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.”
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:
Go to the airport. You will find that the people pulling luggage and waiting in line to travel abroad are mostly Korean women.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Q:What do stocks and Korean women have in common? A:Foreigners enjoy them very easily but I struggle with them.
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.
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?
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?