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Korean Children and Teenagers

Cinderella Ate My Daughter (신데렐라가 내 딸을 먹었다)^^


Apologies for the slow posting everyone: it’s been a very busy end to the semester, and then I caught a bad cold over the long weekend.

Korean Sociological Image #59: Childcare is (Still) Women’s Job!


Do crosswalk lights with only male-shaped figures really discriminative against females?

Lolita Effect: A Wave of Middle School Girls Wearing Make-up


It’s such a struggle being a feminist parent.

I have two daughters: Alice, born in June 2006, and Elizabeth, born in August 2008. Fortunately, Elizabeth at least is just fine in the girl-power department, and is “second-sex” to no-one. Rather, it’s sex that comes a far-distant second to catering to her demands, but let’s not go there.

Growing up Adopted: Asian Premiere Production of “Between”

A one-woman show about adoption by Amy Mihyang, Between:

…encapsulates her experiences as a Korean American woman, a New Yorker, and most of all, a transracial adoptee. Bringing the audience with her on the plane en route from NYC to Korea, the author contrasts her journey with the echoes of other adoptees and those touched by the act of adoption.  Mihyang makes us ask ourselves, “Do we need to know where we came from in order to know where we’re going?”

And as The Korea Herald describes her performance:

Reading the Lolita Effect in Korea, Part 3: Six Year-Old Does KARA’s “Butt Dance” (엉덩이 춤) on “Shabekuri 007″

Thank you to everyone who’s emailed me about Japanese child star Ashia Mana dancing to KARA’s Mister on a Japanese talk show. For anyone interested in some context, issues raised, and why I think it’s problematic, then please first read Part 2, all of which was written in response to my one of my own daughters doing something similar at her kindergarten. Frankly, it was eerie how much Ashia reminded me of her.

Meanwhile, here’s the “Butt Dance” (엉덩이 춤) being referred to, with handy English subtitles:

Korean Sociological Image #56: Start ‘Em Young!


Apologies for the continued slow posting folks, but I have several good excuses, one of which involves spending a lot of time in doctors’ waiting rooms. Unlike most normal people however, that’s actually something I look forward to, as I simply relish the opportunity to peruse the hundreds of advertisements in the thick women’s magazines there.

Important News for Parents & Teachers in Korea

Admittedly not my usual sort of post, but then this news hit very close to home:

FAIL: Foam floor mats banned in France, Belgium. Shouldn’t we all know about this?

So Hot by the Wondergirls (원더걸스): Lyrics, Translation, & Explanation


It’s been a long time since I’ve thought much about the Wonder Girls (원더걸스).

Korean Sociological Image #55: School Uniform Advertisements


Has anyone been paying close attention to teenage girls’ legs recently?

If so, then please answer a question for me, as they’re the darnedest things to find once you actually have a legitimate reason to look. Until their recent break, had female school students still been required to wear skirts this winter, while their male classmates got to wear pants? Or did Korean schools show some flexibility because of the unusually cold weather?

The Gender Politics of Smoking in South Korea: Part 4

( Source )

“Smoking Among Men Drops to Record Low” reads a recent headline in The Chosunilbo, with only 39.6% of Korean men over 19 now doing so: a drop of 3.5% from a year earlier, and of 17.1% from 2003.

Reading the Lolita Effect in Korea, Part 2: The role of K-pop and the Korean media in sexual socialization and the formation of body image

A simply surreal video making the rounds at the moment. As explained by Lisa at Sociological Images, it:

…beautifully illustrates the socialization of children into particular kinds of worship. With hand motions, body movements, and facial expressions, this child is doing a wonderful job learning the culturally-specific rules guiding the performance of devotion.

“I’m a Korean Girl”

Despite its title, this is simply a classic rendition of the way young women typically behave in Korean dramas.

The flip-side of the aegyo (애교) phenomenon, that behavior is precisely why I don’t watch them too, and have a real concern about the effects on my 2 daughters as they grow up seeing it every time they turn on the TV.

But don’t get me wrong: the video’s hilarious, and thanks very much to @Mentalpoo for passing it on!^^

Countering Sexual Violence in Korea (Updated)

Once again, Korea has gotten the lowest score of all high-income countries in a recent survey of gender-equality worldwide. And, at 104th out of 131 countries surveyed, it was bested by numerous much poorer countries at that.

Groping in Korea: Just How Bad Is It?

( Source: leftycartoons )

Not that I ever really did think that women should consider street harassment as flattering of course, but this cartoon is eerily effective in getting that message across. It’s no wonder that’s it’s received nearly 300 comments over at Sociological Images.

Pink Imperialism?

( Source )

Koreans have curious attitudes to pink.

On the one hand, it is by no means considered feminine on adults, nor has it ever been historically. Indeed, far from rejecting it, these days many young men positively embrace pink as a sign of rebellion against the gruff, dull rural roots of their parents. As The Joshing Gnome puts it:

Reading “The Lolita Effect” in South Korea: Part 1

There are so many issues raised by 18 year-old Kim Hyuna’s (김현아) performance of her infamous “pelvic dance” (골반댄스) on last week’s episode of Quiz That Changes The World (세상을 바꾸는 퀴즈) below, that it’s difficult to know where to start.

Korean Sociological Image #45: Modernizing Traditional Korean Clothes

( Source )

For all my love of Korean culture, I’ve never really understood the appeal of modern hanbok (한복).

The Gender Politics of Smoking in South Korea: Newsflash

( Source: Metro, Busan edition, 8 July 2010, p. 3 )

A quick newspaper report on Korean smoking rates that caught my eye.

The Gender Politics of Smoking in South Korea: Part 3

( Korea is 4th from right; source )

Apparently, Korea is pretty unique in its huge difference in smoking rates between the sexes: up to 10 times more Korean men smoke than women. Or do they?

Ah! (아!) by After School (애프터스쿨): Lyrics & Translation

The Gender Politics of Smoking in South Korea: Part 2

A teaser for the next posts in the series (click to enlarge):

Korean Sociological Image #34: Child Sex Offender Kim Kil-tae Caught

The Grand Narrative in The Washington Post

( Source: RaySoda )

While the background will be very familiar to regular readers, I confess I was still intrigued when Washington Post reporter Blaine Harden emailed me about this last month:

With pressures high, South Korean women put off marriage and childbirth

Korean Sociological Image #33: Take the Wondergirls, Lolita Sexy Style!

( Source )

Well, that is literally what it says:

원더걸스를 가져라! 그녀들의 스타일! 그녀를의 매렬에 끌린다면…소녀의 감성과 성숙함이 공존하는 앙비귀때(Ambiguite) 섹시함을 입어라

Take the Wondergirls [with you]! Their style! If you are attracted to their charm…wear Ambiguity’s sexiness, which has both girls’ sense and maturity.

Ajosshis & Girls’ Generation: The Panic Interface of Korean Sexuality

…Gender matters in the ways that it shapes social interaction. Identities, of course, are products of and sustained through interactions with others. Social interaction thus is an important setting in which gender emerges and is enacted. As Ridgeway (p. 219) observes: “It is striking that people are nearly incapable of interacting with one another when they cannot guess the other’s sex.” That the identification of someone as male or female facilitates social interaction testifies to this category’s power in social life.

The Dire Need for Sex Education in South Korea

( Source: Naver Movies )

As you probably suspected, only a very small percentage of Korean teenagers are having sex. The average age that they started though, was as young as 14, and that doesn’t just affect them academically.

What IS the Age of Consent in South Korea?

Considering the abysmal state of sex education in Korea, part and parcel of a society reluctant to admit that teenagers have sex or even sexuality, then the notion that it’s only thirteen sounds simply absurd.

Lusting After Teenagers…or the Maturing of Women’s Fan Culture?

When living at home forces young Koreans to keep their sexual encounters a secret, it’s no great surprise that Korean society strongly discourages open expressions of sexuality outside of marriage.

(NSFW) Korean Movie Review #3: Samaritan Girl/Samaria (2004)

( Source: Naver Movies )

To my surprise, there can actually be some advantages to being a fledgling movie reviewer.

For instance, lacking the knowledge of experts, I can drop all pretense of objectivity. And indeed, my long-held preconceptions of this movie did have a profound effect on my ultimate enjoyment of it.

Korean Sociological Image #24: Childcare is Women’s Job

( Source: Raysoda )

For traveling parents, this is a godsend:

Asiana’s mother-friendly services have been gaining enthusiastic reviews from those who have been through the ordeals of traveling with infants.

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