My wife is Korean. I am Texan. She claims that there are many physiological differences between Asian and Caucasian women, and that is why they have to take care of their bodies in different ways when preparing for pregnancy, during pregnancy, and just after giving birth. How is it that information from mom and eonni is better than information from a doctor who has been to school for 8+ years and have years of experience on top of that?
There are just short of 13 million Asians in America, which is roughly a quarter of the population of South Korea. I am sure we would have some findings regarding racial differences on the Internet somewhere. Albeit, I have searched high and low on the Internet for information regarding any physiological differences between Asian and Caucasian women and men and have found squat. I think she is full of ddong, but just doesn't realize it.
Can you point me in any direction regarding information on physiological differences among Asians and Caucasians?
Dear Chris on the Floor,
The Korean is Californian. So what? Next time, just say you are white. The white guilt has reached to such a degree that white people no longer say, “I am white.” They instead say things like “I am a Texan”, “I am a New Englander”, etc, which is even more insulting for non-white Texans and New Englanders.
But onto your question. The short answer is yes, your wife is indeed full of ddong (=shit. Hey, you said it, not the Korean.) One caveat going forward: The Korean is not a doctor, so this may be wrong in some ways. However, as far as the Korean knows, there is no real physiological difference between Asian woman and Caucasian woman. Asian women, by and large, tend to be smaller, have narrower hips, and they tend to be prone to osteoporosis. However, such characteristics are no different from a small white woman.
(As an aside, by eliminating “doctor” from the possibilities of the Korean’s occupation, he may have given away what he does for living. After all, all Koreans are either doctors or …?)
Then the question is: why does your wife (and her mother and sister) say such a thing? It is because many American doctors, with their 8+ years of training and experience, are nonetheless full of shit as well. Over 50 centuries of history, Koreans (along with Chinese and Japanese) developed their own approach to personal health that is seldom understood by doctors of Western training.
Take the post-birth seaweed soup, for example. New Korean mothers’ having only seaweed soup for three weeks has a strong scientific basis – namely, seaweed is extremely rich in iron and iodine. Iron is necessary to replace the blood lost during childbirth, and iodine kick-starts hormone production that enables breastfeeding. The broth is usually made of beef or fish, which provides protein and calcium.
However, an average Korean does not know the scientific basis behind having only seaweed soup for three weeks after birth; they only know that, after thousands of years of trial-and-error, it works. Imagine telling the doctor: “I don’t need the iodine and iron supplements; I will be having seaweed soup for three weeks in a row.” Very few doctors in America would approve of that, since most do not understand the nutritional value of seaweed soup.
The same goes to other Asian medicines such as herbal extracts, acupuncture, or diagnosis by pulse (picture). Asian medicines in fact have a very complex theory behind it; it’s just that it is completely different from the theories behind Western medicine. Any explanation that involves the chi flow in the body would only invite scoffs from Western doctors as rank superstition. But Koreans know from experience that they all work.
So how do Koreans reconcile the tension? Often, they rationalize by saying that Western and Oriental medicines have different foci. While Western medicine focuses on getting rid of specific illness, Oriental medicine focuses on changing the composition of the body so that it will be more resistant to illness in general.
Another way of rationalization is saying exactly what your wife says: Koreans/Asians are just different. If a white doctor insists that a traditional remedy does not work, but self-experiment shows over and over again that it does work, it is one of the possible conclusions to say that Koreans are just different from white people in their physiology. It is especially easy to arrive at this conclusion given that, again, many Koreans are racists.
Got a question or comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.