Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Ju : Thoughts

Bookish Discussion:

Do you identify yourself as a feminist? If yes, do you think its relevant to read feminist books from across the world? Do you also think that fiction, supported by actual data is the best way to be informed about the challenges faced by minorities, globally?

Thoughts on Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982:

What a coincidence! I was born in 1982 as well. And for a while, when reading this book, I actually wondered if Kim Jiyoung change her name and country? Because this narrative feels too close to my own reality, or the reality of many Indian working mothers that I know as well!

There’s this movie on Netflix, that’s been all the rage recently. The Social Dilemma. It’s categorised as a docu-drama. Which means, the story is taken forward by fictional characters, but its supported by actual facts and data. Which is what made it so impactful to the viewers. Because they could believe this. Because they realised, this movie was about them.

I wonder if books have a similar classification. Because, although this book is classified as fiction, throughout the story the author has supported the narration with actual referenced facts. Forget the referencing also for a second. As a reader, and a working woman, you’ll know, that this book is far from fiction. It’s non-fiction, because I’m 100% sure, all of us have gone through something like this in our lifetime.

The discrimination mentioned in this book isn’t one that’s in your face, where women are not allowed to go to school or marry the one they love. It’s more subtle, but equally crippling. It’s in the fact that even educated parents want a boy, despite having a daughter already. It’s in the fact that girls are are nudged to help with household chores to help mama, along with their studies and that boys are nudged to be the sole financial providers for the family, even if they have no interest in studying or would prefer to help in the kitchen. It’s in the fact that we have to hide the fact that we’re having our periods and that the cramps are real and bloody uncomfortable. It’s in the fact that a boy decided it was perfectly acceptable to stalk you because you ‘smiled’ at him a few times. It’s in the fact that employers subconsciously look over women for higher positions, because one day they’ll get pregnant and go on maternity leave and that’s such a hassle for business. It’s in the fact that women will be judged, for having a coffee at work if they’ve left their babies at daycare, or having a coffee if they’re a stay at home mom. Period. It’s in a lot of these little, persistent facts.

This book has been translated from Korean to English and Im glad it was translated, so I could feel a sense of kinship with the Korean women and know, that the battle for equality and equal rights, the battle against subtle sexism at home, school and workplace, is not restricted to my own country, but is a global issue. I felt a sense of solidarity with Kim Jiyoung, when I finished this book.

A short book just over 150 pages long, I recommend this highly. Thank you Mansi @ I was Thinking.. for recommending this gem of a book to me 🙂

6 thoughts on “Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Ju : Thoughts

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