Korean Gender Reader

Wedding Campaign 2005

( Poster for Wedding Campaign [나의 결혼 원정기 ], a 2005 movie about finding brides in Uzbekistan; Source )

Back to normalcy after the conference.

Demographics

1) “Seoul Increases Support for Muliticultural Families”

Or to be more precise, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is paying Korean men marrying foreigners 1 million won to attend a 20 hour course on multicultural marriages. But it is not available to Korean women.

Obviously this is discriminatory, but as some commenters at The Marmot’s Hole pointed out, not only are (2) Nine in Ten foreign spouses women, mostly Southeast Asian (see Korea Beat also), but it is even at the behest of the Women and Family Affairs department, and is based on preexisting programs run in other parts of Korea by the Ministry of Gender Equality (여성부) in cooperation with local governments. In addition, a crucial difference with this program is that it is targeted at husbands-to-be, with the aim of preventing problems before they occur.

3) Probably not by coincidence, last week all foreign spouses in Korea would have been visited by an official from the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs (보건복지가족부), with an individual survey in their own native languages to be completed, although clearly orientated towards Southeast-Asian wives judging by the questions. Here are scans of the covers of information sheet, a Korean sample version, and my own English survey I made while waiting for them to be collected:

A National Survey on Multicultural Families 2009 Korea

Meanwhile, see here for German blogger Madang’s take on his own survey.

4) Divorcees Face Asset Seizure for Neglect of Rearing Children

According to the Korea Times:

A new civil law went into effect Sunday, empowering a court to seize the assets or salary of a spouse failing to share expenses for the raising of their children after divorce.

Under the law, it will be legally binding for divorcees to shoulder the expenses of bringing up children. In the past, there were no legal grounds to enforce payments if a spouse did not keep his or her promise to help pay for the costs.

Good news of course, but on the other hand it’s telling that I’m no longer shocked that no law existed previously.

Sexy Korean Dance5) Seoul is Aging Fast

6) Young Women Suicides Double in Four Years

Mostly attributed to recent economic difficulties.

Sexuality

7) The image on the right is from a popular recent advertisement for a promotion for Nate.com, a Korean portal site, showing how one can learn how to dance seductively (유혹댄스) simply by searching on the internet. I think that that’s debatable myself,  and it begs a lot of commentary on Korean attitudes to sexuality and dance, but Brian in Jeollanam-do has largely already provided that for us. But it’s still amusing, and you may recognize it as part of the series that prompted this post (source).

Update: Perhaps it does work. Singer Son Ga-in (손가인) of the Brown Eyed Girls (브라운아이드걸스), the main character in the music video for Abracadabra (아브라카다브라; see #9 below), claims to be a virgin and to have learned her provocative dance moves simply from watching adult films!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I think it might have been more effective if it had finished with the women in the pink dress successfully seducing the object of her affections (at some point in the future) though, not him grinding with the better dancer that she resorted to desperate measures to distract him from in the first place!

8) After reading yet another excellent meta-post at Ampontan, this time about why Japan is consistently misrepresented in the foreign media, then I’m inclined to take this article at abc News on “the new trend of Konkatsu, or Marriage Hunting” with a grain of salt, especially over whether it is quite as big a “departure” for Japanese singles as claimed. Is it really only in 2009 that Japanese singles actively sought marriage partners?

9) Yet Another Band Uses Faux-Lesbian Pictures to Market Itself

Like PopSeoul!, I think that this means of getting attention is now probably counter-productive to the groups involved, and has finally run its course. But new readers, please note that I definitely don’t include the Brown Eyed Girls (브라운아이드걸스) in that category for their recent song Abracadabra (아브라카다브라): while it was easily the most erotic Korean music video I’ve ever seen, it was also very creative and refreshing, and more importantly provided a much needed kick against the limits on how women’s sexuality could be presented in the Korean media (see #2 here for a fuller discussion of that).

Ivy 아이비

10) Singer Ivy Finally Ready for her Comeback

I’ve mentioned the false sex-tape scandal that derailed Ivy’s (아이비) career on numerous occasions, so rather then link to all of those here see Dramabeans for a succinct summary of both that and how she’s managed to overcome it recently (source).

11) Students in Conflict Over Stolen Underwear

A slow news day at the Korea Times?

Seriously though, if there has indeed been a spate of thefts as reported, it’s good that a female student finally complained about it publicly, and which got results.

Won-binBody Image

12) Who is the Sexiest Korean Man Over 30?

Voting still open at AllKpop, with extensive galleries and bios available (source).

13) More Taipei Youth Undergoing Cosmetic Surgery This Summer

From the Taipei Times. While I’d be wary of the accuracy of the figures in either report, see #7 here for a July poll of Korean university students, with comparable percentages in both countries.

14) Living with Curly Hair

A Korean woman with naturally curly hair, who spent her childhood in the US, discusses how she was forced to get her hair straightened because of peer pressure when her family came to Korea, and more generally about pressures to conform. To place these into perspective, see here for some historical and religious factors specific to Korea that exacerbate those, especially for women.

15) Young Generation Confused Over What an “Average” Spouse is?

According to a Korea Times poll of 20 and 30-something that is, but I seriously doubt that “91.7 percent of males and 83.7 percent of females want Mr. or Miss Average as their spouse” as the article claims. Is it really much of a surprise then, that both sexes’ ideal partners are much taller and richer than average brides and grooms in reality?

Media

16) Roboseyo rarely writes long posts, but when he does they are invariably worth the wait. See here and here for a much needed sense of perspective on recent racist depictions of foreign males in the Korean media.

17) Saharial at London Korean Links provides a great how-to guide to choosing which Korean drama to watch. And after reading that, make sure to check out the comments to this post for some recommendations made by my readers.

18 Also well worth the wait, Korea Pop Wars has an in-depth post on the slave-like contracts of most Korean stars.

Han Ji-Hye Nude Naked19) Not that she’s the only Korean female celebrity doing so by any means, but literally every time I have seen Han Ji-Hye (한지혜) on television, she has been wearing fewer and fewer clothes (see here and here), and I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the deliberate policy of her management company.

See Paranzui for her latest commercial.

20) As expected (see #1 here), having made her mark by getting banned from TV because of the sexual innuendo and heavy breathing in the first version of her her song “Oppa, Can I do it?” (오빠! 나 해도 돼?), rookie rapper E.via (이비아) is to release an edited, tamer version of her entire album.

나의 결혼 원정기

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