who’s this girl?


Seriously – I can’t tell what hangul is describing what or whom so I can’t figure out what her name is.

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12 thoughts on “who’s this girl?

  1. that’s Um Jeong Hwa (엄정화), singer, actress, model. i was into her music when i was a kid and actually saw her in busan last year at the film festival. she was one of the characters in Haeundae.

  2. I missed the ㅗ and thought it was a ㅡ No wonder I couldn’t find her! (That’s probably my biggest problem with hanguel – not seeing those little dots. I wish my eyes were better)

    Anyway, my daughter looks like her in many ways.

    I have yet to see anyone anywhere here who looks like me.

  3. Keep trying, after all there is only 45 million. :) Your daughter must be beautiful. I wish I had a daughter. I could only manage two sons. Just curious what is your daughter’s ethnicity?

  4. Um Jeong Hwa is a very colorful entertainer. She is known for her crazy outfits. She also has a brother in the business, Um Tae Ung who starred in Queen Seonduk, the first queen of the Silla kingdom. The drama was one of the most successful. He played the role Generak Kim Yushin who was a very famous general during the Silla period. He was responsible in defeating the Baekja Kingdom.

  5. My children are half Korean, quarter Irish, and the other quarter is a Heinz 57 which supposedly includes a little French, Indian, and possibly African American.

    Don’t know much about the paternal grandmother’s side of the family except that she reminded me of Charlie Parker’s common law wife, Chan. She was quite beautiful as a young woman and before alcoholism.

    Both my kids inherited my small (thankfully not quite as small) stature. Their father had really small eyes so they were lucky to get my big eyes and luckier than me because they got really huge eyes.

    My son takes after me and my daughter, for some weird reason, resembles her paternal grandmother.
    I hope they don’t take on high blood pressure and gout like their grandfather. And both of the kids are keenly aware of alcoholism destroying everyone in their father’s family.

    I, of course, have no idea who I take after.

  6. “I hope they don’t take on high blood pressure and gout like their grandfather” I have these conditions as well but I cured them via proper diet. People with gout should avoid all forms of meat as well as seafood. Beer is also an absolute no no. Because of my diet I went from a stage 2 to normal to stage 1 hypertension victim with no further gout attack.
    Btw, your daughter sounds absolutely beautiful, do you want to be my in-law? :)

  7. I don’t think I look like her!

    This blog is interesting to me in a narcissistic way because I get to find out new things about myself and our family – I never knew we supposedly had some African-American blood! I guess it’s pretty common for many white American families to have African-American blood, usually for unsavory reasons… I didn’t know we had a family history of gout, either. Luckily for me I just stopped eating meat.

    I have to say I am highly sensitive to the racial aspect of how my looks are perceived by different people. I guess I feel that I’m Asian-looking enough (whatever that means) to be exotic to many white people, and therefore considered beautiful in an exoticized/fetishized way, but light-skinned enough and Eurasian enough to meet many European beauty standards and not to be perceived as threatening or too dark or however else other people of color are thought to look. This does depend on the person though. Anyway, compliments and attention from white people are often insulting and sometimes just plain disgusting. I remember one time a white adviser at school complimented my “exotic” features and told me she wished her daughter had eyes like mine. This kind of thing happens constantly, and obviously stories like these are ones all Asian-American women can tell.

    With Asians, I often feel that I get compliments from them precisely because I’m part white, and so have large eyes with a crease, long eyelashes, etc. It actually makes me feel really bad – as if compliments I receive come from internalized racism and/or European beauty standards. They often have a direct corollary: “Oh, you’re so lucky, you have such long eyelashes!” holds the unspoken “I’m so unlucky to have short eyelashes and more ‘Asian’ eyes”. Maybe this is similar to the good hair/bad hair thing in the black community. People are not simply complimenting me; they’re also reproducing, to themselves and others, the European beauty standards that place value on one type of eyelashes and not another.
    So, people’s reactions to the way I look have benefited me in many ways, but also really upset me. I find it really depressing, especially as I find Asian features beautiful including “small” eyes, short or downward-pointing eyelashes and the rest. Sometimes I want to shout, “Don’t let them win and make you think you’re not beautiful!” A person’s beauty is not hindered in any way by having short eyelashes in my opinion. My mom is a good example of this, and even though she complains about her “stubby” eyelashes I’ve always found her eyes very beautiful. Who cares if your eyelashes are long? I mean, obviously, in a world with strong and constantly reinforced European standards of beauty it’s important in different ways and has different results. But I hold (and also try to cultivate) ideals that don’t just mirror those standards.

    I guess being me and moving through the world, with this body and this face, is interesting because people reveal all kinds of things about themselves and the way they think, voluntarily and vocally, just upon seeing me. It can get pretty weird. (This is also a common experience especially for multiracial women). I look the same in each encounter, but people come up with totally different assessments of my looks, from value judgments, to guesses at my race/ethnicity, based on their OWN identity and ideology.

    About being mixed-race, I recently came across this article about mixed race people and the language of fractions:

    http://www.racialicious.com/2009/09/22/tuesday-nitpicking-mixed-race-people-and-the-language-of-fractions/

    I thought it was interesting, although I’m not sure it’s important enough to me to go around correcting people. I was listening to a podcast about the article and one commenter said that hearing the language of fractions when referring to multiracial people made her think of the one-drop rule and blood quantums and all that. Anyway I think the author’s point about wanting to think of racial groups as well-defined and separate is a good one, and I think there is some truth to the idea that we use fractions because of that thinking. Unlike the author, I don’t really feel like I’m both Korean and white American – because I don’t feel I am either, since I definitely don’t identify as white but didn’t grow up with any Korean culture, either. I guess I feel more like a multiracial, American woman of color, but the point is I definitely can’t separate out my halves and parts either. So the language of fractions doesn’t feel appropriate to me either. Or maybe it’s just that disclosure of ethnicity always reminds me of the question “What are you?” so it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth?

    Anyway, yay for complex identities and the internet as a vehicle for identity-exploration! I wonder if I would ever have been able to even begin processing all this stuff without the internet… And I wonder if I would be able to turn in my homework on time without the internet, ha!

  8. So we all look different, big deal. I wish the census bureau do away with the question on race all together and but human race as the only option.

  9. That’s a pretty callous answer to a comment I put a lot of thought into. I wasn’t attacking you – I was just explaining what comes up for me when people start discussing female beauty and race/ethnicity.

    Anyway, it is a big deal. If racism didn’t exist, it wouldn’t be a big deal – but it does, so it is. It shouldn’t be, but it is. And I think it’s important for the government to collect census data about race and ethnicity. Various groups use that data to study what, exactly, is happening in their communities. Racism isn’t going to disappear just because we stop collecting data about it. It would continue to exist and have real, physical, immediate effects on people’s well-being – but we wouldn’t be able to quantify its effects or show proof of inequalities. France doesn’t collect census data about race and they have obviously not eliminated racism – if anything, the lack of data just makes racism harder to track and there has been a big debate there about whether or not to START collecting such data again after outlawing it in 1978.

    Here’s a dated but still relevant press release from the American Sociological Association that explains this:
    http://www2.asanet.org/media/race.html

    No, race is not based on biology. But it is still very real in that it has real effects that can be measured in real terms – like who has health insurance, who is imprisoned, who lives longest, who dies young, who is a victim of hate crime, who lives in what neighborhoods, who is unemployed.

  10. I was not being callous or rude. What I meant was that race should not matter but of course in real life racism exist. Even our census data reflect this fact. This is why I said to put on human race as the only option. It is a misunderstanding but I am sorry that I did not make my comment more clear which lead to all this. What I should have said is that looking different should not be a big deal but of course it is in real life.

  11. I don’t think I look like her!

    I said resembles in many ways! (more than any other image I’ve ever seen of anyone out there)

    This blog is interesting to me in a narcissistic way because I get to find out new things about myself and our family – I never knew we supposedly had some African-American blood!

    Well, that’s about all I know of it – your dad said he had heard that there was one person some suspected was half African American way way back in the family tree. Since everyone who might know is dead and since everyone we know living we don’t want to talk to, there’s no way to confirm that.

    I didn’t know we had a family history of gout, either. Luckily for me I just stopped eating meat.

    Yeah, your dad’s father had it. I’ll have to google what it is, as I don’t know anything about it and have only read about references to it in turn of the century literature. Why does it seem like this is always in reference to men? So we should do this for David. Unfortunately for you kids, I’ve no family medical history of my own to share, so that’s a total wild card. Of course, we all hear about the Korean rate of stomach cancer, so I’d keep tissue damaging eating (like the capsicum oil in hot peppers) down to a minimum. Hard for me to do here, as it is PERVASIVE.

    I’ve been thinking of going back to vegetarian myself. For me, the problem is that with hypoglycemia, lacking animal protein I need to eat complex carbohydrates OFTEN. Like a slow cooker with a pot of lentils and whole grains always at the ready…And that’s almost impossible in today’s work place. I hate pre-packaged vegetarian snacks and fruits and vegetables are not enough to sustain me.

    I have to say I am highly sensitive to the racial aspect of how my looks are perceived by different people. I guess I feel that I’m Asian-looking enough (whatever that means) to be exotic to many white people, and therefore considered beautiful in an exoticized/fetishized way, but light-skinned enough and Eurasian enough to meet many European beauty standards and not to be perceived as threatening or too dark or however else other people of color are thought to look. This does depend on the person though. Anyway, compliments and attention from white people are often insulting and sometimes just plain disgusting. I remember one time a white adviser at school complimented my “exotic” features and told me she wished her daughter had eyes like mine. This kind of thing happens constantly, and obviously stories like these are ones all Asian-American women can tell.

    Wow. I’ve heard of wishing these things for yourself, but she’s unhappy with her daughter’s looks? That’s just too weird to me…

    With Asians, I often feel that I get compliments from them precisely because I’m part white, and so have large eyes with a crease, long eyelashes, etc. It actually makes me feel really bad – as if compliments I receive come from internalized racism and/or European beauty standards. They often have a direct corollary: “Oh, you’re so lucky, you have such long eyelashes!” holds the unspoken “I’m so unlucky to have short eyelashes and more ‘Asian’ eyes”. Maybe this is similar to the good hair/bad hair thing in the black community. People are not simply complimenting me; they’re also reproducing, to themselves and others, the European beauty standards that place value on one type of eyelashes and not another.

    In my last discussion class I showed a clip about sangsoo (don’t know if that’s spelled right, but how I heard it), the double eyelid surgery. This was from a Montel Williams episode entitled, I hate my race. Prior to the episode and discussion, I had students sit at different tables depending on whether they were for or against cosmetic surgery. I was amazed to see that after the discussion three students switched from the against side to the for side! Because I’m trying to just moderate and not influence, I have to just ask questions (I do think I failed by missing some good points to question) and so it is the students influencing the students, even as we talked about body modification, what is socially acceptable, why is one thing acceptable but another not, and what are the cultural differences in social acceptability. At the end of the day, the class was divided about 75% for cosmetic surgery.

    Not a fan of it myself (because surgery is too radical to me), I was disappointed to find my favorite student Winnie all about it. She thought bigger eyes were more beautiful. Why? Because many famous beautiful people had big eyes. Do you think this has anything to do with race? And here I was shocked to hear her say yes. She thought western actors and actresses had bigger more beautiful eyes and that Koreans wanted eyes like theirs. So why is bigger better, I asked her? She couldn’t answer that. And then I told the students that many westerners thought “almond-shaped” eyes were very beautiful, and they couldn’t believe it.

    Now, this goes against everything I’ve been told / been thinking whevenever this topic came up in America! I’m thinking about that horrific episode of the Tyra Show where Tyra Banks rips a beautiful Korean American girl apart for not saying that she wanted to look like white people. It was really bizarre, how passively aggressive and self-congratulatory Tyra was for saying in public that to be accepted in a racist society she had to change her beauty standards to look closer to white. Obviously, Tyra is not of the natural hair camp. In Tyra’s world, hypocritical to not admit you are governed by and oppressed by a Eurocentric beauty standard. In Tyra’s world, there is nothing hypocritical about contributing to oppressing diversity by conforming to these standards. But it is okay to act superior to those who feel they have other motives. Anyway, there was a firestorm by Asians after that show, because many many Asians already have that extra fold in their eye and that even after the surgery, there is no way to not look Asian. And that really, the only explanation white people (and Tyra) for why Asians would want to get this surgery is that everyone wants to be like them, which is a strange mixture of being full of yourself and at the same time really insecure. Then, on top of this the Montal was shown IN AMERICA about double eyelid surgery by Asian Americans. Surely Asian Americans are living in the belly of the beast and the perceived western standard of beauty is different than if they lived in an entirely Asian environment. Also, since living in Korea I can tell you that there are as many Asians with HUGE eyes as there are Asians with small eyes. I can also tell you that the extra fold does give the perception of having larger eyes.

    So why would Asians want bigger eyes if not to look western? Is Winnie just wrong and saying this because she couldn’t come up with a plausible other reason? I read somewhere there was a study that measured people’s responses to big eyes, and it found that people of all persuasions and ethnicities had more positive responses to ANYTHING with bigger eyes: animals, other people, dolls, etc. Because babies have proportionately larger eyes than adults, they proposed that love of big eyes is nature’s way of preserving a species to engender the nurturing response.

    I think in light of all of the above, I think that race and eye size is probably both nature and environment, and that this idea of wanting bigger eyes equating to hating ones own race (rather, coveting aspects of the dominant race) is sometimes true but not always true.

    So, people’s reactions to the way I look have benefited me in many ways, but also really upset me. I find it really depressing, especially as I find Asian features beautiful including “small” eyes, short or downward-pointing eyelashes and the rest. Sometimes I want to shout, “Don’t let them win and make you think you’re not beautiful!”
    A person’s beauty is not hindered in any way by having short eyelashes in my opinion. My mom is a good example of this, and even though she complains about her “stubby” eyelashes I’ve always found her eyes very beautiful. Who cares if your eyelashes are long? I mean, obviously, in a world with strong and constantly reinforced European standards of beauty it’s important in different ways and has different results. But I hold (and also try to cultivate) ideals that don’t just mirror those standards.

    Yes, but can’t wanting a soft lush feathery frame around your eyes be thought of as part of the same category as wearing makeup or wanting a flattering hairstyle, etc.? I wouldn’t call them European vs. Asian or white vs. yellow. I would call it cultural, and I think they are considered attractive in both American and Korean cultures.

    I guess being me and moving through the world, with this body and this face, is interesting because people reveal all kinds of things about themselves and the way they think, voluntarily and vocally, just upon seeing me. It can get pretty weird. (This is also a common experience especially for multiracial women). I look the same in each encounter, but people come up with totally different assessments of my looks, from value judgments, to guesses at my race/ethnicity, based on their OWN identity and ideology.

    That’s really interesting! I never thought how being mixed race could be a reflection of people’s own identity. But I think we also have to be careful not to read other people’s reactions only from the view of our own feelings of subjugation to the dominant culture. I sometimes find myself being like Tyra and don’t think that’s a good thing.

    About being mixed-race, I recently came across this article about mixed race people and the language of fractions:

    http://www.racialicious.com/2009/09/22/tuesday-nitpicking-mixed-race-people-and-the-language-of-fractions/

    I thought it was interesting, although I’m not sure it’s important enough to me to go around correcting people. I was listening to a podcast about the article and one commenter said that hearing the language of fractions when referring to multiracial people made her think of the one-drop rule and blood quantums and all that. Anyway I think the author’s point about wanting to think of racial groups as well-defined and separate is a good one, and I think there is some truth to the idea that we use fractions because of that thinking. Unlike the author, I don’t really feel like I’m both Korean and white American – because I don’t feel I am either, since I definitely don’t identify as white but didn’t grow up with any Korean culture, either. I guess I feel more like a multiracial, American woman of color, but the point is I definitely can’t separate out my halves and parts either. So the language of fractions doesn’t feel appropriate to me either

    This ambiguity is really poignant. One mixed race KAD I know (who I find totally hysterical — and not funny hysterical) went and had DNA testing done. And now on his calling card he has listed all of the many races in his genes, and which now he will annoyingly ascribe personality aspects of himself (hitherto unknown) like, “that’s the Cherokee in me,” etc. It is natural for humans to want to belong to a tribe, and being mixed means you are between tribes: apart. For him, as a rejected mongrel mixed breed, the language of fractions is all he has. The DNA fractions are the only thing tangible he has. His inappropriate use of these fractions, at his convenience, only underscores the futility of ever being fully part of any of them.

    As your foundling mom, I fully understand what it is to be without a tribe. I will never know the painful (?) ambiguity of never being part of two tribes. But I’m thankful you and I know each other so we can be tribeless in solidarity. And I’m thankful you don’t get hung up on fractions.

    Or maybe it’s just that disclosure of ethnicity always reminds me of the question “What are you?” so it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth?

    In a way, that people have to ask, is a good thing. It means they can’t categorize you, which means you can write the book. To already have been categorized is very limiting. When I was growing up I got asked this question all the time. Of course, it was in reference to which kind of Asian I was. And its rudeness was annoying (I’m a duck. I’m an alien) but I didn’t bust anyone’s chops over it. Then I went through my educator mode, where I would try to raise their consciousness. But today I just say American. And if they persist I ask them “what are you?” and don’t belabor the point because it’s counter-productive.

    Anyway, yay for complex identities and the internet as a vehicle for identity-exploration! I wonder if I would ever have been able to even begin processing all this stuff without the internet… And I wonder if I would be able to turn in my homework on time without the internet, ha!

    I agree. Because of the internet I expand my mind and meet amazing people. I just wish I could knit and surf or draw and surf or read books and surf, etc. at the same time. Plus it allows me to have interesting conversations with my daughter. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

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