“With Throbbing Heart and Trembling Hands, the Groom Undresses the Waiting Bride, to Unveil the Mystery”

Rare, 1970s English-language alcohol commercial for overseas audiences is a cringeworthy example of gendered self-Orientalism* Estimated reading time: 7 minutes. Featuring actors Yu Ji-in and Shin Yeong-il, it’s her timidity that strikes me most about this 1975 commercial for Jinro ginseng wine. For in that era of draconian but well-publicized birthrate-reduction policies, monthly pill commercials … Continue reading “With Throbbing Heart and Trembling Hands, the Groom Undresses the Waiting Bride, to Unveil the Mystery”

TIL About Eugenics in Singapore in the 1980s. Was This a Thing in Korea too?

Remember that hilarious Singaporean government birthrate campaign ad from the 1980s? Which I mentioned in my look at the demographics of Korean dating agencies? Twenty-plus years after laughing at that as an undergraduate, last night it suddenly wasn’t so funny: Source: Page 162 of South East Asia in the World-Economy: A Regional Economy, by Chris … Continue reading TIL About Eugenics in Singapore in the 1980s. Was This a Thing in Korea too?

Why Women Pay More to Join Korean Marriage Agencies

Women dominate the clientele at Korean marriage agencies, which is often used to justify extra costs for joining. But this differential pricing goes well beyond just sex, both reflecting and shaping consumers’ notions of the “perfect” wife too. And it seems she’s neither highly-educated, highly-earning, nor even over 32. Estimated reading tme: 12 Minutes. Image … Continue reading Why Women Pay More to Join Korean Marriage Agencies

The Korean Word for “Stroller” is Literally “Milk-MOTHER-Vehicle.” Let’s Start Using This New Term That Includes Fathers Too.

Like or loathe political correctness, many everyday Korean terms are ripe for modernization. Estimated reading time: 5 minutes. Source, all screenshots: YouTube. Similar to how over 60 percent of English words have Latin and Greek roots, over half of all Korean words are of Chinese origin. Once you realize this, learning Korean vocabulary becomes immeasurably … Continue reading The Korean Word for “Stroller” is Literally “Milk-MOTHER-Vehicle.” Let’s Start Using This New Term That Includes Fathers Too.

“The Secret to a Perfect Vacation? The Oral Contraceptive Pill!”

A rare Korean government campaign promoting contraception use has many positives. But its motivations are anything but progressive. Estimated reading time: 8 minutes. Image, via @smartlovekorea (Facebook): “Fun Waterplay! Sweet Couple Travel! The Secret to the Perfect Vacation · The Oral Contraceptive Pill ·” Korea stands out for its over-the-counter access to the monthly contraceptive … Continue reading “The Secret to a Perfect Vacation? The Oral Contraceptive Pill!”

Morning-after Pill Remains Prescription Only

In the continued financial stand-off between doctors and pharmacists, Korean women’s health and sexual freedom remain a low priority. (Source: withhyunbin; CC BY-NC 2.0) Remember back in 2012, when the Korean FDA announced the monthly birth-control pill would become prescription only? In isolation, there are many reasonable arguments for such a change. In the context … Continue reading Morning-after Pill Remains Prescription Only