According to a recent survey, about 40 percent people answered that they think family is no more than a warm group. In former times, Koreans valued the blood relation highly. And most of Koreans believe that there should be no foreign blood within family.
In these days, however, the concept of 'family' in Korea has changed a lot. There is no clear-cut definition on family any more and so the traditional value of family is no longer applicable in current situation. TV programs are reflecting this situation. Especially, in drama there are various types of family: intercultural family, Miss mom (unmarried single mom), remarried family and so on.
This situation has been caused by disintegrating the patriarchal system. The principle of sex equality and individualism have contributed to this change. Other social factors also have been influential: high divorce rates, low birth rate and rising first marriage age. Let's check out various family types in detail.
Type of Family
Lately, intercultural families have been increased outstandingly. TV programs show such a increase: Gold Bride which was a popular soap opera, How do you do? which is an show program.
Intercultural family contains various cultures in one family. It includes a Korean male and a foreign female or a Korean female and a foreign male making a family. It also includes immigrant families (for example, immigrant workers, foreign students, sae tomin: people who seceded from North Korea).
In Korea, however, almost all the intercultural families are formed in rural areas. Marriage of Korean male and foreign female is the majority. More than 40 percent of marriages in farming and fishing villages are international. Most of foreign females are Asian.
Korean females do not want to marry farming and fishing males because of hard work. So it is an unavoidable result.
This situation causes various problems. Woman who is married to a Korean in Korea said that 'language' is a big problem. Most of these women said, "I cannot express my feelings clearly."
However, the best solution is willingness to understand each other. If they are open-minded and try to listen to the other's voice, then they will be able to feel each other's emotion and mind, even when they do not share a common language. Learning spouse's language would be a good way to start.
Last summer, Heo Su-kyung, broadcaster, announced that she was pregnant with donated sperm after two divorces. And at the end of the last year, she gave birth to a baby. Because she is not married, her husband does not exist and surely her baby does not have her daddy.
Like her, women who gave birth without marriage are called ' Miss mom '. Such women differ from ' Single mom '. In general, Single mom means that the mom unwillingly raises her child alone after she divorced. or lost her husband. On the other hand Miss mom chooses to bring up her child alone.
A Woman who wants children without marriage said, "I wish to live as a mother not a daughter-in-law or wife." Why Miss mom does not want to marry but want only her child? "In Korea living as a woman in family is not easy. As a woman gets married, she makes the sacrifice," said an expert in the field of home economics.
After marriage women have many limitations and much works to do: housework, childbirth, serving her husband´s parents and so on. After women get married, several years she is depressed to want a divorce. So women don't want a marriage.
Miss mom, however, are concerned about future. One of Miss moms said about her children, "I'm okay without a husband but I don't know whether my children need their father or not." Also they worry about how they can teach a concept of a 'father'. These are open questions they must solve.
Family which has no children
There are families which have no children. These families are only a married couple. It is called DINK(Double Income No Kids) family. They do not want to have children.
One of the reasons is the expense of bringing up a child. The cost from kindergarten up to graduation from university is over two hundred million won. So these couple spend money on themselves instead of their children. Another reason why they do not want children is because they just hate children. As a result, for the new generation to have a baby has become not essential but optional.
One person family
There is a family which is made up of one person. People say that he/she is a single person. He/she who is single is reaching nearly 20 percent of all families and increasing every year.
In former days, spinsters or bachelors were viewed as negatively. Nowadays it is not only natural but also positive. A Single is regarded as a competent man. They prefer enjoying their life rather than being taken up with the care of family. So they can have more time for self-improvement.
There is a family formed by a second marriage. Both sides or one side marry again because he/she divorced or lost a spouse. Many people tend to want an private life these days so divorced people are increasing. The ratio of remarriage also has been increased as the concept of family is changing.
The first thing that comes to our mind about remarriage is bad stepmother, and failure. A second marriage is considered a bad thing. Remarriage, however, is different from the first marriage and decided after serious consideration. Careful preparation for remarriage can produce good results.
Singer Lee Seung-chul who has been remarried recently, said, "At first, daughter my stepdaughter and I are not close. As I love my wife, I love her child too." So relationship between his daughter and himself, he added, has become better gradually.
In the past marriage to a foreigner was not welcomed because Koreans value blood relationships. People treated single mothers as if they had committed a serious sin. As our society has been changing and developing, our moral values and attitudes are changing, too. People have started to throw away our traditional prejudices and biases against racism. TV programs try to play a significant part in this new way of thinking, although they have a long way to go. Thanks to this new trend, we seem to be more tolerating the different types of marriage that our ancestors would not have tolerated.
Lee Soo-jin reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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