When it was revealed that female singer Baek Ji Young was getting married to her actor boyfriend Jung Suk Won, I was very happy for the couple. Most fans of Baek Ji Young will be aware of the troubled past the singer had and it really seems like these two are very happy together. Most people familiar with the South Korean culture will know that it is usual for individuals over around the age of 30 to be looking to settle down and start a family (as is also the case with many other cultures), so there is also that pressure to be considered.
Of course, this is quite different to a 21st century British culture in most cases. It is not unheard of for a couple to cohabit for many years and have children together before getting married, that is if they even decide to anyway. Many British citizens do still get married, but it would not be irrational to say that it is not so much of a custom here as it once was.
Taking a personal example from my own life: I am a 21-year-old female and both of my grandmothers will occasionally drop that classic question: “Have you got a boyfriend yet?” However, my parents – a married couple – will never ask me this question. I will often tell my parents after seeing a screaming child on television that they: “will never get any grandchildren from me!”, to which they reply “Good! We don’t want any!” Or I will be watching an expensive weddings programme and turn to them to say: “I would never pay all that for just a wedding!” which will often be met by my father saying something along the lines of: “If you get married, have your wedding far away so your mother and I don’t have to come!”
This is obviously a silly anecdotal example, but I think it might serve as a good template to show how attitudes can change in a matter of a generation. I am from a non-religious, Westerner background and my parents do not expect me to get married, nor to have children, but whenever I ask my mother how she could have married at a very young 18 years old, she simply replies: “It was a different time back then!”
Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-traditional values and I believe every single individual in this world should be able and free to do whatever makes them happy (as long as it does not harm others). I know that, in the distant future, I may even want to get married and maybe….even…have children (excuse me while I go somewhere to hyperventilate).
Anyway, this extensive digression is to make the point that, not matter what your background, I feel it is best to appreciate the importance of such events. So imagine how I felt when I read that Baek Ji Yong was coincidentally 4 months pregnant a month after announcing marriage.
This is not the first time this has happened, remember Haha and Byul’s marriage announcement after only 6 months together? Then the subsequent pregnancy revelation? Of course, both of these couples may have made the decision to get married as something completely separate from the fact that they had just found out a baby was on the way. However, I cannot help but shake the feelings of ‘shotgun marriage’ for both of these cases.
The reason I have such an issue with this is because I feel the act of marrying quickly as a result of pregnancy works to cheapen the symbol of marriage. I feel that getting married to someone should be a sign of your commitment to one another and a decision made because you never wish to be separated – not because you feel obligated to do so through societal pressure.
As I said at the start of this piece, South Korea holds some traditional values in its culture, so marriage is much more popular there than it is in Great Britain. I am also sure that celibacy is encouraged in this country and that is why couples who have not remained celibate want to hastily get married before they are looked down upon for conceiving out-of-wedlock.
I am left to question, if you feel the pressure to remain celibate and let that have an effect on your life, then why didn’t you remain celibate?!
I may be completely wrong. As aforementioned, these weddings could be the furthest thing from shotgun and there is no way to tell as we are not in these relationships ourselves of course, but I would hate to think these celebrities got married for any reason other than the love they feel for one another.
What do you think of this argument?
Do you think these weddings were really ‘shotgun’ or not at all?
Let us know your opinions!
[Sources used: Google Images. Allkpop].