Posted: June 1st, 2021

Women in Korean Society: A Past and Present Perspective

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“The Music from Gwangsang Mountian where I played in my dream” is one of the most famous poems, which was written by a woman who lived in 1500s. The poem basically means that the writer of this poem eager to escape from the patriarchal society. The poem was written by a Korean women poet “Heo Hanselheon” who lived in 1500s wrote this poem before she died. This poem is describing when she had a dream that she was in the place called “Gwangsang Mountain”. Gwangsang Mountain is actually represents the paradise that she always dreamed of which is being free from the paternalism.
In the poem, the first line, “Blue sea- water permeate into beaded sea,” show the paradise she had been dreaming, also means the scene that she saw in her dream. The second line, “Blue bird line on colored bird,” means that she is tired of all her life and she need some “rest”. The third line, “Twenty- seven lotus flower fall in red” tell us that the “rest” is death when she become a twenty-seven years old, which is predicting her death. Of coarse, red would be color of blood, which also represents her death.
The last line, “It is cold on the moon light frost”, is telling that the moon light frost which represents the cruel society towards her is leading her to death or doesn’t feel any guilty and sympathy to her. In the poem, most of words are represent death of her and the dream that she had. The reason why this is important because we understand and assume how harsh her life was how much she wanted leave this horrible place. Since her poem tells us that she wants to escape from patriarchal society, so which relates to our unit 2, Hidden Voice, that there were many Korean women who had same wish like writer of this poem.

On the other side, the K-pop music has totally different meanings and story than the old Korean poem. The music “I Will Show You” by Ailee is one of the music that women power gets stronger and overcome the paternalism. The story of this music is very simple; there are one man and one woman who were couple but a woman was a “nerd”. As a result, a man dumped her and gets another girlfriend. However, a woman changed into a very fashionable and confident, a man changes the attitude toward her and starts to follow her.
On the other hand, a woman tired to revenge to men who made her angry and sorrow. It shows that women can control over men. In the lyric, the chorus part, “I will show you totally different myself/ I will show you more beautiful myself/ I will not cry because of you who was eager love/ I will show I am happier than you when I meet a more cool man/ I don’t feel any sadness even though you are not here, I don’t collapse, boy you gatta be aware” show how much she become confident about her appearance and herself.
The starting part of the second verse, “Change my hair style more fresh and do makeup better/ everyone looking at me who wear high heels and short skirt” directly shows that how she revenge to her ex- boyfriend and it represents the higher states of women. The song is showing why this states changed in the story in the song. This song is important because in the song the states of men and women changed, how men treat women towards their appearance and why women had higher states at the middle of the song. The women and the men had different choices but ended up that she wins in this “competition” of the states.
Since the poem and the song were written in different people in different time, there are many similarities and differences between two. Both poem and song is telling the story in the same point of view. These are all written in women’s perspective and it tells us the story that they have. However, there are more differences between these two. In the song, the woman tired to change her and the attitude that men had towards her. On the other hand, in the poem, the writer wanted to escape from her situation not trying to change her situation.

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