“Not getting married is my greatest achievement”: an influencer going against the grain in South Korea

“Not getting married is my greatest achievement”: an influencer going against the grain in South Korea

Seen Aromi pratique le yoga, fait la grasse matinée et encourage ses plus de 200.000 abonnés sur YouTube à ne pas se sentir coupables de profiter de leur vie en solo. ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP

South Korea considers its very low birth rate a national emergency. and multiplies the incentives to procreate, but an influencer conversely praises the delights of the single life.

In her peaceful home in the South Korean countryside, Seen Aromi practices yoga, sleeps in, and encourages her more than 200,000 YouTube subscribers not to feel guilty about enjoying their lives solo.

"Not getting married is my greatest achievement", says the 37-year-old woman to AFP, specifying that she never considered becoming a "maid" wife or mother as the goal of one's life.

They say it's a "disaster" that women don't have children in South Korea, she said. This country has the lowest birth rate in the world and a rapidly aging population.

"But when I think about the potential downsides of not having kids, I don'not see any". She wrote about her joy in escaping society's expectations and enjoying her single life in a book, 'I Can't Help Living Alone Well ", which enjoyed unexpected success.

Briefly at the top of sales in South Korea, it aroused the enthusiasm not only of other single women in their thirties, but also of an older generation, particularly widows or divorcees.

In her book, she rejoices in having "the freedom to be as lazy (as she) is wishes" without being criticized. "While some people marry because they don't like being alone, others choose not to meet anyone simply because' they like to lounge", she writes.

Achievement Symbols

According to experts, many young Koreans are giving up marriage and children, partly for economic reasons, against a backdrop of stagnant growth, soaring real estate prices in Seoul and intense competition for the best jobs. 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 end up leaving the job market. They spend on average 3.5 times more time per day on household chores and childcare than their male spouses.

"Traditional expectations about the roles of men and women in the family, as well as tensions between the sexes, are certainly linked to the low birth rate current", tells AFP Hyeyoung Woo, professor of sociology at the University of Portland.

For the YouTuber, giving up the symbols of success – an apartment in Seoul, a well-paid job, a loving spouse – allowed her to find authentic happiness.

“I've never worked for a large conglomerate, I don't live in the city, and I've never been married", she explains to AFP. She describes her experience living in Seoul as a miserable time, with grueling commutes and a stressful job.

After living abroad for years, with jobs ranging from housekeeper in a hotel to meat packer in a chicken factory, and posting videos online on his life, she returned to South Korea and settled in a rural town.

She renovated an old family home and moved in, and grew her YouTube channel, which eventually had over 200,000 subscribers. Her videos cover topics as varied as solo living, travel, fitness and yoga.

A single video on YouTube now earns her five times more than she earned per month working in Seoul, and she can & ;quot;lead a much more independent life, which is extremely satisfying, she said.


His social media posts praising the single life, however, sparked attacks. Some netizens retort that in reality, Seen Aromi must feel alone or call her “selfish" because' ;#39;she did not marry.

She says she has had several fulfilling relationships, but that her autonomy and lifestyle are her top priority. The success of her book shows that you can "be the best in a field even if you lead an atypical life", she declares.

Most couples who have children do so because it makes them happy, and people who live alone also make choices for their happiness, which should be respected, she believes.

If others have children, the fulfilled single says she is proud of her contributions by having "gave birth to two YouTube channels and a book& ;quot;.

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