Dynamic Busan

DSC_0142The official logo of Busan on all traveling websites reads “Dynamic Busan.” Having spent even a short amount of time there, it is easy to see the unique features of the city, which earn its title of “dynamic.” What is so dynamic about Busan? Unlike New York, Busan sleeps, and there is no Times Square or Madison Square Garden. No. The city’s rapid growth and ever changing view warrants such a nickname. Much like technology that keeps reinventing its looks, buildings in Busan also undergo a perpetual image update. Today 30-year old apartments look as bulky and uncomfortable as a 30-year old desktop in an office. Buildings from the 1990s clash so much with the newly constructed glass high-rises that the former become something of an eyesore. Panoramic views of Busan’s harbor look like mismatched patches of a quilt with every color, fabric and purpose imaginable on the backdrop of rising mountains. Trying to build newer and more modern looking apartment towers, they run out of space, which gives the city a cramped, uncomfortable and futuristic feeling of an overpopulated metropolis.

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In addition, it is the second largest city in Korea, so it boasts a busy transportation system with buses and subway lines. Busan is a major port in the country with cargo trucks swishing on and off the loading docks that stretch for miles along the coast and cargo ships sailing off to all continents in the world.

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Blue and Pink

How did we end up with two teams: pink and blue, aka boys and girls? The history of this tradition is very short, because it didn’t take off until the 1940s. According to the Smithsonian magazine, “color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers.” However, this newly acquired tradition of buying children either pink or blue merchandise mandates much more than just dress codes in our society.

Experts say that children become aware of their gender between the ages of 3 and 4, with the full awareness hitting them by the age of 6 and 7. A quick look around a toy store in the developed world shows who sets the trends of gender conventions, who reinforces gender expectations, and how little choice parents have if they want to protect their children from being the subjects of sophisticated and pervasive gender messaging. Before our children learn their letters, numbers and shapes, they know that a female is someone with long hair, cute nail polish and a pink dress, while boys are the car experts, first responders, doers, and savers. Why do we parents allow marketing giants tell our children who they are and how they should act?

Take a look at the toy store choices in the slide show below. Follow the blue and pink color-coding scheme to see personal and professional expectations that toy manufacturers are setting for your children.

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