How Teenage Girls and Boys Rebel in Korea – Seoulistic

How Teenage Girls and Boys Rebel in Korea

Rebellion is a part of teenage life anywhere in the world, and everyone has their own way of dealing with the tough life of being a teen. But there are a few very specific ways Korean high school students rebel. See what naughty Korean girls and Korean boys do to rebel against authority!

Note: Smoking and drinking are part of teenage rebellion in many cultures around the world. This article attempts to address very specific ways Korean students rebel.


Be in Scooter Gangs

Just as motorcycle gangs are glamorized in Hollywood movies, the same can be said in Korea. And so rebellious Korean kids get together in gangs of motorcycles and scooters to terrorize streets. Now these are not some organized criminal gangs, but rather a group of teenage Korean kids with bikes who may very well be angry with the world. Some rebellious Korean students get together in these gangs, some more than 50 kids deep, and cruise the streets recklessly. They’ll ride onward to oncoming traffic, harass pedestrians and other drivers, and just generally be jerks on the road. Many will have their friends riding on the back of the scooters, giving each other the moral support all rebellious students need. “Let’s be young and stupid together!”


Loiter & Squat

Naughty kids around the world love to loiter. Rebellious kids hang out at parks, dark corners, underpasses, parking lots and just about anywhere else they can hide from parents and do things naughty kids like to do. Even if they’re not doing anything bad, rebellious kids would rather just stand around and do nothing than study. But for whatever reason, when naughty Korean kids loiter, many seem to be keen on squatting. If you ever run into a gang of Korea boys loitering around for no reason, you’ll see a ton of squatters as a result of long periods of loitering. Squatting is a very Korean thing to do, and if you’re loitering around, might as well grab an air seat with a nice Korean style bad boy squat! (Squats are also popular postures for smoking.)


Fight Friend and Foe

A long time ago, Korean students used to have non-sanctioned fight tournaments to see who the best fighter in the grade was. Everyone would fight everyone, regardless of friend or foe, and the winner at the end of the day would be named the “king” (짱) of their class, grade or even the entire school. The best fighters would get the respect of all the kids, and no one in the school would mess with these mini Korean Chuck Norrises. These days school officials and parents have become stricter on these mini Ultimate Fighting Champion tournaments, but we’re sure there are still school wide brawls in some McDonalds parking lot somewhere.

Cake on the Makeup

Korean teachers and parents tend to believe that putting time into looking good is taking time away from studying. And that’s why make up is also a bit of a no no in Korean schools. Teachers and parents would rather children spend their time studying than putting on mascara. But that doesn’t stop the kids. Many Korean girls (both rebellious and non-rebellious) put on make up because they’re young teenage girls and they want to look good (who doesn’t?). But the most rebellious of Korean girls will put on the most make up as their way of standing out from the crowd and also making a public statement of their rebellion.


Wear Short Skirts

Korean public schools generally make all students wear uniforms. And nothing says conformity than wearing the same exact outfit as hundreds of other students. On top of being forced to wear the same school uniform as everyone else, there are certain standards that must be matched. And although the rules have become much more lax in recent years, Korean girls used to have the length of their skirts measured by a teacher with a ruler. Talk about a drag! So in order to stand out from everyone else and to add a bit of sex appeal, Korean girls hike up their skirts! They’re essentially breaking the rules and in the process rebelling against authority. Generally speaking, the shorter the skirts, the more rebellious the girl. It’s true in Korea too, Sexy = Rebel.


Flair Their Hair

In addition to uniforms being standardized , Korean students have standards for their hair. It used to be a rule that hair must not be dyed nor should hair be long. Generally, for Korean boys, hair had to be short enough that it doesn’t cover the ears; for girls, hair had to be kept close to shoulder length; and of course, all hair should be that typical Korean color, black. The rules for this has also been changing in recent years, but teachers still strongly discourage students from being too fancy with their hair. And whatever teachers discourage, rebellious Korean students love to do. So often, Korean girls and boys will grow their hair past the standard length and will dye their hair as a form of saying “screw you!” to the world!

How do teenagers rebel in your country? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.


  1. Hana says:

    Interesting article xD Rebels are rebels everywhere~ lol
    well where i studied (venezuela) there were some rules like the one´s you said above: make up is a no no maybe just lip gloss, the shoes need to be black or brown, short- medium hair, shirt inside the pants (both girls and boys use pants, some girls like skirts but the majority use pants) , you MUST use a belt ( I wasn´t a rebel cough but I use to had a portion of my hair pink (even in a class called pre-military) ), I used to use make up, my shirt was always outside my pants because i always forget to use a belt, I used to use blue converse or a pair of adidas with red stripes, I used to carry my headphones in almost every class, and I always was sleeping on the floor of the classroom, on my desk… when the teachers weren´t in the classroom we used to sit with our feet on top of the teacher´s desk…, oh and every time i had a free hour I escape from the school until the next class (My parents knew this because I´m so honest~) and the guys that you could considered “rebels” use to make pranks to the teachers and to us (like put some meat inside the air conditioning until that thing started to get rotten and the whole classroom smelled like crap), they broke a wall with their fist, they push the fire alarm and more more. I studied in a private school and we were considered the best behaved class LOL. Well i was kind of a rebel but I was in the top 10 of my class so who cares!! lol

  2. Hana says:

    Oh~ sometimes the boys from my school got into fights with boys from others schools, they bring alcohol to the parties (of course 2 idiots were discovered and were expelled), and even if I´am a girl with a really thin frame nobody messed with me because they knew i was able to kick some asses because i was strong O.o so even if the boys were sometimes a bunch of jerks with the rest of the girls they weren´t with me. I never were expelled but because a girls try to messed with me and i defended myself i had to make a presentation about sexual education to senior classes *total embarrassed* as some sort of punishment lets say i got a yellow card from the assistant principal.

  3. bluegirl87 says:

    I don’t live in Korea and I went to a private school our skirts will always being measured by our teachers and same with hair color rule we are not also allowed to wear fancy jewelry or have two piercings in one ear.

    I remember jungle fish in this post.

    Again thanks for the post very informative =)

  4. Steven says:

    A friend of mine in HS rebelled by “lying” to his mom about going to Bar B when in fact he went to Bar A which was next door.

  5. Olivia says:

    In a video I had seen, Sooyoung from SNSD said that it is typical for rebellious children to run away from home for a couple of days. Is this true?

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  7. Ss says:

    Well, I am from China. Situations in Korea sometimes also happens here in my middle or high school. However, it depends on students not everyone would do the same. With some serious situations, some boys would fight with others using knives which are scary since they could be blooding. In my middle school, it happened that in order to fight a boy she hated, she slept with( had sex) with 3 boys and then the boy gang agreed to help her, which is gross. Another thing is smoking, it is definitely not allowed in here, so the rebellious boys would hide in the restroom and then they would just smoke a lot. When we have school trip, some of them would take alcohol and hide the bottles with newspapers.

  8. jemma says:

    omg i am from ireland and my school is so different. we dont have many rules.
    1)phones on silent in class (when ever a teacher asks for the time they call our phones calculators to check how long we have left in class )
    2) uniform (boys and girls have the same uniform, pants a polo shirt and a jumper all blue)
    3)lunch (1 and 2 get there lunch provide for them at school were 3,4,5 and 6 can go down do the local shop for food)
    that mostly all our rules. we can wear any colored shoes any hair style.
    they dont really do detention only when someone hasnt behaved after so many times being told of and detention is after school on friday. we do have some troulde makers though not so long ago one of the boy were messing and made a big whole in one of the walls in our school.

  9. vzxas says:

    when ever a teacher asks for the time they call our phones Highlanders Rugby on tv

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