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What is the 4B Movement?

by Danielle Wright

What is the 4B movement, and why does it appear to be heading to the United States?

To understand the 4B movement in the U.S., you have to learn about its origin, which happens to be Korea. 4B is also known as the Four No’s—it renounces dating men, marriage, sex, and having children. This movement gained recognition on Twitter in 2019 through various feminist social media accounts. The accounts, however, remained anonymous as it is conventional not to disclose personal details online.


What the Koreans refer to as the 4B movement was simply what Americans called perpetual singlehood or the #metoo movement. So, naturally, those practicing P.S. gravitated to these 4B movement accounts, and although the exact membership amount remains uncertain, it’s suggested—at the time—to have had around 50,000 participants. Fast forward to today, the movement has picked up steam with more than 2,000 relevant posts on TikTok.


In 2016, The Escape the Corset movement began, which served as a source of inspiration for the 4B movement. Women were called to liberate themselves from sexual, social, bodily, and psychological oppression. One may wonder, how is it that women are oppressed in 2024? Well, we can start with the overturn of Roe v. Wade, a moment in history that showed women that we are, in fact, not protected and do not have rights to our own bodies.


Yet, the expectation is that we should procreate with men who are financially unstable, abusive, incompetent, practice infidelity, and lack the ability to provide basic human respect to the women in their lives. Men continue to go online and bash women for their standards simply because they cannot meet them, expecting women to settle if they ever want a family or a man in the home.


Settle to mean, allow him to cheat, go 50/50, and turn the other cheek when or if he is purposely avoiding his responsibilities. The pressure is always on women to ‘choose better,’ and now women are waking up to the fact that there is no better to choose from, hence why extreme measures are having to be taken. The patriarchy extends far beyond our social media accounts.


Women, in defiance of this, are destroying their makeup, forgoing cosmetic enhancements, and shaving their heads while simultaneously rejecting fashionable attire in Korea. In Korea, the 4B movement serves as a direct opposition to South Korea’s patriarchal state and combats its pro-natalist policies, which only view women’s bodies and reproductive abilities as tools for the state’s future.


North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, last December, was caught wiping away tears as he discussed the country’s declining birth rate. While the American government is not crying to us to have children, they are, in fact, making changes that will require us to do so, thus ushering in the 4B movement here in the United States.


Tuesday, March 12, 2024, was Equal Pay Day in the United States, symbolizing just how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median weekly earnings of $1,005 in 2023. That was 83.6% of the $1,202 median for men who were full-time wage and salary workers. Yes, we can argue that women are earning less than men; however, the fact still remains that women are earning.

Related articles: Why Am I Single?


When we think of the wages between men and women, it’s safe to deduce that men will earn more because the responsibility to head a household falls on their shoulders. But interestingly enough, heterosexual men who earn more than $100,000 a year are either single and not looking or only interested in dating and marrying a particular demographic of women.


So, where does this leave the women who are not being sought after by high-earning men, and why are these women still coerced to reproduce? The options seem to be (a) have children out of wedlock and be destitute enough to go on governmental assistance or (b) allow the high-earning man the right to cheat and abuse you as long as the bills are paid. Why are these our options as women?


WHAT IS THE 4B MOVEMENT IN THE U.S.?

According to Forbes, women in the United States between the ages of 25 to 34 averaged around $52,936 annually in 2023. This means that while women may not out earn men, the fact is, women are earning income to help maintain themselves. Make no mistake, women have always worked, whether in paid jobs or at home, and often both. However, historically, pay has always been very low for nearly all women, but this means that women can make the decision on whether or not to have children.


Choosing singlehood over marriage is a growing conversation among women who are in the workforce. Women can feed themselves, clothe themselves, travel, and experience a life that is not reliant on the salary of a man. "Trad wives" is also a growing hashtag on apps such as Instagram and TikTok, where women are encouraging other women not to give up their independence and identity to get married and be a SAHW or girlfriend. In the end, more times than not, the woman will leave with nothing, having to start from zero.


Women having the option of whether or not they want to get married is causing turmoil—not only for men but also the state of the world as we know it. 1974 marked the first year that women were allowed to have bank accounts, that is only half a century ago, which makes it relatively close. This also puts into perspective that it was not that long ago that women had to become wives and mothers, which means she had to choose from what was in front of her with no way of expanding or changing her circle to gain proximity to men of a different caliber.


Perhaps you have a crappy grandfather or a terrible uncle, take into consideration that these women had almost no choice like the choice us women have today. For many of us, we can travel to France, Italy, or The Hamptons and meet men outside of our neighborhoods with the income we earn. Whether you’re choosing to stay single and follow the 4B movement or just taking a stand until your idea of Mr. Right comes along, just take a moment to realize that these are things we should not take for granted.


TAKING A STAND

While some women will take a stand, others may not, and that is perfectly fine. We all have the freedom to choose our path, but make no mistake, we are stronger together, and if we want things to change, we must all be on one accord. Holding men to a higher standard before granting them access to your labor and body is something that should be taken more seriously. Childbirth is dangerous! Women no longer need men to survive; men need women to exist. Please take a moment to process that. We birth them, so why are we allowing our creations to disrespect and lowball us?


Men find value in the things they have to work for—even if you think of an engagement ring…it’s an upfront expense that is proof of long-term intention. To visualize whether or not someone is going to be an honest player is a proxy indicator—the value we place on something is how we determine its worth. Worth determines treatment. A man is going to invest in you, which will make it harder to leave you or disappoint you. If men already feel entitled to our bodies and a legacy, then why should they place any value on it? The purpose of the 4B movement in the United States is not about fighting for equality; it’s about basic human respect and wanting to be seen as a person of value.


If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should join the 4B movement, I will leave you with this: In 1913, the Law Society refused to allow four women to sit in the Law Society examinations. The women took the case to the Court of Appeal. In Bebb v. The Law Society, the Court of Appeal upheld the Law Society’s decision, and it was held that women were not “persons” within the meaning of the Solicitors Act of 1843. It took another six years before women became people and were allowed to be admitted to the roll under the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. In other words, women have only been considered “people” for the last 105 years. We deserve better.

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