"I think if I were in my more youthful 30s and 20s and I saw this kind of a movement, that would make me look forward to that."
Women often face a lot of backlash in terms of how they look as they get older. They are questioned if they get beauty treatments done and asked why they look fatigued or have wrinkled skin if they don't. There's no winning. It leaves many of them discouraged and makes it harder to accept themselves. However, a flash mob group based in San Diego wants to change that. A Korean American group called Ajumma EXP, consisting of middle-aged people, wants to inspire women to embrace their older selves and to be able to laugh at themselves, as reported by Good Morning America.
Ajumma is a term in Korean for middle-aged women who focus on their family and home life. It is often negatively used for women to imply that they are rude, unattractive, and overbearing. However, these women have come together to change the meaning of the term and honor the proud ajummas. Lee Ann Kim, who co-founded the group, said that she started the group after her 47th birthday. While she was dressed up, her friends turned up at the party as ajummas, with their visors, curly hair, comfortable shoes, and un-matched clothes.
"It was hilarious. I couldn't believe that they did it. They put so much thought and work into this, and they brought me my own visor and my own wig. So, I went and rolled with it," said Kim. That night Kim realized that no one noticed them and middle-aged women are often invisible in society. It made her think about how women are seen once they age. So, she got together with Sonia Chin, a fellow co-founder "because she was one of the masterminds of this little party." "And I was like, it was so fun and so meaningful," said Kim. "Yet, there's something more to this. That's where we [said], 'Hey, let's make this into a movement.' And that's how Ajumma EXP began."
Chin also wants younger women to look at the movement and accept the idea of getting older. "I think, if I were in my, you know, more youthful 30s and 20s and I saw this kind of a movement, that would make me look forward to that. It's not as bad as some imagery that's in my head," said Chin. She added that she would want middle-aged women to "embrace this moment in time in their life," to pause and think about their journey and be able to say that although a lot of stuff has happened to them, that is what has made them what they are today. "And oh my god, have fun with it," she said. "Don't be worried about, you know, wrinkles or what your hair looks like or what your clothes look like. Just love who you are."
The group did a flash mob for International Women's Day on March 5, 2023, at different locations in San Diego. People were thrilled to see them perform. Many on Instagram appreciated the group for their efforts. @verb_doing commented, "So fun to watch!" while @diane_yobson wrote, "Respect!!!!!!!" @angelemm said, "This is one of the best things I've ever seen!" while @hicutiecar shared, "I am literally BAWLING at how awesome you ladies are! I am 53 and feel SEEN! And now I have to go accumulate some dance skills." @danceybingzmama said, "This is so amazing to witness! So much joy and unity and fun!!"