Called Korea Home

From: Sunday, 28 December 2008
To: Thursday, 10 October 2013
For 1748 days
Or 4 years, 9 months, 13 days
Or 249 weeks and 5 days

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An open letter to (many) Korean women

OK, so I said I would update you about my life, and I will, but here is a short pressing one I've got to get off my chest.

Dear (many) women in Korea,

I have lived in Korea on and off for over three years, and this doesn't make me any kind of expert on Korea, but I would like to say this : Korean girls! Wake up

I would first like to preface this by saying not every Korean girl is like this (what I am about to write), and I have female Korean friends, but usually they are the ones who have been "westernized" (I prefer independent). The truth is I am not a girly-girl, and I don't get along with many girls, and in a society where being as feminine as possible seems to be revered well, I try my hardest not to make gagging sounds on a daily basis.

  • I was first "smacked" in the face with this blatant "dumb-girl" bit when I arrived. Even though I didn't speak Korean at the time I could hear a distinct "whining" sound when the women spoke. There are some men that whine too, but it was among younger women mostly. In fact I actually first thought the whine was how you were supposed to speak the language, until I realized that many older people, or my gyopo (Korean born abroad) friends, never used it... I guess it's supposed to sound cute to guys. To an outsider who hears it, it sounds stupid!

  • The next thing I noticed was a complete either unwillingness or inability to be able to do anything that is not traditionally "female". So when a computer was broken down at my school if a man was not working I was screwed. Never mind that the only reason I has to ask the staff for help was that all the operating systems and commands are in Korean, and if they would have just put it in English, I would not need anyone, male or female, to help me.

  • OK, fine, you'll only do "female" stuff. Then don't work in an electronics store. Nothing annoys me more than when I go in to get something taken care of, and the women sit there high pitch squeaking "어떻게" (what do I do in Korean) over and over again. The whole time. It's your job! How do I know? I guess it is more annoying now that I understand Korean, especially when I am trying to pretend I don't, but I just want to break down and yell at them.

Case in point, the other day I went to get my 3g Ipad checked, because it wasn't working. The two girls who worked there I was afraid were going to break it. They kept saying in Korean "it's not a 3g, there is no Sim card". Why was that so annoying? I  BOUGHT IT THERE!. Why would I not know if it had a Sim card or not. I was about to tell them to forget about it after 10 minutes of them just saying "what should we do" in Korean over and over again, until they finally figured it out. Like I had been telling them. ALL ALONG! No the dumb foreign girl doesn't know what she's talking about. Look you can be as feminine as you want, then just don't work in a store that deals with electronics. This is not the only time this has happened to me but it is the most recent example.

  • The final one is : FOREIGN GUYS THINK YOU'RE EASY. Yeah I said it. Don't shoot me western boys, you know it's true. They can get you because you are "desperate to learn English" or you've heard that "western guys are nicer". Now again, there are many cases of true love without any ulterior motives whatsoever, but some of the creeps have given me the following reasons for why they "date"(use) Korean chicks.

  1. Benefits - in a country where non-citizens are still limited in what they do Korean chick can hook them up with newest gadget etc... This is not true as much anymore but guys would use girls to get them phones, sign them up for programs etc, and then still screw them over. Living in Korea long term, you need a Korean wife to open up any business here.
  2. Translation service: I've lived here 700 years married to my Korean wife with two kids and I hate Korean food and culture and I can only say hello in Korean. Really? I AM JUDGING YOU CREEPY MAN. 
  3. You're desperate: they know you want to escape this life, and in some ways Korean culture is very repressive towards women. Now for a woman who is not repressed, I think a western guy is her best bet, and there is true love to be found in that, but some  just go from Korean guys who treated them badly to western guys who treat them badly, for the shock value, for the English practice... actually I have no idea.
  4. They think you are easy, or will be subservient. The myth of the subservient Asian woman seems to be just that when I look at the scary Ajummas yelling on the street, but it's one many western guys fantasize about nonetheless. I personally cannot see the appeal of being with someone you do not consider your equal, but they know that if they want it, you will stay home while they are out with their "mates" (OK sorry but a lot of British guys do this) and even cheat on you with "OTHER KOREAN GIRLS".

Just to cite another example, I recently met a guy from Peru. He moved here because his ex girlfriend was Korean. He has no job, nor is he learning the language. Finally I said why Korea, it's not like you're with the girl or actively learning the language and he said "In Peru I'm not attractive to women, in Korea I can get them easily". I literally spat out my  오뎅탕 (fish cake soup don't ask) when I heard that. I appreciate his honesty at least, but yeah...
I mean there are creepy websites like this

And validation (I searched after I wrote this post) from many others such as this (touching on power imbalance) or  this (interesting take from an elder Korean cabbie).

So if you are going to date a western guy, don't just date him because he is foreign. There are good and bad ones, but this assumption that all foreigners are the same and therefore all good or all bad is not going to help you.

And before you call me a hater, I think mixed babies are the cutest things on earth, so it's not that I am trying to stop interracial dating by any means. In fact if any of you know T.O.P from Big Bang, hook it up please!

I wanted to end this by saying I know many amazing western guys who would never do any of the above mentioned to any girl, Korean or not. I even know some who actually would never date a Korean girl because if you aren't a creep, the above mentioned characteristics* are not attractive. And trust me, those are the type of guys you want to pull.

Just looking out, because well, as a woman, I feel bad when I hear stuff like that about other women, no matter the culture, and as someone who hangs out with a lot of guys, I hear it a lot.
right in the middle: Choose a Korean girl who is far too hot for you


* (also too much makeup, too pale, always over dressed, plastic surgery are some other reasons, which would lead to a whole different topic of love yourself for who you are, but I'm not touching that one with a 10-ft pole)


Bombchell said...

everyone think the grass is greener. Yesterday I got my hair done and was shocked in the salon about what i heard. Normally here a lot of white guys date pros, and it sucks for normal interracial couples because there's a lot of ashy's with expats. Anyways in the salon one hair stylist gave an example of a girl that was trying to marry a white man by all means, and the guy caught her and beat her, and they said white guys that never beat, beat her. I just sat there shocked smh, the story was way crazier but you get my drift. The grass is always greener, and cultures are diff and changing.

LOVE LOVE LOVED the post, super cool insight

Karamel said...

Awesome Bombchell,
I'm glad you enjoyed it, it was something that has really been bothering me. I think people should fall in love because they connect, not because they are looking for a particular thing, but I was really tired of hearing guys brag about how easy it was to get Korean girls and also seeing breath-taking Korean women with the guys that no one would ever look at back home (hence why they live in Asia) yet those same guys spend the whole time they are here insulting Korea...ugh

blackjew714 said...

my wife is Korean born and raised in New jersey , when we moved to Korea we couldn't help but noticed how relatively easy it was for foreign men to work many woman over. what struck me as odd was how some Korean folk viewed our mixed race relationship , with me being black as a socially unacceptable union. while these woman knowingly allowed themselves to be manipulated and sexualized by these men. I never quite grasp the logic of there thinking. oh well.

Durham Stevens said...

Thanks for the link to my site, and for weighing in. This crap is so obvious it's kind of skull crushing.

I'm always glad to hear someone backing me up from the female camp, since my initial post got like 75 comments from offended creepy white dudes.

Laura said...

I love this post and you are voicing the exact same things I was thinking when I was in Korea. Great post! I wish you were still writing this blog. One thing I have done since I don't live there anymore is post reflections on old blog posts. It's amazing how different my perspective is now compared to when I wrote the posts originally.
Also, I was reviewing my blog's stats and viewer traffic and by far most of my blog's page views were from your fun blog (I think because you provided a link in your list of other blogs about Korea). I wanted to thank you for doing this. It's very kind of you and it really helped since someday I hope to write a memoir based on the stories from my blogs. The more people view it, the better my chances are. Thanks again!

Karamel said...

Thank you so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it. I haven't been on this blog in ages but after reading this I am considering writing my thoughts post-Korea. Thanks again