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.

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Yeo-hyeom, 여혐?

In the previous blog post, I talked about a tragedy in Gang Nam Station, Seoul. A young college woman was stabbed to death in a crazy murderer attack. This murder thought women always ignored him so he planned to kill ‘any’ women on that day.

Yes, this is heinous crime and now we (Koreans) are at a loss what to do. There was a heated debate about the right of women in Korea for a long time but after this crazy incident, the debate about ‘living as women in Korea’ brings related hot arguments among people, especially in various social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

A Yeo-hyeom phenomenon is an example. Yeo-hyeom is a new coined Korean word and it means an attitude that someone (mostly (some sort of)men) hates women abnormally without obvious reason/ or someone hates women abnormally because women are women.

Of course, I cannot generalise ‘every men’ in Korea have Yeo-hyeom mind to women, some of men in Korea, I hope. But the one obvious thing is there is a debate about this phenomenon (Yeo-hyeom) between men and women. For me, as a women who lives in Korea, I was also furious when I read this crazy incident and I understand why there is a continuous argument about this tragedy what ‘men’ did to ‘women’. I know it should not be a dichotomous fight between ‘men’ and ‘women’. But, what do you think? This murderer killed that young women only because he hates women. Then? This means that that young women shouldn’t be killed by that psycho if she wasn’t a woman.

In other words, it could be any women. It could be me, my friends, my neighbours anyone who are women in Korea. That’s why this phenomenon brought us to think deeply about the issue of ‘Yeo-hyeom’ in Korea and we (women) now decided to fight with them (maybe men? or any one/any society who hates women without obvious reason. Women shouldn’t be received unfair only because we are women.

Why do we have to worry about going to public toilet? Why do we have to worry about being killed by anyone on the street? Why?

I don’t want to generalise that ‘all men has Yeohyeom’.But one thing is obvious that this society wants women to be ‘womanly-women’. And people (both men and women, not everyone) in Korea pointed to ‘not enough womanly-woman’. There are gender stereotypes in every culture and Korean society also have ‘stereotypes about women’. I think we (women) should deny these ‘stereotypes about women’ that decided by ‘others’. At the same time, we (women) should also deny the ‘stereotypes about women’ that were inherent in ourselves, too.

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