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Young Mi Joung
Comm 594
November 16, 1998


TV and Marriage

Today's young adults grow up in an information age, and most of the information they get is from media. When television, newspaper, magazine, movies and etc. various kinds of media delivered vast amount of information to them, they also play an important role in influencing their opinions on many issues such as marriage, political view and self-identity.

My name is Young Mi Joung and I am from South Korea. As a young woman at the age of twenty-three, my view about marriage has been changing for many times during my life. I like watching TV very much and I do think that TV programs have been, more or less, influencing my opinion toward marriage. However, I know what I really want.

Although it happened long time ago when I was only six, I can still vividly remember the role I played as a mom in our kids' family games. At that time, a TV program for children called "family play" was very popular in South Korea. The program was actually played by children themselves. These children actors and actresses formed a family in the TV program and they played the roles of mom, dad, son and daughter respectively. It was really interesting and fun-filled. Almost every child watched it and liked it very much. Parents also asked kids to watch the program because they thought it was educational. Children learned and imitated a lot of things from the program. As a little girl, I learned what is a family and began to understand that it was not so easy for parents to manage the whole family. I also learned how to clean, how to set the table and how to help parents do some chores. After watching this program, almost everyday I and other kids played this kind of game by ourselves. I was always very interested in playing the role of a mother in a family, like what was shown on the TV program. I not only imitated the mother on TV, but also my own mother in real life. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I said without any hesitation that I want to be a mother. I thought mother was the best person in the world because she can do almost everything by herself such as taking care of children, cooking, cleaning and etc. All of these are done only by herself. Mother is so great, and I have to be a great mother in the future.

Later I grew up and went to primary school. At home I was always puzzled that my mom called my grandparents at least once or twice a week. I could hear what she said was just something like "how are you?" "Good morning!" All of these were only some greeting words, nothing special. I couldn't understand and asked her why. She explained to me that to call them was a natural thing and she should do that to show her respect and concern for them. She felt happy to call them and took proud of herself by doing that. She also told me seriously, " If you get married, you should do that." And I was deeply impressed and decided to do that after I get married someday. At that time, there were many TV programs about family relations between young couples and their old parents. One of these programs talked about how young people respected their old parents. Even it was broadcasted a long time ago, it is still very impressive for me until today. I can still remember in the program that when young couple came home, they knocked the door and greeted their parents. They told them about interesting things happened during the day and took them outside to do shopping. Another different program talked about that young people didn't treat senior parents very well. Even I was very young then, I knew it was not the right way and I will definitely not do that. At that time, I though the man I will marry must have parents. Only in this case, I can respect them and show them how a young people can take good care of senior people. Otherwise, I won't have any chance to do that. Until now I still have this kind of thinking. My friends can't understand me. They always think that if we live with old people, we can't do thing freely and we have to do a lot of chores to take care of them. However, I know that's exactly what I want.

When I was in high school, my opinion about marriage was greatly challenged by my French teacher. She was a 35-year-old career woman. I was so surprised to find that although she was single, she lived a very happy and successful life. She looked very energetic, ambitious, young and beautiful. She had been travelling to many countries. I really got confused then. I was looking forward so much to living a life like her. But I thought if I get married, I had no chance to do that. I have to take care of children, and in this case I can't get a job. I can't do anything I like. There were a lot of dramas shown on TV about the independent and challenging life of single career woman. I did admire that kind of life. But on the other hands, while they enjoyed their life as a single career woman, they were sometimes also looking forward to family life. I can still remember on one TV program when the married friends told the successful career woman about the happiness of marriage, the career woman also expressed her wish to have a family. Sometimes when I watched TV about happy couples, how I wish I could have a family like them. So it was really a confusing and changing period in my life. I was frustrated by two completely different ideas about marriage: one is to be like my teacher and will not get married. The other is to get married and be a good wife and mother.

When I grew older, I began to think more about the question: which kind of person I should marry. I think I should marry a man who loves me most. In my eyes, money is not important at all. Many friends shared the same opinion with me. However, one of my friends said that how you could marry a poor man. If he has no money, you can't love him. She will choose a man who loves her and is rich. It was a time in South Korea that a lot of TV programs talking about luxurious life style. Almost every hero and heroine on TV were rich, well educated, good-looking and seemed to have everything perfect in the world. Many young people loved that kind of program and were looking forward to that kind of luxurious life. But, I did think it was too exaggerating compared with real life. It was stupid that so many teenagers were dreaming of unrealistic thing like the luxurious life on TV. Even though my friends kept saying that if you live in the world, you have to have money, I didn't change my mind. I know what I really want.

When I was about 20 years old, there was a very popular TV drama called "lover" in South Korea. It talked about the love story between two married people. It is really the best one I ever watched. Most of married women loved this program. In the drama, the hero was faithful to his wife, but he fell in love with the other woman who also got married. His attitude towards the woman he loved was very romantic and beautiful. As a result of the drama, many married women had another lover. It was becoming a serious social problem in South Korea. Our country is known as a conservative country. It can never be acceptable that a woman can have another man. But many cases did happen due to the broadcast of this program. As a traditional girl, I never think that if I get married, I can have another man. But after watching this program, I think it could be. The reason is very obvious as shown on TV. After being married for years, the love will not be so strong. As time goes on, it is possible to fall in love with another man. Concerning the TV drama, I blamed the man more than the woman did. I think every man is the same. No matter how sincere and faithful he is, he can change. The original result of the drama was the two in love got remarried. However, because of the pressure of the social problem, the director had to change the final result into the broken-up of their relations. Both of them returned to their own family at the end of the drama. I was so disappointed. Many women liked this program because they think why man can always do that but not woman. Even we women are married; we can still have chances to meet other men. From this drama, I began to lose belief on marriage. It always starts with a happy marriage but ends with trouble. I still want to get married, but don't have such a high expectation toward marriage.

Now I have been in USA for more than two months. My opinion on marriage is again facing new challenges. When I first came to USA this summer, I came across a financial problem. I can't buy anything I want just because I have to save money. It is the first time that I realized money is so important and can help me do what I want. Sometimes I may think I should marry a rich person. It is also the first time I think that I should marry a rich man. Love is not everything. Money is also very important. Real life is different from dream. Because of money, I myself am becoming cunning.

When I was in South Korea, I watched a talk show talking about marriage between foreigners and Korean women. A German male actor and an American male actor got married with Korea women. They said it was not easy to live with foreigners in a foreign country. Although they loved their wife very much, they still need to try hard to adopt with each other. But they still thought it was not a problem to marry foreigners. However, before I came here, I can't understand it and never think about getting married with a foreigner. I think even I can learn his language, I can't know what exactly we want to say. And also I have my own culture and life style and he has everything he already has. How can these be mixed together? However, after I came here, I met a lot of people from other countries with different nationalities. I found that human beings are almost the same. Sometimes I think it is possible for me to marry with a foreigner. Now I have a Turkey boyfriend. It is true that we can't communicate very well and fluently. It is not easy to express our delicate emotions. Sometimes when we can't communicate very well, we just guess. I admit we have culture barriers, but I don't have any rejections and worries with marrying him. Because I do have the feeling in love with him and so does he. I don't know if he is rich or not, the most important is that I feel love toward him and I believe our love will grow and grow...

TV program does give me a lot of thinking on marriage. However, I know my own way. And I am on my way to a happy marriage no matter what happened and what is happening on the stories aired on TV.

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