The BBC highlighted the shift in the portrayal of female protagonists in Korean dramas.
The BBC shed light on the 10th (local time) under the title "K-drama: Women Crossing the Limits in TV," stating that female characters in Korean dramas are evolving from Cinderella figures fixated on love into original characters with robust narratives.
Many K-dramas now showcase complex and powerful female characters that mirror significant changes in society and media practices, according to the BBC. "The Glory," one of this year's biggest hits, features a woman seeking revenge against bullying, while "Weird Lawyer Woo Young-woo," another popular series, showcases a female lawyer with autism.
However, the BBC reported that the role of women in K-dramas was not always interesting. Korean dramas produced in the 1990s mainly focused on chaebol and wealthy heirs who love poor women, and that dramas such as "Boys Over Flowers" where chaebol successors fall in love with high school girls from working families were popular in the past.
"These days, female characters who are independent, professional, and not interested in marriage are the main characters," he said. "Even now, rich or strong characters are preferred, but like Crash Landing on You, the main character can now be a woman." Crash Landing on You is about a second-generation South Korean chaebol woman falling in love with a North Korean officer.
"Now, we see many strong female characters boldly navigating life on their own terms," remarked Um Jung-hwa, the main character of "Doctor Cha Jung-sook," which tells the story of a housewife who has lived for her family for more than 20 years as a doctor. "In the past, I couldn't play the main role at the age of 30, and at 35, I often played the role of a mother," she recalled. "Even exceptionally talented and beautiful women disappeared from the screen due to their age."
Baek Mi-kyung, known for consistently presenting strong female narrative dramas like "Strong Woman Kang Gangnam-soon," "Strong Woman Dobong-soon," and "Mine," stated, "The Strong Woman" is a story about a middle-aged woman that many broadcasters initially rejected. "After the success of 'Strong Woman Dobong-soon,' 'The Strong Woman' was able to air." "Following my drama, female characters have become more active, energetic, cool, and independent, but I am not satisfied yet. I want to change the game," Baek said.
The BBC also reported that changes in women's social status, improved education levels, a desire for social success, and experimental investments in cables and OTT platforms have influenced the emergence of diverse female characters in Korean dramas.
Joanne McDonald, a Korean drama critic for Forbes, commented, "Half of the Korean dramas reviewed this year featured strong female characters, and I'm not sure if they fully reflect what's happening in Korean society. But they are definitely leading the way."
From Cinderella to Trailblazers: How K-Dramas Redefine Women on TV
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