A trot song is for ajummas?

Smart Ajumma (English)

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.

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Misogyny=?=Yeohyeom

스마트 아줌마 (한국어), Smart Ajumma (English)

In the previous post, I wrote about Yeohyeom that means people (mostly men I can say) hate women without obvious reasons. Then, we can say the Korean term “Yeohyeom” can be translated to misogyny in English. Well, both terms present similar meanings (e.g.strong dislike of women) but I think they’re a bit different in some ways. Whenever I have to write my thesis about some Korean cultural things, I felt difficult to find the right word. I’m not sure how the word ‘Misogyny’ is using in English-speaking world. But the word misogyny has more complex meaning about ‘dislike of women’ I understand. However, the word Yeohyeom is now too fragmentarily understood and spoken by people (mostly men) who strongly dislike women in Korea. In social media, some of men said, “I don’t have Yeohyeom because I like women, lol (laugh)”. It doesn’t matter whether you “LIKE WOMEN” or not when we talk about Yeohyeom. It is about your thinking, attitude, perspective, respect to women as human beings like you.

Women in Korea fight against the Yeohyeom phenomenon since ‘Sora.net‘ (crime site name). We gathered signatures to reveal that crime site and further to shut the Sora.net in the end. Now women in Korea stand together against unfair ‘Yeohyeom’ and especially in various social media (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) through sharing information, articles, videos and photos. (I’m still understanding and researching about this issue so I will keep updating about Yeohyeom and Korean women’s against Yeohyeom especially in social media continuously)

Through this, I could think about another type of misogyny which is different from this Yeohyeom (dislike of women). It is a ‘strong dislike of Ajumma’. Regardless of men, women or other genders, (of course not every one in Korea) people in Korea have biased perspective about Ajummas and some of them hate Ajummas without an obvious reason. For the next post, I will talk about the ‘dislike of ajummas’, ‘Ajumma-Hyeom’. (Hyeom-O means ‘Strong Dislike’ in Korean)