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Frozen 2: No kids allowed?

By David Tizzard

This week saw reports surfacing online of a whole host of movie-goers being so annoyed by the presence of children in the cinema while watching the latest Disney box-office smash that they were demanding theatres become the latest "no-kids zone".

This is a word that Korean society has heard a fair amount of recently ― perhaps somewhat ironically as the country has the lowest birthrates in the developed world.

The national statistics office reported that the country's fertility rate dropped to 0.88 between July and September, 7.9% down on last year's figures.

More worryingly, or perhaps pleasingly for some, it was the nation's capital, Seoul, that recorded the nation's fewest babies.

There are a variety of reasons for this: economic woes, post-materialism, the continued rise of the "hon" lifestyle, and the gender wars ― again in the news following the recent suicide of two female K-Pop idols and the imprisonment of two male musicians for abhorrent sexual crimes.

So, despite a whole host of ineffective government efforts to reverse this demographic trend, those with kids are seemingly neither front-page news nor at the forefront of people's minds.

A 2018 survey by Albamon found that approximately 64% of workers were in favour of restaurants adopting a "no-kids policy", with 84% of the respondents saying that they had experienced inconveniences because of children.

A follow-up survey in 2019 by Embrain revealed that, again, 66% of people supported no-kids zones in restaurants and coffee shops, claiming that they have the right to spend their money and enjoy their time without being negatively affected by the behavior of children around them.

This has in turn led to families being nervous or uncomfortable about entering certain places, unsure whether the establishment will have appropriate chairs or other child-friendly equipment.

More worryingly, they also run the risk of being refused entrance full-stop for having children with them. Has society evolved from denying entrance according to race but replaced it with denying entrance according to age?

While no official statistics are available to determine how many locations have adopted no-kids policies, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHKCK) has called for an end to such practices, labeling them discriminatory.

In doing so, they cited Clause 11 of the Korean Constitution which forbids any discrimination according to gender, religion, or social status.

But it's not just kids. Some restaurants have also started banning Youtubers, putting up signs forbidding such digital wannabe-stars from entering their premises. This has mainly arisen from Vloggers live-streaming their food and drinks but inadvertently putting other people on camera without permission.

But back to Frozen 2, or the Winter Kingdom as it's titled over here. Over 1.6 million people saw the film last Saturday alone and it now takes up 74% of all screenings at the country's cinemas.

The South Korean crime caper "Black Money" has thus seen its availability plummet as a result, drawing some criticisms from director Chung Ji-young.

It has also led to calls for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to establish a film quota and ceiling on the number of the country's movie screens that can be allotted to a single film in an order to prevent monopolies.

There, of course, might also be a little bit of nationalism (or guk-bbong) tied into that, as we have already seen a strong pushback against things like Tada and Uber in an effort to protect local workers and industry.
Online, netizens are now using "ang-pul" (devil comments) on SNS, demanding that cinemas do something about kids in theatres. Many commentators are warning people about seeing early showings of Frozen 2 because they are likely to be filled with kids talking, leaving their seats for bathroom breaks, or just generally being kids.

Some are suggesting that they have wasted money by having to see the movie while kids are there and demanded that cinemas ― like some restaurants and cafes before them ― also adopt no-kids zones.

Thankfully, there has been some pushback against this. Some rather more astute observers have suggested that it will only lead to an increased generational divide in the future.

Those complaining about kids now might find that in 30-odd years' time, when they are old, the youth have little time or interest in them for the treatment they are receiving now. Others remark that while the kids are acting like "Elsa", those in their 20s and 30s are acting more like "Joker".

Something very much worth considering.

Personally, when I first came to South Korea in 2005, I was left aghast when I attended weddings and saw people talking, entering and leaving late, and kids running down aisles during the, admittedly very short, ceremonies.

Whilst it was initially very painful for me to deal with, I came to accept that I was neither in Kansas nor Dover anymore and thus I should do as the Romans do ― or at least try to understand the cultural differences.

But societal standards are still changing ― and they are changing at a very rapid pace.
People in their 20s and 30s are spending more and more time abroad. They are getting used to different cultures, modes of behavior, and social etiquettes.

There is also a broader rejection of some traditional aspects of the local culture here evident in the neologism "latte is horse", a domestic variation of "OK, boomer".

But while there will naturally be some conflict, the outright banning of certain sections of the population from areas certainly does not seem the answer. At least to me, anyway.

But, I'm in Rome. So let's hope the Romans realize that all roads do not, or perhaps should not, lead to their own personal comfort and satisfaction.

We all want fair access to the bread and circuses, after all.


David Tizzard (datizzard@swu.ac.kr) is an assistant professor at Seoul Women's University. He also presents economic and cultural issues on "Business Now" on TBS eFM (101.3FM) live every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


By David Tizzard

This week saw reports surfacing online of a whole host of movie-goers being so annoyed by the presence of children in the cinema while watching the latest Disney box-office smash that they were demanding theatres become the latest "no-kids zone".

This is a word that Korean society has heard a fair amount of recently ― perhaps somewhat ironically as the country has the lowest birthrates in the developed world.

The national statistics office reported that the country's fertility rate dropped to 0.88 between July and September, 7.9% down on last year's figures.

More worryingly, or perhaps pleasingly for some, it was the nation's capital, Seoul, that recorded the nation's fewest babies.

There are a variety of reasons for this: economic woes, post-materialism, the continued rise of the "hon" lifestyle, and the gender wars ― again in the news following the recent suicide of two female K-Pop idols and the imprisonment of two male musicians for abhorrent sexual crimes.

So, despite a whole host of ineffective government efforts to reverse this demographic trend, those with kids are seemingly neither front-page news nor at the forefront of people's minds.

A 2018 survey by Albamon found that approximately 64% of workers were in favour of restaurants adopting a "no-kids policy", with 84% of the respondents saying that they had experienced inconveniences because of children.

A follow-up survey in 2019 by Embrain revealed that, again, 66% of people supported no-kids zones in restaurants and coffee shops, claiming that they have the right to spend their money and enjoy their time without being negatively affected by the behavior of children around them.

This has in turn led to families being nervous or uncomfortable about entering certain places, unsure whether the establishment will have appropriate chairs or other child-friendly equipment.

More worryingly, they also run the risk of being refused entrance full-stop for having children with them. Has society evolved from denying entrance according to race but replaced it with denying entrance according to age?

While no official statistics are available to determine how many locations have adopted no-kids policies, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHKCK) has called for an end to such practices, labeling them discriminatory.

In doing so, they cited Clause 11 of the Korean Constitution which forbids any discrimination according to gender, religion, or social status.

But it's not just kids. Some restaurants have also started banning Youtubers, putting up signs forbidding such digital wannabe-stars from entering their premises. This has mainly arisen from Vloggers live-streaming their food and drinks but inadvertently putting other people on camera without permission.

But back to Frozen 2, or the Winter Kingdom as it's titled over here. Over 1.6 million people saw the film last Saturday alone and it now takes up 74% of all screenings at the country's cinemas.

The South Korean crime caper "Black Money" has thus seen its availability plummet as a result, drawing some criticisms from director Chung Ji-young.

It has also led to calls for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to establish a film quota and ceiling on the number of the country's movie screens that can be allotted to a single film in an order to prevent monopolies.

There, of course, might also be a little bit of nationalism (or guk-bbong) tied into that, as we have already seen a strong pushback against things like Tada and Uber in an effort to protect local workers and industry.
Online, netizens are now using "ang-pul" (devil comments) on SNS, demanding that cinemas do something about kids in theatres. Many commentators are warning people about seeing early showings of Frozen 2 because they are likely to be filled with kids talking, leaving their seats for bathroom breaks, or just generally being kids.

Some are suggesting that they have wasted money by having to see the movie while kids are there and demanded that cinemas ― like some restaurants and cafes before them ― also adopt no-kids zones.

Thankfully, there has been some pushback against this. Some rather more astute observers have suggested that it will only lead to an increased generational divide in the future.

Those complaining about kids now might find that in 30-odd years' time, when they are old, the youth have little time or interest in them for the treatment they are receiving now. Others remark that while the kids are acting like "Elsa", those in their 20s and 30s are acting more like "Joker".

Something very much worth considering.

Personally, when I first came to South Korea in 2005, I was left aghast when I attended weddings and saw people talking, entering and leaving late, and kids running down aisles during the, admittedly very short, ceremonies.

Whilst it was initially very painful for me to deal with, I came to accept that I was neither in Kansas nor Dover anymore and thus I should do as the Romans do ― or at least try to understand the cultural differences.

But societal standards are still changing ― and they are changing at a very rapid pace.
People in their 20s and 30s are spending more and more time abroad. They are getting used to different cultures, modes of behavior, and social etiquettes.

There is also a broader rejection of some traditional aspects of the local culture here evident in the neologism "latte is horse", a domestic variation of "OK, boomer".

But while there will naturally be some conflict, the outright banning of certain sections of the population from areas certainly does not seem the answer. At least to me, anyway.

But, I'm in Rome. So let's hope the Romans realize that all roads do not, or perhaps should not, lead to their own personal comfort and satisfaction.

We all want fair access to the bread and circuses, after all.


David Tizzard (datizzard@swu.ac.kr) is an assistant professor at Seoul Women's University. He also presents economic and cultural issues on "Business Now" on TBS eFM (101.3FM) live every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.




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