(Social categories) Gangnam mother, ordinary mother
|A writing in Ohmynews comparing a Gangnam mother and an ordinary ("kûnyang") mother, with the subtitle "worrying the growing gap between the rich and the poor in education". The text is written as if borrowed the words of two different mothers, but it looks more like a description of two kinds of stereotypes or cultural images, worth noting also as such, as a way social differences and inequality is represented. (This represent word is hard to avoid - but it shows how English is not a colloquial language for me but a language of mostly writing or talking about things which are supposed to be talked about in abstract and scholarly terms.)|
The first part presents the education methods of Gangnam mothers - to be more exact wealthy Gangnam mothers who can afford to spare no expenses in having their children educated. It's the matter of "information power" (chôngboryôk), ability to gather enough information about the best possible education possibilities, good extracurriculum (kwaoe) teachers, ability to plan the child's day so that no minute is wasted, collecting material from media for the child's essay writing, and themselves taking classes from famous extracurricular teachers during the school hours of the children.
이 엄마가 강조한 자질 중 첫번째는 정보력입니다. 자신의 아이가 가고자 하는 학교와 학과에 대해서 학교 선생님이나 학원 강사들보다 더많은 정보를 가지고 있어야한다는 겁니다. 그러기 위해서는 각종 입시설명회는 물론이고 해마다 새로 발간되는 입시정보책자와 입시정보를 담고 있는 인터넷 사이트를 훤히 꿰뚫고 있어야 한답니다.
The second mother lives in a sômin apartment in a "new town" (Seoul satellite town) with her taxi driver husband, and works at the fish counter of a discount store. They own their home, and are strained to pay the housing loan with the income of the two, in addition to of course getting education for their children and contributing to the living expenses of the parents. (We don't know if it's her or his parents.) She started working when her child enter the middle school to earn some money for the extracurricular education.
하루종일 퉁퉁 부은 다리로 서서 생선을 만지고 포장하지만 그렇게 번 돈으로 아이를 학원에 보낼 수 있다는 생각을 하면 피곤쯤은 기쁘게 견딜 수 있다고 합니다."This woman is the mother of my son's friend. She is a mother who never shows fatigue even though she's tired, and she lives an upright life, but she is always sorry for her child."
As said, this is more like a comparison of two stereotypes, which of course do have some basis in reality, and are meaningful as such, but not to be taken at face value.
Addition. Seems that the text introduced above has created a lot of criticism for its simple comparison and stereotyping.
Here's one reply which maintains, that it's not the problem of Gangnam but of the extracurricular schools (hagwôn). "어디선가 본 비유입니다. 극장에서 앞의 몇 명이 일어섰습니다. 뒷줄이 안 보인다고 일어섭니다. 결국 모두가 다 불편하게 일어서서 화면을 보지만, 결국 안 보이는 것은 똑같습니다. 여전히 앞의 몇 명만이 화면을 보고 있는 것이지요."
Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang: women-men ∙ stratification ∙ socialcategories ∙ neighborhood ∙ seomin ∙