One cause why Okay-dramas are so common in India is maybe the truth that they’re largely by, for and of girls
I started to look at Korean dramas (Okay-dramas) solely a 12 months in the past. Now, 56 Okay-dramas down, my one main takeaway is that it’s a world full of girls. Sweet girls, nasty girls, naive girls, conniving girls, the entire gamut of femininity. Women who indulge in intensely female pleasures like gazing at a recent bloom. Women who serve haejang (hangover) soup to different girls the morning after a liquid binge.
These girls have sexual company. Let’s go to mattress, they are saying. Let’s dwell collectively, they are saying. In a society rife with social taboos moderately like our personal, dewy-eyed younger girls get up to now and finally marry males their mother and father whole-heartedly disapprove of. Some girls get to maintain kids born out of wedlock. In a tradition that celebrates restraint, these are unimaginable girls.
And depicted in drama after drama, they’re half of a woman gang, or blended gang, the previous a vibrant hurrah to friendships between girls who snigger collectively, weep collectively, bicker and make up, have one another’s backs. It’s a quiet empowerment for some, an pressing seize at what’s rightfully theirs for others. Since meals is a big characteristic of Korean lives, you get meals scenes aplenty — however usually, the feminine lead is hopeless at cooking, so the male lead both fortunately cooks and serves dishes resembling jajangmyeon, japchae, kimbapand the ever present kimchi or tolerates her enthusiastic burnt choices with nary a flinch. One sport fellow truly goes to his spouse’s village and helps her mother and father and their neighbours put together kimchi.
Many of the writers and their groups are feminine, creating these dramas for a largely feminine viewers; so it’s no large shock that there are some sturdy girls onscreen. There’s Park Ji-eun who wrote the mega hits Crash Landing on You, The Legend of the Blue Sea, My Love from the Star; Park Hye-ryeon, who wrote While You have been Sleeping; the Hong sisters of My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and Hotel Del Luna; Kim Eun-sookwho wrote the intelligent The King: Eternal Monarch and massively profitable dramas resembling Mr. Sunshine, Goblin, Descendants of the Sun, The Heirs, Secret Garden; Lee Woo-jungof the immediately recognisable and loveable Reply 1997, Reply 1994, Reply 1988, Hospital Playlist, and several other others.
Warts and all
These writers make no excuses for the best way their feminine characters behave. There are moms who go full-time melo, slap their grown- up youngsters. There are petulant chaebols (wealthy enterprise
households), not-so-young girls who work their approach up from poverty, girls who’ve jobs in one nation and boyfriends in one other. There are girls who fall for the unhealthy ‘uns who don’t reform themselves by episode 16. There are feminine leads who themselves are unhealthy ‘uns. There are lion-hearted stuntwomen; spoilt brats who stay spoilt brats; weightlifters aiming for an Oly medal. There are victims of marital abuse who both escape their hell, keep on taking all of the abuse, or avenge themselves. The males cry and undergo palpably, which can be wishful pondering however undoubtedly raises a cheer from girls viewers!
These girls characters are given sturdy brushstrokes firstly of the drama after which pointillist accretions occur all by means of, until we get an in depth image, warts and all. We wince on the approach they behave generally, we roll our eyes in exasperation on the way of life selections they make, however deep down we’re rooting for them. We crack up at their wit, we grin at their exuberance, we smile in understanding at their reserve. We perceive their warning, their hesitation, their longings. We perceive these girls. Because they’re us, talking one other language.
And so, the ‘gentler intercourse’, who IRL need to deal with harsh realities resembling gender discrimination, sexual harassment, who’re handled like second class residents in methods delicate and apparent, discover these Okay-dramas a candy escape. What higher morale-booster than to indicate sturdy girls reaching into themselves for the sources to face adversity, for the center to seize alternatives as they arrive, to come back up trumps in love, at work, at residence, on the streets?
These girls resonate big-time with K-drama watchers in India: they’ve independence, hopes and goals that rise above the romance monitor. They aren’t there simply to make the male lead look good. The girls take centre stage. Even because the plot dwells on their mushy, empathic, emotional aspect, their strengths are revealed because the story progresses. Basically, Okay-dramas are a celebration of the feminiverse.
The Bengaluru-based author is an creator, journalist and manuscript editor.