November 27, 2014
So, this was a very challenging topic for us to tackle. Whenever we discuss serious issues in Korea, like Prostitution or Sexism, or anything that doesn’t paint Korea in the best light, then the comments can be a bit of a battlefield.
The worst thing that happens in these conversations: if you give ten statements, and nine of them are totally right, but one is off, then commenters will make it seem as if the entire argument is invalid. Think of the internet like tetris: all of your accomplishments disappear and only your mistakes are what people can see.
This topic was especially difficult to handle because it’s so taboo here, and generally misunderstood. We didn’t emphasize this enough in our video, but holy hell was it ever exceptionally maddening to read that the former head of the second biggest adoption agency in Korea said that adoption from Korea continues today because single mothers are promiscuous. There’s also not that much coverage on the topic of single motherhood in Korea. What we’re hoping, at least, is that we can all acknowledge that single mothers are treated poorly here compared to what we’re used to, and that very little support is offered for them. I hope we can all agree that this is fair to say, right?
One of the people here at the Eatyourkimchi Studio, Ellwyn – who helps out with the Speaker’s Corner segment – is actually a Korean adoptee. He has a lot to say about the topic, and has pointed us in the direction of many articles and resources.
The two most important ones to check out are KUMFA and Adoptee Solidarity Korea. While KUMFA is for single mothers, ASK is for Korean adoptees, and – as we discussed in the video – the two are really closely related. Both sites will be able to carry on the discussion about the topic in Korea better than we can. Important note: Laura Klunder, who is a representative of ASK, says that the ASK website is pretty out of date. If you want, you can message her here.
For a more complete reading list, here are a few articles from PRI.org, The New York Times, Jezebel, Korea JoongangDaily, and Groove Korea
You can also read an Interview here, or you can follow the blog of Shannon Heit, who is a Korean adoptee and PhD researcher who has been advocating on behalf of single mothers and comfort women. She’s posted most of her thoughts and research on her blog.
I’ll leave it at that. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, and – more importantly – we’d love to know what single motherhood is like in your country. Is it as stigmatized as it is here? Is there a concept of “dead beat dads” where you live? Let’s talk about it.