Today, I went out for having lunch with my mum near my house. One of my mum’s friends sent a Kakao Talk message to my mum and she wanted to join us to have coffee together. So we did. We ordered good coffee and tea cookies. She (my mum’s friend) started talking about her grand children so any other grandmothers do. Her grand daughter became 6 this year so her daughter-in-law is now looking for the pre-school for her daughter. My mum’s friend talked about Yeong-Yu (Yeong eh Yu Chi One which means English speaking kindergarten. In these types of kindergarten, the students are only allowed to speak in English during the classes, so their parents believe that it should be very good opportunity to learn English since early years. So the entrance competition rate for these kindergartens is getting extremely selective even though the tuition fee is high compared with normal public kindergartens.
So this afternoon, I heard so much information about those special (or different) kindergartens/ preschool and elementary school from my mum’s friend. (And I don’t need those information at all because I don’t need it) After having those uncomfortable tea time with bunch of information about pre-school, I came back home and found some communities of younger mums who are interested in their children’s education. (Yes, education fever is still HOT)
Here is a very useful and interesting online website for ‘moms’. Its name is ‘Gang Nam Um-ma’ (Gang nam mothers). And they uploaded and shared useful information about schools, kindergartens, Hak-Wons (private educational institutions) on the website. I think moms (mothers, and I defined them as younger version of ajummas) also have very unique culture of their own like ajummas, so I will do some research about these moms in Korea very soon.
This is amazing! I found ‘Ajumma EXP’ and they’re lovely ajummas doing flash mobs and various performances. The most important thing is that this lovely community has the exact thought about our ‘ajummas’ –middle aged women. I’m still reading their blog and other social media sites so I will upload more about them asap. I’m so happy to know them and I feel like I can do something more exciting thing for our ajummas. (Even though I got rejected email from one of journals this morning but I’m still happy because of this community. ^_^ Go AJUMMAS!!!!
Click the image above to visit Ajumma EXP website
Have you ever heard about TDC in Japan? They’re dance club in Japan that are consist of high school girls. Their dance is amazing and I found this YouTube video that I’ve attached below, and their looking (costumes and permed hair) is very similar to typical stereotyped images of ajummas that most media (TV dramas for example) describes. Of course they didn’t imitate ajumma. But I just wanted to share this video of TDC because their dance is amazing and also they’re presenting the unique culture of certain era through their costumes, music and dancing. I really like their performance and I hope our beautiful ajummas will be reflected as the unique group that people can enjoy their uniqueness through various types of interpretation and understanding.
‘Motherism: A prejudice which leads stay-at-home mothers to be viewed as stupid, lazy and unattractive … He came out this week in defence of the stay-at-home mother, telling a conference that motherism should be tackled in the same vein as racism is.’ <https://www.macmillandictionary.com/buzzword/entries/motherism>
If there’s motherism, I can say there’s ajummaism in Korea. Full time parenting mothers do work at home and this could be equivalent to mothers who work outside of home! I should read more about this ‘motherism’ because I haven’t done enough research about this -ism yet so I can’t say about this in the concrete. But I can tell from this word, we have biased views about middle-aged women (or some of younger mothers with children) and people grouped these women who do not working outside the house but doing full time parenting as just lazy ‘mothers’. I discern that we also see ajummas with similar biased views as the case of the word, motherism. Middle-aged women are grouped as ajummas and people dismiss all of them as a group of ajummas without understanding rather than seeing the particularity of each human being. So I would say that there is Ajumma-ism in Korea and I will explain about this later in this blog. (in a positive way)
Related URL links (haven’t researched much about motherism, yet so I will do more research and will post a blog entry about this very soon. (:
An ajumma is the unique word and, at the same time, it represents the group of middle-aged women and their culture. As Beauvoir, Butler, and Haraway note (1989:12, 1999 and 1991) gender is constructed culturally, ajumma should be understood and discussed within Korean culture that this ‘ajumma’ group was involved and created in.
“One is not born, but rather becomes a woman”
With this idea, I would like to say that, “an ajumma is not born, but rather women in Korea becomes an ajumma”. Thus, knowing who an ajumma is, what an ajumma do and how an ajumma is represented in Korea will be triggered to understand women in Korea and more than that. They are represented in Korea with various a biased point of view, however they’re now representing themselves with the usage of social media and creating their own way of social media culture.
People regarded ajummas as just an ajumma without knowing well about them. When we look at them carefully and know more about them, we can find how each ajumma is a person of distinct individuality.
The last post that I uploaded on this blog was last month. I had hectic days because of doing so many things and I had to finish them by middle of December this year. I’m writing some proposals, sending them to ‘them’, waiting for replies, finding another opportunities, keep sending proposals, etc. And do some part time teaching as well.
I haven’t finished some blog entires about ajummas and their usage of smartphones and they are stored in the draft box. I will bring them out to this blog very soon. (Maybe during the next week?)
Also I will reorganise this blog (put some new categories, deleted some useless categories etc.)
Now I can smell ‘winter’ in Seoul. ^__^
It’s been a while to upload posts on this blog. I was super busy but I know this is not enough to excuse my laziness. I will be uploading blog posts very soon so please keep visiting my blog.
I took this photo about 2 weeks ago. I found this photo is very interesting from my point of view because they took selfie of themselves by their own mobiles. They don’t know each other I guess and they look so busy of taking selfies. Now taking selfies are not only limited to the youth culture, rather everyone enjoy taking selfies to express themselves freely.
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.
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!!)
image from <http://smart.kbs.co.kr/tv/sisa/charles/>
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.
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)!!!
“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?