시장에 가면 다양한 사람들의 활기찬 삶의 모습을 볼 수 있습니다. 호주에서도 그리고 서울에 있을때도 주말마다 시장에 가는 일이 일과가 되어버릴 정도로 저는 시장에 가는 걸 좋아합니다. 특히, 아줌마에 대한 연구를 시작하면서 시장에 가면 많은 아줌마들을 만나뵐 수 있다는 이유로 더 자주 가게 되었습니다. 소리소리 지르며 물건을 파는 아줌마, 좀 더 나은 흥정을 위해 목소리를 높이며 실랑이를 벌이는 상인 아줌마와 물건을 사려는 아줌마, 계산기나 주문서 없이도 수많은 사람들의 주문을 받아 척척 잔치국수를 내주는 포장마차 아줌마, 무거운 짐을 양손에 들고도 씩씩하게 걸어가는 아줌마 등등.
지난 수년동안 한국의 역사와 함께하며 아줌마들은 한국의 경제발전에 큰 힘이 되었습니다. 물론 지금도!
억척스럽게 물건을 팔고 또 가족들을 위해 양손가득 장을 보고 한 푼 이라도 아끼기 위해 실랑이를 벌이면서 아줌마들은 그렇게 살아갑니다.
There are many characteristics that define ajummas but their appearance is the one most easily identified. For example, if single women or men wear ajummorous outfits or have ajummorous hairstyles, their friends will say to them “you look like an ajumma!” However, while people categorise others as ajummas there is no exact or official definition for ajummas or ajummorous characteristics. Categorisation is based on pre-conceived views learnt through society and shared and reinforced continuously.
While appearance is the most obvious characteristic by which people are identified as ajummas, I would like to tell you that being an ajumma is not limited to appearance but includes other characteristics.
Firstly, ajummas are superwomen.
They are wives and mothers who take their roles very seriously and put great effort into supporting their children and husbands. They consider themselves the pillar supporting their family’s happiness and success. However do not imagine that self-sacrifice is their only pleasure. They know how to enjoy their lives.
In most cases, ajummarous women are judged by their appearance.
–ajumma hair, fashion and make up style
–behaviours(way of talking, loud voice, sitting with their legs apart in the subway, being meddlesome)
Especially, they are being meddlesome. So if you are in the subway and sitting in the cafe or restaurants, ajummas keep talking to you and even asking some personal questions as well. Whenever I travel on the subway in Seoul, I heard ajummas’ conversations. Interestingly, these ajummas never met with each other before, rather they just met on the subway. Their conversations were about everything, such as cooking, children, weather, culture, politics, etc. It might be strange if strangers talk to you on the subway. However, this is their ways of communication which is very ajummarous ways of communication that exists only in Korea.
With one of these ajummarous elements (of course there are more ajummarous elements than I mentioned above), any women can be called or recognised as an ajumma in Korea.
Here are some photos that help you understand what ajummarous elements which define ajummas in general.