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And then there was ‘Bundang Line Smoking Girl’

The lastest “Koreans acting badly” video to go viral:

Worst part about this is that the woman in question reportedly was given only a verbal reprimand rather than the 30,000 won fine she should have gotten for smoking on the subway.

BTW, I’ll ask it again—is it just me, or does this whole “ㅇㅇ녀” series of videos seem a bit creepy? Like in there’s something else at work here?

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • brier

    I just can’t believe they only fined her. It’s not she smoking part that bothers me as much as she created a huge fire hazard on an underground train. She ought to be thrown in a jail for a year or two.

  • chanceencounter

    I think the traditional ‘this is a transfer station’ theme music heard in the background should accompany all future “Koreans acting badly” videos.

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    #1

    was given only a verbal reprimand rather than the 30,000 won fine

    They didn’t fine her.

    If you watch this one – http://tiny.cc/mkiebw

    You don’t have to hold your head sideways.

    30,000won is actually a very cheap fine for smoking in a subway station or on a subway platform/train.

    Isn’t the fine much larger if caught smoking on that strip of footpath in Gangnam?

    Why the lady couldn’t wait until getting of the subway, beats me.

  • http://populargusts.blogspot.com/ bulgasari

    BTW, I’ll ask it again—is it just me, or does this whole “ㅇㅇ녀” series of videos seem a bit creepy? Like in there’s something else at work here?

    Well it does go back a ways, with the 개똥녀 in 2005 being the first (if photos count). I think the best answer to that question I’ve read was a comment left by Milton at my blog awhile ago:

    f I had to do some armchair sociology, I’d say this is probably a manifestation of deep-rooted culture-based sexism butting up against a burgeoning, but incipient woman’s equality movement. Perhaps there’s some collective male resentment at the prospect of woman being liberated from the “traditional” roles as silent homemakers and obedient baby-factories and entering the work-force to compete directly with men, while at the same time overturning traditional family structure.

    Read the rest of his comment for the context…

  • http://www.zenkimchi.com/FoodJournal ZenKimchi

    That and maybe that growing up as a modern woman in Korea can make one go a bit psycho.

  • ecorn

    I’m going to choose not to read too much into possible societal influences on this woman and just go with the “this lady probably has some psychological issues” explanation.

  • babotaengi

    I saw a chick smoking on a train and a dude going nuts and slapping a chick about. I know one of those activities were legal 10 years ago. You nonsmokers got your priorities all fucked up.

  • R. Elgin

    “ZK” is more than a little astute in #5. I’ve recently had one woman blow smoke right in my face while eating in a restaurant next to me, whereupon I looked her right in the face and told her not to blow smoke in my face. She understood I was about to go full-adjoshi on her and her boyfriend too.

  • hamel

    BTW, I’ll ask it again—is it just me, or does this whole “ㅇㅇ녀” series of videos seem a bit creepy? Like in there’s something else at work here?

    What, are you leading a frikking women’s studies seminar now, Koehler? This is beneath you. People are simply making videos of outrageous behavior on the subway and sticking them up on the net. Nothing “else” to see here. Move along.

    ecorn’s got it right when he says:

    I’m going to choose not to read too much into possible societal influences on this woman and just go with the “this lady probably has some psychological issues” explanation.

    Most of these people acting up on the subway are probably either having an episode (stress reached a boiling point or they can’t deal with something in their life) or are long-term mentally ill. They need help.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    What, are you leading a frikking women’s studies seminar now, Koehler? This is beneath you.

    Excuse the truism, but you’re entitled to your opinion. As comment #4 would indicate, some may disagree.

  • chanceencounter

    I’d have to agree that there’s something to the aforementioned quote by Milton, particularly when you see how this ajusshi reacted. Rather than reporting her to the relevant authorities, he felt compelled for some reason to assault the woman. (Did he really (try to) extinguish the cigarette by rubbing it out on her?! It sure looks like that.) To me, it looks like the ajusshi’s trying to teach the misguided one a lesson rather than just put a stop to her behavior.

    I could understand such a reaction if she were standing there with a tank of gasoline threatening to blow the train to Mokpo, but the lady was ‘just’ smoking. I’m not justifying her misbehavior at all, but going after the woman isn’t the right way to deal with it.

    Would she have a legal leg to stand on if she filed an assault charge against the guy?

  • hamel

    I would have picked up the perp’s bag and set them on the platform at the next stop. Then she can go out there and cuss out the draftees who “volunteer” at the station.

  • Seth Gecko

    Chanceencou… (your name is cut-off pn my phone),
    Were you here for the Daegu subway fire?I’d be REALLY nervous with someone “just smoking” beside me on the train.

  • hamel

    Robert: well what “something else” do YOU think is at work here? I’d love to hear YOUR opinion.

  • goldendsh

    How old is this “girl”? I remember when it was incredibly rare in Korea to see any woman who was neither a hefty ajumma nor a grandmother smoking ANYWHERE in public. (Except coffee shops.)

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Well, Hamel, if I must spell it out, I think male netizen frustration with changing gender relations is a factor in these videos going viral. There must be a reason ZDNet Korea called it the ‘○○녀’ 시리즈, no?

    http://www.zdnet.co.kr/news/news_view.asp?artice_id=20120318150515

  • 깊은 구멍 속에

    There is a lot of angry rage that comes with this new generation of women in Korea–some of it is perhaps unjustified sexism raising its ugly head, but part of it definitely warranted. This shallow, selfish, self-centered, entitled segment of the population of women who run around Seoul in short skirts and demanding the world (and often getting it because of their appearance, whether it be natural or not) are garnering a lot of resentment from their less attractive peers and from an angry male population that no longer meets the criterion for dating, i.e., they are not well-dressed, independently wealthy sons of chaebol heads who drive over-priced import cars and are attractive.

    That being said it appears that the oo녀 series of videos is just a part of this mixed with the traditional Korean practice of shaming people into conformity in a more 21st century manner.

  • hamel

    깊은 구멍 속에 : don’t forget the men who are no longer “tall enough” (루저녀)…

    Robert: My wife doesn’t feel outraged by the fact that these videos are all ㅇㅇ녀. She is outraged by the acts that these women perpetrate. Don’t forget that. These videos, so far as we know, are not staged. You are blaming the messenger.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Well in order not to sound as the guy who always beat the same drum, i’ll say that there’s indeed a breed of Korean (and Japanese as well) women obsessed with a cheap variety of Pink Moet, Wolford tights, leased X5, Bulgari sunglasses etc. etc. consumerism. What makes it really annoying is that they’re mostly semi-poor office ladies, working trash jobs and living with their parents and siblings.

    At least Hong-Kong tai tai have money for real.

    You nonsmokers got your priorities all fucked up.

    What is so wrong with my life that i happen to agree with the mick bastard 99% of the time ?

  • hamel

    YB: it amuses me that most of the things you mentioned that a certain breed of Korean (and Japanese as well) women are obsessed with are things that I have no familiarity with at all! ^^

  • chanceencounter

    #13

    Yes, I was here for the Daegu subway tragedy. I understand and agree with you about being nervous sitting next to someone holding something that’s burning on the subway. I’d be nervous, too. Had I been sitting next to this woman, I would have tried to pluck the cig from her hand, too.

    What I wouldn’t have done, however, is attempt to extinguish the butt on her face as it appears the ajusshi did in the video. It was THAT which prompted my comment regarding an assault charge.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Oh also a Korean guy i know told me he’d like to marry a Japanese woman cos in his own words “They still have some sense of respect for their husband”

    things that I have no familiarity with at all! ^^

    Neither do i but i’m partial to Wolford :)

  • yuna

    My theory is that it’s because 녀 sounds remarkably close to 년.

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    #15

    How old is this “girl”? I remember when it was incredibly rare in Korea to see any woman who was neither a hefty ajumma nor a grandmother smoking ANYWHERE in public.

    She actually appears to be 50+ years old… probably pissed off and upset about what he child is doing or just menopausal and just had to have the cigg on the subway.

  • Iang nio

    I do find the whole thing unnerving… That woman obviously doesn’t give a toss about security on underground transport but at the same time, I don’t think it is a good way to just try and put a ciggy out on ANYBODY’s face (regardless of gender). That’s bound to not go down well. Male chauvinist rude attitude towards women in Korea is unfortunately a fact and I do find it disturbing that one man seems to just passively stand there, watching all the while not feeling a need to interfere at all (when it gets physical).

    I also get ZenKimchi’s take on modern women growing up in changing Korea going slightly off the rails (to stick with the theme here), suffering mild to extreme forms of schizophrenia…

  • Creo69

    “BTW, I’ll ask it again—is it just me, or does this whole “ㅇㅇ녀” series of videos seem a bit creepy? Like in there’s something else at work here?”

    Robert,

    It’s called “girl power” and it is long overdue in Korea. Apparently it’s OK if 아저씨 wants to have so ju party on the subway (“as long as no one complains”) but a woman wants a smoke and she ends up getting physically assaulted. I understand why Korean women have a grudge.

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    It’s called “girl power” and it is long overdue in Korea. Apparently it’s OK if 아저씨 wants to have so ju party on the subway (“as long as no one complains”) but a woman wants a smoke and she ends up getting physically assaulted. I understand why Korean women have a grudge.

    Since when does “girl power” involve breaking the law, gassing out fellow passengers with smoke, ashing cigarettes on the floor, and swearing like a spoilt brat in front of children?

  • Iang nio

    #26 I don’t care if it’s a man OR a woman – if they smoke in secluded areas where it is dangerous for the others it’s not about power it’s about being considerate of those around you. Girl power has nothing to do with it.

    If somebody smokes on a plane they are in no uncertain terms told to stop smoking. If they insist on smoking they should not get on a plane and refrain from flying.

    #27 I agree. Real power doesn’t need to be loud and obnoxious. There’s a difference between what real power is compared to just being a pain in the bum for those around you.

    Crude is not good. A woman that’s crass is just off-putting.

  • nambangui horangi

    Hamel,

    I’m kind of surprised here at your unwillingness to see a very likely cultural pattern in the ㅇㅇ녀 meme. Seems slightly at odds with your more scholarly, analytical side. Stephen Epstein and Sun Jung actually discuss this particular meme in much the term Robert suggests (along with other Korean viral videos) in a recent special issue on Korean digital culture from one of your multiple homelands, no less. Check out their piece “Korean Youth Netizenship and its Discontents” in Media International Australia (forget number–came out towards end of 2011).

  • Creo69

    “Since when does “girl power” involve breaking the law, gassing out fellow passengers with smoke, ashing cigarettes on the floor, and swearing like a spoilt brat in front of children?”

    If it is good for the goose, it is good for the gander. Breaking the law? Gassing out fellow passengers? Swearing (well, at least acting) like a spoilt brat in front of children?

    At the very least, a bunch of 아저씨들 sitting on the floor of a subway train getting “lit up” (and based on experience …passing a fair amount of gas themselves) would be consider a fire hazard (by codes) as they are blocking aisles and exits. I am not going to stick my neck out and state that drinking on the subway is breaking the law as I am not sure it is in Korea but common sense would lead me to believe so.

    The last video I saw no one tried to stop the boys… and certainly no one physically assaulted them. Why the double standard?

  • Creo69

    And, before anyone tells me that sitting on the subway floor is not a violation of fire codes in Korea, yadda, yadda, blah, blah…I will retract that and say that anyone who is aware of Korea’s history with subways and fires knows that blocking the exits defies common sense under any circumstances.

  • jk6411

    #30,

    Oh God, not this again…

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    The last video I saw no one tried to stop the boys… and certainly no one physically assaulted them.

    Ever tried to physically assault 6 grown men? The fact that the picture of them was all over the internet should tell you that people were unhappy with their behaviour.

    But besides that, trying to use the example of a couple of bonehead males to excuse the behaviour of a boorish woman (or turn it into a woman’s rights issue) is pretty fucking stupid. Smoking on a subway, where it’s against the law, ashing on the floor and swearing around children is a special sort of stupid.

    Did the old man over-react? Yes. Do I give a fuck? No. I’d give even less of a fuck if it was a guy.

    Just out of curiosity, are you a woman or a man, Korean or foreigner?

  • iMe

    seoul is a huge city with millions of people from all walks of life. you are bound to witness something crazy once or twice a day. that said, this is pretty tame compared to what i see here in socal everyday. did anyone see the creator of “kony 2012″ video jacking off in public? seoul ain’t goy nothing on socal!

  • αβγδε

    I don’t buy any of the sexism/feminism sociology being injected and projected into the topic here. Obvious to me and the much simpler, cleaner explanation for the “nyeo” meme is that it’s tied to 1) females and 2) usually females of the younger, slimmer variety, which makes them automatic objects of (sexual, social) interest. – That’s all folks! That didn’t hurt now, did it?

  • αβγδε

    But watching that video, I feel quite confused.

    On the one hand, yeah, the girl should be rebuked. She shouldn’t be endangering anyone with such brazen, selfish behavior.

    On the other hand, I’d never phyiscally impugn someone for doing something like so. If she were playing with matches and a can of lighter fluid, yeah, I’d smack the bitch. But for vain, small scale licentiousness as smoking a cig, I don’t think I have enough “ajeossi” within me to accost someone else like that. I’m not at that high level. And thank goodness I’m not. (Yet? Never?) Never the ajeossi!

  • robert neff

    #35
    I think I would have also added disdain. I wonder if the reaction would have been as strong if the woman in question was an elderly woman?

  • αβγδε

    - The “disdain” that you sense comes from the fact that these girls are doing disdainable (sic?) things. Of course. And if anything else, younger folk- the netizens- tend to be like that. They are gossipy, they are more likely to ridicule and create objects of ridicule. This characteristic cuts across gender. Young people tend to hate on other people, especially their peers. That’s just the basic. The neutral background.

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  • hardyandtiny

    looks like an ajumma smoking. it’s a girl?

  • Maximus2008

    It’s a freakin’ ajumma, not a girl. She just don’t have the perm and the flower pants. She is wrong. The ajossi as well.

    But I’d love to see this if it was an ajossi smoking…

  • http://koreanlanguagenotes.blogspot.com/ gbevers

    The woman was asking for it and deserved what she got. One good thing about Korea is that many of Korea’s ajeossis and ajummas are not afraid to speak up and try to help enforce Korean laws and social rules, especially when the offenders are younger people. The bad thing about Korea is that many of the offenders are Korea’s ajeossis and ajummas.

    Why did the Korean man first use hand signals to try to get the woman to stop smoking? Is it possible the woman was not Korean? Anyway, the woman had to be crazy or have some really big balls to refuse to put out her cigarette after being told to do so by a Korean ajeossi.

    I think the woman will think twice before she tries to pull that stunt again. Good job, Ajeossi.

  • Q

    Youtube joined in OO 녀 syndrome with UCLA Girl (Alexandra Wallace):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOGpGoEMu2s

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    #39

    looks like an ajumma smoking. it’s a girl?

    get with it… I already said she appears to be a 50+ y.o. menopausal adjumna (see #24)

  • hardyandtiny

    so it’s not a girl?

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    Technically she is… she’s a cowgirl.

  • Iang nio

    #42 Thanks for the link… Very funny and spot on (I shared it with my Korean friends).

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