[Letters] ‘Going Dutch’ is an act of our prideI will be presenting two situations in which one “goes Dutch.” In the first case, someone suggests they and their friend go Dutch. And the other friend will respond, “Let’s divide 25,000 won into two, and let’s do rock-paper-scissors and the winner will pay 1,000 won less.” And in the second situation, a someone will suggests that they go Dutch. And the other will respond, “Excuse me?” Korean women will have guessed the difference in the two situations. The first one will be the case of a gathering among same-sex friends, while the latter will occur in a meeting between a man and a woman.
In Korea, women often conclude a man’s characteristics with how he spends his money. The man who pays for everything is evaluated often as a man with great manners and ability. In contrast, a man suggesting to go Dutch is criticized for being rude.
Why do women value men’s economic power so much? It probably has to do with deeply-rooted stereotypes within Korean society’s patriarchy. We have this unique idea that men must have money in a marriage or in a family. Based on that concept, the quality of a marriage, at least the materialistic aspect, will largely depend on the husband’s economic power. Therefore, women are going after men who can guarantee a quality married life.
And yet, there is an interesting thing. This male-oriented concept was contributed by women, ironically. Korean women often complain about troubles with their mothers-in-law, but when their daughters-in-law propose to look for jobs, they are disapproving of it. Of course, it is natural human behavior to think selfishly, but that attitude created an unreasonable social tradition.
Society has a structural problem, but women must admit that they have a double standard for their own kind.
Some say that they can confirm their boyfriends’ love toward them when they pay for meals and coffees. Those women feel hurt or insulted when their men ask them to go Dutch. That is a confirmation that they cannot stand on their own without men’s economic power. It is such hypocrisy to demand women’s rights while demanding men to pay for their meals.
I want to argue that women must not confine themselves to men. True love is not the love you feel when your meal is paid by your man, but a love of equality. If you want that love, you must go Dutch willingly. It will show every confidence in you that you can be independent from him. And it is a symbolic act showing that you and your boyfriend have an equal relationship. Don’t feel insulted for going Dutch. It is an act of our pride.
by Kim Hyeon-ji Sophomore in media studies at Sookmyung Women’s University.