Read 12999 times

This isn't a "Korean" thing.  Mommy wars exist all over.  In the U.S. it's, "I only feed my baby organic carrots gently pounded into a paste with wheat germ and a rosewood mallet used by George Washington's mother".   Attitudes like these aren't specific to Korea.  I will admit that I feel they are a bit more... intense/accepted in Korea.  But the honest truth is that no matter where you are from, you are the only one who can decide how to parent your child or what is important in that kind of relationship.

And parents need to stop beating themselves up over all of it.  Giving up your life/personality/goals for your kid isn't healthy, but neither is putting your child on the backburner.  Stop worrying about what the Kims/Jones/Smiths/Sadowskis are doing and love your kid.

I agree the scary difference is this guy wants them to keep it up long after the children are little babies. You ever seen a teenager kid in america get spoon fed, face wiped by his mom in a restaurant? I've had dates do it to me before, it's nutty sexist behavior and just the tip of the iceberg.

But yeah living alone in your late 20s early 30s (in the case of the show with a science related phd)  unmarried and with a full time job is definitely a failing point of American culture. It's a good point to mention when talking about how overbearing Korean mothers who won't let go and do everything they can to foster dependency are good.


  • orangeman
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1768

    • September 01, 2011, 09:56:35 am
    • Seoul-East Side
I think the difference is that the mommywars you bring up are between individuals within one culture.  What this author is talking about is how Korean mothers are superior to every other mother (and Korean children are superior to other children).  Not that it is right, but the first is basically saying, "I am better because I do...." and the second one is saying, "I am better because I am Korean."  At least the former is basing it on actual actions. 

I really don't think that this sort of ethnocentricism is around in the West, in relation to motherhood.  In fact, our culture seems to constantly reenforce the idea of motherhood as a universal ideal.  Ask almost any Western mother and she'll talk about what "any" mother would do for her child.  We have expressions like "momma bear" and other terms that relate our human relationships with mothers to the animal kingdom.  On the other hand, many Koreans (as shown in this article) will talk about the "Korean mother".  "Korean mothers care about their kids' education!"  "Korean mothers are very busy!" "Korean mothers will do anything for their children!"  We've heard it all before.  Has anyone ever heard someone say, "American mothers care about thier children!" or "French mothers want their children to be successful!"?  No, we just say "mothers" because we understand it to be a universal trait.*

The only time I hear country specific mother sayings is when it's sort of negative, as in this sort of mother is overbearing or this sort of mother overreacts.  It's more about her behaviour as a person than how she treats the child in general. 


  • Rowdie
  • Adventurer

    • 31

    • March 05, 2012, 03:36:38 pm
    • Daegu, South Korea
It's funny because he starts his essay innocently enough by saying that its purpose is to show the significance of the mother role in Korean culture, but then his true purpose gradually comes into light. He quickly makes an us vs. them comparison between Korean mothers and American mothers with his laughable BBT reference and even ends the piece by saying, "Korean mothers are so unique and exceptional, after all." How is it at all possible that this man is a professor at the best university of a country, when he uses Big Bang Theory, a show in which literally ever character is a charicature, as a reference point for a social article?

Korea seriously needs to find some way to get over its massive inferiority complex. When I first got here, I hardly went a week without hearing a sentence prefaced by, "Korea has the best..."


  • whanous
  • Adventurer

    • 28

    • March 08, 2012, 09:10:55 am
    • Seoul
I think the difference is that the mommywars you bring up are between individuals within one culture.  What this author is talking about is how Korean mothers are superior to every other mother (and Korean children are superior to other children).  Not that it is right, but the first is basically saying, "I am better because I do...." and the second one is saying, "I am better because I am Korean."  At least the former is basing it on actual actions. 

I really don't think that this sort of ethnocentricism is around in the West, in relation to motherhood.  In fact, our culture seems to constantly reenforce the idea of motherhood as a universal ideal.  Ask almost any Western mother and she'll talk about what "any" mother would do for her child.  We have expressions like "momma bear" and other terms that relate our human relationships with mothers to the animal kingdom.  On the other hand, many Koreans (as shown in this article) will talk about the "Korean mother".  "Korean mothers care about their kids' education!"  "Korean mothers are very busy!" "Korean mothers will do anything for their children!"  We've heard it all before.  Has anyone ever heard someone say, "American mothers care about thier children!" or "French mothers want their children to be successful!"?  No, we just say "mothers" because we understand it to be a universal trait.*

+1