does it?
          Although I’m not saying it’s impossible to find friends if you’re really smart. I met amazing people whom I’m really close with, who aren’t intimidated by me and actually ask for help and just generally behave totally casually. But those are, sadly, exceptions…
          Like S&M (Simon and Martina..sounds a little..nasty XD) said, a big part is also due to the woman’s role in the society..Girls aren’t usually expected to be very wordy and intellectual, not stupid, but again, there’s not much requirements/expectations when it comes down to it…

        • Persephone Basilissa

          Maybe you could try my husband’s approach when sitting around that table listening to others. He says the best way to make conversation is to ask the other person questions. So if there’s an intellectual discussion, maybe you could ask, “OK, but what do you think about [this aspect of the issue]?” Then when they respond, ask a follow-up question, as if you’re an interviewer. Or if there’s a casual setting like a potluck or a cafeteria, maybe you could try my favorite question: “So, what do you like to do for fun?” Of course, you would then follow with more questions about what they say, showing that you find them interesting and worthy of conversation. I don’t claim that it’s a fool-proof technique, but it has helped us two intelligent, introverted people make friends with a range of people for over 3 decades now.

        • Cyber_3

          This is just a shot in the dark but, when you went back to class next semester, was it back to the “scared” act again? Maybe the end of semester party did ease some of the tensions and made it easier to approach you but also, (and I seriously hate to point this out) but the whole goal of that get together was to network so if they didn’t approach you, they would have felt like they failed/missed the opportunity for the social networking. I hope that I am wrong but I have been through something similar where suddenly the friendliness is gone the next day in class. Sometimes doing something nice like bringing cookies or treats can help to break the ice a little further.

          Perhaps I am misinterpreting things but I don’t think that it’s easy to make friends at Korea uni. In other countries, university’s a great shared experience and space to make lifelong friends, but there it might be your last chance to network and heavy competition to see who comes out on top. Everyone works SO DAMNED HARD in Korea to the exclusion of everything with such mindnumbing intent and focus, it may be hard to get them to see past that to make friends or to get them to take the time to even notice what’s around them. Sucks.

        • That’s because Koreans get ‘how to find correct answers’ education when they grow up. You know it’s not easy to speak a different language right? But they’re scared when talking English whether their words or grammars could be wrong.

        • Oh I know it’s not easy, English isn’t my mother-tongue either. And I studied about their education system in univ, so I’m familiar with the mindset, but in real life they aren’t that into finding the right answer :) As much as they just worry if what they say won’t be perceived as ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’.

    • I’m only 16 and I’m already experiencing this. I’m rather tall, I have good grades, and I’m confident in myself, so when I got put into an all male group for a History project and I input good thoughts and information, they were so taken aback and intimidated. Like, what the hell?

    • Yes, this is actually something I’ve read in many different newspapers and magazines in the US. Including The Economist, and New York Times. The Economist wrote this whole big article about how Korea has a big pressure to get married but the rising education for women is causing more women to not be able to find “better off” men to marry. And this was really seriously messing things up. They also brought up the issue that some girls just don’t want to get married because it usually meant giving up their career. This isn’t just SImon and Martina saying this stuff, being like “oh this is what we observe,” nope this is a global issue for the global economy.

      It isn’t 100% isolated in Korea though. Japan is going through the same thing. The difference is that Japan doesn’t have as strict morals as Korea. So there is actually a population issue now, because, well, no one is even trying to hook up. There was even a stat saying adult diapers were outselling baby diapers in Japan! Similar issues arise in China because of the whole “one child” rule, etc.

      • Yeah I read about that. Japanese women are choosing not to get married because they know they will be expected to give up their careers and become housewives. It is also looked down upon to be a working married mother. Japanese people aren’t hooking up because it’s “too much of a hassle.” It’s good that people want to be independent but it slightly confuses me how love and intimacy are being viewed as something that’s a “hassle”._.

    • I’m a female, and I go to an Ivy League university. The same exact thing happens to me when I meet new people. They hear the name of my school and immediately shut down. From there it’s like, how do I convey to you that I’m actually a normal human being, am generally not scary, and am not judging you in any way?

    • if you dont mind me asking, what did you study in KU?

    • Hello you’ve been in my school! I’m Korean :) I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t get to know your classmates until the end of the semester. It must be really sad.
      Maybe the reason they didn’t speak to you before the potluck party is that, in Korean culture initiating a conversation with a stranger is not common. Unless you want/need to talk about something specifically. (Even though you recognize each other but you haven’t properly introduced yourselves usually you are still strangers.) (I have a theory why but that’s another long story..) You being a foreigner probably made it worse because they had to speak with you in English. I think in Korea, EVERYTHING is graded in some way and perfection/being no.1(1등)is considered extremely important, so you must achieve that ‘goal’ whether you want it or not. That’s “Normal.” I think that is why Koreans are unwilling to speak in English and even scared of English because they think their English is not perfect.

      p.s. To many exchange students in Korea, if you want to make Korean friends at school it would be better if you start to make a conversation. Since you are a foreigner you won’t be considered as a weirdo.. probably. :) However, it is very possible for them to think you are hitting on them. Unless you are same gender. Because “there is no gay person in Korea.” Haha

      • Oh hey, really? That’s really cool! I miss KU ;____;
        yea I was very sad, they seemed like really cool people O_O
        hahaha yes that’s probably also part of the reason :) But my classmates’ english was really good!! That’s the strange thing for me…plus, they said they were ‘scared’ XD So it’s kind of…awkward for me to hear, I don’t consider myself a particularly scary person O_O

        ohhh yea, I heard about the ‘no gay people in Korea’ thing from few of my friends hahaha because I would always see business guys holding hands when drunk, or just guys hugging, sitting in each other’s laps hahahaha it was very strange! Nice I guess, to see people so friendly :D except when you’re a foreign girl ;___; then no one is friendly..hahaha

  100. Well, it is very important in upper and middle class Korea that women have an education because they are expected to educate their children, so for wealthier men, she does need to have gone to SKY and had a great job etc. There are lots of girls at SKY (I’m at one right now) and there is this saying that middle and upper class housewife’s in Korea re the most ‘over educated’ women in the world, as many have degrees from SKY, Ivy Leagues, even Oxford, but they are housewives. Also once women get married and have children, many of them are straight out fired in Korea (not always the case but it is common). And of course there is the troubling, troubling implication that women’s value as a partner mother and citizen lays in their looks, while men’s lays in their perceived competency. And the bagel ideal type is connected to ideas of submissiveness and objectification of women’s sexuality. Being a man in Korea is not being burdened with responsibility, being a man is being powerful and being privileged.

    • I find it very interesting that educated women would not eventually rebel against such rigid social norms. Certainly those who attend universities outside of Asia have been exposed to something different. Who wastes an Ivy League education to stay home and keep house? I wonder if top U.S. schools know that a huge portion of the 70,000 Koreans we have each year attending university here are going to go home and use it to make soup, dust nick knacks and wipe noses.

      • Like they care. All they care about is international students getting their degree and paying their money to get it, and sometimes I wonder if they even care about them finishing, since a good portion of schools don’t offer help with visa and the the legal rounds of being an international students. They care about money, not what it’s being used for afterwards.

        • True that. Everything is about money and it doesn’t seem to get any better only worse.

      • Education has value in itself. You don’t need to ‘use’ it afterwards for it to still have been worth it.

        Ask anyone who ever did an arts degree!


        • Yeah well a 100,000 dollar education is a lot of money spent for personal satisfaction. Couldn’t you get that with a 50,000 dollar degree?

  101. This might sound bad, but the marriage based on “love” mentality is really not working out for Americans. Honestly, it’s commitment that matters the most. The butterflies in your stomach will fade, and there will come a time when true love sets in : the love that will make you stay committed and do things to make your partner happy. Love is a verb. It’s a decision. Which is why it’s important to marry a good person. I would like to think that most Koreans, while having an ideal type, a decent personality goes without saying, but as here in the West, in many cases it doesn’t. Many people in America marry based on how they feel, and as we can see, it’s not going well. It’s not just about feeling, it’s about a commitment. Personally, I want both. That’s why to me, marriages of convenience are not bad things as long as the two of you are willing to work on it and are decent people. Yes, in Korea they have the ideal man and woman, but that’s just an ideal. Most of us don’t end up loving people who are our ideals, including Koreans.

    • Cyber_3

      How is “love” not working out? While I am seeing some of what you mention, I have yet to see a couple who everyone believes to “be in love” that get married then not work it out. It’s a lot of the marriages that people get into that are not for love (money, pressure, status, sex, etc.) that seem not to work out IMHO. Relationships need work and maintenance – any relationship – not just marriage and a lot of people think that once you get married that you no longer have to communicate or keep getting to know the person, or that there are a whole slew of life details/opinions that come up that are important to a marriage that you didn’t even think of in a romantic relationship. I really don’t think that love is the problem. I also don’t think that it’s purely commitment either. You can build a “marriage” on commitment but it’s not necessarily going to be what I expect out of a marriage and all the commitment in the world won’t make you happy without some of the other good things that marriage can bring.

      • How many people have we seen say they love each other, and are head over heels with each other just to divorce? And happiness is subjective. What you want isn’t always what another person wants. I didn’t say that love was the problem. It’s the constant focus on the wrong type of love (butterfly love) that’s the problem and a lack of focus on commitment (long-lasting love). all I’m saying is, is that marriages of convenience are not always a bad thing.

        • Cyber_3

          I actually haven’t seen anyone who is head over heels in love that has had a divorce and trust me, I don’t lead a sheltered life. If you fall in love and get married within the month of meeting them then yeah, it’s quite possible that you don’t know them very well and therefore, things could fall apart. In this day and age though, there is no reason to take the step of marriage when you can fully explore a love relationship without it. If you actually decide to get married (for love) after getting to know the person, then you are generally sure that you will both be committed to give it a good try and things work out then far more often than not. Puppy love rarely results in marriage these days. So many marriages that you see that you may think are “for love” you’ll see the entire wedding party taking a pool of how it will end within months. I would not call these marriages of love.

          You can try all you want but you are not going to convince me that arranged marriages have a better success rate. They may have a higher “staying together rate” but they also have a far higher “kill your spouse” rate as well. There is hella more pressure to stay in a bad arranged marriage than a plain old marriage (whether married for love or whatever). Even if you are able to tolerate and like each other, it will never be in the same universe of good as a marriage made for love and that is sad to me, because it’s a whole life you are spending not knowing/giving up love.

        • They're Human Too

          No one said they have a better success rate, I just said I don’t think they are necessarily bad things…re-read the OP. And arranged marriages are different from marriages of convenience. In the Korean context, it seems to be a choice. That’s not an arranged marriage. I’m just saying don’t think that because a couple isn’t “in love” means that they won’t live happily. And just because another couple has that spark doesn’t mean they will either.

        • ashtenmorgan

          This is out of the box, but I think it’s also stereotyping of you to think arrange marriage is worse than a love marriage. I’ve met people who are in a arrange marriage, and they live really happy. It’s not like it’s 40-50 ish years ago. Arrange marriage from the female’s aspect, your parents put you up on a marriage date, and you go and see them. You find out who they are and what you guys have in common, get to know them, and see if you have feeling for the other too before you jump in the bandwagon.

          But, of course, there are bad arrange marriage too. Where the traditional comes in, and make you marry someone without knowing or understand your other half… But, as people, technology, religion, and places are changing so is this ideal arrange marriage type.

          As for love marriage, it really depend on what love you’re talking about. Soul mate, lover, companion, compatibility love, sexual love and etc…??? Just because you’re in love, it doesn’t mean it will last forever. From the media sense, couples tend to want to find that perfect other half or some call it soul mate, but is it real? Many people believe you can find that perfect someone within this 6.8+ billions of people. But, when I ask them if their soul mate die, would they still stay single for the rest of their life…? Many of them cannot answer it… So, did they really love that person enough to not find someone else…? And if they did marry another person, did they love that current person as much as their suppose love marriage before? Is it a love marriage now? Or is it just a marriage you love to have, but now it’s gone, so you need another loving person?

          In addition, can love marriage be without sex? If you need it, then how can you know it’s just a love marriage, but not a sexual one too? So did you marry that person out of love only or was the sexual part of it that determine? What if you love that person, and marry it, but there was no physical sexual in it? Would it last just for love?

          To sum up, is arrange marriage and love marriage really an ideal/stereotyping to say one is better than the other?

        • Cyber_3

          Hummm…..I don’t think that I can say that one marriage is “better” than another marriage, everyone is different. If the married couple is happy, that is enough for me. I guess that one’s expectations going into a marriage really drive whether you will be happy and/or satisfied with it. If you expect it to be a quiet sexless companionship, I’m not sure that this could really be called a marriage so I am confused. You totally don’t need to get married to have one of those, unless one or both parties are otherwise unwilling…..So, can we at least assume that there is sex involved? If sex is involved either you’re having it with a stranger (arranged marriage) or someone you know and love. While you can tell me how “modern” arranged marriages have become, I’m pretty darned sure that there still isn’t any sex before the marriage and frankly, anyone who gets married BEFORE having sex is taking a HUGE risk in my opinion. Sex is a very personal and intimate act, and there is no way that you can find out what someone is like by talking about it. If you wait until you get married to find out that, despite your best and most well intentioned efforts you are incompatible then what do you do? You don’t really have a choice, divorce or be unhappy, this also goes for the men as well as the women. I’m not saying that one type of marriage is “better” than the other, but one sure has a better chance of being happy.

        • YukiRed

          Maybe ‘infatuation’ is a better word instead of ‘love’? I think you mean the person is blinded by love that when the beginning feelings fade, they start to see the flaws in the person, and they see the person for who they are rather than who they thought they were?

        • They're Human Too

          yep, that’s the word…it was on the tip of my tongue..

    • I think you’re mistaking “in love” for “love”. There’s an initial lust/spark that many people experience, but this doesn’t mean they are compatible for serious commitment. IMO it’s crucial to live together with your SO before getting married – everyone has annoying quirks and habits, and you often don’t notice them when you live apart. Do they leave dirty dishes in the sink? Mix lights and darks when doing laundry? Snore every night? Etc. etc. You need to decide whether you can accept or at least *deal with* these quirks, or it will never work out. Two of my best friends dated for 4+ years, spent a few nights/week together, everything was great; as soon as they starting living with each other, they broke up. The stuff I listed seems minor, but it really puts a strain on a relationship if it is one of your pet peeves. I’ve been living common law for a little over a year, and it is great, but even so, we won’t be married for at least another couple years. The biggest problem is that people rush into marriage, then wonder what else is out there. You need to be 100% committed and satisfied in that commitment. Marriage of convenience also doesn’t work, since you need to feel self-satisfaction. Many women would be happy to be homemakers, but not all of them.

      • That’s exactly what I’m saying. People marry based on the initial lust/spark, hence the “love” in inverted commas, and aren’t committed to it 100% Also, I didn’t say anywhere that marriages of convenience included the women having to be a homemaker. And once again, self-satisfaction is subjective.

    • You’re not talking about marrying based on love, you’re talking about marriage based on quick lust and naïvety. True love lasts a lifetime, and yes the butterflies do fade, but if it is really love then people make it work. I just don’t see how marrying someone based on credentials can ever make someone truly happy and fulfilled.

    • The people getting divorced probably didn’t marry for real love. They marry for lust, or because they had sex and unintentionally had a child, or are just physically attracted to each other but don’t actually have anything in common or similar goals, or one or both are abusive in some way. People who honestly and deeply love each other aren’t getting divorced, so it’s entirely unfair to say that it’s “not working out”.

  102. Wow (is almost 14:00 here in Spain). Just yesterday I was reading a blog where there was lots of photos about korean people (mostly girls) that went through plastic surgery… and my head just explode!! I mean, these were not just being a little prettier, it was about BEING A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSON!!! Really. So I’m not quite sure about the good genes ;)

    • Good!!! Another Spanish Nasty :))

    • YukiRed

      This reminds me of a show in USA that aired a while ago called, ‘Bridalplasty’. I wasn’t a fan of the show and barely watched it, you just reminded me of it lol
      It’s about brides-to-be have these challenges every week and whoever wins get one plastic surgery preformed. They did this EVERY WEEK. -___-’
      Also, the groom-to-be wasn’t able to see his finance until the end of the show -______________-””’

      • All I can think of now is some girl winning all of the challenges and her finacé being unable to recognise her. I wonder if that ever happened… It’d be funny, yet sad if it did.

  103. So, it’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. today. I’m awake right now because I’ve been preparing the turkey and dressing that our family will be bringing to a family get-together. I’m a mother of three teenage boys and wife of one former teenage boy. I’m also the full-time director of a public library and the most educated person in our household. Even so, I’m the one that is in charge of all school related matters for our children (which now include college entrance). As much as Americans talk about how progressive our attitudes are toward women, it seems that, similar to Korean culture, there is a definite double standard when it comes to expectations for men and women. I will say, there is not the overt misogyny here (for the most part). On the other hand, it seems that the Korean way is much more honest. Better? That’s a pretty big discussion. I think both cultures (all cultures) would be much better served by recognizing the unique and valuable personhood of each individual. It’d be great if roles were negotiated rather than expected and equality in marriage was the rule rather than the exception. Again, I don’t thing this is unique to Korea. It’s just not masked in the same way it is in other cultures.

    • Gender equality in the U.S isn’t any better because it is constantly under attack, mostly from the Catholic church, the Christian right and men. Men always fight back. They are beginning to fight back in Korea from what they see as a “westernization” of their traditional values. Don’t be fooled Korean men. Western men have essentially the same traditional values as yours. Losing privilege and power is a scary thing. Women by virtue of their already reduced status are guilty of giving in to demeaning and marginalized gender roles. We really do appear to be the “weaker” sex. Surely women cannot compete in an economic, cultural and religious structure run mostly by men.

    • I think the American “double standard when it comes to expectations for men and women” is much more individualized and particular, though. I don’t find it to be very common or noticeable in my part of the country. From the beginning of our marriage — about 25 years ago now — my husband impressed me with his extremely egalitarian expectations for the home. In college, he would sit down with our schedules and discuss how much study time we needed for each class, then compare that to how much time it would take to do each household chore, then negotiate a fair division of labor. (We still re-negotiate our responsibilities every fall.) When our boys were small, he happily parented them while I worked in the evenings and on weekends. He also agreed that though I bore most of the burden of getting them through high school, he would help them get into and through college; he’s in the process of fulfilling that responsibility now. His father is very much the same way, as are most of the men I work with. Please don’t tar the reputations of such fair-minded American men through over-generalization.

      • Persephone, I agree with you this is a much more individualized thing in America. Also, to be fair, I am speaking in a general way, and it’s fairly obvious that, generally, this does tend to be the case – that women who choose to work and have a family tend to have more responsibilities with regard to child rearing and home keeping. I should also point out that my husband works third shift and has for many years. This makes participating in many things next to impossible.
        The purpose of my post was to point out that we, as Americans, tend to talk very loudly about how the status of women is so much better than around the world. In many ways, that’s absolutely true. I have choices that many international women couldn’t even begin to dream about. That said, there are still very entrenched gender roles here. Thankfully, we get to choose whether or not to play into those roles without nearly the social consequences that, in this case, Korean women have to face.
        Kudos on finding a great partner :-)

  104. My husband is from India, and while we were dating (which is still pretty frowned upon unless it’s after you’ve met someone you discussed marriage with, for the most part) his parents kept pressuring him to meet women they wanted to set him up with. At one point he had been sent by his grandmother on an “errand” to a “friend’s” home which was in fact a surprise marriage discussion with the daughter of that family (a surprise to his parents too. Grandmas be shady) When he told them that he was planning to marry me, they were so relieved that he was actually getting married that they didn’t even care I wasn’t Punjabi and/or Sikh.

  105. This makes me really curious as to how common divorce is in Korea . Does this never happen? And if it does happen, what happens to the woman when she no longer has anyone to provide for her? Can she get a job when she has had no education and is old?

    • agree with you…! girls..whatever you wanna do, get yourselves a proper education so that you can secure yourselves if anything happens to your marriage later in life (just saying)

      • I actually really dislike women that just expect the man to take care of them. I think I got this from my mum as she has always been a single mum with a full time job and the other full time job of raising us. I don’t understand how they could WANT to be so dependant.

        What happens if he loses his job, what happens if they get a divorce, what happens if he dies? You will be alone with no way to take care of yourself or your children. You have no education, no experience, you cost too much money compared to the younger generation, so it will be hard to even get a minimum wage job.

        I just don’t understand T^T

        • Perhaps it’s not a common situation, but my grandparents were together and the parents of 4 children. My grandma was in beauty pageants but my grandpa had a legitimate job as a firefighter. After he passed away (grandma was in her early 50s I believe) she didn’t have any job or education. So she went back to school, and then got a job at NASA :D And worked there until she died. So it isn’t a lost hope., at least.

        • Thankfully that is very true. No matter how old you are if you really want to do something you’ll find a way to do it no matter what. The problem with these old fashioned standards is that for girls who don’t naturally have that drive to get want they want in life, they’ll be content to do what they’re told and won’t know what to do if they end up alone.

        • My mom is 46 and going back to school to become a nurse practitioner. She has 4 years left, but it’s worth it to her and I’m proud of her for doing it.

        • That’s great! A lot of the older university students that I meet in some of my classes are mothers who want to get a degree to make a better life for them and their children. Whether it’s a university degree or a technical certificate I’m proud to see all kinds of women working to reach their goals.

        • Hmm well props to your grandma for going back to school, especially as she was so old already (compared to then, didn’t people used to retire normally?). I know mine would never be able to do that.. But I was actually thinking of a more younger age? Like if she got her children pretty late (for that time) say at age 30, her children would still be in theor 20s and be able to take care of themselves so she would have the time to get an education.. But what if the children were really young like 2 years old.. You’d have to juggle time for education, time for children and time for work all together as an education costs alot of money too.. You could send them to daycare but again, that costs money.. Is there anything the state does to help them out or are they all alone?

        • Carolynn

          I was three when my mom was suddenly on her own when my dad abandoned us. She went back to school and raised us all on her own by being a teacher! Before when she was married she stayed home with us because that is what she wanted to do, no one forced her. But after she went to school via loans and then paid them all off after she graduated second in her class! She was a super hard worker. She had 5 more years teaching until she can retire!

        • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be a stay at home mom at all. Kids are important, and if they want to stay home to make sure the kids are getting all the support they need, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Same if the husband wants to stay home instead and take care of things while the wife works. Or if a gay couple adopts children and one stays at home while the other works. And I have to say that often stay at home mothers DO have an education. They just chose to not pursue their careers any further for the time being to raise a family instead. I think it’s a very brave decision, to be willing to give up your independence, because for me that would be really scary. I like making my own money. So I’m certainly not going to look down on them for their sacrifice.

        • I wouldn’t consider it a sacrifice to give up my career to raise children, but that might just be me. Being a mother is a stressful and fulfilling job, and is worthy of praise as much as being a lawyer or CEO or something. You get to be in direct control of the future leaders of the world. It’s an incredible and powerful position to be in.

        • I would agree that it is more challenging and stressful because there is no end to it, you don’t get to interact with your peers as much as in an office (who usually are less demanding and carry slightly better conversation) and there is no end to the work or vacation time. I think there is also a risk for women to get stuck in certain roles that label them as little more than indentured servants, if they have no good support. Cleaning, cooking, shopping, taking care of kids, being a sex machine or a chauffeur are all separate trades anywhere else, but a woman may be expected to do them all with no pay.

        • Marian Quah

          Being a Mum is the hardest job in the world! You don’t know if you will get good returns in the future and there is so much investment. *insert Meemer voice* That’s why we love our Mams. :D

        • Phelan Velvel

          But that has to do with another societal pressure, that of having children. To me it’s not really a sacrifice because it’s a choice one makes. No one is obligated to have children, though society may make it seem that way. If you have children, yeah, of course someone has to dedicate time to take care of them. I guess I just don’t agree with the idea of praising people for being stay-at-home mothers/fathers when it’s a choice. I don’t see it like “Wow, you’re so brave to relinquish your independence for the kids.” They weren’t forced to do it, so they don’t need a medal. If it’s such a sacrifice to the point that they’re losing a part of themselves, maybe it’s not the right choice to make.

          Just as a disclaimer, I’m not referring to people who went into a marriage thinking it was going to be equal and then got screwed over and were forced into that position. That sucks. I mean people who knowingly make the choice.

    • I’ve only been in Korea for almost a year, but I can tell you that its SUUUUPER common. But its also VERY hushed. Divorce seems to be seen as really bad and shameful, so actually a lot of couples won’t actually get a divorce, but like the husband, for example, might just move out, and they might just stay married, but don’t live together, and the wife will be all like “Oh yes, he has a job in [such-and-such city] so he lives there during the week for work” etc etc. Or if they do get a divorce, they often won’t tell anyone. Like, nobody, if they can help it. Honestly, I’ve seen more broken marriages here, than long lasting ones. :( There’s a lot more I could say about reasons as to why marriages fall apart so easily here, but I don’t want to stereotype or say something that could offend someone, so I’ll stop here. Also, because I don’t know in-depth details, since I’ve only been here for about a year, and these are just my observations/what I’ve heard from others.

      • I had a Korean penpal who seemed to love taking care of her kids. She would always do things with them like learning new instruments and painting with them. But she seemed to hate her husband. She rarely mentioned him and whenever she did, it was pretty negative. He was too controlling and would waste all his time (by playing golf? or something like that, it was a while ago, but it was some activity he did outside of the house) and waste money and not care for her. It made me feel bad for her but I wondered why she was still with him :x

        • I know women who are like that, they love taking care of their kids, and they never mention their husband. One woman I know has only mentioned her husband 2-3 times since I’ve known her, and she was talking about their honey moon or something that happened 10-15 years ago. She only talks about things her and he kid do now.
          From what I gather, that sort of thing happens a lot. :( I’ve heard of many cases where the husband is controlling, neglectful, unfaithful or abusive…and I don’t want to make blanket statements, but…I feel like to some extent, that sort of behavior is not welcomed, but its accepted or maybe even expected in a marriage? To the point where I’m not really surprised when I hear about something like that happening anymore. But since divorce is such a taboo, they’ll either just live with it, or separate quietly, and pretend like everything is normal.
          Sort of breaks my heart.

        • That really IS heartbreaking. :(

        • Aww :( yeah that sounds a lot like her.

      • But the man still provides for the woman even if they are divorced/separated? Like is there a legal thing like alimony or does she get an allowance or something?

      • That completely makes me rethink some mangas I’ve read…

      • Maybe it’s because of the whole dating requirements? I mean, if some guy is just looking for a physically attractive wife, then they might not get along in terms of personality, life goals, morals, etc. It would be really difficult to make a marriage work if you have nothing in common, but you’re the “ideal” couple because she’s attractive and he’s successful and educated. Sad.

    • Divorce rate is 35%, which is honestly around average. Truth be told, Korean culture frowns upon divorce since you’re essentially breaking up the family, which is considered sacred to most Asian cultures.

      Divorced women usually end up coming back to their families (if the husband was at fault), or simply live out on their own. Not all that different from Western culture. The job thing is the hard part as minimum wage only sits at $4 an hour and I’m not entirely sure of benefits to the poor.

    • I am not korean, however, many of their culture beliefs coincide with my culture. Like koreans, the female is expected to take care of the house, children, and especially the husband regardless of anything else she has going on. In traditional hispanic culture, divorce is not really an option. Marriage is forever, even if the husband cheats or they become detached; marriage is a last resort.
      Having no education does not necessarily mean they cant get a job. You have to remember how much weight many of this females have been caring for years. They become masters in cooking, housecleaning, among other things. If a female is willing, she will take whatever job will feed her and her children. I say this with confidence because my mother is like this. when she was young, she took care of her siblings and her parents. While her siblings had a great education, she never had the oportunity. She married and had three girls. She became a stay at home mom, but when times were tough, she still worked by cleaning houses and cooking. She is in her 50s, she is quite tired but she still does what she deems she needs to do. Its upsetting to, what I see as giving up her life, to take care of others. but like she has told me, she raised the most precious things god could have given her; she has no regrets.

      Also, if I may correct you females from traditional cultures dont expect their husbands to “take care of them”. It is not as simple as you may see it. It is the opposite way, the husband expects for the wife to take care of him until he dies.

      Also, it is expected for the children to help out in anyway. So is something bad happens when she is much older, she can always move in and depend on her children. Which is something common and also an obligation for the children to take care of their parents. In other words, you are bound to be with your parents for the rest of their lifes.

      Raising a family, like how others have said, is not a bad thing. It is not my thing (heck marriage is not even in my agenda), but I am thankful to my mom for staying with us; I am thankful I could see her everyday. Even if she lacks education, her knowledge in life exceeds that of many others and she is quite respected for that.

      I grew up in two different cultures, one more traditional than the other. I see the pros and negatives of each one, but in the end it is just comes down to a choice and how you deal with the consequences. ^^

  106. Speaking of gender inequality…. My parents-in-law have a farm and they both work on it, but my mother-in-law still does the housework and cooking and everything on top of all the farm work. So she works twice as hard. When my father-in-law and my sister-in-law visited my parents in Australia, after we had dinner together my father-in-law was shocked to see my dad clear the dinner table and start doing the dishes! It was such a shock to him but my dad pointed out that my mum works full time and he only works part time so he should be doing some housework. My father-in-law actually got scolded a bit by my dad and my dad pointed out how unfair it was that he wasn’t doing anything to help his wife.

    So when my father-in-law went back to Korea he started doing the dishes after every meal for his wife! And sent photos to prove it every now and again. And yes my mother-in-law was pleased. I think it was good for him to be challenged by my father and to realise just because something has always been a certain way it doesn’t mean it has to be like that.

    And my husband knows I will kick his ass if he doesn’t pull his weight when it comes to housework.

    • Woo! Great that it got better for your mother in law!
      I think it is important that the housework is divided fairly. You are both in a family.

      Anyways, once I dated a guy who stated that my school, grade or career wasn’t important, because I would become his wife and stay at home and take care of the kids while following him where he went. He stated this without discussing it with me. We went to the same university, studied the same, and I got better grades, but still he expected me to become a stay at home mom, because that’s what all the women did around him when he grew up. I can say this is one of the reasons why this relationship did not work out. Thankfully, he was not a proper representative for the Dutch male population.

      • Cyber_3

        I met one of these types of guys too (and it also didn’t work out). But in all fairness, I think that some of these guys really do think that they are doing you a favour because a lot of them are pushed into these high-powered careers and would love someone to “save” them from having to actually have that career. I don’t think they realize that most women are at university in the hard careers because they want to be, not because of their tigermom’s expectations.

        • Yeah indeed. I go to university because of the career I want, not because of wanting to meet men. I hope they realize that not all women want/need to be ”saved”, and there is also the option of both working to reduce work stress and take care of the family.

          Funnily, this guy was in the same college as I was, and I got better grades than he did.

      • :O He absolutely isn’t a proper representative of the Dutch male population. He belongs more to the old generation.

      • If a guy said that to me, he’d be a gonner…

    • *big high fives to your dad*

    • Hoowee! I wouldn’t want to get on your dad’s bad side. But anyway, great story!

    • personally i want to be the type of person who goes on a blind date and decides to get married at 6 months or a year. I am all for being a stay at home mom. I get made fun of thought by all the ladies that i work with. I work at a school as an Educational Assistant and when i told this to the ladies they just looked at me like i was a nut case and didn’t know anything. They think that because I am 25 I don’t know anything. Will i sure as hack no what i want. I hate working, I would rather stay at home and cook. I wouldn’t mind a Part time job but i would mostly for the next 2-3 years of my married life to be a stay at home mom. How ever i do have some rules and i agree with you father. I don’t want to be doing double the work and him not showing that he cares. Also i don’t want him to teach are children that it’s okie to not do the dishes. if i marry a korean man, he has to understand that i know studying comes first but are kids will do the dishes at least twice a week and the landury so like putting it in the washing machence or bringing it down stairs for me to do. So if I have two kids then one does one and the other does thy other and then they switch. but yea

      • I totally understand. I really do want to be a housewife and mother, it’s what I’ve wanted for a long time. In fact, I thought I would be married quite young and be a mother already, but that hasn’t happened. I’m almost 27 and don’t even have a boyfriend. My mom keeps asking when I’m gonna get married and start having grandchildren for her, even though she isn’t even 50 yet. Almost every relative of mine that is married has gotten hitched by the time they were 25, at the latest. My parents were 19 and 23 when they married. I kind of feel like I’ve fallen behind in those terms.
        On the other hand, I absolutely value education, and equality between partners. If I want to go to school or have a career while I’m married, then my husband needs to respect that. Honestly, I wouldn’t even marry someone who didn’t respect me in the first place. I would of course respect my husband’s desires because of the respect he shows me. I wouldn’t have any problem having a career and coming home to be a housewife on top of that – my aunt did that for 40 years until she recently retired. She’s still a very active woman, and she is very proud of having a spotless house all the time despite having a 12-hour workday.
        Right now, I’m held back because of medical issues, so I don’t think I could do both… but I would still try. My hope is that by the time I’m 30, I can start my career and have the medical problems under control. You said you hated working – I don’t hate working, I -love- putting all I have into something so I can be proud of what I accomplish, but.. I don’t like being constrained by deadlines and a rigid schedule. It can stifle creativity and quality, and for me it’s just something I can’t deal with. I have major depression when my life is under someone or something else’s control like that.

        • There is a difference between putting all you have into something and hating to work. I just don’t like working. It’s not for me i don’t like having a 9 to 5 job and etc. when it comes to thinks and when i do work and i have a job i put my all into it. But personally i don’t like to work, i like to relax now and then, i like giving myself breaks and not taking breaks when i am told. But i respect what you vaule. :)

      • So, at your age I felt the same way. And I did it, too! But it turns out that after the first few years, it didn’t make me happy anymore; I got extremely depressed. When my boys were old enough for elementary school, I started working part-time; when they were in middle school, I went to full-time work. My husband was raised by his parents to be extremely egalitarian around the house, so he always pulled his weight with both the chores and the parenting. So I was lucky. But anyway, he has always said that going back to work was the best thing I ever did for myself and our family; it gave them back an active, happy wife and mother. What I’m saying is, give it a shot; it might be perfect for you. But if it turns out that you are really unhappy in that lifestyle, don’t feel too guilty about finding a job. Being a depressed, angry person is not good for the kids or the husband — or yourself, for that matter.

        • will i want to open up my own business later on so after they head off to school my kids in the future i will open up my business. But at the same time i do Kendo and other active stuff so he has to have the whole package when i get married. i am not going to stop playing Kendo and working out.

      • I totally understand your point of view and honestly is alright that you want it, but the difference between your point of view and the point discussed in the TLDR is that many of this man pretty much force their future wifes in to leaving their jobs to become something else they probably don’t want but because of social pressure they most give in. In your case I think you’re totally entitled to do so in the future because it is what you want to do, not something your been pushed to become n.n

        • I know thats’ the point. All my friends are Korean and I have grown up around a korean community, a lot of the guys i know think that girls shouldn’t have to left stuff. Personally i don’t mind that they help I just don’t like it when they think i can’t do stuff but i do understand what it means to be forced in to doing something because lots of my friends parents are like that.

      • Carolynn

        I met my husband and we married exactly 6 months later! :D

    • Such behavior is natural in my husband’s family, too. The tradition was followed through at Thanksgiving dinner today: my mother-in-law and I made the food, and our husbands and sons cleaned up afterward. It’s great!

  107. Martina has a great career ahead of her as a Snow impersonator. I bet she does one hell of a rendition of Informer ;) Dat accent, jamaican me crazy Martina ;)

    And what always surprised me in like Korean variety shows was how girls in their early twenties, with, hopefully, a whole career still ahead of them were adament that they had to get married soon and had to get kids soon. Sometimes it felt like it was more for the kids, a lot of them said they wanted to be friends with their kids and that this wasn’t possible if they were too old (for some reason), but it also felt like there was this pressure on them to get married before they would be “too old”. And I do believe some idols or adult-dolls if you will in their thirties are really expected to get married before they are too old or get comments on the fact that they are not married. And looking at their busy schedules and some contracts saying they can’t date it would seem like there is a risk of them rushing into marriages just so they are married and can have kids.

    I do have to remind myself that say 50 years ago it was pretty much the same over here. But growing up in a society where dating for years and living together has been accepted for as long as I have lived, it is weird to see a country still in that mindset. So I kinda get what you mean with that old school mentality.

    • The idea of “50 years ago it was pretty much the same over here” is exactly what we say about Korea. It’s got the technology of 2050, but in many ways it still has the mentality of 1950.

      • I can’t say that I’m qualified to rebut that statement, and as a queer person of Korean origin, I too have been feeling the pain of the backward mentality. But! to be fair, the times they are a-changin. ;-) Namely, the netizens’ productive response to Ailee’s nude photo controversy has been rather refreshing, where rather than blindly shaming Ailee, there has been an effort to recognize revenge porn for the despicable thing that it is. It doesn’t sound like a super big deal, but it does seem to signify a shift in how Koreans perceive women and their sexuality. And of course the first public same-sex wedding between the film director Kim-Jho Gwangsoo and his partner, although not legally binding, the gesture is a step in progress.

        PS. I’ve been following a safe space project for (homeless) queer Korean youths in Korea. Would you be willing to let the Nasties know that this great thing is going on?: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/rainbow-teen-safe-space/

    • Jea just announced that she’s in a relationship, and immediately people assume she’s going to get married right away. Or even saying “get married now”, because she’s.. 32, I think? Sad.

  108. Ray

    To me the ideal korean woman would be one that loves me and i love her back… but knowing most of the nasties
    the Ideal Korean Woman will be [drumroll,please]: SoooooooooooooZeeeeeeeee

  109. Something about eating later and shabu shabu I think ;P Also, I’m glad I saw your last TL;DR before one of my classes on Tuesday because a student said that her foreign teacher at her public school is handsome and that she wanted to set up a sogeting (sp?) for us. So nice of her to consider her teachers’ dating lives :P

  110. pierrotinlove

    this video was really depressing :/ I HATE GENDER INEQUALITY. I have a question though, how much is it really changing? When you were teachers did you note that your students had different ideas about this or was it generally the same?

  111. where you guys talking about what you guys are going to eat??????!!!

  112. [email protected]

    I was wondering if thier is very traditional Koreans.. I grew up Armish in North America… Do they have something similar.. All i see are high Tech people… I know they have Armish type people in most of the world?????? Thx Lov Yallz

    • You mean Amish?

      • YES

      • And I love Korea but havent you ever wondered is thier traditional people

        • You mean extremely conservative or religious people? Yeah, of course there are. A lot of the older generation are very conservative. People who are Buddhist, or followers of Confucianism, or any number of other religions can also be very conservative or strict in their morals and values. The Amish have their own levels of conservatism as well.

          Also, it’s not your grammar that is the issue, it’s the spelling. I’m kind of surprised that you would misspell Amish if you were raised that way.

        • No honestly I wasn’t but my group is not as well known,,Most everyone knows the Amish people.. my group is much smaller and shrinking too,,,, and i didnt learn how to read or write until 8th grade..I grew up with out TV we watched movies…things like harry potter was banned and Pokemon though it was banned later as we were kids…. Not joking… I thought washing clothes by hand was normal until we moved to town when i was 12… We were wealthyer then most though… I never ate fast food… and my mother made everything homemade… OMG MISS HER HOMEMADE BREAD

        • Sounds mostly like what I did. I washed dishes and laundry by hand often growing up, wasn’t allowed to watch movies or tv much, even Pokemon was banned. I don’t eat fast food even now, that’s more a choice to eat healthy than anything else.

          I miss my grandmother’s homemade food. She made the best bread, pasties, lentil loaf, and other food.

        • Omg where r u from… :)

        • Oregon.


        • [Harry Potter] It is now a must to first read the books than watch the movies.. in that order…… :o)
          i’ve a house out in Astoria Oregon. :o) grew up south of Seattle. Just finished 5 yrs in NYC…

  113. in my country both the woman and the man need to have a full time job otherwise they can barely get by (unless the guys is a politician or a mafia boss), so yes the woman has to have a full time job then come home and prepare dinner, clean the house and take care of the children…

  114. I wonder if you can do a tldr on the differences you see now from when you first went to Korea, Like environment wise or anything like that. Since you usually talk about it on various videos.

  115. I vote for the what is the most ideal hamster!!


  117. Also, i was wondering if in Korea or Canada students do “Work Experience”? In Australia (Melbourne), students go to “work” somewhere for a week. (I’m currently doing it) Just wondering if it was a global thing…

    • Cyber_3

      What level of students? In Canada, in elementary school students often visit different work places to understand jobs. In grade 9, you go your parent’s work for a day and report on it. Also, for well over 20 years, high school students can participate in a co-op program where they work part-time for school credit. A lot of times this program is for students who can’t achieve academic credits well but want to get their diploma, but not always. When I was in high school I had a friend with a cherry co-op job as a camera man for Much Music. In university, there are co-op programs where you go to school for 4 months then work in your field for 4 months (fully paid) and then rinse repeat. This got me through engineering university fully paid and with years of actual engineering experience. People going into trades (plumbing/electrician/constructions/etc) have to go through an apprenticeship as part of their university training in order to get their certification. There are also paid and unpaid interships that some university grads participate in to get their foot in the door in some fields, like journalism. There may be a specific program similar to yours but I am unaware of it.

  118. Weew! It’s so late in Australia (I have school tomorrow) but let’s watch it!

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