중앙데일리

[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Etiquette for women in Korea is not about servitude

Apr 10,2003
It was with deep disappointment that I read your recent article “Marriage Prep” written by Lee Ho-jeong (J-Style, April 4) in the JoongAng Daily.
I had hoped that such propaganda would have ceased in the Korean media.
You portrayed Korean etiquette for women as a matter of subservience to one’s in-laws and husband.
What about etiquette for a woman’s husband? Or better yet, for her mother-in-law?
As a former lecturer at Sookmyung Women’s University I heard countless stories of mama’ boys and overbearing in-laws.
I certainly understand that married life in Korea is somewhat different from that of North America, but respect for others is common to all cultures.
It is interesting, in this regard, to note how non-Confucian Korean culture actually is: Respect is a one-way street, rather than the mutual sense of respect that Confucius advocated.
Etiquette is not a matter of servitude, as your article implies.
Etiquette is an attitude of respect for those around you, an attitude that hopefully rubs off on others.
Perhaps for an evenhanded treatment of this subject you could find a “school” that teaches future husbands how to live a harmonious married life while still maintaining respect for their life partners and their parents.


by Greg Stapleton


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