Korean Sociological Image #85: Just One 10 Minutes…to Improve Your Spouse’s Specs

Korea Gender Roles Marriage Specs(Source: Jinvas, left, right; edited)

Two notebook covers, found by reader Stephanie Rosier at her local Kyobo bookstore. As she explains on the blog’s Facebook page, the left reads, “If I study for ten more minutes, my [future] wife’s face will change,” and the right, “If I study for ten more minutes, my [future] husband’s job will change.”

Of course they’re just notebooks, and just for fun (although I do hope it’s adults they’re aimed at!). But they’re also a reflection of how deeply “specs” (스펙) like certain jobs and physical standards dominate matchmaking discussions among Koreans these days. Whereas back in the 1980s, it was older family members or family friends that would size up children’s potential spouses for arranged 선 (seon) matches like this, nowadays hard economic times mean that young people can be just as pragmatic and calculating as their grandparents were.

Meanwhile, what’s “Just One 10 Minutes?” you ask? :D

Related Posts:

(For more posts in the Korean Sociological Image Series, see here)

New York Times Looking for People Currently Engaged or Married via the “Seon” (선) Arrangement


I’ve been asked to pass on the following:

The New York Times is looking to interview Koreans and Korean Americans who are currently engaged or married according to the “seon” arrangement. We’re working on a story about arranged marriage versus love marriages and how some arranged couples are finding more meaning in the pre-arranged set-up as opposed to free-range style dating and marrying.

Would love to know how much the parents were involved in the date selection, what the criteria or “specs” were, and whether you are happy that you chose to go more traditional in finding a spouse. I also heard from some Korean guys that these seon arrangements makes settling down easier since it takes some of the pressure off from dating. Do any of you agree? Couples, men, women are all encouraged to respond. Opinions from parents are especially wanted. Would love to get as many differing opinions as possible. Please be aware that if we choose to profile your experiences, we would need to use your first/last name and age.

Please send your feedback to lifestylereporter@gmail.com.

For more on specs and arranged marriages, please see here and here (especially the comments to the latter). And please do email The New York Times: I’m already looking forward to reading the final story, and the more interviews in it the better!