The story-line centres on a housewife who becomes a stay-at-home mother and later suffers from depression. It focuses on the everyday sexism the title character experiences from childhood.
Boys are like that,” the teacher laughed. “They’re meaner to the girls they like. I’ll give him a talking-to. Why don’t you take this incident as an opportunity to become better friends instead of changing desk-mates on unfriendly terms?”The teacher tells this to Kim Jiyoung when she complaints about being bullied by a classmate
He likes me? He picks on me because he likes me?Jiyoung was confused. She went over the series of incidents that she had suffered because of him, and still couldn’t make sense of what the teacher was saying. If you like someone, you’re friendlier and nicer to them. To friends, to family, to your pet dogs and cats. Even at the age of eight, this was common sense to Jiyoung.
She watches her grandmother & mother, her sister and herself going through the patriarch society as just passer-by.
Of the four sons she raised thus, Jiyoung’s father was the only one to carry out his duties as a son in her old age. Unwanted by her ungrateful children, Koh Boonsoon rationalized this sad outcome with an incoherent logic: “Still, I get to eat warm food my son made for me, and sleep under warm covers my son arranged for me because I had four sons. You have to have at least four sons.”Koh Boonsoon is Kim Jiyoung’s grandmother
Oh Misook, her son’s wife, was the one who cooked the warm food and laid out the warm covers for her, not her son, but Koh Boonsoon had a habit of saying so anyway.
From being less favoured then her younger brother,being harrassed by a guy on public bus, not getting recognition at her job while working the same as her male counterparts, taking responsibilities of all the domestic tasks and so many litlle things that slip in to everyday lives of women.
A little while ago a video went viral of a woman walking down streets of New York and the hundreds of men who catcalled her,
(if youbhave notnseen the video I’ll plug it here – https://youtu.be/b1XGPvbWn0A
Most men had a very expected reaction to the video, they were unaware, because it never happens to them they didn’t know it can. Somehow many of them have missed to connect the dots from ‘satis’ in the east and ‘witch-burning’ in the west to modern day microaggressions.
This book reminded me of the hundreds of women who go through their day with these microaggressions just in their everyday lives without even mentioning them because they are so many,women have learned to live their lives crossing this maze of patriarchy.
The unbelievably meager wages from working day and night, popping caffeine pills, and turning jaundiced went toward sending male siblings to school. This was a time when people believed it was up to the sons to bring honor and prosperity to the family, and that the family’s wealth and happiness hinged upon male success. The daughters gladly supported the male siblings.Kim Jiyoung’s mother & her aunt’s worked as the male siblings went to medical school & got High paying jobs but the sisters never get any chance to enjoy any privilege or even appreciation for their contributions
This book is in a way life of every woman who has been born on the face of this earth and dare I say “lucky ones” because these are the things we ignore and there are much worse things happening to women in all parts of the globe.
We don’t talk about it enough,even women, we don’t want to come across as “too feminist”. We don’t respond to all the casual sexism because “How will I be able to get anything done if I’ll snap at every casual sexist comment and wierd stares but it does affect the mind of the person deeply even if they don’t say it, the victim feels it’s somehow their fault because the society say so.
But that night, Jiyoung got an earful from her father. “Why is your cram school so far away? Why do you talk to strangers? Why is your skirt so short?” Jiyoung grew up being told to be cautious, to dress conservatively, to be “ladylike.” That it’s your job to avoid dangerous places, times of day and people. It’s your fault for not noticing and not avoiding.Jiyoung’s father after she is harrassed
A personal incident here, just the last working day I noticed a wierd guy following me around while I was returning home from the grocery store, what I did ? Ignored him, came back home as quickly as I could, locked my doors and checked them several times throughout the night. This was not the first time and will not be the last. Because things like this happen so much that as society we are anesthetized and women issues have become kind of a seasonal thing, read a few books in march, put up a status when a rape happens. But I hope more books like this come to us and take us ahead.