“The man must buy the house” Men Protest Marriage Burden

The consistent upward trend in the average age of Korean newlyweds and the increase in the number of young people who say they do not plan to get married at all has led to what some call “the unmarryable generation”. For men, much of the stress about marriage boils down to their inability to meet the expectation that they buy a house for their bride before marriage. A new report profiles one such man, who despairs of getting married despite a career and a salary that would be enviable for most Koreans. While the criticism of “reverse discrimination” attracted a great deal of support online, there were also strong voices saying that men should take the first step and refuse to cooperate with a materialistic mindset rooted in Korean tradition.

From Nocut News:

“No home for those in their thirties”

A male-dominated society? Korea might as well be called a ‘female-dominated’ society with the way men keep losing ground. Young men struggle to find a job and a wife. Older men are often marginalized at work and home. However, society, as well as men themselves, seem to be still stuck in the bygone Joseon era when it comes to gender issues. CBS Nocut News sheds light on ‘men’s hardship’ with a series of five articles.

Lee Su-hyun is working for a public company in Seoul. People around him envy his ‘blessed’ workplace but he is constantly filled with stress and anxiety. He doesn’t remember the last time he had a meal with his family and all of his waking hours are dominated with overtime work and business trips. It is his third year at the company but he is still the newest employee, no one else has started at the company since he arrived. Besides his team’s big projects, he also has to deal with chores such as photocopying and handling civil affairs.

However, Lee’s breakup with his girlfriend has become the most stressful part of his life. Although his girlfriend had been his support during difficult times, he recently broke up with her. Lee made his decision to break up with her since he was not ready to get married. Although he works at a public company, his salary is still low and he hasn’t saved much money due to loans and living expenses. The biggest problem has been buying a house. Lee hopelessly said, “They say men have to buy a house to get married but I can’t afford it.”

house-burden

Lee is not alone among men in their thirties who have given up on marriage. Due to the unstable job market and difficulty in buying a house, many men don’t dare think of getting married. Men in their thirties commonly say, “They say there is still discrimination against women in our society but when it comes to marriage preparation, men are always at a disadvantage.”

In fact, Lee’s girlfriend didn’t ask him for a house. However, he always felt pressure to get a house. He is reluctant to go on blind dates because he feels women are focused on a man’s wealth and his ability to buy a house. He said, “Women these days are very picky. Just having a job isn’t enough. It is hard to meet their expectations for men’s wealth.” In his mind, a man must be capable of buying at least an apartment with two rooms on a deposit [jonse, (전세), under the unique Korean system] before he can think about getting married. He said with a sigh, “Don’t most women want to live in Gangnam? Just to get a house on a deposit in Seoul, you need at least 150 to 200 million won. I can’t afford it no matter what.”

Lee has thought of selling his car to help raise money for his future marriage. However, since he is worried about how he would look going on blind dates without a car, he keeps spending money for his car’s insurance and gas. Even if he wants to get help from his parents, they could not afford it. He said, “The current situation is that it is hard to get married if there is no support from parents.” He half-jokingly said, “Why can’t women buy a house while men buy household items?” [a reversal of Korean tradition]

In this situation, the number of single men keeps increasing. According to a statistical report from the city of Seoul, there were 113,499 single men in 1990 in the age bracket of 30 to 49. Between 1990 and 2010, the number increased by 440% to 496,344. The number of single men older than 35 explosively increased from 24,239 to 242,590. The number of ‘old bachelors’ has increased ten-fold in 20 years.

While changing social perceptions of marriage have played a role in the current situation, economics is the most important factor. According to a 2012 survey from the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, 40.4% of single men and 19.4% of single women stated that they can’t get married due to financial reasons. Low income, job insecurity and excessive housing and marriage costs have influenced marriage plans. It is interesting to note that twice as many men as women stated that economic reasons were preventing them from marrying. When listing the biggest factor in marriage costs, 81.8% of men chose ‘a house’ while 44.8% of women chose ‘household items’. While women’s social role is expanding, buying a house is still a man’s burden. That is why men in their thirties complain that men are always at a disadvantage in marriage preparation.

Comments from Nate:

llhs****:

Go to the airport. You will find that the people pulling luggage and waiting in line to travel abroad are mostly Korean women.

joon****:

I’m 30 years old. I’ve been working at a big corporation for 4 years. I have a car. I have saved 50 million won but it’s hard for me to think of marriage because of the cost of a house. I can’t ask my parents for help because they aren’t rich. My female colleague doesn’t try to save money. She said her parents told her that women don’t have to save money until they get married. What kind of fucked up situation is this….. Women begin their career three years earlier than men. [due to lack of military duty] You can easily save 50 million won in three years if you work here… Sigh, I don’t even know. Do women ever worry about a house except when they get married? Men begin to worry about it as soon as they get a job. Men and women’s responsibilities and burdens are incomparable. I really hope Korean women will wake up.

hukk****:

The solution is simple. Just don’t meet women. If you give up meeting women, everything becomes easier. You can save money and learn that there are so many enjoyable things in the world.

timi****:

One thing I can never understand in my life is why they say women’s mental age is higher than men, ke ke ke. Women are selfish and childish in group settings. They don’t plan for the future.

jw-a****:

Hey guys…..it’s simple. Just don’t get married to a woman who only cares about her face and body but who lacks any wealth or talent. Since you guys pamper women like that, they become so arrogant and show it off to other women who find it unsightly and admirable at the same time. Just don’t even look at women like that. Don’t we all know they are only good for dating?

titi****:

No matter how many times you guys talk about this, don’t you become walking ATMs for pretty women? This is the reality. You devote everything to pretty women like slaves but when the women don’t accept you, you get all upset and bash them on the internet. If you really hate them so much, what about just not meeting them and living alone? Before complaining about women who don’t contribute, change yourselves into someone who doesn’t slave away for such insensible women. If you don’t like them, just don’t meet them, ke ke ke.

anon****:

Q:What do stocks and Korean women have in common? A:Foreigners enjoy them very easily but I struggle with them.

test****:

There are many women who aren’t like that. You need to look carefully. Our society is full of crazy women these days. You need to open your eyes and meet the right ones. Those slave guys who blindly put pretty women on a pedestal are not different from those Kimchi girls, honestly.

socr****:

For real, Korean men are so pitiful. While women go abroad and play around holding foreign dicks, men protect the country holding guns. While women hop around clubs, men march in the army. While women get surgery on their faces, men dig roads and help disaster victims. While women enjoy luxury goods, men enjoy frozen food from the miltary PX. There is no way out for men. These days everything is for women. Women-only parking lots, women-only seats, women-only smoking areas….Does this make sense?

znzn****:

I’m a woman. If I walk on the street with my friend, men always do a double-take to see my friend. My friend is really pretty~ But her mindset is that she can just take care of her appearance and meet a good guy who will bring her up in the world. She went to university not to study but to find a good guy. She never spends any money on dates. On the other hand, I’m ugly. Men would call my body shitty. I have worked hard and saved some money. I try to split bills on dates. I believe men can buy household items while women buy a house if that fits for them. If I tell these thoughts to my friend, she’s like “That’s why you can’t make it~” So which one of us do you think attracts more men? My friend. Don’t you think it is a problem that men only look at pretty women like my friend?

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  • Amy

    Its just human nature.

    Men think of a pretty wife in marriage while woman want financially stable men….it;s been like this since old times….of course there are some men who are interested in a woman’s financial background but guaranteed men care about looks way more than educational background and career status

    and it’s vice versa for women.

    It’s a fact that educated Korean women with Phd’S have incredible difficult time getting married because Korean men feel intimated by them so a lot of them lead single lives into their 40’s/

    • Bogs_Dollocks

      I find smart women sexy ;)

      • holdingrabbits

        Yes, at the end of the day, that woman is going to get old/fat/unattractive. Best hope you have something to talk about.

    • anonny

      Unfortunately most men ARE like that…

      But it’s ignorant to think all men are.

      I’ve come to the point where I’m now completely annoyed with pretty girls who think I’d be attracted to their beauty.

      I’d rather be friends with an interesting girl than a pretty girl.
      But like I said, I’d agree that most men seem to be the way you’re saying… All I can say that it’s unfortunate, that most men and women are like this.

    • terriblemovie

      Men arn’t intimidated by highly educated women. Feminist nonsense.

      Its the highly educated women who have ridiculously high standards which explains why so many of them are +40 and single. These women want men who are more successful then they are. They don’t go after your average Kim. They want a 190cm tall, athletic, doctor and part time model who owns several cars, a mansion and a summer villa.

      It also doesn’t help that these women place priority in education/occupation and forego serious relationships until they are much older.

      • Ami

        “educated women do the exact same things educated men do”.

      • Amy

        i specifically said KOREAN men not all men obviously

        • kpopwillneverstop

          lol and yet you’re still generalizing by referring to ALL KOREAN men.

      • Dutch1988

        Not “all” but “some” are. I’ve met a few.

    • commander

      I think women tend to choose a guy to be reliable, respectable and give a sense of protection to them while men want to lead and to be respected by women.

      In a sense, it is inevitabley hard for high-acheiving women to find suitable men to date and marry as high flying men want their girls to be more supportive of them, not assertive of their own rights, and ordinary guys may feel burdensome about implicit criteria for spouses by female high achievers.

  • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

    So they obey a dated system of social rules (based on patriarchy, by the way) and then complain about obeying it? They go after pretty gold-diggers and then wonder why said women rob them blind?

    How about finding a nice woman who does not act like a Queen and expect to be treated like one by her boy-toy? How about forming relationships without such rules in place and by contributing what you can contribute, instead of taking out loans and placing your everything on a person who might not be with you 5 years down the road? It’s not women’s fault if your society has problems and you jump in with your obedience to such rules whenever the cup size and face are right.

    And this guy takes the cake. He actually left a woman and probably broke her heart, because he has dated ideas about what being a man is and what his role is in a relationship. And he even gives an interview to complain about it?

    Buying things is not a man’s burden, just like taking care of the kids is not a woman’s burden. They themselves make those the burdens for each sex, by sticking to narrow and unpractical for modern living rules. They need education and to broaden their horizons on gender issues and living in the current age. Both sexes suffer from the constraints put to them by the current condition.

    • chucky3176

      Well that makes sense, if you’re a Westerner. But the reality of Korean society is different. The major way Koreans meet their marriage partners are the arranged blind dates. The men and women sit and talk, and inevitably, financial aspects are discussed. Women will always want to know what the man does for living, and what the man makes in yearly salary. The men on the other hand, put most emphasis on looks. The concept of marriage in Korea is almost like a business partnership. It’s what you and your family brings to the table, is more important than what you are. You maybe a nice person inside, but if you don’t make enough money to support a family, then you shouldn’t think about marriage. Or the other option is do what the South Korean farmers do, buy mail order brides from abroad.

      Until the Korean society itself revalues what marriage should be, and de-emphasize the materialism, the marriage rates will consistently shrink, as well as the birth rates. This can’t happen until the Koreans themselves, old and young start rejecting tradition and tell the people with old mindsets to go fuck themselves, we’re going to do it our way, and we don’t care what you guys think.

      • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

        That is what I meant with my comment and I state it in the last paragraph. That the way society is at the moment is what pushes people to adhere to such rules and they need education for those who will not be happy if they grow up with the same standards. And those who do understand what is wrong with the way things are need to press society for the things they know it must do.

        But people like him who blame the victims of those problems (women are victims of those mindsets too) and not the actual sources do not help the situation. They just divide the sexes even further. Men and women should work together to make each other happy and form a better future and society. Not blame each other for problems they didn’t create.

        • holdingrabbits

          I agree with most of what you say. If men gave up the idea of having to buy a place for women and women didn’t, you still have a problem. Men already think this practice is ridiculous, it’s not something that’s waiting to happen. If women give up the idea and men keep it, then all that does is ensure more financial stability in the future relationship. This guy broke it off with the girl, but we don’t know if it was all on him or if he broke up with her to set her free due to her expectations. I know it’s easy to say “this guy’s an asshole” but he could have been responding to her unrealistic expectations. A girlfriend broke up with me due in part to the scary marriage/money stuff, because contrary to what most people believe, most foreigners do not make a lot of money in this country and we don’t have the benefit of living off of our parents.

          There are different goals for each sex before the system can be broken. Women need to have some agency and not just wait for a prince to sweep them off their feet and take them to their respective castles. Men need to not worry about being emasculated by the concept of a woman not depending on them. There’s a lot of pressure on men in the society. Make a shit ton of money, get a car, get a house, get married, and then support your wife while she takes 6 years off of work to have a kid…oh what’s that? She can’t get a respectable job because she’s been out of the game for 6 years? Okay, support your entire family single handedly. I’m not saying Korean women don’t have different kinds of pressure, but I don’t think it’s an equal pressure. It’s crazy to know women in their late 20’s who have never had to work for anything other than a well off husband. Personally, I’d love it if society thought my only goal was to look good and get a wife. After that, I don’t have to work and someone will put me in charge of the finances? I have to cook? I love cooking. Shit. I’ll have the baby! How are house husbands viewed in Korea???

          • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

            I feel Korean women have the same amount of pressure, only in different form. For men, it’s providing strength, money, support. For women, it’s being submissive, “perfect” and a good little slave, cleaning and baby-making machine. Both sexes have it hard because of what their society is like and the sexist and narrow gender roles it assigns to them.

            This man may not be an asshole yet, but if he lets his pain give birth to such “women suck” generalizations and misogyny, he will quickly become an asshole and part of the problem. I agree some women are too spoiled (even though they face those other pressures mentioned), but that is not an excuse for men to blame those women for their problems.

            You can’t enter a relationship with a vague idea of what each person wants out of life and the other person and then act like it’s their fault they didn’t want that. We try to impress the opposite sex, so we act like fantasy fulfillers. What I am saying is, they need education on being honest and discovering their mate before making such commitments.

            Relationships are not business. Business is stressful. If you go into one not knowing what will be expected of you by the other person, you have no one else to blame when you discover they want things you can’t give.

            Personally, I’d love it if society thought my only goal was to look good and get a wife. After that, I don’t have to work and someone will put me in charge of the finances? I have to cook? I love cooking. Shit. I’ll have the baby! How are house husbands viewed in Korea???

            You say these things because you do not know how they harm women. You look at the demands themselves and forget that those demands even existing is wrong. To be given value only for your looks is not a blessing. We like looking good, we don’t like it being demanded of us. It’s not that women don’t like cooking. It’s that they feel dehumanized and disrespected to be viewed as chefs and not wives. It’s not that having a baby is not a beautiful thing. It’s being seen as a walking uterus who should only stick to baby making that is offending.

            Turn this around and see it from men’s point of view, to understand why what you said is sexist. They are given value only for their status. It’s not that men don’t like to have a job. It’s that they feel like walking ATMs and bodyguards. It’s not that they don’t like having better chances at employment, it’s the pressure by society to get said good employment. What you said is like me saying “I’d like to be easily employed, not have to worry about chores and make money too. Why are these men complaining?”. And it would be unfair of me to say that.

            Patriarchy (= rich backwards thinking men) says men must be strong, never cry, never fail, have work, money, power and women at their feet. Patriarchy says women have to be beautiful, submissive, non-theateningly dumb, slaves and give birth. And both common men and women suffer because of that. But it is not something common men or common women created. It is, unfortunately, something only they can stop. Each sex is feeling threatened and oppressed by the other. So they lash out (like this guy) and perpetuate the fight, instead of being that person who will rise above all that and educate others, talk with others and speak of those problems, not as a bitter attacker, but an experienced and wiser person who can see their true causes and think of solutions.

            The men who do not hate women for their problems and women who do not hate men for theirs should make a better world. If they let the bad kind of men and bad kind of women turn them bitter, they just become part of the problem.

          • Yaminah Jamison

            In theory, I pretty much agree with what you said. Just that I have a different perspective of how this guy came off. Doesn’t seem like he was ‘lashing out’ or anything and honestly think it is a good thing he expressed his opinion of what he thinks because well.. how else are women and men to see how someone is annoyed with expectations if they don’t say so? It’s how other groups got people to listen (of course not in some disgusting derogatory way… which this guy was nowhere close in doing and if he was, people could care less about his opinion) But his opinion is bringing out this very discussion we’re all having so… eh, I can’t see his “outlash” as that negative. But yeah, pretty much agree with your general idea and comments.

          • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

            It’s not bad that he spoke about it, of course not. As I mention in my comments, speaking about the problems is the best way to start solving them.

            What I mind is that he spoke so harshly and generally (even though I understand his pain), but mostly, that he spoke to a reporter and series of articles that aim to convey the message “Women have it better, boo hoo, look at us poor men, ‘misandry’ exists.”.

            He did not speak to a publication which aims to talk about both sexes and their struggle with gender roles, he did not chose to speak to a publication focusing on men’s problems in a fair and non hostile way, he chose to speak to someone who basically aimed to belittle the other sex and its own struggles and turn the problems into a blaming game.

            Maybe he did not know his story would be used that way. Maybe his words were changed. Maybe he was very angry when he said these things and he’s a lovely man in real life. Of course I can’t know all these things. I can only judge what I see and what things look like.

          • http://www.m-rated.tumblr.com/ Michelle Chin

            The last comment in the article, written by the woman, is true. I tried to play level with my guy friends but while they complain a lot about girls wanting guys to pay during their dates, and being stupid, they hate it when women insist on doing so, or have more brains than them. I study really hard and voice out my opinions. Not to toot my horn, but compared to most guys, I am a lot braver. I am past the stage of being shy to the extent I would pursue what I want than to wait for a guy to do it for me. Results? Guys think I’m scary and too “out there” for a girl. While my friends are already married and have two children, I’m still the dateless girl. Guy friends have told me that it’s because of my out there attitude. I’m too “strong” for them apparently pfft.

            Gender equality? This is the hypocrisy that men have about women: they don’t like it when we do better than them. While guys can defend themselves all they want, they do become intimidated when you study in a better school and have a higher level education than them. The fact that I am currently pursuing my masters have more often than not, become a put off factor — though I explicitly stated that “I didn’t mind”. They don’t like it either when we do nothing for them. They don’t like it when we don’t look good either or don’t look demure (Guys say the most spiteful things about women, yet when they see pretty creatures, they leave their minds in their closets). They don’t like it when they have to buy every single meal for us yet they don’t like it when we do it for them or split the bill! It’s so hard to satisfy men. And when you don’t try to satisfy them, they think you’re selfish.

            So yes, this is the hardship us women face: that guys can be progressive and women can’t. Guys can do whatever they want, and we can’t. And even if we try, we end up becoming the odd ones.

          • holdingrabbits

            The expectations of women are detrimental to women, but not because they’re necessarily aware of it. I think the real problem with the expectation of women in Korea is the terrible lack of expectations. The things you pointed out ARE expectations, but some of them are such non-things. Looking beautiful is an expectation…but what do I do after that? I get married…then what? In some ways, I think this absence of real purpose makes some women vapid monster children. Women don’t seem to be encouraged to have hobbies or produce anything. Watching TV is not a hobby, you can’t get better at it. I think basically telling girls that all they have to do is look good and pop out a baby isn’t detrimental because of how it makes them consciously feel, but because of how it must shape their personalities and interior lives.

            I pity girls who are driven towards success, good grades, and good schools only to be told to drop it once they meet a man. It must feel like some weird Kafka-esque nightmare reality to them. And this is shallow of me, but I pretty much avoid beautiful Korean women as much as possible because they are generally the worst people I’ve ever met. If a girl in Korea is beautiful, she doesn’t have to be smart, interesting, or talented at anything. She can literally do nothing and come out okay. It’s an injustice to her by the patriarchy (an imaginary organization), but that doesn’t mean that she, herself, and other women in society aren’t responsible as well. To just blame the patriarchy is to say that either (a) women are simple minded and have been brainwashed or (b) that women know what’s up and play the game, thus perpetuating the cycle. If women stopped trying to look good all the time, it’s not like men would stop marrying them and become asexual. They would have to adjust their expectations.

          • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

            Now we’re on the same page. I love what you say in the first part. Women are raised and treated to be without agency and wishes outside family life. Although I disagree the patriarchy is imaginary. It’s simply not organized or titled. But it’s there. I also do think such shallow women are also to blame, because adults have choices.

            As backwards as one’s society is, we all have internet, television, books, news and we can educate and culture ourselves into modernity. Yes, after a certain point, it is a choice and I am not saying any such women should be excused of all the blame. They need to face their guilt as well.

            What the patriarchy does is nip any wish and knowledge of improving on those problems right at the bud. Women are raised into the “Just be pretty and docile, don’t think, provide” mentality. And men are raised to try and be “men”. How you raise and educate kids is not everything, but it certainly has a big impact in their adulthood and their ability to think outside the box and go “Wait a minute. I don’t have to be like this and gender roles don’t have to exist”. Children and teens are simple minded and easily brainwashed. Girls and boys alike.

            I come from a country where I was the only girl in the Science and Computing field in my high-school and I was the geeky freak. Because all the girls were convinced literature and arts are the things girls will succeed at and be taken seriously in. And we’re talking a society way more equal and modern than Korea (although a rural area, which was closer to Korean standards), yet this issue was visible there too. But I grew up with an excellent mom and older brother who let me be myself and did not raise me to be a “woman”, but a person.

            And yes, as you say, it has to start somewhere. If women rush to plastic surgery and trying to fulfill those roles, they perpetuate it. Just like men rushing to fulfill theirs. And it’s here where education and society in its higher ranks come to play.

            If a woman knows she can’t get work unless she’s pretty (looking at pictures for recruitment is not uncommon practice in Korea) and she is told, by everyone, parents included, that she has to be sweet and lovely for anyone to love her, she will do that, because no one wants to suffer through life and be alone. Plastic surgery is becoming the norm, because of low self-esteem, fueled by that upbringing. Parents, educators, companies, the government all need to fix these issues (like banning the pictures and choosing workforce based on looks), so that common people can also be brave enough and fix things at their own level, without fear of losing life and sanity should they break those stereotypes.

            Just like men can resist being seen as the providers, but they are treated as useless if they do, are raised to think they are and might endanger their well-being unless they know their society will back them up by acknowledging their worth beyond their income, status and education. For Korea and many countries, it’s a case of both people and society not yet pushing enough for betterment from their own side. But it’s getting better and the people are certainly the ones who will push more first.

      • bigmamat

        Korea isn’t the only place with a problem China has the same problem. I would say that the government should do something to control the housing market perhaps institute low interest government backed loans for first time home buyers. The program in the U.S worked well for a number of years until the banks got greedy. Oh well, Korea is pretty much in the same boat as the U.S. and the rest of the world. 1% of the people control 99% of the money. All over the world right now young people are pissed off because they can’t find jobs that will pay them a living wage. This means they can’t even begin to start a life. It’s terrible and very sad that the world is in this state because of a few greedy people. At least Koreans haven’t gotten to the point where it doesn’t matter if they strap a bomb to their chest and walk into a crowed mall. Of course Koreans are more likely to take a dive into the Han.

    • commander

      The interviewee in the article, I think, may make a hard decision as he found themselves incapable of paying for a house deposit in a scar to his pride, and her former girlfriend may be more materialistic than he thought.

      Actually, a lover that a person has had a steady relationship for years couldn’t be more disillusioning to him or her when the lover who they think can get through ups and downs is more materialstic than they thought, and put wealth before romantic emotions.

      • http://orion21.blogspot.com/ Orion

        It may be that his girlfriend really was pushy for money. But the way he said it feels more like that was his own conscience pushing him to make money and perhaps his pride of not being able to led him to fleeing. He could have discussed it with her. Maybe he did. But talking that way about women as if they are all like that and they are to blame for how things are is wrong. Yes, he is bitter, but things like sexism, racism and the like are born or get stronger when one is hurt and susceptible to hating. And most men who are sexists blame women for things that are really victimizing both them and women.

    • SuvinderR

      Patriarchy is a dated system, because it’s worked so well throughout history. The problem with western thought is that they believe equality and tolerance are important values. They’re not. Just look at Western politics. Too much feminine inputs leads to constant whining over internal social issues, empathy, and long, catty discussions about how mean so-an-so are. Where’s the objectivity? The aggression? If your politics isn’t about economic and geopolitical supremacy (like China, for example), then your country is on its way down.

    • Dutch1988

      I agree. I’m trying to understand myself. It seems contradictory.

    • lasolitaria

      Aw, c’mon! Of course it’s a man’s burden to provide and it’s a woman burden to take care of the kids. Even if you manage to prove in a debate that it’s not a natural thing but a social construct and female empowerment and then gender-neutralism in Sweden and a long blah blah blah, the fact that it’s still true for a huge majority of humans (because, you know, Western countries are but a tiny bit of the whole human population) makes it true. Otherwise you must admit you believe in Western-centrism and the rest of the world is wrong or simply isn’t worth giving a shit.

  • Peter Pottinger

    Materialism is a flaw of human nature, it doesn’t only apply to koreans.

    • thabomophiring

      Let us be careful here – materialism is culturally mediated. It is not genetic, therefore not an innate human characteristic

  • harvz

    Society created this problem, not women.

  • commander

    Women’s visibly increased presence in corporate life and subsequent financial freedom for them have yet to lead to equitable burden sharing for marriage.

    Feminist groups still are vociferous about an alleged prevalent gender discrimination against women.

    That’s not the case at least in terms of a pay at work. Many studies on wage comparisons of men and women in the same age having similar educational background in the same occupational category reveals near parity in wages for recruits regardless of sex.

    But the reality when it comes to dating or marriage remains entrenched: covering most of dating expenses and prepare a house to live after wedding.

    For even a typical Korean guy, who graudated from a 4 year univerisity in Seoul, served out about 2 year mandatory military service, he lands a job 2-3 years after the graduation when his age is approaching 30.

    It is no wonder why the average age of marriage for men has markedly increased in a recently published report.

    Any solution?

    There appears to be no solution except for personal struggels or parental financial aid for marriages in a protracted economic slump that is expected to continue dimming the youth job prospects.

    With many of women of marriageable age eager to ride on the coattails of men in financial aspect for marriage, the best way for men who want to walk down the aisle for stable life may find a spouse who put more weight on character, personality than wealth and this will be quicker than saving a fortune for marriage.

    • chucky3176

      Basically there are two extremes in Korea. The polls show that young single women in the 18 to 35 age group are the happiest demographics in Korea. But this all changes once women get married. I’m presuming that’s because they have to pick up the expected gender defined chores of a married woman. Korean women who want to remain single, do so because out of their own choice. The Korean men who want to remain single do so because of economic realities, but they are happier if they get married. On the other hand, the women are happier if they don’t get married.

      • commander

        Under the facade of a successful career, many professional women really want to find Mr. Right as they get realized that socializing with friends, and acquaintances other than building romatic relationship has limitations in intensity of closeness, and intimacy.

        The reason they still delay marriages is that they just want to get the best of marriage but hate responsibilitiesfrom marriage.

        And there is something I want to say.

        Many feminists claim that Korean society is still male dominant citing the rarity of women in executive boardrooms, the difficulty married women face in finding job openings.

        That’s the wrong approach.

        The pace at which women gain employment at companies, governmental agencies, professions show that more women will definitively make their way to executove posts after a decade.

        Woman rights adovcates fail to understand that the improving status of women takes some time to be reflected in the number of corporate executives.

        And other data they produce in favor of sex discrimination is not a result of discrimination but a result of the lack of credentials or expertise employers value in recruitments.

        It is regrettable to see feminiast groups claiming what stems from a third cause as the source of dicriminations against women.

    • Jang

      “alleged prevalent gender discrimination against women”

      That’s funny! What hole underground do you live in? Korean men are picky too! They complain that their potential GF didn’t tell him about the “other boyfriend” before he took her to the movie and so the relationship ends. A Korean female must be a “virgin” and not have a boyfriend, thus she had better marry the first Korean male she ever dates.

      • commander

        I think you fail to tell discrimination and bitter experiences apart.

        Just as not all women put the top priority on annual salary of a guy for marriage, not all men claim that a future spouse be a virgin and with no romatic relationship before they met her.

        Your comment is associated with personal character not with gender discrimination.

        • Jang

          Only my first two questions were meant for you. And since you didn’t answer either of them I’ll show you how far underground you must live for suggesting S. Korea’s prevalent gender discrimination against women is simply “alleged”…

          The 2012 World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report ranks South Korea 108th in gender equality out of 135 surveyed countries.

          Do you still think it’s “alleged”?

          • Sillian

            So you read only the title of the new article.

          • commander

            The term sex discrimination has to be used when two sexes of the same conditions suffer differentiated treatments.

            But contrary to what feminists vociferously claim, much of alleged discrimination against women can be attributable to differences in educational background, perception of organizational culture, ability etc.

            If you make the case for what you see as still prevailing gender discrimination in favor of men in South Korea, you’s better put forward concrete examples instead of citing the vastly misled report findings.

            You are saying a coutry which produced the first female president, a feat yet to be achieved in the US, Japan and other advanced nations, ranked lower than countries where circumcision is the norm and tetiary education for women is regarded as unnecessary.

            I am at a loss as to such ludicrous assessment in the report.

  • Ruskie Gal

    The answer is pretty simple for Korean guys. Just marry a Russian girl, like this guy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFenn0vh89k

  • folder

    society preassure = suicide + low birth rate + media influence

  • lonetrey / Dan

    Solution is simple: start meeting foreign women. Not like your Korean women are going anywhere, since no one will be able to buy houses for them.

    Then maybe their overall mindset will start shifting.

    • I love Sexy Chinese girls

      Koreans have the same mindset like Chinese when it comes to marriage.

  • nqk123

    another reason to buy sex

    • ..

      Buy your sex and rent your home seems economical these days.

  • holdingrabbits

    This reminds me of the “scumbag baby boomer” meme. ( http://content.lolspots.com/591569337542641.jpg ) Society has continued to have the same expectations of a much poorer/cheaper Korea despite the fact that the cost of living has soared while the average salary hasn’t seen a similar increase. People need to be happy starting off small after marriage and having the lights turned off, that’s normal for newlyweds. This idea that you need to live in a fancy high rise and not a row house when you start out is sort of ridiculous. You can actually get quite a nice place if you’re willing to borrow from the bank, and you pay VERY little interest, but this is discouraged for some reason. I have a friend who borrowed 70 million won on a house for him and his wife and he pays the bank 240k a month in interest and after 3 years they can just do it again. The fact is, I will never purchase an apartment with a 전세. For one, I can’t and won’t ever be able to. Secondly, it just seems dumb to purchase an apartment if I’m not living in Manhattan or something. If everyone in an apartment suddenly asked for their deposit back, I highly doubt the complex would be able to do it. I know it’s “secure” but I really think it’s a Ponzi scheme. I would venture to say that there are more apartment in Korea than there are people, so the insanely high cost doesn’t make sense, unless…..yep, there’s a massive housing bubble.

    • commander

      No one would complain about jeonse if the supply of a small apartment for newlyweds is sufficient.

      Just securing a place for two to live in with a affordable price and close enough to work is a challenge for those who decided to design their future together.

      The problem is not the pretentiousness of married couple but the structural one involving the population concentration in Seoul, the slumpibg housibh market and real estate speculation.

      • holdingrabbits

        No one would complain about jeonse if it was reasonable either. 100,000 for a 32 pyeong apartment is not reasonable. It’s expensive because of tradition and, could it be, greed. Expecting a couple in their late 20’s to have enough money to pay jeonse and have a car and all that stuff is not reasonable. Consider most men don’t get real jobs until their mid-20’s. If they all had great part time jobs since they were 15, I’d be a little more understanding, but most people live off their parents until they’re out of college. Young couples want the illusion of success without the years of work associated with it. 150-200 million in jeonse isn’t a modest apartment, not modest in the same way that my apartments have been (3 steps from wall to wall). I’d say you’re getting into upper middle class territory in that price range, and most people starting off don’t have that kind of money unless someone gives it to them (the spoiling of children by financial support well into adulthood may explain a lot of things about Korea).

        • baekboon

          I’m not sure where this magical 100m won, 32 pyeong apartment (105sq m) is. Last time I looked around, it cost about 3 times that much, unless you want to live in the boonies of Gimpo or Ansan or something like that (or want a 40 yr old apt). It’s sad but Korea has a history of dynastic-type of inheritance (even poor folk want to keep up with appearances) and that leads to 100m not being all that much (relatively speaking).

          • holdingrabbits

            I don’t live in Seoul proper, so my figures may be wrong. Discussed this topic with my adult students and they all seemed to think it was necessary to live in a high rise and that nothing else was acceptable.

    • terriblemovie

      The scumbag baby boomer meme is hilarious. I thought I was the only one who despised baby boomers, turns out they are widely ridiculed(and deservedly so).

  • Name

    Just rent! If you can’t afford to buy an apartment, then rent one!

    • commander

      Jeonse is a kind of renting system, allowing a tenant to live in a house if they give a large payment as a deposit, which they can take back when a contract expires and want to move away, to the landlord.

      For landlords, deposits can generate some money at interest rates.

      But in this day and age when economic slowdown and ample liquidity drive down interest rates, the vast majority of house owners have the house rent from Jeonse to monthly payments, which is more lucrative for them.

      Those who hate to pay monthly rents and want to save some money usually prefer Jeonse to monthly payment if they have some seed money as a deposit.

      But houses that offers Jeonse have become a rarity in the housing market where home builders hardly find new construction orders.

      • Name

        “Sorry baby, we have to break up. It’s not you, it’s the housing situation in this country. I think you’re great, but Jeonse is really hard to come by.”

    • baekboon

      Only losers rent.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/VictimOfBoredom Matt

        How much is your rent?

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  • Jang

    Korean men live 25-30 years being told and thinking they’re superior to women while living with mommy who does everything for them. Then, when it’s time to put up or shut up they whine…Ewww, I’m not any better than a woman. Or wait, of course I am but she has to pay for the house to and wash my balls whenever I say.

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  • Eww…

    I don’t know what saddens me the most : the sexism in the Korean comments or the sexism in the comments of this Koreabang article.

  • prophet32

    I told you Korea is getting messed up. I said this a decade ago when Kpop and Kdrama and the materialization of Korea was going to destroy social and cultural fabric. Korean women are losing their humanity as they strive to become more and more less human and more artificial (fake eyes, fakes smiles, fake everything). Korean men have to pay the price to try and uphold these fake korean women’s expectations. That’s why so many korean men have to get mail order brides from Vietnam to have a family because most korean girls don’t understand and believe in family anymore. They only believe in “good looks”, fashion, kpop, and cosmetic surgeries. If you see the trends in Kpop, it’s becoming more and more prostituting of korea to the world and korean girls mindset is to prostitute themselves by looking more sexy and beautiful with surgeries. In the end, they will not reproduce, not get married, or will run off with foreigners and sell out. Korea is doomed at this pace and within 25 to 50 years, my prediction is Koreans will be a minority in their own country as south east asian women and interracial kids will outnumber koreans. Kpop tells you everything u need to know about korea’s future. It’s Britney Spears happening to an entire nation of Korean girls and we all know where Britney has gone to….shambles and desolation. That’s where Korean girls are heading to and korean men either have to pay the price or go down that path too.

  • Dutch1988

    So they fall for the pretty girl then feel too much pressure of responsibility but will ignore a female who has saved money, a good education and probably isn’t pretty by their standards? wow. i understand looks being important but it shouldn’t be the main thing. marriage is a life commitment. there are other characteristics that should be considered. I don’t know much about Korean culture but can someone answer this: “What if some women who are financially independent would want to share the financial responsibility with a Korean man?” Or does this intimidate them? In a marriage you work together, there is nothing wrong with a man and woman working together to buy a home but I see according this article it seems taboo maybe..I don’t know. Someone inform me.

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