Ajummas and plastic surgery

I’m not sure whether I can write about the topic of ‘plastic surgery’ in this blog or not. But I think plastic surgery could be categorised as a part of ‘beauty’ or ‘beauty industry’ in Korea (and many other countries) so I can concern about this issue in this blog. Well, plastic surgery is a very common thing for most Koreans (not every Koreans I have to say) in these days. There are various types of plastic surgery that help people to be satisfied with their appearances and sometimes inner sides,too. As they change or (I can say) upgrade their appliances through plastic surgery, people are able to have more confidences than before (especially, people who are not happy with their appearances). Of course there is side effect of plastic surgery but one thing we surely know that plastic surgery is a sort of popular culture in Korea now.

Before I wrote this blog entry today, I did research how ajummas concern about plastic surgery in Korea. Well, I still need to do a lot more and deeper research about the relationship between ajummas and plastic surgery, but one thing I found that many of ajummas are interested in doing plastic surgery and many of them also already experienced of having plastic surgery as well. And (I need to do more research about this but at this stage but) I found that the purposes of doing plastic surgery and preferred body part (or face part) are quite different according to different age group. For example,  married middle aged women (it didn’t specify the actual age range in its report) wanted to do liposuction surgery (especially for reducing abdominal fat) the most according to the report. (http://bntnews.hankyung.com/apps/news?popup=0&nid=05&c1=05&c2=05&c3=00&nkey=201103291205063&mode=sub_view)

In addition, there are apps for plastic surgery as well. I just found some of them and need to research more about this ‘beauty app’ asap. Here is an example of plastic surgery app that is called, ‘App Miin’. App is for application and Miin means a beauty in Korean. So it means application beauty. Users are able to try virtual plastic surgery through using this app and they can make estimate for the plastic surgery in the future as well.

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(click the image above, it goes to the website of App Miin, https://itunes.apple.com/kr/app/aebmiin)

I take a profound interest  in the things that are related to beauty industry, women and digital media. Thus I keep thinking about the research that I will do for the next. (another research idea is in my mind, too)

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Ajummas are in Live Photo

Music credit: Peppertones, ‘For all dancers’ (less than 5 seconds, looping)

I just played with the keynote to create a live photo video for this blog. All the videos are made with (include Digital Ppal-let-ter project) photos and keynote. This looping live photo video reminds me a rhizome movie (by Adrian Miles) that we’ve learnt at RMIT almost 10 years ago. I’m thinking to create short video clips (like this) through using keynote, live photo and maybe photo collage.

 

#Ajummastagram in everyday

Instagram is now a big thing which is known as a visual communication platform. Before I use the Instagram, Flickr was one of the biggest visual communication platform through photo sharing on each user’s Flickr page. In my case, I uploaded various photos that were mostly taken by professional cameras (includes film and digital cameras). Compared with these days, Flickr users mostly uploaded photos that have more specified topics or stories than mundane and ordinary records by Instagram users. And Instagram is a sort of a common ‘thing’ or “ambient play” (Hjorth 2015) which people take photos, upload them and share them with others in their everyday life through using their smartphones (or computers). They rather record everyday objects, every moment and everything they want to take,upload and share. Thus, Instagram is not just a photo sharing application. It becomes a visual communication platform that allows its users to communicate with each other visually through sharing photos and videos. Furthermore, using hashtag (#) enables them to get to know other users whom never met before. Sharing the same interest through hashtag allows these strangers to have chance to know each other slightly.

 

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(This page above was captured on Instagram website  <https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/아줌마스타그램/> and I put stickers on each face for privacy reasons)

There are innumerable kinds of hashtags are sharing among Instagram users every second. I can’t enumerate every single hashtag in this post but I would like to talk about hashtag of ajummas in Korea. Yes, there are hashtags about ajummas as well. These hashtags are mostly written in Korean (#Ajummastagram, #Ajumma, #Jummagram, etc.). I do check the hashtags about ajummas almost everyday because I’m curious how many Ajummas are now using Instagram. Well, there are many Ajumma hashtags but these ajummas are very young. I mean Ajummas in Instagram are younger than ajummas in my research. I think the age range of these ajummas in Instagram are from mid 20s to mid 40s. Compared with ajummas in my research, they are from mid 40s to late 60s (yes, older than ajummas in Instagram). The ajummas in Instagram are more likely a group of ‘mom’ I can tell. They share photos of babygoods, restaurants, shopping tips (cosmetics, shoes, sale information), selfies, etc.

Surprisingly, they put themselves as ‘ajummas’ in hashtags. I can’t say ‘everyone’ but most of them (married women who are between 20s to 40s) don’t want to be called as ajummas in general through my research and various media. But why do they call themselves as ajummas??? I don’t know why they identify themselves as ajummas in Instagram (mobile space) but I keep thinking about this. And another interest things is that Instagram is not as popular as Kakao Talk or Kakao Story for ajummas who are between mid 50s to late 60s. It is hardly found the ajumma users of those ages in Instagram yet. Why?

I should keep thinking about this.

 

아줌마-셀카, 이인청 2008

 

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(위 그림을 클릭하면 이인청,아줌마-셀카에 대한 자세한 정보가 나와있는 네오룩 홈페이지로 이동합니다)

이인청 작가의 아줌마-셀카 라는 작품을 우연히 보게되었다. 관련자료가 충분하지는 않지만 이 전시를 다녀온 분들의 개인적인 글, 뉴스기사 그리고 작품해설에 실려있는 작가의 의도등을 읽어보면서 내가 이 아줌마 연구를 하고 있는 이유와 이 작품들이 몇몇 닮아있음이 보였다. 아줌마에 대한 위대하고 심오한 담론을 끌어내기 위함도 중요하지만, 나는 스마트아줌마 그리고 디지털빨래터라는 프로젝트를 통해서 우리의 지금 현시대를 살아가는 아줌마들의 모습을 유쾌하게 풀어내어서 보여주고 싶었다. (물론 아직도 지금도 아니 이후에도 아줌마를 단순히(그들의 시각에서) 유쾌하게 풀어내는 것에 대한 논쟁은 계속 될지도 모르지만)

이인청 작가의 아줌마-셀카는, 고되고 같은일이 반복되는 지루한 아줌마의 일상을 ‘목각으로 만든 아줌마’를 이용하여 보여주고 있다. 사진속의 아줌마의 모습이 곧 우리 아줌마들의 모습을 보여주는 아줌마-셀카인 것이다.

 

Yakult Ajumma is now on The Wall Street Journal!

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(Click the image to read the news article about Yakult Ajumma by The Wall Street Journal)

 

The Wall Street Journal reported about Korean Yakult Ajumma (delivery women they described) and their mobile yakult cart. It is so exciting to read about our Yakult Ajumma in the wall street journal! I’ve already written about them in my blog, ‘Smart Yakult Ajumma(25/01/2016)‘.

A trot song is for ajummas?

I’ve already posted this video of Digital Ppal-let-ter project that is a part of my research project. For this video, I used two trot songs as a background music. When I chose these trot songs as bg music, I thought that using this kind of songs for my video should enhance people to get inspired for better understanding about Korean culture. Well, we have K-Pop (idols, girl groups, etc.) but for me, these songs are inadequate to support my video project that is about Ajummas who are women in Korea. I consider choosing songs and I finally found one song that is about ajummas. The song called, Ajumma by Jinah Tae has very simple lyrics but it encourages ajummas to keep enjoying their lives as ajummas in Korea. Also, there’re not enough (maybe this song is the only song about Ajummas with positive lyrics as far as I know) songs about ajummas. I’ve changed songs for the video several times and I discussed carefully about choosing music with my supervisors all the time. Finally, I put that song for my video and I believed and still believe that the song supports the story (or research) of the video. Moreover, it enhances people (audiences) to somewhat better understand Korean ajummas’ culture. But, some people criticised the usage of this song for the video about ajummas. They thought this song (trot songs) is cheesy and it could remind audiences about stereotypes of ajummas. In other words, the trot songs are cheesy and not classy songs. So the purpose of choosing the cheesy trot song for the video is because ‘I (a researcher)’ look down upon Ajummas.

Okay, I accept those feedback or criticism from others. But, let me talk about this again. The problem is not about a song in this video, I think. The problem is ourselves. I know how women in Korea were persecuted under patriarchal society for ages so Korean women had to receive unfair treatment only because we were women. One of Korean female group, ajummas, they were also treated, showed, described and accepted negatively. For many reasons, being ajummas and calling as ajummas is not pleasant. But, in my experiences, we (women) disdain ajummas, being ajummas and living as ajummas so many times and cases. In the case of using that trot song for the video, I never assume that trot songs are for ajummas and ajummas have no interest of listening pop songs, hiphop or electronic music. My mum loves listening to classical music and one of my friend enjoys listening to trot musics. I don’t generalise any thing between different generations. Of course, there are preferences of something between different generations, but I always think I shouldn’t generalise people only because their age differences.

If they (people who criticised me of using trot songs for this video) think the usage of trot songs for this video is because I have a prejudice against ajummas, then I want to say them to break your biased perspective about ajummas first. It will take time to change but I want to keep writing that calling as ajummas and being ajummas are not that unpleasant thing what some people detest to be ajummas.

miso-ajumma?

“Don’t call us as ajumma!”, “You just try to glorify ajummas!”, “Ajummas are different people from us, they’re low-educated and from the countryside!”

I can’t write every single reaction from people when I presented my research about Ajumma in one conference last time. Yes, I was pretty shock to get those reactions. They were Korean middle-aged women. They’re all working moms and I don’t want to specify their personal backgrounds any more.

When I wrote about Yeohyeom (misogyny in some way) before, I thought there is ‘miso-ajumma in Korea as well. Misogyny is combined by two words, miso+gyny so I just combined miso and ajumma which means dislike of ajummas. I know the people (not every one) are not happy about ajummas and people don’t want to be (or called as) ‘ajummas’ at the same time. The title of ajumma is for middle-aged women in Korea. I already explained the origin of the word ajumma, there’s no such negative meanings are included with the word ajumma. One of the women from the conference argued that using the word ajumma is only for the maid women or women who served in the restaurants.  And another woman also told me that the word ajummas should be used only for older women who are low-educated, full-time housewives with ajummarous fashion style. WHAT?????

I know calling as ‘ajummas’ are still unwelcome thing for women in Korea because of biased perspective about ajummas through various types of media (TV dramas, commercials, blogs, social media etc.) we meet everyday. But I don’t understand why calling women as ‘ajummas’ is such insulting remarks? And why those middle-aged women (who don’t want to be called as ajummas) have condescending attitude and thought about ajummas? (the maid, low-educated, etc.)

I found miso-ajumma from this experience. Why did they think ‘middle-aged women’ are better than ‘ajummas’? What kind of standards do they base their conclusion on? Like an example of Kim Yeo-sa (Mrs. Kim), some or many of ajummas are the target of hatred only because they are ajummas. (I don’t mean that ‘Kim Yeo-sa’ have no problem at all, you should read the related article about Kim Yeo-sa (pink coloured linked one just above)). It was very difficult to keep writing this post about misoajumma or misogyny. Maybe it is still complicated to understand what misogyny is in contemporary society in Korea. At the same time, it is very careful to write about this issue in Korea at this time. So it takes so long to finish this post and I will write more about this later for sure.