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Unveiling The Impact: The 4B Movement in South Korea And Its Potential Long Term Consequences

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

South Korea, seen by foreigners under the lens of modern and connected shells, still encounters an ideology of patriarch and conservative values: the discrimination of gender that dwells and perpetuates in all the layers of society. As to these beliefs, a woman needs to retain the consent of her father, her husband and, afterward, her oldest brother, based on the preservation of a backward society when focused on equity of gender and causing increasing discontent among the South Korean feminine population.  

In that way, from the tiredness of a big part of the women inside a male chauvinism perspective in their society and respectively motivation for pursuing a free and safe reality, the advent of the “4B movement” comes into evidence. With its inspiration from books and other pioneers’ mobilizations determined by the feminist cause, the 4B movement is based on four values: Bihon, which amplifies the refusal of women at the straight marriage; Bichulsan, representing the feminine refuse of pregnancy; Biyeonae, the negation at the straight relationship and, in conclusion, Bisekseu, representing the refuse of straight sex relationship. These values seek, consequently, reject and criticize the opposition of gender structure in the country. 


thanks to my friend @Annie Nova for making this video! The 4b movement is not as big in Korea as y’all think it is #korea #seoul #4bmovement #livinginkorea #southkorea

♬ original sound – Anna Lee – Anna Lee

How did the 4B movement emerge?

Supported by many and rejected by others because of its extremism of Western ideology, the 4B term was used for the first time through the publication of the book “Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982”, by Cho Nam-Joo, a overpowering reading that made success and caused polemics between the South Korean people, with more than a million of sold copies. The author, who presented in her book lots of daily experiences of regular women affected by the sexism, inequality and misogyny unrelenting in contemporary Korea, was one of the biggest forerunners for the creation of the movement, through the feeling of familiarity between the women and, mainly, their respective desire for changes, resulting of the abrasion from rooted male chauvinism. Therefore, the 4B emerged and its idealisms started to get established among the South Korean women in 2016. Over the years, the 4B was still faced as an obscure perspective by a big part of the South Korean people but, from the year 2019, lots of views in social media brought new looks and members to the speech against straight relationships. Through Korean YouTubers Jung Se-Young and Baeck Ha-na, who pointed the marriage as the origin of patriarch, into their channel, “SOLOdarity”, the encouragement of women to refuse traditional behaviors was popularized.

Recently, the 4B movement has evolved even more followers and polemic opinions on social media, getting down to its radicalism. Stem from the speech of the Korean influencer Jeanie, from the “denimchromosome” profile, an animated talk referring to the movement went viral, treating it as the most necessary answer of female people to the misogyny predicated by men and supporting those who join at these values in the modernity.


#duet with @jeanie 🍉 #fypシ The 4B Movement is legit. Korean Women are opting out of relationships due to men not being equipped for marriage any longer. They are deciding to go extinct because it will only get worse as the generations proceed. I’m glad to be alive right now to know I’m choosing this. I will not commit to anyone who mistreated me. There is no settling anymore. #womenhistorymonth #fbvideos #fbreels #4bmovement #history #womenempoweringwomen #fyp #optout #dating #marriage #women #girlpower #united #KimberlyBradford #herstory #actuallyautistic #datenight #kamikaze

♬ original sound – jeaniekwon

The movement is also contextualized by the media as a retaliation of incidents against the women in recent decades, including assassinations, pornography and sexual crimes using “spies cameras”. 

What are the consequences of the 4B movement?

For those who are against the movement, the justification of the absence of maintenance to the birth rate is a ruthless argument. South Korea has the title of smallest nativity index and, during 2023, reached the historical number of 0,78 compared to the global average, of 2,3. The number of women adepted to marriage is declining increasingly, provision of consequences to their fight for right generates an equitable society and, with that, the Korean government sees a drop in population, from 55 million to 39 million until 2067.

Withal, the perpetuation of the movement stimulates even more the female abhorrence of straight relationships and, subsequently, a refusal of pregnancy. The effects of the 4B can, if its number of members proceeds to increase, affect the demographic situation of the country and, because of that, the governmental authorities of South Korea are searching for the inducement of more marriages, through bank loans with low interest to new couples.

Therefore, the 4B movement establishes and creates sources with its overwhelming ideals for society. As an answer to the traditional expectations of a sexist company, the women go through the Korean idealisms stem from new values and, in this way, bring harsh consequences to those who pursue keeping them in submissives and backward social positions.


The article above was edited by Rafaella Alcici.
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Raissa Galvão

Casper Libero '27

Estudante de jornalismo que ama a arte de se comunicar e escrever ;)