• ggoma

    This term is so offensive to me – but I usually heard it used for girls who want their boyfriends to pay for everything. Personally, if it comes from her own money, no one should have a say in what she wants to spend it on, this is not a girl problem, this is a Korean problem. A girl buys a LV bag and a boy buys a BMW what’s the difference?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

      I hope someone buys you a car for Christmas. Excellent observation. 

      There is no difference — except the Korean culture, sadly, gives a pass to anyone of the male gender, at the moment.

      Even if the bias didn’t exist, however, that would still not be an excuse to single out a girl like that for scorn. If you’re just leeching off your parents, that is a different story. If you make your own money, you have the right to spend it however you damn well choose.  

      If I work hard to earn my paycheck and I want to spend it all on Butterfingers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, well kiss my ass if you have a problem with it. Do something different with your own money. 

      • ggoma

        Korean society makes it so that women have no reason to focus on more than superficial pursuits. When they are judged on their looks to even get a job and then are forced into the role of mom when they are fired or pushed into leaving once they are married or pregnant, they are forced into a role where they can focus only on their physical attributes and their families. Even education is almost meaningless if you don’t have the looks and didn’t go to a top university. Not to mention Koreans in general judge people on what they wear.

        I myself was treated entirely different when I wore sweats and when I wore a dress and heels.

        They are just trying to survive in a cutthroat society. The way their society teaches them to win is through beauty and marriage to a proper man. Of course, this isn’t really fair to men either who are forced to work themselves to death and have to be judged on how much money they have.

        Yet these men who complain about their trouble don’t want to face up to what has led to their own suffering and instead just want to find something outside of themselves to blame so they don’t have to take responsibility.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

          There are no words. You are beautiful and have my utmost respect.

        • jesuis2

          Yeah, b/c such things never happen in other places.

          Gee, I wonder why thin, attractive women tend to get ahead (than overweight women) on the corporate ladder in the States whereas fat men aren’t disadvantaged in comparison to their in-shape counterparts (but taller men tend to earn more than their shorter counterparts in the US).

          And gee, it’s not as if terms like “gold-digger” don’t exist.

      • jesuis2

        Right, so other Asian cultures (Chinese, Japanese, etc.) don’t do the same thing, much less even the US and European cultures where women are mae fun of for their “obsession” with pricey shoes and bags while it’s seen as normal, if not even desirable for a guy to pursue owning a BMW (if not a Ferrari).

        Same thing applies to sexuality – a woman who is promiscuous is seen as a “slut” or “hoe” where a guy is “just being a guy.”

        Basically there is little difference in such attitudes whether it is in Korea (or other parts of Asia) or the US, Europe, South America, etc.

        Singling out Korea is more than a bit disingenuous on your part.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

          Wow, talk about a blast from the past.

          Do other Asian cultures do the same thing? Is that question rhetorical, because I’m pretty sure even a chimp would answer yes.

          The reason why I made a statement about the Korean culture is because a statement about the global culture really doesn’t matter to this particular discussion. It does not, because this entire thread is/was about the archetype of the “bean paste girl”; if it had been about the archetype of the universal gold-digger, I would have expanded my comment to have more of an appropriate worldview.

          I’ll just say what I always say when somebody brings up the skeletons in the closet of other cultures — it’s still wrong. I don’t care if it’s Korean, Japanese, American, Martian, whatever — it’s still just plain wrong.

          However, for the sake of sanity, I chose not to turn my comment into an agonizingly drawn out forum for bitching about the problems of the entire world. Even now I still feel like that was the correct choice to make.

  • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

    I think this is a problem with people everywhere. I have seen many examples of people who complain that they don’t have enough money to make ends meet, while they sit in front of their expensive tv and watch cable television and drink beer.

  • find_nothing_here

    Natto isn’t really the same as bean paste though.  It’s fermented soybeans covered in gunky stuff that looks like snot. :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

    There is no “bean paste boy” in Korea, like there is no equivalent to the spoiled socialite in the west. There are rich assholes, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t terribly common for their decadent splurges to center on fashion (though I remember more than a few jagoffs that just HAD to mention details about their suits that made me want to do a self-inflicted head explosion like in Scanners). Men in the west have major car jones. Drinking specific brands of liquor also carries a certain amount of status among wealthy men. 

    When you get down to it, filthy rich bastards are the same anywhere you go in the world — I hardly expect Korea to be any different. Somewhere in Seoul there is probably some young, wealthy playboy who just bought a new Bentley and he is telling anyone within earshot, probably unwillingly on their part, every…single…detail. 

    Like you pointed out, Dana, the only logical reason why the light hasn’t shone as brightly on the males given to excess as the females is the gender bias. It’s an ugly truth, but it’s still truth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nate-Broadus/100003245734823 Nate Broadus

    There is no “bean paste boy” in Korea, like there is no equivalent to the spoiled socialite in the west. There are rich assholes, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t terribly common for their decadent splurges to center on fashion (though I remember more than a few jagoffs that just HAD to mention details about their suits that made me want to do a self-inflicted head explosion like in Scanners). Men in the west have major car jones. Drinking specific brands of liquor also carries a certain amount of status among wealthy men. 

    When you get down to it, filthy rich bastards are the same anywhere you go in the world — I hardly expect Korea to be any different. Somewhere in Seoul there is probably some young, wealthy playboy who just bought a new Bentley and he is telling anyone within earshot, probably unwillingly on their part, every…single…detail. 

    Like you pointed out, Dana, the only logical reason why the light hasn’t shone as brightly on the males given to excess as the females is the gender bias. It’s an ugly truth, but it’s still truth.

    • k_db

      isnt Paris Hilton the epitome of “spoiled socialite?”
      or the Kardashians. who are famous for being… famous?

      or do you mean the term itself, which… there aren’t many social terms like that anyway…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R27VKZKOOCQ2S6QDHIX7QSRYEE Max

        I believe he meant that while we have spoiled socialites in the west that are female, there are no males branded with that title.

    • regina_filange

       I think the reason this lacks proper, notable comparison is the fact that this has become the norm in American society. I know many 20-somethings in debt, living with parents, but still manage to have those 3 Jeffrey Campbells, the cost of which could pay your rent. And Miss A songs presents the girl who doesn’t do this. I don’t think its about those girls and guys who could afford everything in their lives, but those that are preoccupied with consumption of luxury goods that they devalue financial independence and thus independence from the men and parents in their life. And there are significantly less men who are like this, that I know. So I wouldn’t call out gender bias unless their is significant evidence of this type of guy, which could arguably be less prominent in society because of existent gender norms- male financial independence is important, appearance isn’t. But I’m not completely sure of that, so I’m not going to say that is the reason, as gender bias may not be the reason for why the light hasn’t shone as brightly on males.

  • beyondhallyu

    I think the third definition you got from your friend got bean paste girl confused with kimchi girl. This is supposed to be a girl who tries her best to appear as Western and consume as much Western products that she can but underneath it all she is as Korean as they come, like how kimchi stains are nearly impossible to remove.

    The constant classifications of women using food, letters and whatever else is worrying though. Just another way women are consumed and compared to objects.

    These women are the first to be criticised but they have also been brought up to obsess about their appearance and to value wealth and education. And then they come out of education and men are chosen over them for the good jobs and there is no realistic way for them to make the kind of money to support this lifestyle and yet there is so much expectation for women to always look good. Is it really that surprising that this happens?

  • canistillhaveadream

    No. A “된장녀” is by no means a feminist icon. Where did you get that idea? Maybe some feminists might criticize those who use the offensive term, but that does not mean being a “된장녀” is being a feminist.

    They do rely on the help of boyfriends or intimate oppas according to some sexist Korean guys. According to them, these girls are always asking for help, saying like, “Oppa, buy me this! Oppa, buy me that!” Now, THAT is one of the key characteristics of so-called “된장녀들”.

    And of course, I totally dislike terms like “된장녀” or “김치녀”, well, especially “김치녀”, since I’m a Korean girl myself.

  • shannie4888

    Excellent article Seoulbeats. I want to thank you for always educating me with your well-written articles. It’s always a pleasure to read them and get a better understanding of Korean culture and society.

    Now onto the bean paste girl. Listen, as long as a woman is independent, it’s fine. If you are mooching off your parents, then that’s certainly a problem. The problem is that people in most societies always point out women as materialistic when men are just the same. We buy clothes. They buy cars. We buy shoes. They buy expensive cigars. It’s all the same thing in one way or another. 

    Every developed country is obsessed with status and wealth. Everybody wants to stand out from the ordinary and we admire and envy those that do. In too may K-dramas, you see a wealthy Korean man living in a fabulous home with a James Bonds-esque car. There is no name for him, but a woman is a materialistic, shallow bean paste girl when she’s decked out in designer items. Like I said, as long as it’s her hard earned money or money from a loving spouse, it’s fine. 

    We all like nice things anyway. That is what is instilled in all of us. We may have different means of getting it, but I know damn well everyone wants a nice home, a fabulous car, nice clothing, furnishings, and the like. Society likes to label women all kinds of things, while men who do the same thing are overlooked. 

    • GreyLeaves

       Good point.

  • http://twitter.com/sebsobandsky Sabah

    I am reminded very much of an argument in Thomas More’s Utopia which states that society first creates thieves and then punishes them for stealing!   Wantonness is a symptom of greed and competition which is very much encouraged by modern media and society. 

    A reader of More might contend that he states that one of the fundamental principles of a good society is in fact moderation. However More specifically speaks to the self in that regard.  In fact he points out that people must not seek to ‘limit the pleasures of others,’ or to put it another way there must be tolerance.  Of course we can not and should not tolerate aspects detrimental to the self and society BUT ridicule is not a way to bring about positive change.  This proactive change must indeed come from that very media/society that created and nurtured such people but I don’t see them readily taking responsibility and making steps towards betterment because there isn’t any impetus for them WHICH only begins and ends with money.

    For me using such nicknames or derogatory language in fact only seeks to limit someone else’s pleasure or joy in their actions rather than meaning to bring about beneficial change or enlightenment AND I feel that it is very much rooted in envy. In contrast Psy’s Gangnam style uses satire to raise awareness without that demeaning tone. Therein lies the subtle and very significant difference that might actually bring about change.

  • Cherry_Blueberry

    “the Korean War destroyed and impoverished South Korea to the point that
    even Ethiopia (which has never been rich, hegemonic, or terribly
    powerful) offered aid and financial assistance.” That sentence rubbed me the wrong way. That’s like saying “Wow, South Korea was so poor and had it so bad that even a worse off country had to help them.” Even though I have no family or cultural ties to Ethiopia, as a first generation Nigerian-American with an obvious African background, I dislike when fallacies are continuously propagated about Africa. Though Ethiopia may be extremely poor right now, it wasn’t always that way. Contrary to what you said, history shows that Ethiopia used to be one of the richest and most stable countries (both in government and economically) on the planet. In fact the country was so powerful it is the only country in all of Africa to have never been colonized. The fact that Ethiopia was so influential in helping South Korea get back on it’s feet adds to my confusion in why many people in South Korea continue to hold onto this false notion of what Africa collectively is. Not to take a way from your article, but please when you state something as if it’s fact, make sure it’s actually factual.

    That line made me think of this video about a guy that has the same thoughts as me in this situation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9PKzytGRjA&list=UUsQmHQ1cZNhBMzEdU-E0Jrg&index=4

  • Cherry_Blueberry

    “the Korean War destroyed and impoverished South Korea to the point that
    even Ethiopia (which has never been rich, hegemonic, or terribly
    powerful) offered aid and financial assistance.” That sentence rubbed me the wrong way. That’s like saying “Wow, South Korea was so poor and had it so bad that even a worse off country had to help them.” Even though I have no family or cultural ties to Ethiopia, as a first generation Nigerian-American with an obvious African background, I dislike when fallacies are continuously propagated about Africa. Though Ethiopia may be extremely poor right now, it wasn’t always that way. Contrary to what you said, history shows that Ethiopia used to be one of the richest and most stable countries (both in government and economically) on the planet. In fact the country was so powerful it is the only country in all of Africa to have never been colonized. The fact that Ethiopia was so influential in helping South Korea get back on it’s feet adds to my confusion in why many people in South Korea continue to hold onto this false notion of what Africa collectively is. Not to take a way from your article, but please when you state something as if it’s fact, make sure it’s actually factual.

    That line made me think of this video about a guy that has the same thoughts as me in this situation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9PKzytGRjA&list=UUsQmHQ1cZNhBMzEdU-E0Jrg&index=4

    • jesuis2

      Keep in mind that the author may not be Korean (ethnicity) and even if Korean is not a native Korean.

      And besides, even if most Koreans are ignorant about the past history of Ethiopia, so is pretty much the rest of the world.

      • Cherry_Blueberry

        You make it sound like it’s okay because everybody does it. It’s not. I understand that no country is perfect and I’m not trying to vilify Korea, I’m merely pointing out a problem that continues to arise time and time again. I know that the author may or may not be Korean. I used Korea as an example because it was relevant to the discussion at hand. Wouldn’t it be weird if I had brought up a different country that was not in the vicinity of this discussion? Just like South Koreans don’t like being associated with the tyranny that happens in North Korea, Africans (in this case Ethiopians) don’t like continuously being associated with poverty, disease, and other humanly degrading stereotypes.  Korea will continuously be used in discussion on this site because this site is based on the discussion of Korea and its pop culture. No reason more, no reason less.

        • jesuis2

          So based on the author that you ACKNOWLEDGE may or may not be Korean, you now are just going to ASSUME that Koreans don’t know Ethiopia was once a powerful kingdom?

          Even if the author is Korean, you are going to GENERALIZE what Koreans know based on what ONE person wrote?

          Hmm, that seems quite IGNORANT and hypocritical to me.

      • GreyLeaves

         How dumb, you make it sound like lacking knowledge is okay accuse. Ignorance just breeds more ignorance. A simple search on google or whatever search engine like nate should be sufficient.

      • GreyLeaves

         How dumb, you make it sound like lacking knowledge is okay accuse. Ignorance just breeds more ignorance. A simple search on google or whatever search engine like nate should be sufficient.

      • GreyLeaves

         How dumb, you make it sound like lacking knowledge is okay accuse. Ignorance just breeds more ignorance. A simple search on google or whatever search engine like nate should be sufficient.

      • GreyLeaves

         How dumb, you make it sound like lacking knowledge is okay accuse. Ignorance just breeds more ignorance. A simple search on google or whatever search engine like nate should be sufficient.

      • GreyLeaves

         How dumb, you make it sound like lacking knowledge is okay accuse. Ignorance just breeds more ignorance. A simple search on google or whatever search engine like nate should be sufficient.

      • GreyLeaves

         How dumb, you make it sound like lacking knowledge is okay accuse. Ignorance just breeds more ignorance. A simple search on google or whatever search engine like nate should be sufficient.

        • jesuis2

          No – I’m just saying that’s the reality of the world.

          Most American still can’t find Iraq on a map or know the diff. btwn a Sunni and a Shia.

          And besides, how does Cherry even KNOW whether Koreans know whether Ethiopia was once a powerful kingdom?

          Esp. since Cherry admitted to not knowing if the author was Korean (not that would have made much of a diff. b/c ONE person wrote such a thing).

          Seems to me that Cherry should do some research and find out what Koreans know and don’t know before making hasty accusations based on her own ignorance.

          If Cherry wanted to criticize about this – it should have been directed solely at Dana (but this site is infested w/ too many people who are quick to jump at attacks on Koreans just b/c this is some site about Korean pop culture written largely by non-Koreans; and if they are Korean, it’s only by ethnicity).