Starbucks, Status Symbols, and South Korea
“Korean Women Are Starving Themselves to Afford a Cup of Coffee.” Does that title get your attention? It got ours when we came across this article:
“A paper cup from Starbucks and other franchises has become a status symbol when walking down the street—similar to carrying a famous brand handbag,” Daniel Jong Schwekendiek, a professor at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, told NBC News in an article published yesterday.
Coffee has become such a powerful indicator of class in South Korea that a phenomenon known as “doenjang,” or “bean paste girls,” has taken hold. The term refers to a set of young women who are so concerned with affording conspicuous luxuries that they’ll skimp on meals;doenjang is a fermented soybean paste used to make one of the country’s cheapest dishes,doenjang jjigae, a sort of hodge-podge stew that’s extremely cheap to prepare at home. The Korean rapper Psy—remember that guy?—popularized the phrase (and satirized the social set it describes) back at the end of 2012 when he released his internet-conquering hit “Gangnam Style.” “A classy girl who know how to enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee,” he raps, apparently sarcastically, in the song.
Not sure if eating cheaply = starving yourself? Read the full article here.