Classes from a Homebody – The New York Instances

In a video titled “Vlog that makes you want to clean,” South Korean YouTube inventor Kim Sang-mi shows viewers how to use a pair of chopsticks and a cleaning cloth to remove dirt on the windowsill and how to use one to clean the house Mixture of disinfected soju and lemon wedges.

But then, a few minutes after the video started, Ms. Kim turns unexpectedly and becomes sentimental about being a mother and being feminine. “Even if you are someone’s wife and mother, do not give up your own happiness,” read a title on the video that has been viewed more than 4.7 million times.

Ms. Kim, 34, goes to Haegreendal – – A pseudonym she created to refer to her career as a freelance illustrator and her childhood nickname “Moon”. – – is one of many South Korean creators who have carved out a genre of sophisticated videos on YouTube that showcase the simple joys of a clean, organized, and grocery-filled home. You could call it Danish hygge, says Marie Kondo’s disappointment; The videos prescribe minimalism and show the joy of quiet domesticity.

With nearly two million subscribers, Ms. Kim’s channel is one of the most popular of its kind. Other channels follow a similar formula: artfully composed scenes with soothing background music, soft focus filters, and sentimental captions that include images of watered plants, chopped vegetables, and folded clean pajamas. These videos went online before the pandemic, but have grown in popularity over the past year.

Much of the videos are filmed with minimal dialogue, and most of the creators operate under aliases and hide their faces to protect their privacy. “I want to focus on showing my actions and my life, not my face,” wrote Lee Dah-yeon, 30, whose YouTube channel Ondo has more than a million subscribers, in an email. “I don’t want to be famous. I want to share a normal everyday life. “

Bak Hae-ri from the Sueddu broadcaster is popular with young, single women. She wrote a book about being a homebody, “23, and I live alone now.” In her videos, Ms. Bak, 27, shows viewers how to cook meals for one and enjoy the time alone through activities such as painting, disrupting or restructuring a dresser.

Ms. Bak’s content speaks to women in the so-called Sampo generation, the growing number of young adults who reject the three pillars of adult life in Korean society – advertising, marriage and children – in favor of independence and financial freedom.

The latest statistics in South Korea show that women in households with two incomes did an average of two hours and 13 minutes of additional housework per day compared to their male partners, according to the South Korean government in 2019.

However, the appeal of these videos extends beyond South Korea. In Atlanta, Ebony discovered Okeke Haegreendal after getting married two years ago. She was inspired to post homemaking videos on her YouTube channel and fill the void of black creators who make such videos.

“I don’t believe in reversing or reducing gender roles or either or promoting them,” said Ms. Okeke, 23. “I think no matter which career a woman chooses, be it a corporate career or a personal life, both career choices should be valued, cherished and respected.”

Amy Lee, a healthcare worker in New York, found Ms. Bak’s channel during the pandemic based on a YouTube recommendation. She was fascinated by the way everyday activities like cooking and cleaning were treated on film. “I appreciated everyday life, cleaning and productivity,” said Ms. Lee, 25 years old.

Kyung Lim, a freelance technical fashion designer based in Cambridge, England, said she could refer to Ms. Bak’s less-is-more philosophy. “I’m a fan of their minimalist lifestyle,” said Ms. Lim, 38 years old. “It’s straightforward.”

Yoon Soo-yeon, an assistant professor of sociology at Sonoma State University in California whose research focuses on family and gender equality in South Korea, said the content could support a gender paradigm that women become head chefs, housekeepers, and caregivers in the family makes .

“It strengthens traditional gender roles and man’s idealized view of women as women and mothers in a patriarchal society,” she said.

However, Ms. Yoon also pointed out that a large gender pay gap in South Korea means that women often become the standard housewife due to their lower pay.

“Gender equality for women in South Korea has increased since the 1970s, and women may be in a better position today, but they are still low by international standards,” said Ms. Yoon.

For their part, the creators said they simply enjoy the banality of housework, whether it be preparing good food or having a clean home. “I want to break the popular belief that cleaning and cooking at home is only a chore for passive women or housewives,” wrote Park Hyo-ju, 25, from Nyangsoop broadcaster in an email. On her channel, she publishes videos about life in her quaint, hut-like home in the South Korean countryside, where she bakes strawberry tarts, paints with oil pastels and plays taco with her cat.

“I do what I do because I love to cook, and to clean and organize my home,” said Sue Yun, 34, of the Hamimommy YouTube channel. Ms. Yun is currently on a three-year sabbatical from Korean Air, where she ran the airline’s alliance and operations to care for her daughter.

She shows viewers how to recycle used coffee grounds to remove fat from a pan and to put old sweaters in a children’s bag. And while her husband doesn’t often appear on camera to help with household chores, Ms. Yun said he’s behind the scenes looking after her daughter while she films and edits.

“It’s not something other people want me to do because I’m a woman,” Ms. Yun said. “It is my decision.”

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