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.

 

 

 

Misogyny=?=Yeohyeom

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)