Kdrama Glossary: Discovering Ajummas

Posted by Stephanie on June 22, 2012


Kdrama Glossary: Disconvering Ajummas

So I’ve been meaning, for a while now, to do a series on Kdrama or Korean terms. Heh. Sometimes I forget that Kdrama actually stems from an actual country and society. And with this weeks review of I Am Legend, I figured now is the perfect time to start.

We’ll start with ajumma (or ahjumma)

The term is used a lot in the show. The ladies are known as and fight against their label of ajumma rockers. They seemed to take great offence to the term. Which was interesting as before this show I had just assumed ajumma meant something like our ‘ma’am’. Although, come to think of it, now that I’m beginning to notice that I’m being referred a lot more often as ‘ma’am’, I’m not really pleased with it either.

So I did a little research and found this interesting entry in the Urban Dictionary:

While many people believe “ajumma” is simply a Korean word for a “middle aged woman” or “madam,” everyone who lives inside believes the myth that there are actually 3 genders existent in Korea: male, female, and ajumma. The female, in a marriage, is usually reborn to be an ajumma, although a very impolite women can be referred as and eventually turn into an ajumma. Females have long hair and males have short hair, while ajummas have permed hair just like our grandmothers. Their physical strength surpass that of females’. When they gather, they brag about their children to each other and down talk behind their husbands’ back. Females are pretty, ajummas are scary and they are closer to a male than a female in many ways.

I am legend

If these ladies are ajummas it can’t be all bad, right?

With this knowledge in hand, looking back at my Kdrama history, these ajummas are everywhere!

Then I began to worry. Am I an ajumma? While I am unmarried and I don’t own a business, Iam of a certain age. By Kdrama standards, I am quite on the shelf. (Waaaaa!!) Just as in Korea, amongst my Kdrama friends, we jokingly refer to ourselves as ajummas. I think it’s more of a wanting to be connected to the culure than an acceptance of age. Then I remind myself. I guess I don’t really have to worry about it. You know. Until I visit Korea. Here in the US, I only have to trouble myself with ‘ma’am’.


If you want more information, check out this super fun video from Sweet and Tasty TV. Actually you shoulld check out their video’s either on the website or YouTube. They are fun and informative.

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