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What do you find interesting about Korea? Perhaps even interested enough to study Korean for?
I’d wager that very few of you would consider doing so for pottery or the history of kimchi-making. Unfortunately however, such things are still staples of most Korean textbooks and courses on Korean culture.
But as the blogger I, Foreigner points out:
…sometimes I wonder if Koreans actually know what their own culture is all about. Do they not realize that watching TV on tiny screens on the bus/subway, playing games at the PC bang all day and boiling it up at the Jimjil Bang or Baths are as much part of Korean culture as kimchi is? Would it not be more useful for us to learn more about the history and use of these? Show me ONE teacher who has been here more than a month who has not heard about the whole history of kimchi.
And not just more useful, but also more interesting and more entertaining too. In that vein, let me present the blog “솔직녀의 섹스와 연애 이야기” (An Honest Woman’s Thoughts on Sex and Love) as an alternative Korean study source, and of course as another Korean voice on gender and sexuality in Korea also.
While the author has actually been living in America for 10 years, in her own words she’s had a lot of Korean boyfriends and sexual experiences, and more importantly aims to avoid a loveless and sexless marriage like many of her counterparts back in Korea. In particular, it was this post about teaching Korean to her American boyfriend that first caught my eye, and which readers here might be most interested in. Rather than spoiling that for you though, and being unable to choose from so many interesting-looking posts to translate myself, here is one my wife selected for me instead(!):
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혼전섹스는 결혼의 필수조건 Why Sex Before Marriage is Necessary
최근에 이글루스에선 처녀 논쟁이 한창이었다. 뭐 보지 않아도 뻔한 논쟁이지만, 아직도 여자는 결혼할때까지 처녀여야 된다고 주장하는 사람들을 보면서 묻고 싶었다.
Recently, on Egloos there was a big debate about virginity and sex before marriage. It was predictable and quite boring really, but it showed me that still some people think that women have to be virgins before marriage. Which made me ask myself the following:
사랑하는 사람이 처녀가 아니면 그 사람과 결혼 못한다는 얘긴가? 누군가를 사귀기 시작해서 좋아하게 됐는데 알고보니 섹스 경험이 있더라.. 그러면 좋았던 감정이 사그라드는건가? 결혼하고 싶은 여자가 있는데 혼전 섹스를 하자고 한다면? 꾹참고 결혼할때까지 기다려 할껀가?
Are there people that would not marry someone they loved if they discovered that they weren’t a virgin? If they found out after starting to like someone that they have had sexual experience, would their feelings for them disappear? How about if a woman they loved suggested having sex before marriage? Do both of them still have to resolutely suppress their desires until the wedding night?
사람마다 가치관이 다르니 누가 옳다 그르다 따지고 싶진 않다. 하지만 누가 나에게 혼전섹스에 대해 어떻게 생각하냐고 묻는다면 난 주저없이 말하겠다.
Everybody’s values are different, and I don’t want to distinguish between right and wrong here. But if anybody asks me what I think of sex before marriage, I wouldn’t hesitate to give my answer:
넌 차 살 때 테스트 드라이브도 안 해보니?
Wouldn’t you test-drive a car before buying it?
모든 남자가 차로 치면 벤츠나 BMW 같을 수는 없지만, 최소한 내가 편안하게 느낄 수는 있어야 되지 않을까? 좀 삐거덕 거리는 부분이 있다면 고칠 수도 있겠지만, 아무래도 어색하고 영 내 몸에 안맞는 차가 있듯이, 사람도 그렇다. 서로 좋아해도 이상하게 섹스에 있어선 영 아닌 경우가 있다. 그리고 섹스가 영 아니다보면 결국 그 남녀관계엔 불만이 생기게 마련이다.
( Source: unknown )
If all men are cars shall we say, then of course not all can be Benzes or BMWs. But at least I should feel comfortable driving it before I buy it, yes? And sure, if there’s a squeaking noise or small problem, then it can be fixed. But still, I wouldn’t feel as comfortable about buying it anymore. Just like people. Strangely, even if a man and a woman really like each other, the sex can be bad. And if it continues to be bad, then of course it will be a problem for their relationship.
1년 정도 사귀었던 남자친구가 그런 경우였다. 원래가 그다지 말이 많은 사람이 아니었지만, 섹스에 관해선 거의 서로 침묵을 지키던 사이었다. 문제는 난 그와의 섹스가 전혀 만족스럽지 않았던거다. 난 나름 그를 흥분시켜주려구 ‘자긴 내가 뭘해주면 좋아?’ 물어보면, ‘음.. 니가 하고 싶은대로 해.’ 모든 대답이 이런 식이니.. 내가 만족스러운지 어떤지는 한 번도 물어본 적이 없고, 그러니 나도 물어보기 힘들고.. 그와는 결국 헤어졌고 (섹스가 가장 큰 이유는 아니었다), 헤어질 때까지도 서로의 섹스만족도에 대해선 한마디도 나누지 못했다.
This happened with a boyfriend I had for one year. Originally, he wasn’t really a talkative person, and although we did have sex we never talked about it with each other. But it was completely unsatisfying for me. I would ask him “What would you like me to do to turn you on?,” but he would always answer “Do whatever you want.” And he never asked me if it was good or not for me, which meant it was kind of awkward for me to ask him n turn. In the end, we split up. Our unsatisfactory sex life wasn’t the biggest reason for that, but then until the split-up we never asked each other even once if it was good for the other person or not.
섹스가 잘 맞는 상대와는 섹스에 대해 솔직하게 얘기하기가 쉽다. 서로 기본적으론 만족스러워하는 걸 아니까. 잘 안 맞는 상대일 수록 섹스얘기를 꺼내기 힘들고, 그러다보면 계속 불만이 쌓이고.. 악순환의 연속인거다. 그런 상황을 피하기 위해서라도 진지하게 좋아하는 상대라면 더욱더 결혼을 결심하기 전에 섹스를 해볼 필요가 있다. 좋으면 다행인거고, 실망이라면 적어도 결혼하기 전에 실망하는게 나으니까.
It’s easy to speak honestly to talk about sex with someone when the sex is good. Basically, because you both already know the other is satisfied. But for those for whom the sex is bad, it’s very difficult to bring the subject up. But that leads to a viscous circle of bad sex leading to not talking about it, which leads to continued bad sex, and so on. So, if you want to avoid that happening with a partner whom you really like and are thinking about marrying, then you really need to have sex with them before making that decision. It’s better to be disappointed before marriage rather than after.
결혼 상대는 결국 평생의 섹스 파트너가 되는 셈인데 섹스를 테스트해보지 않고 결혼하는건 너무 위험한 결정아닐까?
Your wife or husband will be your lifelong sexual partner, so not having sex before marriage is very risky!
James: Personally, I would rather have stressed the value of talking with your partner particularly if the sex is bad. And I’m a little troubled with her argument that she would still be put off buying a ‘car’ with a ‘small problem’ even if it got fixed, and in turn that she seems to be advocating simply giving up on your partner if they’re bad in bed rather than biting the bullet and talking to them about it!
But I don’t want to potentially misrepresent her views, as I haven’t really read enough of her posts to properly judge her opinions yet. And of course something may be lost in translation, so I invite and would very much appreciate it if any other Korean speakers could check for me.
In the meantime, for those with Korean partners especially, I hope you enjoy the “inside information” she regularly offers!
(For all posts in the Korean Sources on Sexuality and Gender series, see here)
62 thoughts on “Korean-language Sources on Gender and Sexuality #2: “솔직녀의 섹스와 연애 이야기” on Why Sex Before Marriage is Necessary”
Thank you for your nice introduction of my blog. You made my day!!
Your blog is very interesting and covering a lot of topics I am interested. I will subscribe to it. ;) By the way, how did you learn Korean language? My boyfriend is trying to learn Korean and using Rosetta Stone now. Can you suggest any good way to learn Korean?
Dude, she’s a korean girl. I was thinking the exact same thing when I read her blog post…you didn’t misrepresent her views at all. Korean girls are natural “receivers”, but the instant you dont give them what they want, they stop “receiving” and just end things. To westerners, that seems harsh, cold and selfish. But to korean girls, it makes total sense.
You notice how she basically frames sex as a selfish endeavor right from the beginning. Her analogy of a “car” totally reveals her view of sex…which is something only physical and aimed towards “satisfying” some need. I also am very skeptical of her supposed “efforts” to talk about sex with her boyfriend. It may be true that he never brought it up, but I’d bet my life she didn’t either. The guy probably never thought there was a problem…he probably enjoyed the sex and thought she did too. Good, he’s happy. That’s how most guys approach it. Get over it. He’s not appreciating you enough or “asking your feelings?” Get over it. If you wanted to talk to him, then you SHOULD have. Why does he have to bring it up? I’m sure you like to espouse yourself as a so-called “modern woman”, so take some initiative and solve the problem. If you can’t or don’t want to…then shut up and stop complaining. You can’t have it both ways. Either sex is a “car” or it’s something more emotional and intangible.
IF it is indeed something emotional/intangible, then your sex=car analogy falls apart anyway…and then you must realize you dumped your ex-bf for the wrong reasons. Because if sex IS something more than just physical, you should’ve looked past those “problems” (of which you were definitely partly to blame..TRUST ME, NO GUY is apathetic about sex unless the girl just lays there like a rag doll) you two had and tried to work it out. If sex is just a car, then you should stop complaining about him not “asking” you more. Or just stop having those expectations for conversation in the first place…after all, a car is a car…you don’t talk about your emotions when you buy a car. If it works, it works and you buy it…then you feel good.
This girl’s expectations are her own worst enemy. And like most Korean girls, she chose to hide feelings and not talk about something as opposed to a confrontation. Then of course everything went to shit and she ended up blaming the guy. That’s something most people do, not just korean women. However, face to face chats about problems between two mature people is not really common among koreans…even couples. Instead, Korean girls will usually just dump their boyfriend or complain and complain and continue to deny any responsibility for the relationship’s decline.
Even so, she probably made the right decision for herself, so congrats. If sex is bad, then dump that shit…that’s your right. But then don’t go around blogging to the world about how your ex-bf was to blame, just because he didn’t “talk” to you, and how you’re so righteous and great because you are “analyzing” it. Maybe he didn’t WANT to talk to you, did you consider that? Maybe he was tired of you just laying there on the bed. You’re a chick with tits, long legs and a pussy…if you can’t make him crazy and wanting to ravage you everyday, then that’s totally your fault. Guys almost always satisfy their girl IF she deserves to be satisfied…seriously, when guys are horny they are crazy, energetic and will do anything. If not, guys just go through the motions, get off and then want to sleep. Unfair? maybe, but it’s reality. Girls got a 50% responsibility in sex…
Bottomline: Put up or shut up. Can’t stand people complaining about shit of which they are partly to blame…or could have improved if they actually put effort.
Thanks for you comments. You may be right. I shouldn’t have talked about my sex with my ex. And maybe I should have initiated ‘sex-talk’ with him when I didn’t get satisfied. But I think the communication was the problem area between us over all. And that’s probably the most important reason we broke up. Sex could have been improved. But if you are not really open each other in other areas in your life, that wouldn’t happen.
Also I didn’t write it to blame my ex. We are still friends and I truly think he is a good person. Our relationship just did not work and we had different expectations.
Oh, lastly, speaking of sex = car analogy, I think the car could be anything. The point is when people make a decision on anything, they want to try it on. So why can that be applied to marriage? Although some couples with bad sex life try and actually improve it over time with their love and understanding, others can’t get over that and end up breaking up. At least you should know what you are getting into before marrying.. that’s my point.
I appreciate your view on my posting. But I really hope you can read my other postings to understand me a little better.
Ah, I don’t completely agree with you there. I think you place too much focus on the car analogy, which is a bit flawed in representing reality because it fails to represent a very essential fact: in this relationship the woman is not a “buyer”. She is more like another car to another buyer… but this was from her point of view anyway.
When I read her post I saw immediately how her post might upset a few people, because it can unpleasantly remind the boys of their “obligation” to be good lovers, and the assumption that if a girl has all her parts in place, 90 % of her job is done… But I don’t think this is what she is saying at all; she is merely writing it from her point-of-view.
Which brings me back to my car point. The woman is also like a car, to a man. You say that most men are satisfied if the girl does more than just lie there, but (speaking as a girl), I can hardly believe that is true. If that is true, why would Patti Smith write in Gloria “Ooh, she was so good, oh, she was so fine” if there is little difference between lays? I mean, even she noticed. A woman may be bad in the sack. If she is, that is a problem she might want to look into. And the author doesn’t deny this, though she doesn’t mention it. But remember, she isn’t writing specifically for women, but for everyone. If two people decide to stay chaste, nobody “tries” the car!
And seriously, a man who doesn’t ask how it was for the girl, or even notice that it wasn’t optimal (it’s usually easy to tell, no?) has a bit of a problem in terms of observation or just giving a shit.
and if you want to know the best way to teach your bf korean….you might want to try actually talking to him IN KOREAN..duh~
But then, oh wait…you then lose the whole reason why you started dating him in the first place….aka he’s foreigner and therefore DOESN’T know korean, korean culture, its heirachy, patriarchy and all the other shit that korean guys do.
So again, why are you trying to have it both ways? He cares for you, I hope, so that’s why he’s learning korean. He doesn’t care otherwise…why would he? For the reasons I mentioned above, you probably find him attractive because he’s different or a foreigner. So why do you want him to learn korean anyway? If you want to speak korean, date a korean guy…if not, continue dating your foreign bf and stop trying to have it both ways. You seriously need to determine what you want…and then stick to it. You’re an adult, make a decision.
And here’s a clue about white people: they only view your culture (korean) as something quaint, cute and entertaining. They will never respect your culture on the same level as western culture….and unfortunately, that MAY transfer over to his views of you sometimes. Sad but true. Trust me you will learn about white privilege if you haven’t already. Everything “white” is by default “normal” or “moral”, and anything else in the world is simply a deviation.
**I’ll probably get banned for these two comments, but I do suggest you leave them up. I obviously have a minority view, but it’s definitely legitimate.
I didn’t ask him to learn Korean. I don’t care if he can speak Korean or not, because we can fully communicate in English. But he is such a nice person and wants to learn my language at least to speak a little Korean when he meets my family.
I understand that most white people still look down on other races. But you know what? A lot of Koreans do that too. I think that phenomena is everywhere. People don’t like those who are different from them in general. That’s why my boyfriend and I are so good together. I am not like ‘normal’ Korean, and he is not like ‘normal’ American.
I think most of your opinions about Korean girls and culture are probably true. But generalization is always dangerous, especially when you talk about a person you have never met or talked to.
Ak, some of your views are quite frankly ridiculous. And as for claiming they’re legitimate, not when you say things like: “here’s a clue about white people.” You’re completely wrong to try and speak for me or anyone else. I also can’t believe you’re trying to tell Honest_girl what her won reasons are for dating her boyfriend. You come across badly enough using your own words, I don’t think I need to say more.
Honest-girl, I only found your blog through this post, and so far I haven’t read much, but I do find it funny and enlightening. As for teaching your boyfriend Korean, just carry on what you’re doing. Using language guides and so on will help, and it will obviously take time, but the most important thing is for him to be able to practice. Think of the conversation you have most often with him and have that conversation in Korean with him every day. Whether it’s “are you hungry?” “Yes, you?” “Me too, what shall we eat,” or whatever, just to get him speaking and listening to as much Korean as possible.
I will be reading more of your blog soon, and I’m sure you’ll start to see my comments there as well!
Thanks and well done for finding this, James, and I agree with you that the best way to approach solving any of these problems is with communication.
haha, yeah SEAMUS, are you an expert on speaking korean? “yes, you?” “me too?” haha, is that what you say in hongdae to the girls who can’t speak english? Fuck man, where do you get off telling me my views are “ridiculous”? Judging by your ” are you hungry” and “me too” korean, I’m guessing you know just enough korean language to order kimbap. Dude, seriously, how can you even PRETEND to know anything about ANY country when you cannot even speak the language? How can you know REAL italian culture when you cannot speak italian? That’s so ridiculously arrogant and proves my exact point about white people. You guys think you can go to any country, judge them and lecture them about their own culture after living there for 1 year and not even speaking the local language. You actually think you have a real perspective of korea? All you have is what koreans CHOOSE to let you see and hear.
So were my comments a little brash in tone? Maybe so, but you weren’t the subject of this post the last time I checked…and I didn’t even address any comments to you. So why are you upset for? Are YOU honest_girl? No, I don’t think so. Besides SHE agreed with me on most things. My statements were brash, but the bottomline is many of those things were true, especially the parts on korean culture and girls here. Are all girls like that? No, of course not. I also admit I shouldn’t have judged her, BUT my generalizations about overall korean girls are totally true, and I stand by them. I just shouldn’t have included her in there. In any case, we’ve both lived in korea and america (and we actually speak the language) to know at least SOME of the truth, as opposed to you, who has no authority to talk about anything except wherever you came from. And in that case, I would totally listen to you…cause I’m not from where you’re from.
So bro, you’re actually the one who looks pretty bad. I’m talking about what I KNOW. I admit I don’t know honest_girl and should’ve refrained from commenting on her specifically. But you, on the other hand, don’t know shit about anything here.
I’m about to graduate with a first class degree in Korean Studies.
Don’t like it coming from a white dude (who you have made some pretty silly assumptions about)? Fine, take it from a white chick with an advanced degree in Korean Studies, six years in country, 어학당 graduate, who is currently dating a Korean guy: You’re putting words in Honest Girl’s mouth (and I gather she’s agreeing with you to be polite, something you should return by not being such a jerk) and trashing people who have rightfully called you on racist assumptions and specious reasoning.
Honest Girl said in her post AND in her reply that there were OTHER issues in her relationship with her ex, and that HE was the one who was not communicating with her. As for the basis of the relationship, I find no evidence whatsoever in what I’ve read thus far that she’s attracted to him because he’s some kind of mysterious, exotic white dude who she assumes will treat her with all the tenderness and equality she can’t find in Korean men (rolls eyes). Seeing as she’s living in America, she’s probably with her boyfriend for the same reason I’m with mine: Citizens of the host nation outnumber our own co-nationals, and we’re likely to find at least some of them compatible, particularly if you can speak the language. It’s not as if she’s avoided dating Korean men, either – all of which you would know if you’d even read THIS post, let alone her own.
You seem to have some serious issues with Korean women, women in general, and/or communication in relationships. Good luck getting some of that worked out, but in the meantime, please refrain from attacking people here for things they haven’t said or things you can’t possibly know.
Honest Girl, I hope you stick around and comment here in the future. AK is an anomoly, not at all typical of the usual conversations people have here at the GN. I, for one, am very glad to have your comments here and to have discovered your blog. It’s a fun read!
Re: Getting your American bf to learn Korean . . . boy, I feel ‘ya! At least here in Korea, my bf feels like he *should* learn English, and he really tries . . . but it’s not his forte. In America, there’s not the constant push to learn English, and there’s not very many opportunities to learn Korean, making it even harder. Still, chin up!
AK, and do YOU have a major in “white people” or something? Speak for yourself, but you don’t know anything about other peoples’ experiences. You may not have been speaking at me either, but I take personal offense to you making generalizations about someone of my race, and I also feel compelled to defend honest_girl from your unfounded and incredibly childish judgments. It’s clear how YOU feel about Korean culture, language, and its women. I am shocked that someone who reads this blog would have such lopsided double-standards about a woman having opinions about her sexuality and relationships.
Hello guys, I am new at your blog. I am not korean, nor american. I don’t know much about korean girls or guys because I arrived to Korea this summer. Nevertheless I am married to korean guy. I should say that everything is perfect in our relationships except SEX. We’ve been married for year and during all this time I didn’t have any satisfaction. I am not cold chick I like sex and want it every day. I really like all kind of experiments in this sphere and always take initiative. He is just passive. He also finishes too fast. I am just furious about it! I can’t stand it any more.
I can’t say that he doesn’t love me. He does a lot of pleasant things for me. He is a good husband. He helps me about the house, he always listens to my opinion. I can’t say that he is cheating on me like many koreans do. I know that it is common among korean men to cheat on their spouses going into room salons or somewhere else. He is always at home after work. At exact time, no excuses for working so late like my friends husbands do. We have sex everyday but it doesn’t satisfy me.
Well, if it’s bugging you, talk to him! and get counseling for the both of you. Sex can be improved, but I don’t know if the GN is going to give you the kind of tips you need . . . look at other websites with more general information on Korea (Korea4Expats would be a good one) or a sex advice column (Savage Love? Dr. Drew? Talk Sex with Sue?) and find yourself a sex therapist and/or marital councilor.
i loved reading the Honest Woman’s post. i wish i could understand Korean as i’m very sure i’d love her blog. and a funny thing with regards to the car comparison is that i’ve heard it several times but only from men. i’ve also heard house comparisons, e.g. ‘will you buy a house without seeing the inside?’ in my experience, these men were referring to their girlfriends. *sigh* i also come from a culture in which men want to marry virgins but also want to have sex with their girlfriends. i’ve got a question though, does religion play a role in Korean attitudes towards sex before marriage and virginity?
p.s. i love the model in the 2nd and 3rd pictures! i know her face and i know she is part of a girl group but i don’t remember her name.
hello ~:) her name is in-yong seo.
she is famous singer in korea.
if u want, i can send her music.
have a nice day~
I haven’t really thought deeply about the role of religion in Korean attitudes towards sex before marriage to be honest. But probably it’s significant: out of all Asian countries, Christian missionaries were only more successful in the Philippines than Korea, and churches here are huge institutions that many (most?) Koreans join for networking, jobs, and informal welfare and so on. That doesn’t mean that members of a church won’t have sex before marriage of course, but presumably the trend would be against it.
On a side note, I’m often at pains to stress American exceptionalism with regards to religion to them. Many are shocked to hear that, out of America, less than 1 in 10 Westerners regularly go to a church.
As for a possible Confucian role in it, I don’t know at all what it has to say about sexuality sorry, but if you haven’t already read it then you may find this series of mine on how women’s bodies are viewed by it interesting.
thanks for the reply. i took a course on East Asian identity and culture earlier this year. that was my first introduction to Confucianism in a formal setting. and i’m not sure i’ve read that particular series so thanks for the link!
Roman Catholic Church 10.9%
I am little bit (anty)religion freak, always happy to remind, that idea that most people in South Korea are Christian is no more than urban myth. ;)
The “no religion” is, I think, artificially inflated by the fact that most families practice some level of confucian ritual, primarily 재사 and 자례. In other words, not non-religious, but not religious in the western sense. Additionally, these numbers are a bit old (2005) and the numbers for Catholics, in particular, are thought to have risen.
When I compared data from 1995 and 2005 Catholics seemed to gain about 4%, that would be about less than 0.5%/year on average, so I think that statistics are quite close to what we have now.
And in the west religion is so closely associated with believing in god that by some even Buddhists would be considered as not religious.
I don’t know many people of any persuasion who wouldn’t call Buddhism a religion – believing in God certainly isn’t the best or most commonly accepted definition, either popular or academic. I would also point out that Buddhism does in fact have an entire parthenon of gods, although they’re not the ultimate object of worship, a trait it shares with Daoism.
The statistics you’ve used have a few problems, and somewhat unreliable. First, virtually all Koreans, whether they recognize it or not (and there are multiple cultural reasons why they either would not recognize or would not acknowledge their recognition), share some amount of shamanist/animist belief/behavior. The same holds true for Confucianism, which is more debateable but I think should still be included as a religious system rather than purely philosophical. But followers and practitioners in these cases seldom identify themselves as such, if only because they’re groups that lack formal indoctrination/induction processes and rituals (as does Buddhism). The fact that the numbers quoted by wikipedia (once including adherents of minor religions) total 100% is also problematic because many people in Korea simultaneously practice multiple faiths.
Then there’s also problems between how individuals identify when allowed to fully describe the traditions they follow (which would turn most people into Confucian/Shamanist/Buddhist with a lot of Christian overlap) and how religions count their own members. The Catholic Church, for instance, has very strict ways of understanding who is and is not a member of the faith. Protestant churches have varying methods of counting members, some of which tend to inflate (counting anyone still on the rolls as a member of the church, regardless of attendance) and deflate (not counting people who haven’t contributed financially or in terms of quantifiable actions such as mission trips). Buddhist groups have really no way of keeping track of membership, and there are various splinter groups that are sometimes thought of as Buddhist, sometimes as other (such as Won Buddhism).
Also, a 4% gain is really pretty dramatic over ten years, and overlooks recent events that discourage/encourage joinging groups – there was a surge in Catholics, for example, following the death of Cardinal Kim this year. Whether or not those numbers continue to increase, numbers from five years ago aren’t going to reflect this. If the 4% gain over five years held true over the last five, then we should be near 15% now for Catholics, which changes the numbers substantially.
Sun In-young. But don’t get too attached to that look, she’ll have a new nose next season.
*Suh In-young, even.
Thank you for translating such a controversial writing. For the sake of saving time and not beating around the bush, I will be blunt and direct. The consequence will be my opinion will come off as rude.
Simply put, the author is vain and stupid. The way she writes shows she knows what she is writing is “shocking” to someone of Korean culture, yet it is the boring, predictable argument to anyone else. Remove the screaming “I’M KOREAN” from her writing and it becomes a yawn. It becomes even more colorless when you realize she is a Korean in the US, making this a pathetic and all-too common lifestyle, experience, and argument for Americans.
It doesn’t matter that her sexual encounters were in Korea or not. It is clear she is writing with a US mindset about Korea, full-aware of the shock value it would provide overseas. In fact, I dare say she’s just copying the Women’s Sexual Liberation/Revolution that happens ages ago. So, add that she’s a thief and unoriginal to the list of flaws this writing has.
Why is there fault to this kind of thinking? Divorce rates argue she is on the wrong side. In addition, both happy marriages, unhappy marriages, and divorcees rarely cite sex as a problem.
Her analogy is wrong, too. It is not like a car. A more accurate analogy is a watch. There are millions of watches, different kinds, different personalities, different looks, etc. Sex is its ability to tell time. 99% of the time, it can tell time. Sometimes, it is better at telling time, giving the month and date. Sometimes, it can’t tell time or sucks at keeping time, always having problems. But 99% of the time, it tells time and this is all that’s needed on top of the other features (durability/security, compatability/personality, etc.).
I mean, hell, of course there are some people not good at sex. There are people who are great at sex. Chances are though, you’ll end up with someone who’s just simply good at sex and nothing more.
The author’s shallow assertion about the house is equivalent to complaining that the athlete she married is not the best, not an olympic star. Get over it, or just find a pornstar.
Sex is not necessary before marriage. Its the equivalent of dumping someone because they will become bald in their 60s: shallow and not logical (and pointless at that age). If, by some miracle, she came across so many guys that were bad at sex, that’s not the norm, that’s just her bad luck.
Wow, what is it about this post that has brought out the crazies? Just for comparison, I checked out the site your name links to, and found that it’s full of fascinating, important news like . . .”Mariah Carey in Yoo Hee-Yeol’s Sketchbook” “Michael Jackson Moonwalking Contest” and “Rainbow – Gossip Girl.” So I wouldn’t be casting stones here based on the content of the site you write for. However, I wouldn’t assume, based the articles there that you personally are an idiotic star-chaser unconcerned with the more important issues of our day. I’d assume that you wrote an article along the lines of “Ivy’s New Video” because you were getting paid, liked Ivy, or just wanted to kill some time and had seen the new video out on Korean tv (not exactly generators of original content, are you?). Maybe you should extend to Honest Girl the same courtesy?
Her analogy was meant to explain why she thought it wasn’t a good idea to remain a virgin until marriage. It may not have been a perfect metaphor encompassing all of sexual relationships, but it did a lot more to illustrate THAT point than your watch one did. And by the way, when my watch breaks, I replace parts like the battery or buy a new one. And many people own multiple watches, hmmm . . . so much for that analogy, eh?
Hey, some sex is better than others, and some people are more compatible than others. If marriage is meant to last a lifetime (and by your critique of divorce, I gather you think it should) than don’t people have the right to ask that their sexual lives be at least satisfactory? Bad sex can be improved, but not all couples are compatible in the sack, and not everybody shares the same sexual interests. Should somebody who really gets off on BSDM be forced to live out their lives in lonely monogamy with someone who finds the idea of hurting or being hurt by their partner a turn-off? Should a person who only likes vanilla-style sex be partnered with somebody who likes it to always be kinky? Yeah, some of these couples can reach compromises, but others will just be unhappy and denied real sexual satisfaction FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. I may not really be into a guy with a foot fetish, but until I give it a try I won’t know – but forgive me if I want to find out whether I can live with it before I find myself married to it.
Some couples will be perfectly happy first experiencing sex together in the bonds of marriage, will find themselves in perfect sexual harmony, and live out their lives in monogomous bliss. But others are going to have awkward sex, keept trying for a while and find that it barely gets better, and let their boring sex life excaberate other problems in the marriage (and yeah, there ARE couples who get divorced or cheat because the sex sucks or is nonexistant) and wind up miserable. Having sex is a personal decision. If you don’t believe in pre-marital sex, fine: Don’t have any.
I don’t think the author has made any major claims to being revolutionary, sexual or Korean or otherwise. She’s writing about her life, and GN highlighted it as an example of how Korean women feel and think about sex.
Man, I have no idea why this post is gathering this kind of lunacy ~ unless people really seem to have something against Korean women writing about their love lives – GOD FORBID! @_@
Indeed, and I got quite a surprise when I quickly checked my email inbox over breakfast and saw for myself.
I’m pulling 8 hours of teaching today unfortunately, so my own comments will have to wait until
tonighttomorrow. But thanks to you and Seamus and others for holding the fort in my absence: as per usual, you pretty much speak for me really!
I’ll do this paragraph by paragraph (I’m sorry I’m not familiar with the quoting and formatting to make this nicer):
***Gomunshin Girl, your entire first paragraph is an ad hominem. Please attack my arguments and not me. In addition, please work harder on your critical reading skills. I never said I was the owner (in fact, disclaimed it in CAPS in the Name), and the only articles you cited were his. I respect the guy – he’s cool if you spoke with him – but I take no undue credit. You can “assume” all you want, but without reading just a little bit harder, it’s pointless. Seriously, your whole counterarguments and points are poor assumptions that could have been avoided if you read a little more diligently.
***While you explain why my watch analogy is not the most perfect of analogies, you don’t demonstrate how hers is better. MORE IMPORTANTLY, it’s stupid and irrelevant to break down the analogy instead of just addressing the issue it was illustrating. I said her car analogy was bad, provided my own, and gave the point that having sex is not as critical to a relationship as Western minds are fostered to believe.
But if it makes you feel better, yes, you are 100% correct. My analogy was not 100% perfect, but you failed to elaborate why hers is better.
***You fail to explain in any way how being sexually-incompatible is the norm and the more likely scenario for a couple. Again, if you focused less on my analogy and more on my point, I said even if it’s rare to get a pornstar stud in the sack, it’s equally unlikely to get a dud. I don’t see how this disagrees with what you said. But yes, my watch analogy, not so good. Thanks for pointing that out.
***Thanks for sharing your opinion in this paragraph, just like I have before. That’s what I felt comments were for. If you read just a little harder, you would see I NEVER said people NEVER divorce or break apart because of bad sex, so we’re sitting on common ground here for the second time.
***I was writing that her underlying motivation might elucidate why she talks so impersonally about herself. I’m not going into this because I don’t want this reply to a reply to get convoluted.
***Agreed, I don’t know why you took such offense to my reply. I’m stating an opinion. You got all angry, but failed to disagree with me in any way. Yeah, okay, so you don’t like my watch analogy. That’s about it. The rest of your points are the points I made… O_o What a wacko thing to do!
First ~ not only does my opening paragraph NOT call you the owner of the site, it’s not an ad hominem attack. I *did* that the the site linked to is NOT exactly cutting edge analysis, so attacking Honest Girl as being vain and stupid was uncalled for. I have no problems with the site (heck, I like a good run down of Korean soaps as much as the next girl), but it was pretty ironic that somebody liking to a site that is essentially second hand celebrity gossip had the temerity to say something like that to someone for writing about her views and experiences of sexuality. Not a place of strength to attack from, is it? Now, it seems you’ve apologized for that, but you hadn’t at the time my post was written, and if you re-read it, you’ll realize that almost the entirety of your post is a series of snide comments and ad hominem attacks against Honest Girl.
My point was not that her analogy was better for sexual relations overall than yours (although hers is certainly a well-recognized one) but that it was made to illustrate a very particular point, which it did well. You can disagree with it, but it did indeed match her point. Yours, however, was extremely broad and not particularly effective at countering her argument, as you have since admitted.
While we’re at it – Honest Girl never compared guys to houses. That was another commenter.
I took offense to someone writing in such a cruel and unthinking way on a blog that sets a fairly high standard, and attacking someone in the wrong way, for the wrong reasons. You’ve admitted that your entire attack was based on the translations James was kind enough to post here, rather than going to her blog to read what she says. If you’re really a longtime reader of this blog (and the fact that you think James uses Freudian techniques, that the blog is full of “groupies,” and that you’re apparently unfamiliar with a great deal of modern Korean thought on sexuality, etc. doesn’t seem to support that) you should know that that’s hardly the way to deal with things here. What you wrote wasn’t an opinion, it was a mean-spirited attack based on little information and less thought.
And no, from what you wrote initially (and I’m talking about saying things like “Sex is not necessary before marriage” and “Why is there fault to this kind of thinking? Divorce rates argue she is on the wrong side. In addition, both happy marriages, unhappy marriages, and divorcees rarely cite sex as a problem” – both of which I addressed in my response) and the tenor of your response to her, I would be very surprised to find us so very much in agreement.
Wow. I am surprised that I am called ‘vain and stupid’.
I wrote all articles on my blog only for Korean readers. I didn’t even expect any non-Korean read my blog. Of course all the sex related topics may seem very boring to you, but I haven’t found any Korean blog that talks about sex openly and based on the author’s experience. That’s why I started my blog. If you read my blog, you may find some articles are not really about sex, and what kind of person I am.
Most people would agree that sex is one of important parts in happy marriage. In Korea, people call the good sex chemistry ‘속궁합’, and believe it can impact the whole marriage. I talked about it in this posting. My point is the couple should at least be on the same page regarding the sex, to maintain the happy marriage.
I had a couple of boyfriends in the past, and most of the time, sex was good, with an exception of my ex. But still my relationships didn’t last because of other reasons. Of course, the good sex is not the most important thing in a relationship. But with so many other factors that can screw up the relation, I don’t think it hurt to check it out before making a final decision.
Good for you for coming back! But I assure you, on this blog, you have more people who will read and enjoy your blog than people who say stupid stuff like some of the comments above.
And I echo GG’s sentiments, I hope you keep coming back to comment here, and don’t be put off by the few loud-mouthed idiots!
I don’t know why everyone here seems to have an issue about disagreements! For such a supposedly controversial blog, why must all the comments be “ALL HAIL JAMES TURNBULL”?
Can anyone here (aside from Honest_Girl) actually form their own opinions? Can they handle disagreements? Why are ad hominems the only way people seem to know how to respond? It’s very disrespectful. Seriously, I’m an idiot for disagreeing with your God James Turnbull or something?
I referred to Honest_Girl in the third person. I didn’t know she was following the site. I was focusing on just getting my point across.
While I disagree with…well…just about everything you say ZR5, I’ve got nothing against you expressing your opinions here. This comment of yours was a bit too much though, as you’re both very hypocritical and putting words into the mouths of others.
First up: I don’t recall anyone ever claiming that this is a “controversial blog.” Actually, I think you have a misguided notion of what that means, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Second: where are all these “ALL HAIL JAMES TURNBULL” comments you’re referring to? All I can find myself is one by Honest Girl saying my blog is interesting.
Update: Ooops, sorry, Lateral Alice appears to like my blog too. My bad.
Three: as I recall, you’re the one who described Honest Girl as “vain and stupid,” and in the third line of your very first comment on my blog to boot. In turn, your assassination of her blog and character – unacceptable whether you thought she was going to read it or not – was based on just one translated blog post of hers: if you read her comment more closely, that’s why Gomushin Girl described you as a “crazy,” not because of the content of your site.
Granted, you apologized for that 2 mins after you wrote this comment. I’m a bit surprised that you don’t see the need to apologize for this one though.
Four: You’re “an idiot for disagreeing with your God James Turnbull or something”? Hmm…well did you really? But even if you did, is anyone actually disagreeing with you only because of that, or are they in fact giving specific reasons for why they think you’re wrong? I suggest you take a closer look.
Naturally the commenters on any blog tend to have similar beliefs to its author’s: unless if affects them directly, people don’t usually bother reading something by people they tend to disagree with. While they’re a self-selecting minority then, people can and regularly do disagree with what I write. And when they do, I and/or others respond in the comments, they respond to those comments, and so on.
That’s what’s been happening here, and I honestly wonder what else you expected, Most people disagree with what you wrote, so my blog isn’t “controversial”? Heaven forbid, and I suppose it must invariably be the fault of my blog and/or other commenters, and nothing at all with what you wrote?
Granted, my blog isn’t controversial in that it doesn’t have the mix of extreme views that ones like, say, The Marmot’s Hole does. His comments threads certainly do have their charm, but in my experience much of the heated “debate” in places like it is generated by the crazies that have been banned from most other blogs and forums. That style tends to put off more moderate, polite people though, so if that’s the controversy you seek then yes, I’m afraid you’ll never find it here.
First: Long time reader, first time commenter. You’ve always make passing statements that are on the egotistical side, but your articles are interesting. That’s why I subscribed for so long. I can’t really pinpoint specifically because your updates tend to come in random waves, but “controversial” is what I’ve noticed from following your blog for a long time.
Second: My point is, it seems like everyone is ostracized by some cult followers if they do not agree with the message presented in the article. I noticed that with the first guy who disagreed here. Not by you specifically, but by those who are “holding down the fort” on your behalf.
Third: an ad hominem is attacking the person instead of the point. What that means is, if my point is “the author is stupid and vain and that is the reason she is writing this, and is demonstrated by blah blah,” an ad hominem would be, “she’s not stupid, you are.” Well, why am I stupid? How does that contribute to my point that she’s writing this with ulterior motives?
Instead, your cult followers who you thanked for holding down the fort then pretend being unaware of just insult me without any point. Why am I stupid? C’mon, it’s not hypocritical to ask for reasoning or some explanation. Or better, how does my intelligence (although, to demonstrate an ad hominem, the conversational intelligence of everyone who commented here seems to be worse than mine, lol) affect the validity of my argument that she’s doing it for underhanded reasons?
Again, Honest Girl clarified and I retract the statement, but you and the other two folks also unable to critically read, argue, or think, need to understand the difference (see?). It’s clear you don’t because you just called me a hypocrite. Unlike the other commentors, I didn’t just say “oh, you’re stupid” and leave it at that (ok, one complained about my watch analogy and then agreed with me on everything else, lol).
Fourth: I read enough of this blog and this specific article to know you disagree. Hell, you just said so starting this comment, so I don’t see why you need to pretend like my critical reading skills didn’t prove correct.
Second, I addressed each person who replied, so I don’t know how to take a closer look. Even if I needed to, it’s pointless because of how poorly others who responded to my comment understood it.
And what kind of generalization is that? NO NO NO, people do not have similar beliefs to the author. You think people all agree with Howard Stern, or Kanye West’s lyrics (not his actions at the VMA, not talking about that)? No, they are appealing because they are interesting, or controversial. HORRIBLE and UNTRUE generalization. PEOPLE FOLLOW THINGS THEY LIKE, EVEN IF THEY DON’T AGREE WITH IT.
Personally (and unlike you, I’m admitting this is a personal preference of mine and not universal law), I follow things that are interesting or generate ideas. I don’t subscribe and follow people/authors/blogs that give me a pat on the back and rub my ego. Why just stubbornly just say, “yep, I already knew that!”?
I like your writing. I have not agreed with any of it because you are basically, page for page, a textbook on Freud’s psychology. It’s interesting because it’s so obvious, from the first posts I read here ever, what you will think on any new issues that show up on pann nate and how you will react. Granted, you don’t write about everything we think you will on that site, but when you do, it’s spot-on with our guesses.
It’s interesting, and I agree with none of it because I never agreed with Freud.
I love a discussion, I love a back-and-forth. You misunderstand, and from your previous posts, I thought you did like discussions. But pray-tell, how do you have a discussion with “she’s not stupid, you are.”? Do I just retaliate and say, “well, now that you are offended by what I said and ignore my point, you are 100% correct?” I didn’t say your blog is at fault, your commenters are.
I don’t know why you think I’m looking for controversy. I’m looking for a discussion. Above all else, I was looking for respect, not idiocy and lack of discussion.
If you can’t see what I mean, take your own advice and look closer at your comment: did you notice the only part where you even remotely speak of the blog entry at hand is at the beginning, and even that was just “I disagree with everything you said without providing any reasons or explanations.” A little more mature than an ad hominem, but just equally as invalid.
I did not realize how unwelcome contradicting people are. I will gladly refrain from commenting (although I’ve been welcome on every other blog I’ve ever commented on) without such a fuss about little things. Geez.
Sigh. I really don’t understand how someone can write what you do and yet still have such a sense of righteousness and indignation.
I’ve lost track of who said what to whom exactly in the various sub-threads here, so I can’t respond to everything you mention in your last comment, and quite frankly am not inclined to anyway. By all means you are free to respond to this comment, but this is probably the last contribution I’ll make to this discussion.
I challenge you to provide any examples of those “passing statements that are on the egotistical side.” And I’m still waiting for what you define as “controversial” exactly: my subjects, my writing style, my comments threads, or what?
Gomushin Girl has already dealt with your bizarre thoughts about my “cult followers.” And you fail to see that AK and yourself were ostracized because of your insulting, too generalistic, and – in the case of AK – racist statements: not because you disagreed with me.
People actually disagree with me on this blog all the time, and – in addition to that evidence which Gomushin Girl has already provided – that you wrote otherwise demonstrates that you’re not quite the long-term reader of it that you claim. I’m simply at a loss as to where your views come from then, but judging by the remainder of this comment of yours and the previous ones though, perhaps it is because you are overly fixated on my “holding down the fort” statement, interpreting it much too literally? I wonder, would we still be having this discussion if I’d added “so to speak” to the end of it, as I originally intended?
Given everything else, I suspect so. But for the record, all I meant by it was “Thank you, Gomushin Girl, for writing what I would have if I wasn’t stuck at work.” My bad.
Okay, whatever: I didn’t really know what “ad hominen” meant before reading it here and looking it up, and yet as you responded to one translation of one post of hers and yet saw fit to call her “vain and stupid” and make many assumptions about her regardless, then you were indeed attacking her character rather than her argument. That was an ad hominen attack in my reading of the definition.
Or maybe not: forgive my lack of erudition. Regardless, it is perfectly possible to criticize someone’s argument politely and intelligently, which you certainly didn’t by opening with “the author is vain and stupid.” Seriously, you said yourself that your opinion “will come off as rude.” Well, yes it did, and…pray, what reaction did you expect exactly?
Like I said, I don’t understand the sense of righteousnes and outrage. You opened with calling someone vain and stupid, and someone in turn called you “a crazy”: sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Can’t see too many other “insults” myself though.
Meanwhile, I think you’ll find that people criticized your argument on its own merits.
I really have no idea what you’re trying to say in that first sentence, so no, I don’t see. I do maintain that you’re still a hypocrite though.
No, we established the fact that you haven’t read enough, but no worries: like you said, I already said that I disagree. Meanwhile, is it your normal arging style to say “Do you see ‘A’? Oh you don’t, because you already said ‘B’, like here and in the last paragraph of yours. Sorry, but it’s redundant and confusing, and means that I don’t understand that last sentence of yours at all I’m afraid.
Let me simply say this: you completely fail to appreciate the difference between the odd thing we watch, read, or listen to for the shock and entertainment value, and the bulk of things and/or people we get most of our actual news and information from.
I put it to you that you know fuck all about Freud, and regardless you present absolutely no evidence that I am whatever you think the hell “Freud’s psychology” is. Instead, all I can see is that you say I am repetitive and predictable. And what the hell: you’re entitled to your views, although God knows why you still supposedly “like [my] writing” and find it “interesting” then.
Meanwhile, I have not agreed with anything you have written because you are basically, page for page, a textbook on Antonio Gramsci’s theory of Cultural Hegemony. It’s not interesting, and I agree with none of it because I never agreed with Gramsci.
Blah blah blah. A person “looking for respect” does not call someone “vain and stupid” in the third line of their first ever comment on a blog. Yes, you apologized for that, but you set the tone. And as far as I can tell, you’d indeed had the discussion you sought, but to your chagrin no-one agreed with you.
Every blog, eh? I seriously doubt that.
I didn’t want to beat around the bush and wanted to be succinct.
Bear in mind that I don’t know you, I don’t know the background information, and I’m more criticizing the one article (a translated one at that) than the author. I do question your underlying motives, but again, it’s from one translated article. You are more of an authority – and the person who translated the article is a better authority – on both understanding “between the lines” and your history.
As you point out, the rest of your articles are not always about sex, meaning that throws my initial assertion that you’re targeting shock value out the window. Again, I was just sharing my thoughts about this article as a stand-alone object. So I’m sorry for making such a claim (and I didn’t know you, the author, read this site).
Well, I’m really sorry for offending you. I have no position to criticize you, but only the translated article, and I can already tell by your reply to my comment that there was a lot lost in translation and missing from the article.
I have to say, thank you for addressing my concerns directly and clearly (which Gomushin Girl didn’t do at all). Thanks for clarifying and filling in the holes. I basically regret saying any of those things now that you explained all this.
I am glad that I could clarify things.
I still wonder though.. about ‘shock value’ you are talking about. I don’t think my article about sex before marriage is shocking by any means. And I believe most of the readers of my blog also don’t think it’s shocking (from what I read in their comments). Obviously more and more Korean people are interested in talking about sex and enjoying better sex. I just wanted to initiate or be part of the conversation.
Come now, this is ridiculous…I don’t think you can state that “author is vain and stupid” on the basis of one translated post from her personal blog. With any blog you need to read at least a few entries to get used to someone’s tone, views, etc. She’s not writing for shock-value, she’s simply writing for an audience of old and new friends. And she simply happens to be in the US…so what?
I’m not overly fond of the car analogy myself…dunno, I’m just weird and don’t like bodies compared to objects. But her point still stands: not getting acquainted with someone’s sexual needs and working on your compatibility leads to a high chance of problems down the road. I really don’t think she’s advocating dumping someone who’s “bad at sex.” Good sex takes practice and communication, but if the other person is not willing to practice, is not interested in changing, or not up for communicating about the issue, then that is a clear compatibility issue. Of course, if both parties in a relationship don’t agree with sex before marriage or just don’t want it for themselves, I’m in no position to judge. (But even for these couples, of which I have known some, many of them practiced everything BUT intercourse before marriage, and so were already good at communicating needs, wants, etc.).
You’re right… I’m actually terribly sorry about that now that I read her response to my comment.
And yeah, I just read this after writing all my reply-to-replies. You’re 100% right. I can’t judge the author accurately without knowing more. I shouldn’t have stated my opinion as such, as it was based merely on a translated article.
My interpretation was not that she would give up on a car/guy just because of some squeakiness, but that one reason it’s important to have sex before marriage is to be aware of those things before hand. She said it would make her more wary of purchasing the car, not that she wouldn’t all together.
“Just like people. Strangely, even if a man and a woman really like each other, the sex can be bad. And if it continues to be bad, then of course it will be a problem for their relationship.”
What i gathered from that was that it was a problem if it continued to be bad. And once you’re married, you won’t know whether you’ll be able to work those things out or not– you can see if it’s possible to work them out before marriage.
Let kimchi be the thing Koreans are proud of. So be it. So what if it’s inaccurate compared to what *actually* makes up Korean culture? Most of us would probably smile and nod our way through that conversation – whatever it may be.
Perhaps I misunderstand the ‘men = car’ analogy – the suggestion of test-driving one before ‘committing’ to ‘purchase’ it was what I took away from it. Calling a guy a ‘Benze’ or a ‘BMW’ sounds rather classy compared to the occasionally obscene things men will say about women. So what if she’s rating them and using a car analogy? Guys do the same things with numbers.
The ‘save sex for marriage’ argument has lost a lot of steam with the younger generations – and I’m thankful to see people thinking for themselves instead of blindly following an archaic religious ritual or blindly doing as they’re told by a superior.
To be fair, behind your backs we women use our own not-so-nice-and-clean analogies^^ This may be the first time though that I’ve heard that particular car metaphore adopted by a female writer (notwithstanding the “men as parking spots” and “men as taxis” memes.)
But Chris, what on *earth* does kimchi have to do with this? Kimchi *is* a part of Korean culture, but nobody here has brought it up (nor was anybody likely to – this is the GN, where conversation is usually quite elevated!)
I wouldn’t go so far to say that saving sex for marriage is wrong or bad or “blindly following an archaic religous ritual or blindly doing as they’re told by a superior” ~ there are all kinds of reasons for people to NOT have sex before they’re married, and many people who stay celibate until marriage (or lifelong celibates in religious orders, etc.) have deeply felt reasons that they’ve spent considerable time contemplating not from the standpoint of what some authority figure, metaphysical or otherwise, has told them but rather from their own personal convictions and sense of what is right for them. The failure rate of virginity pledges and abstinence education doesn’t have much to do with what individuals decide on for themselves. The decisions of how and when and with whom to have sex are highly personal, and dismissing those who chose pre-marital abstinence is as silly as condemning those who do have sex before tying the not as sluts.
The Kimchi is my fault actually: I disparaged the study of it in my opening line.
Which was strange coming from a Korea-Studies geek like me especially, fascinated in even more obscure and geekish aspects of Korean history and culture, and so Chris definitely had a point with that. But I’m sure you can appreciate my point Chris: there’s nothing wrong with being proud of Kimchi, but most non-Koreans and Koreans alike are more interested in other aspects of Korea, and I’d wager that textbooks and so on not reflecting that is a big reason why we have so many people signing up to learn Korean but giving up well before intermediate stage.
Not the only reason of course, and it’s true that Korean textbooks have become much better in recent years. But still, even some of the best ones are using palaces and so on as study topics rather than, say, Hallyu/한류, despite that being why many of the students would be studying the language in the first place.
Newer Korean language textbooks published by non-SKY universities provide more balance between traditional and modern cultural topics. The old stalwarts like Yonsei still prefer to indoctrinate the foreigner with a “right” understanding of Korea by having Korean characters correct the language and cultural faux pas of the foreign dolt character that the learner is supposed to identify with.
Another reason why so many Westerners drop out is that the ciurricula of Korean language programs is too dense, teaching too much in too short a period of time to allow for mastery. A typical lesson teaches one or two sentence patterns along with several vocabulary words, lets each student practice a few times, and then moves on to the next grammar or usage point. I think Korean teachers expect that since the students are living in Korea, they get many opportuniteis for fluency practice outside the classroom, but that is not true if you have an English face. The most successful learner of Korean I knew was an American man married to a naturalized Korean-American. He wanted to communicate with his in-laws, so he started learning Korean from scratch, Yonsei Level 1. Upon reaching Level 2, he and his wife spoke only Korean at home. He went through all 6 levels and graduated after 18 months. I don’t think he would have been able to do that iwithout real language support from his spouse.
I took Korean, Chinese, and Japanese languages classes and taught English for one term at Yonsei’s FLI, I used to say that at the Yonsei language institutes, they taught every language but Korean well. The foreign language instructors understood the value of meaningful fluency practice. The Korean language instructors did not. Hopefully this has changed since I last took a course there about ten years ago.
correction: curricula …are too dense
Haha I didn’t realize it was a SKY thing, I took the Korean course at Yonsei, and my textbook’s characters were constantly appalling. Not to mention full of stereotypical, distinct gender roles. James could do a really interesting article about that…
I took one course at Korea U. The textbook was excrutiatingly boring. I did not take any courses at SNU but bought their highest level textbooks. The lesson topics were mostly a mixture of practical, functional matters like applying for a job and Korean Culture 101 tips like not smoking in front of elders and taking off one’s shoes in the house.
You’re quite right, I had completely forgot your invocation of kimchi . . .mea culpa Chris!
Most of the books, no matter who the publisher, get slightly more interesting, or at least more practical at the higher levels. But even the one’s from American publishers tend to revisit the same old boring topics . . . sigh.
I just spent almost all day at my school reading this blog and plan on finishing off everything you’ve got up here really soon. I spent a fair amount of time discussing a lot of your ideas with my coteacher and she seemed really eager to talk about a lot of these issues and we even had a few good laughs, particularly over the tray-on-head segments and the incarceration of adulterers. (she seemed genuinely embarrassed about this, but also humorous in that sort of I-can’t-believe-these-crazy-old-ideas-are-still-taken-seriously-by-people way) Great, great work.
One editorial thing… I’m sure I’m not the first to comment on this, but when you say “begs the question” or “begging the question”, I don’t think that’s really what you mean. I’ve come across this a few times on this blog. I think you mean to say something provokes or requires questioning. Informally, to “beg the question” is to ask a question or make a statement in which a response is implied explicitly or implicitly by said question or statement, in the sense of circular logic. For instance:
If adultery shouldn’t be illegal, why is it prohibited by Korean law?
I guess most people probably use it the way you have here, but after reading so much astute, clear writing here it kind of grates when I stumble across one of these clunkers.
Anyway, when you put all this stuff together for a book I’m sure your editor will take care of all that.
Thanks for the writing!
Thanks for the compliments, and you’re quite correct: I have indeed been using in the sense of provoking a question. I suspect that I did so because it’s something I’ve only ever encountered in written form, and that’s how I interpreted originally, back when I was a teenager probably. And from experience of my garbled pronunciation of Hors d’œuvre on a date when I was 21, after having first read it when I was 11 in Arthur C. Clarke’s 2061, it can be a long time before such mistakes get corrected!^^
I’ll defer to your greater editorial judgment from now on then!
비한국인 = npn-Korean?
That’s the first time I’ve seen that term.
블로거들 – Doesn’t the Korean language distinguish between bloggers and commenters?
I don’t think I have ever used the word ‘비한국인’ before either. ^^;
I just thought that word could sound more neutral than ‘외국인’. Just my thought though.
Also by ‘블로거’, I meant people who participate in blogosphere, not distinguishing writers and commenters. Sorry if that was a little confusing.
I look forward to reading this whole article. I did read several comments and a little of the article..
Regardless I think way too many people are bashing this article and its writer. It is great to have an opinion and even greater to be able to speak your own views against another. However, being rude is not called for… A lot of the comments were just plain rude…. Show some tact and agree on one thing…. you don’t agree…
I would like to comment on sex though…. I think this issue is a valid one and Korean or any nationality it comes up or rather doesn’t come up in conversation enough. Often I think people are afraid to talk about it. Let’s face it when I say people I mean women. I am a man and I have no trouble satisfying myself.
My advice…(no sex expert here or porn star)… to anyone is to take it slow… all people need to be warmed up a little (esp. girls…) start the engine and let it warm up… I think guys and gals too often start kissing etc and right to sex… Girls get excited too and want to rush into it…. Girls you need a little warm up and if your guy isn’t doing it… get some courage and do it in front of him….. I know most guys would love that. Remember before you had sex when you just kissed and touched and played… that was just as exciting wasn’t it…. go back to your roots… I find I have other tools than what is downstairs although I am proud of my member….. Setting the ambience is important. Light the candle before dinner.
Another thing is practice and the right person. I once had a girl(I willl call her Tory) I really loved but I rarely pleased her in bed. She was so difficult and her offering me tips only led to her and my own frustration. We were both young but I think that you have to be patient if you are going to teach someone something like that. Understand they can be hurt very easily by your words. Also you have to know how to teach them. This means knowing your own body better and what works for you. I think a lot of girls are not in tune with that….(alone time is important use it to know what makes you get to that point of oh[feelings,positions,whatever])
That being said the girlfriend before Tory was fine(4 years)… We were able to please each other and my girlfriend now(7 months or so) is ok… Maybe you have to stop and think…. well maybe its me… I know I did and most guys do in that situation. In that previous relationship I think it was both of us… but it got to a point where talking was not possible. Sex became a dissappointing and hurtful event because the talking and teaching was so hurtful…. I was not pleasing enough for Tory.. not long enough, etc. and she did not know how to communicate with me and support me. Tough love in the bedroom doesn’t work… Be kind, understanding, and honest but sensitive to others’ feelings… In the end if it is not enough… take care of your needs but be respectful of the other person. We all need to be happy but having an orgasm shouldn’t mean destroying someone. It took me a long time to get over the girl(Tory) that didn’t mix well with me but eventually I got my confidence back and realized I can be a good lover.
My speel about sex… like I said I am not an expert but these things have worked for me…..
By the way I support having sex before marriage.. Yes it can be worked out but find someone who you can work it out with… Sex should not be stressful… If it is you are missing the point…
Communication seemed to be the problem. If people *talk* about what they want to change in their sex life there’s more of a chance it will change/improve, because of this I don’t feel like the car anaology holds much water. It can be true if your relatinship is greatly based off of sex but when it’s based off of communciation,understanding, and trust it becomes a bit less important. Besides, how else do people in casual relationships imporve the sex they have? by figuring out what they should fix, whether through *communication* or reading up on it (and obv. exprience plays a part).
I may be in the minorirty, but I agree with HonestChild/Girl/whatever her name was in regards to the car analogy….I wouldnt have been as harsh about it.
Either way, it’s about finding someone who is compatible. And that includes more than just sex.
I don’t think that sex before marriage is necessary….and doing this”trial and error” with sex could be as risky….and the girl who wrote the article about having sex before marrying the guy she loves? likes? desires? unless they are sexually compatible makes it look like her priority in marriage is sex rather than love or companionship…although she might say sex isn’t her priority in a relationship others might think otherwise….coz she’s willing to do this “trial and error” on sex which I think is too risky…what if bec. of those sexual encounters you’ve had due to your “trial and error” technique you’ve had an incurable disease….you might not be able to even marry the one you love…the one who is sexually, mentally, emotionally compatible with you….Okay you might say safe sex could be considered….and luckily you did not get any incurable disease or whatever still you’ve invested in a way some feelings for the guy or the guys and to reject him or them bec. you’re not sexually compatible might make you both realize or all of you that sex is really your number one priority in a relationship bec. your feelings for each other, it might be love? or whatever it is wasn’t enough to save the relationship you’ve had….
You know, you don’t have to have sex with a person in order to get your heart broken. One of the techniques used by promoters of abstinence is to put it about that if you have sex and then break up, you’ll have your heart broken – but guess what? If you get emotionally invested in a platonic relationship and then break up, your heart isn’t any less broken. And if that’s your argument, then sex with partners you aren’t committed can be even more satisfying – hey, all the fun without the nasty problems of relationships that don’t work out!
Some people consider sex a pretty important part of their relationships, and would like to make sure they’re sexually compatible and satisfied by their partner before making a (theoretically) lifelong committment to them. Some people either don’t consider it as important, or don’t feel comfortable engaging in it with people they’re not in a strong relationship with, whether it be legally recognized or not. To each their own, and I would never say that someone is in the wrong for choosing the appropriate time and place in their lives, based on what matters to them.
However, the rhetoric that if you don’t wait for “the one” then you’re going to end up diseased (and/or pregnant, if you’re female) unloved, and heartbroken is both wrong and irresponsible.
well I think priorities in a marriage is different ,and writers priority is focused a bit on the sex related part of marriage, that is not a bad thing just different than yours and mine sjtl …
actually I am not Korean or American. The thing is , I always thought that it is the best if you have your first sex with the one that you ll spend your life with, so I have not been with someone before , last year I met a Korean girl and we have been dating for a while, we are into each other so much that it is hard to be apart even for a day, but we have not had sex, she does not talk about it. I know that she has been in another international relationship before, and even though I do not really know the Korean culture I can guess that she is experienced in sex. You always said that you need to know the car you will drive, I honestly dont think that it is possible to have great sex at the firs time, so do you think that this can ruin my relationship?
by the way we are both 22, even though it might seem a little early for you , we are thinking about marriage, and plan to spend rest of our life together , this is why this subject concerns me!.
If you think that Koreans… and Korean women aren’t having sex, you are stupid. They do. They do it a lot. After living in Korea, I learned a lot about it. Many girls pretend to be virgins to men, but they really have had sex with most of their boyfriends.
Maybe one night stands are less common, but sex? That’s laughable and silly.
They just don’t talk about… they pretend it doesn’t happen. Simple as that. It’s the culture to deny it, but it’s biology. If a girl is holding out on sex, being a virgin is only one of the possibilities.
Anyway, most Korean guys I talk to (younger generation) don’t really care about whether a girl is a virgin or not. They don’t like hearing about the exes of course, but they wouldn’t stop dating or marrying a girl because of it.