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What’s the Ideal Korean Woman?

November 28, 2013

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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

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What’s the Ideal Korean Woman?

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  1. 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)

    2 years ago
  2. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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!

      2 years ago
  3. 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.]

    2 years ago
  4. 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

    2 years ago
  5. 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.

    2 years ago
  6. 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?

    2 years ago
  7. o.O dance?
    where are you from?

    2 years ago
  8. 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!

    2 years ago
  9. 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.

    2 years ago
  10. 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.

    2 years ago
  11. omg you guys are sooo cuteeee and you guys are matching :D

    2 years ago
  12. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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. ;)

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

        2 years ago
  13. 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.

    2 years ago
    • and then they will cause a HUGE Disruption in their Ideal lifestyle OOPPS !!!

      2 years ago
  14. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
  15. 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!

    2 years ago
  16. 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…..

    2 years ago
  17. 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 :)

    2 years ago
  18. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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?

      2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
    • 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?

      2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
      • 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

        2 years ago
  19. 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

    GREETEENGS FROM VANCOUVER

    2 years ago
  20. 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?

    Thanks!

    Gaby,

    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)

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

      2 years ago
    • 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…

      2 years ago
      • 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.

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

          2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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.”

          2 years ago
        • Yeah, I meant coconut milk and coconut cream.

          2 years ago
        • That would make a lot more sense.

          2 years ago
  21. Totally not just Korean culture. Many of the Chinese culture also think like that.

    2 years ago
  22. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

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

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
  23. 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

    2 years ago
    • 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.)

      2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
  24. 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!!

    2 years ago
    • 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

      2 years ago
      • 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

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

      2 years ago
    • 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?

      2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • 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”._.

        2 years ago
    • 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?

      2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • 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’.

        2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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

          2 years ago
        • 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. ^_^

          2 years ago
        • 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…

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
    • 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…

      2 years ago
    • 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!)

      2 years ago
      • 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!

        2 years ago
  25. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

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

        2 years ago
      • 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!

        ;)

        2 years ago
        • 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?

          2 years ago
  26. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • 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?

        2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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?

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
  27. 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 ;)

    2 years ago
    • 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 -______________-””’

      2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
    • Good!!! Another Spanish Nasty :))

      2 years ago
  28. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • 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 :-)

        2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
  29. 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.

    2 years ago
  30. 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?

    2 years ago
    • 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. ^^

      2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
    • 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?

      2 years ago
    • 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

      2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
    • 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)

      2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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

          2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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?

          2 years ago
        • 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!

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
  31. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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!

      2 years ago
    • 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

      2 years ago
      • I met my husband and we married exactly 6 months later! :D

        2 years ago
        • i would do that but i just can’t plan a wedding in a month i think it’s unreasonable

          2 years ago
        • Yeah it’s not for everyone. We loved it and it fit our lifestyle and budget perfectly!

          2 years ago
      • 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

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
      • 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. :)

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

      2 years ago
    • *big high fives to your dad*

      2 years ago
    • That’s a lovely story!

      2 years ago
    • 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.

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

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

        2 years ago
      • 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.

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
  32. 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.

    2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
    • 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.

      2 years ago
      • 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/

        2 years ago
  33. 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

    2 years ago
    • Marriage proposal request forms can be filled out here, in the comment section :D

      2 years ago
      • Ray

        I would love to meet someone like her

        2 years ago
      • Ray

        she will get a lot of proposal requests ^^… SooZee is unique and thats her charm, her personality is so out there she will make anyone happy :)

        2 years ago
  34. 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

    2 years ago
  35. 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?

    2 years ago
  36. where you guys talking about what you guys are going to eat??????!!!

    2 years ago
    • You mean Amish?

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

        2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • AND PS STILL TO THIS DAY I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT HARRY POTTOR IS REALLY ABOUT ONLY SEEN CLIPS HERE AND THIER.. LOL

          2 years ago
        • [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…

          2 years ago
        • 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
          BUT THANKYOU SO MUCH

          2 years ago
        • 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.

          2 years ago
        • Omg where r u from… :)

          2 years ago
        • Oregon.

          2 years ago
      • YES
        SORRY MY GRAMMER IS BAD

        2 years ago
  37. 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…

    2 years ago
  38. 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…

    2 years ago
    • 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.

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

    2 years ago