Showbiz

Korea Conquers

The Korean industry tells the truth.

By Ibra Aamir | September 2022


In recent years, the Korean entertainment industry has gained much hype due to its globally hit TV series Descendants of the Sun (2016) and formation of the boy band, BTS. It is no coincidence that Korean actors have gained fame overnight and Korean productions have been constantly ranked in the Top 10 list of Netflix. There are various elements in Korean TV serials that have brought them ground-breaking TRPs.

The characters in Korean plays are absolutely adored and idolized by fans. While celebrity worship is common among millennials and Gen Z, what could be the other main reason for this shower of love and praise? Korean productions present characters that are far from stereotypes with narrow-minded beliefs. The famous character of Captain YooSijin in Descendants of the Sun depicts a military man who is humorous, jolly and knows the basic skills of life. The character is patriotic about his country and puts the people of his nation before him. The writer of the hit serial has proven that you don’t need to look like a macho man to be able to play the character of an army captain.

Captain YooSijin is often criticized for having the skin of a girl as the general mindset only revolves around a military man who is muscular and has tough facial expressions. The charm of male characters defies typical, toxic patriarchy that still rules the mindsets of most of the male population in rhe world. They don’t render masculinity through appearance which is why Korean actors often receive a backlash for looking like a girl; they have a perfect, and clear skin and their beauty is mesmerizing. These characters break stereotypes in every way from profession to relationships or living in a domestic situation. They are a perfect representation of what masculinity actually means.

Similarly, the female lead of the play also excels in her profession and puts her career before anything. You don’t see hopeless romantics who leave their successful careers and life behind in the hope of finding true love. Descendants of the Sun is a beautiful and accurate depiction of maintaining balance in life and how individuals need to prioritize things in their ;ives while staying true to their beliefs and values. Appearance of strong female characters in international media cannot be tolerated by the small-minded, which is why Korean actresses are frequently called “artificial dolls”.

However, what the lovers of Korean productions actually connect with is the diversity of professions in which women are shown and their independence. Korean actresses are mostly seen playing roles of entrepreneur, police officer, marketer, doctor, army officer, etc. This is strong evidence that these plays work towards empowering women and hold them equal to men in all phases of life. By being in diverse professions, the female leads show the strength of feminism and give a strong reminder to the world that this era belongs to the prosperity of women.

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The writer is an A-level student based in Lahore. She focuses on feminism, South Asian culture and climate change. She can be reached at ibraaamir90@gmail.com

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