Ajumma shoppers at the market

I saw ajumma shoppers at a market today. Saturday market is always crowded with lots of ajumma shoppers. They come to market not only for grocery shopping but also sharing their lives with others at the market through face to face communication with others even if they never met before with each other. Market is one of communal spaces of ajummas like Digital Ppal-let-ter

I love seeing people at the market because I feel alive.


Cute ajummas 🙂


Chestnut season!

Ajumma Rapstar!


Image from http://m.media.daum.net/m/media/culture/newsview/20161031030413630

Ajummas also do ‘rapping’ not warpping. Recently, some of learning centre in Korea provide ‘rapping’ class for ajummas. Hiphop Nation is known as one of Korean TV programs which is the rap competition featuring grandma (Hal-meo-nee) rappers. In this TV show, these grandmothers were honest about their lives through rapping.

And now, here we have ajumma rappers,too! Through the news article, these ajummas were tired of boring classes for ajummas such as singing class and playing musical instruments. They long for something new to learn for their leisure activity. For this reason, they do rap now and they believe the rapping with their own lyrics will relieve stress.

I will add more about these ‘ajumma rappers’ in the next blog post.


Ajumma’s Mobile moment

I saw very good photos that were under the title of ‘Mobile moment’ from Facebook today. So I use that title for today’s blog entry. 페이스북 친구가 ‘Mobile moment’라고 제목을 붙여 올린 모바일사용자들의 모습을 담은 사진을 보고 나도 우리 아줌마들의 모바일모먼트 사진을 올려보았다. 개인의 프라이버시를 위해 얼굴은 모자이크 처리를 했다. 다양하게 모바일모먼트를 즐기는 우리의 엄마, 이웃, 친구인 대한민국의 아줌마들 모두 화이팅! 멋지고 아름답습니다!

Ajumma’s Mobile moment, Seoul, South Korea, August 2016



Ajummas are in Mobile Bang [room]

Smart ajummas are watching DMB in the subway (Please do not use this photo without a permission!!! 사진의 무단도용, 게시 및 재가공을 금지합니다)

I found this photo from one of my twitter friends today. These two ajummas put their mobile phone on the triport and watching TV through DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) while they’re travelling in the subway in Seoul. They share the earphones as well.

I already wrote about how the subway is important for Seoulite’s daily life in my Master’s thesis that is called ‘Mobile Bang (2010)’. The subway shouldn’t be considered as just a sort of public transport. Rather it means a lot more for people in Seoul or South Korea. I call it as a Mobile Bang (room in English) and commuters do various things in the subway especially through uaing their smartphones while they’re travelling.

We’re now having very hot and humid days in South Korea (35c/70-80 % humidity). People want to find any place where they can avoid hot and humid weather. The subway could be one of those places I think. So I really love this photo and want to share these Smart Ajummas in Mobile Bang with you.

Thank you for my friend (from twitter) who allowed me to use this photo for this blog.


Zoomatoon(1), Hello Ajumma!


I can hear so many ajummas call other middle-aged women as ‘Ajumma’. For example, middle-aged women customers (ajummas) call other middle-aged women sellers, “Ajumma! How much is this?”. But when seller ajummas call customer ajummas, “Ajumma! Try some our Kimchi!”, customer ajummas feel uncomfortable. (I experienced so many times these situations when I went to market to buy something) In fact, the seller ajummas never call customer ajummas as ‘Ajumma’. Never!

This is irony because ajummas call other ajummas as an ajumma but those ajummas don’t want to be called as an ajumma by others include ajummas.

Why? What’s wrong with that?

Art project about ajummas

I found some art project about ajummas. These exhibitions were already over but I would like share some images and webpage links with anyone who are interested in art project about ajummas.

1.아줌마 부루스 展/ Ajumma Blues

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 10.05.14 AM

(click the image to visit the website)


2.괜찮아 잘될거야 조진성/It will be okay by Jin Sung Cho


(click the image to visit the website)

3.연극 ‘뽀글이 아줌마 봉숙이’/The play ‘Curly hair ajumma, Bong-Sook’


(click the image to visit the website)

I keep thinking about making any ‘art’ project about ajumma but I need some more time. The project should be related to my previous video, ‘Digital Ppal-let-ter’.

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 7.28.03 PM.png

(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)

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.


Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 7.46.51 PM
(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.


Ajumma fans at the concert, so what?

Fandom culture is very strong in Korea as well as other countries. A variety types of fan clubs are formed and those fans do many activities for their ‘stars’. Like other communities, fan clubs are considered as one of communities with people who got the similar interests each other. In this case, similar interest should be a ‘star’. A star could be sportswoman/man, actors, artists, singers, models, writers, filmmakers, politicians (maybe?), or even characters of animation or comic books whom are living in the imaginary space. Among these examples of fan club, I would like to talk about a case of one of band’s fan club in Korea.

Twitter is a sort of an intersection for people to share common or uncommon ideas and thoughts. I didn’t use tweeter for last few years but now I’m one of active users of tweeter. There are many reasons why I use twitter but one reason could be that it is useful to share information from other fans about my favourite singer. At the same time, we could share the concert review with each other after every concert. Actually I’m not a very active fan like other fans, but I could be an active fan through interactive communication with other fans on twitter whom I followed. Even though we never tweetup before but we meet almost everyday on twitter. It is so glad to know someone who have same interests with me and share our thoughts about the same thing together.

However, it happened few days ago. There is another online community website for this singer and a sort of a quarrel between fans was occurred. These fans argue about something related to the singer on the BBS. I have no interest in this online community website at all, so I didn’t know about this website that much. But one thing I knew about this website is that most of them who take very active roles are quite younger than other old fans of the singer. Anyway, there’s a quarrel between fans and one of fans wrote her or his thought on the BBS. I was outraged at the way she/he had written. Here is a sentence that makes me uncomfortable.

“Some of old fans are annoying and they’re mean towards younger fans, and you know what? The concert was teeming with ajumma fans!!!”

Well, it was interesting to me to know what younger people consider old woman (they think over 30s is ‘old’, she/he wrote). And it’s not shocking the way this kind of people think about ajummas or old woman because I’m a researcher or a sort of expert of ajumma research, so I know. But I was angry to read that sentence because of their old-fashioned mind or thinking about women, especially old women (over 30s is OLD? of course it is not young age but not too old yet?).


(Ajumma fans at the Yong Pil Cho‘s concert, image from: http://5505.ohmynews.com, or click the image to visit the website)

What’s wrong with old women? (over 30s?) Is there any law and regulations that old women (over 30s) are prohibited to come to the concert? And what’s wrong with ajummas? Okay, if they’re official ajummas, SO WHAT? You know what? The singers you like are over 30s too. Then, why do you think only female fans who are over 30s should be treated as annoying ajummas? As I mentioned in previous post, I think they have a sort of misogynistic perspective towards women, especially non-younger women.

According to them, I’m an ajumma because I’m over 30. But I will keep going and enjoying their concert as much as I can. I don’t care what others think about ajummas (women who are over 30s, they said). But one thing that I feel disappointed is their prejudiced and outdated view of ajummas. Oh, don’t forget! You’ll be an ajumma very soon, too.


Ajumma-Selca by Incheong Lee 2008

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 10.49.48 AM

(Click the photo above, there are more photos of Ajumma-Selca and information about this project (but in Korean))

I found Korean artist Incheong Lee’s Ajumma-Selca by chance this morning. There aren’t enough references or related articles about her ‘Ajumma-Selca’ but I realised that how her artwork and Digital Ppal-let-ter (and Smart Ajumma research) are similar with each other in some ways. Of course these two different project are about Ajummas but they’re not only talking about a profound discourse of Ajummas. Rather I (and maybe she as well) tried to express the daily life of ajummas pleasantly. (I know there was, is and will be a controversy over talking about ajummas, using the title of ajummas, and etc.)

Anyway, Lee’s Ajumma-Selca is about a tiring and tedious (or sometimes enjoyable as well) daily life of ajummas. She put the wooden-ajumma doll in the situated frame (e.g. kitchen) of photos to reflect her (or other ajummas) lives. Thus, the each photo is a sort of ‘ajumma-selca’ that shows ajumma-selves through a wooden ajumma doll.


Yakult Ajumma is now on The Wall Street Journal!

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 8.13.39 PM

(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)‘.