Genre: Literary fiction
🌾 This book came out in 2016. Months earlier, a young woman was murdered near Gangnam metro station in Seoul in a hate crime.
The murderer testified in court that “he had been ignored by women a lot and couldn’t bear it anymore so committed the crime”.
🌾 Although South Korea is economically one of the most advanced countries in Asia, it remains socially conservative.
So much so, that female singers and actresses who said they read the book were attacked and bullied online.
🌾 This book represents women who face misogyny, sexism, discrimination, exclusion and violence in their lives, be it at their homes or workplaces. It talks about certain issues like postpartum depression, families’ demand for sons rather than daughters, gender pay gap, treatment of women when they choose to have a baby, treatment of girls at school or at workplaces.
🌾 In most of the countries, the role of bearing children and staying at home to take care of them is considered of utmost importance for women. Their place has been set at home by the patriarchal society. They are not given the same responsibilities and opportunities as men and are thus, considered the weaker sex. Such stereotypes and norms are broken down by several women everyday but still, even today there are many of us facing such things.
🌾 This book tells us the story about the protagonist, Kim Ji-young, who has a kind and understanding mother, Oh Misook, who know what it’s like to give up on one’s dreams for the sake of the family, having made that sacrifice herself. She supported her daughters’ education but when Kim Ji-young is married to her boyfriend, Jung Daehyun, things take a turn for the worse when her in-laws start commenting about her not being pregnant soon enough.
There is an incident in the book where Daehyun asks her to stay at home for the sake of the child and give up her career since his job was more stable and brought in more money. Seeing her sigh, he says he would help her out, to which Ji-young replies ‘Help out? What is it with you and “helping out”? You’re going to “help out” with chores. “Help out” with raising our baby. “Help out” with finding me a new job. Isn’t this your house, too?’
🌾 This reaction was so needed as people tend to think that it is natural for women to do all of these things by herself. Comments like “mumroach”, i.e. mum + cockroach are used for mothers “who lack manners” in public spaces. Are mothers not allowed to go out and take care of themselves as well besides taking care of the child all day? Don’t they deserve a break?
It was also around this time that some trendy cafes and restaurants designated themselves as “no-kids zones” to forbid these mothers from coming.
🌾 The story also portrays a few strong, outspoken women but even they are constantly put down by the society and colleagues from climbing up the ladder of success.
🌾 This is a must read book to gain an insight about what women have to face in their day to day lives. The Korean movie with the same name, based on the book, was released in 2019 which is a must watch as well. The Korean drama (k-drama) called ‘Something In The Rain‘ too portrays such taboos and is a must must watch!👌🤍
You can check my mini review on the k-drama Something In The Rain here.