an article that wrote about my research, Smart Ajumma

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)

At the end of July, I presented my research, Smart Ajumma at IACS conference. This year, this conference was held in Seoul, South Korea so it was very pleasure to participate in. In this big Inter Asia Cultural Studies conference, I met Nicki Liu on my presentation day and we had very good conversation, especially about middle-aged women in East Asia. And kindly, she reviewed about my research, Smart Ajumma in the one of online journal in Hong Kong (I feel bad but I actually don’t understand Chinese at all so I couldn’t figure out what this online journal’s name yet). Her article is written in Chinese so I can’t understand but I know it is about my research and other panel’s research about women and media in Asia. It is more than happy to read (even though I don’t understand Chinese) about the review of my research that was written by someone else.

Thank you Nicki Liu and hopefully we can meet some day in the conference again.

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“I want to be an ajumma”

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)

My Neighbor, Charles (이웃집 찰스) is a South Korean reality-variety show that airs on KBS 1TV every Tuesday night. I’m a big fan of this reality TV show (actually it is more like a documentary) because I can meet various people through this TV show. Of course sometimes I feel some of guests just wanted to promote their business (restaurants or cafes) but still I can see other people’s lives who immigrated to Korea for different reasons.

Yesterday, there were a lovely family who came from Egypt. Their father works so hard but it isn’t easy to save money for their three girls education and living expenses. So their mother tried to work for a living but she couldn’t speak Korean well. Finally she decided to sell her signature Egyptian food in a local market. (And her food looks so good!!)

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image  from <>

This is a story from yesterday’s episode and the reason why I’m now talking about this TV show on this blog because of their mother. During her interview, she said that she wants to be an ajumma, Korean ajumma. And the producer asked her why? Her answer was very interesting and touching. She answered that Korean ajummas work a lot for their family compared with Egyptian women. Also Korean ajummas are fast and strong so their mother wants to be an ajumma.

I really impressed about her respondent about Korean ajumma. Yes, Korean ajummas are strong, fast and they work for their family in many ways. Of course there are some annoyed part such as they’re (some of them) sometimes loud and being meddlesome. But I think everyone can be loud or being meddlesome. Many times, we see ajummas with our biased views. I hope we should look at  ajummas from various angles even though it will take some time to change our minds and society. We should.



Mukbang by Grandmother

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)


There are various types of Mukbang in Korea. I just found this Grandmother’s channel on Youtube and she did Mukbang. Her Mukbang style is not very much different from any other Mukbang BJs’ videos but I still very happy to find these newer generation of Youtubers. I hope they (Ajumma or Grandmother Youtubers) produce ‘their own’ styles of videos on Youtube. I don’t mean that these videos aren’t good. At this stage, most of them (Grandmother or Ajummas) just produce videos very much similar to the other BJs’ Mukbang videos. If these newer Youtube generation create their own styles of Mukbang, it helps to broaden the content market of Mukbang videos in Korea.

But still, I’m so happy to watch the videos like this. Go Grandmothers and Ajummas!!!! And I really like her vlog (below)!!!

A rude ajumma degrades other ajummas!!!

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)

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“Those ajummas? They’re just ajummas!!! They’re just ajummas who cook rice!!!”

(in Korea we have rice everyday so she meant those non-regular school meal service workers (mostly ajummas) as ‘AJUMMAS WHO JUST COOK RICE RATHER TAHN PROFESSIONAL WORKERS’)

Those non-regular workers went on strike because they had been unfairly treated in their workplaces. About this, First Vice Floor Leader of the People’s Party Lee Eon-joo made off-the-record remarked to reporters about ajummas. She degraded ajummas as ajummas who just cook rice rather than professional workers. This is so disappointing because our society (even Lee is an ajumma I can say) still have biased view about ajummas.

Do you think ajummas can’t be professional?

What do you mean they’re just ajummas?

Ajummas are just people who cook rice? (And what’s wrong with people who cook rice then?)

She shouldn’t say like that. NEVER!!! Ajummas are not different group of people as people like you, rather you’re also an ajumma. And what do you think about ajummas? She has strong gender stereotypes about ajummas I think. How can you lead and change our society with that prejudiced mind and thinking?



Digital Ppal-let-ter [again]

Digital Ppal-let-ter Project /디지털 빨래터 프로젝트 (Creative Project), 스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)

It’s been almost 1 year since I’ve submitted my PhD project. Now I’m waiting for the graduation ceremony in this Dec. YAY!!!

I planned to start doing a new project from this year but I haven’t started it yet because there’re so many things to be done by end of May. But I will try to start doing a new project asap. Also I should keep writing blog entries as well. FOR SURE!!

About this project:

할머니의 인생은 아름다워라!

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)

(허핑턴포스트코리아 인터뷰기사 링크)

(한겨레 인터뷰기사 링크)

(IZE magazine 인터뷰기사 링크)


(image from:

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(images from:

누구보다 할머니 인스타스타의 탄생이 반가운 사람중에 한명이 바로 나이다. 그분의 인스타와 유툽비디오를 구독하며 하루하루 즐겁고 유쾌한 70이 넘은 할머니의 일상을 들여다보는일이 매우 기분좋다. 하지만 왜 ‘할머니’인스타스타가 이렇게 특별난 일이 되었어야 하는지에 대한 생각도 동시에 들게 된다. (사실 아직까지 ‘아줌마’인스타스타는 찾아보기 힘들다.)

더 많은 아줌마와 할머니, 아저씨와 할아버지들을 sns의 세계로 모실수 있는 방법은 뭐가 있을까? 단순히 ‘할머니가 하는 인스타’라서 신기함으로 끝날 것이 아니라, 그동안 대부분의 sns가 youth와 젊은층에 포커스를 맞추고 있었다면, 이제는 그 세대들을 벗어난 다른 세대들까지도 흥미를 느낄 수 있는 그런 sns의 필요성이 더욱더 간절해진다.

그래도, 이렇게 ‘할머니’ 인스타스타는 정말 반가운 일이다. (인터뷰 요청을 해봤지만 역시 요즘에 가장 핫한 분이셔서 DM을 읽기도 바쁘신가보다. 내가 직접하는 인터뷰가 아니더라도 다양한 매체에서 박막례 할머님의 인터뷰를 실어주셔서, 그분에 대해 좀 더 알 수 있게 된것을 감사드린다)

즐거운 연구 또 하고 싶다.

Grandma’s diary!!! (Finally we have grandma (ajumma)Youtuber!!

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)

Oh My God!!! I’m so exciting to see this ‘Grandma’s Diary’ Youtube channel. I really like and find a variety of Korean Youtubers and watching their videos whenever I have spare time. And it was rare to find an ajumma Youtuber…BUT I found an amazing Youtuber today and the title of her channel is ‘Grandma’s Diary (박막례 할머니, Grandma Mak-Rye Park)’. The title is Grandma’s diary but I think she could be considered as an ajumma, too.

There is no subtitle for non-Korean speakers yet but you can understand what she’s saying through watching her videos. In the video that I share below shows that grandma Park explains how she does makeup for meeting a dentist. She is so lovely!

I keep watching her videos!

In my case…

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)


I went to Hongdae (Hongik University district in Seoul) and everyplace swarmed with people. There are a variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and small galleries in Hongdae area so I sometimes visit there to see what’s going on. (because cafes and shops are changing frequently) And on the street, I found so many street stalls are selling ‘mobile phone cases’ with various designs and characters. People in Korea keep changing their mobile phones cases because they think the cases are one of fashion accessories. So if you’re in Korea, especially in Seoul you can see many street stalls that sell mobile phone cases.

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I read several journal articles before that are about the relationship between mobile phone accessories and personality. And I also agree that those mobile phone accessories are certainly showing every personality. So it might be interesting to investigate how  different mobile phone cases characterise each person. (and what differences between different countries, culture, gender and etc.) And there will be ‘Ajummas’ favourite mobile phone cases, too!!!

Maangchi Ajumma! 망치 아줌마!

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)

Mangchi Ajumma, Emily Kim is a famous YouTuber who cook Korean food. She immigrated  to the U.S. in 1992 with her family. She was almost addicted to computer gaming and spent her time  at home after coming back from work. One day, her family recommended her spend time productively such as producing a cooking video rather than just playing computer game all day. So she started produce Korean food cooking video on YouTube and  the number of subscribers of her channel are increasing dramatically.



In her video, she speaks English with her characteristic Korean accent. (no offence, I think her unique accent highlight her unique character of Korean American ajumma in her videos) Also her hair, fashion and makeup style tells how unique Mangchi Ajumma is! In the videos, she introduced so many dishes of Korean food and she explained ‘how to cook’ Korean food in easier ways than any other cook books, both for Koreans and foreigners.According to New York Times, it describes her as ‘Korean Julia Child!’

She also published a cookbook that is titled ‘Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking‘. And there is her own website, ‘‘. (You can watch all the Maangchi ajumma’s Korean cooking videos, information about Korean ingredients, (ingredients glossary) and any other useful information related to Korean culture, especially Korean food culture)).

I really want to interview this lovely maangchi ajumma someday soon.

This is very exciting example of smart ajumma, I can tell.

오늘 있었던 일. Today

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), My note, Smart Ajumma (English), Zoomatoon 줌마툰


오늘 병원에서 겪은 일.

내 뒤의 할머니는 병원안에서 할아버지를 잃어버렸고, 할아버지를 찾아달라며 안내데스크에 부탁했다. 얼마 지나지 않아서 보안업체 직원이 할머니곁에 와서 할아버님의 인상착의에 대해 여쭤봤다.

“키가 좀 크고, 머리가 희끗희끗하고 파란 점퍼를 입고…” 할머니의 설명이 이어졌고 보안업체 직원은 알겠다고 자리를 떠났다가 이내 곧 다시 돌아와서는,

“할머니, 혹시 할아버님 사진 갖고 계세요? 저한테 지금 카톡으로 보내주세요!” (전화번호를 알려드리며)

그렇게 받은 할아버님의 사진을 그 자리에서 바로 병원안의 모든 보안업체분들에게 보냈고, 할머니께

“조금만 기다리시면 할아버님 찾아드릴겁니다. 걱정마세요”

그렇게 시간이 얼마 되지 않아 정말 할아버님을 모시고 또 다른 보안업체 직원분이 오셨다. 정말 다행이다. 이럴때 스마트폰이 참 좋구나.