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A South Korean influencer extols the virtues of a child-free life in a country that increases incentives to give birth

A South Korean influencer extols the virtues of a child-free life in a country that increases incentives to give birth

In South Korea today, two-thirds of women choose to be single to pursue their ambitions. Among them is Aromi, a YouTuber with 200,000 subscribers who is resisting the ban on having children.

In Seoul, a bustling, sprawling and bustling metropolis, we wonder where the children have gone. The numbers provide part of the answer: with 0.81 children per woman, South Korea has the lowest birth rate in the world. Two-thirds (65.4%) of South Korean women aged 19 to 34 said they do not want children, according to a September 2022 survey by the Korea Population Health and Welfare Association.

Basically this child accident above all, it is a symptom of the contradictions that govern South Korea’s multifaceted society. Everything is clear in Korea. women still have to decide between professional and personal life because it is still their job to take care of the children. Moreover, the high cost of raising a child is a significant barrier to motherhood. Added to this are repeated social and family pressures. women are encouraged to withdraw from professional life after childbirth, and demanding working hours (52 hours per week) are often incompatible with family life.

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“Not getting married is my greatest achievement”

Worried about this very low birth rate, which is seen as a matter of “national emergency”, the South Korean government is increasing incentives to have children. But resistance is growing in the country. Inflection has even become the voice of single women and advocates the joys of life without children. His name is Saint Aromi. In her peaceful home in rural South Korea, the young woman practices yoga, sleeps and encourages her more than 200,000 YouTube subscribers not to feel guilty about enjoying their single lives. “Not getting married is my biggest achievement,” the 37-year-old said, adding that she never considered being a “good” wife or mother as her life’s goal. Although choosing not to have children is seen as a “disaster” in South Korea, Sen Aromi thinks about the “possible disadvantages of not having children” and doesn’t see one.

In his book I can’t help living alone, which became an unexpected success, the impact chronicles his joy in escaping society’s expectations and enjoying his single life. Summary In the Land of the Morning Calm, the top-seller inspired not only other single women in their thirties, but also the older generation, especially widows or divorcees.

In it, Saint Aromy rejoices in having the “freedom to be lazy (as he) wants” without being criticized. “While some get married because they don’t like being alone, others choose not to date simply because they like to relax,” she writes.

South Korean company under pressure

But how can we explain this distrust of parenthood? Many young Koreans are giving up on marriage and children, partly for economic reasons, amid stagnant growth, rising real estate prices in Seoul and intense competition for top jobs, experts say. Others say broader cultural factors are at play South Korea remains a socially conservative country where single parenthood is frowned upon, same-sex marriage is not recognized and married women often drop out of the workforce. On average, they spend 3.5 times more time per day on housework and child care than their male counterparts. “Traditional expectations about the roles of men and women in the family, as well as tensions between the sexes, are certainly related to the current low birth rate,” University of Portland sociology professor Heyun Wu.

Giving up the symbols of success for YouTube – an apartment in Seoul, a well-paying job, a loving husband – allowed her to find true happiness. “I’ve never worked for a big conglomerate, I don’t live in a city and I’ve never been married,” he still emphasizes to AFP. Before recalling his experience living in Seoul, which he describes as a miserable time with tedious commutes and stressful work.

After years of living abroad, from being a hotel housekeeper to packing meat at a chicken factory and posting videos about her life online, Sen Aromi eventually returned from South Korea and settled in a rural town. He renovated the old family home and moved in, and grew his YouTube channel, which eventually had over 200,000 subscribers. Her videos cover topics as diverse as living alone, travel, fitness, and yoga. And the bet paid off. today, one YouTube video earns him five times what he used to earn a month working in Seoul, and he can “lead a much more independent life, which is extremely satisfying,” he says.

Criticism of celibacy

His social media posts praising his single life, however, came under fire. Some netizens countered that actually Sen Aromi must feel lonely or called “selfish” because she is not married.

For his part, the primary stakeholder claims that he has had several satisfying relationships, but also that his autonomy and his lifestyle are his absolute priority. The success of his book shows that you can “be the best in any field even if you lead an atypical life,” he says. Most couples who have children do so because it makes them happy, and single people also make choices for their own happiness, which should be respected, she believes. If anyone else has kids, the perfect single says she’s proud of her contributions, “giving birth to two YouTube channels and a book.” After all, to each their own children.

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Source: Le Figaro

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