20111002_seoulbeats_baekjiyoungjungseokwonIf you’re all thinking that we’re going to be like most other media/news outlets and just write up a 100 word post about how Baek Ji-young is actually four months pregnant and that her quickly approaching wedding with Jung Suk-won is just a shotgun—think again Seoulmates, because today we’re not going to succumb to the likes of a media site. Seoulbeats is first a place for editorials, and I’m going to take full advantage of it.

Yes, the news is true, as far as news reporting sites are concerned, but today we would rather discuss something very much related to shotgun weddings—more specifically along the lines of why they occur. In Korea, children born out of wedlock are generally frowned upon, hence the rush of many celebrity couples to get hitched before their child is born. This sentiment is true of many Asian countries who share Confucian family ideals (and some who don’t, such as India). In contrast, in many “Western Countries” (I guess we include the likes of Australia in this?) a child born out of wedlock is not a big deal. If this kind of news came out Stateside, I highly doubt anyone would bat an eye about it. I’ve even known someone whose parents never got married until she was maybe eight years old, so I’m not just talking about single parenting here.

I know that here on Seoulbeats, we mentioned that shotgun weddings are turning out to be very common in the Korean entertainment industry, so it was surprising to see Baek Ji-young and Jung Suk-won initially deny that they were having a shotgun wedding when they first announced it back in April. (And let’s not forget the whole “No, we’re not getting married” a few days prior). If she is currently four months pregnant, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be pregnant before the wedding, then why hide the fact (which she must have certainly known by then) that she’s also pregnant? There must be some sort of stigma involved that must have forced them to act the way they did, right?

Here’s my theory:

20130514_seoulbeats_baek_ji_youngI think that Baek Ji-young faces several big issues that separates her situation from the others. She’s 37, which is quite old to be having a child, so I guess she’s naturally being quite cautious about her technically “high-risk” pregnancy. She’s also in a significant noona relationship, (she’s about nine years older than her husband-to-be) something that isn’t very common in society yet. It’s why all those dramas make a big deal out of noona romances. People will probably think that she’s some sort of seductress, especially since she took someone like Jung Suk-won off the market.  The third unique aspect of this relationship is that Baek Ji-young, the Ballad Queen, is the bigger name in the relationship, not Jung Suk-won. If anyone knows about (similar case) Han Hye-jin‘s whirlwind romance and upcoming wedding, there were some rumors about Han Hye-jin stepping down from her MC position on Healing Camp as soon as she ties the knot.  I don’t know whether this has anything to do with people wanting her to take on domestic activities (which on it’s own is a dated expectation), but it was a strange conclusion for people to come to especially when other celebrity couples don’t seem to get those kinds of comments.

With all those factors involved, I’m not too surprised that Baek Ji-young was very wishy-washy about the details of her wedding/non-wedding/shotgun/non-shotgun, because the media is probably not going to be any help to her.

So Seoulmates, I leave the discussion to you:

  • Why do you think Baek Ji-young “announced” the pregnancy now? Why did she deny it in the first place?
  • Are there any gender barriers involved with the acceptance of a shotgun marriage? Does it matter who in the relationship is the bigger star?
  • What are your opinions on Shotgun marriages in the context of your country of origin? Are there any laws about having children out of wedlock?

—And before I forget, Baek Ji-young, best wishes on your pregnancy!

(TV Daily via Nate, Cosmopolitan)