A few years ago, when my friend introduced me to ‘K-drama’, also known as Korean Dramas, I was overpowered by the prejudice and the fleeting idea that K-drama was all about cheesy stuff. When my “not like other girls” syndrome got over, I decided to give it a try.
My love for K-drama, which started out as an escape from reality, turned into a way of understanding Korea’s lifestyle and pop culture. First thing first, Korean Dramas is not just about cheesy stuff. I like to view Korean Dramas as a medium of art that sheds light on Korean people’s brilliant innovations and lifestyle. At the same time, K-drama could be putting up ideas that are completely juxtaposing the Korean people’s lifestyle. Hence, a plan to visit Korea after being bewitched by your favourite K-drama won’t be a good idea. While the toxic beauty standards and stressful working environment for some of our favourite idols aren’t something we want to adopt, we can learn certain other things from them, from K-dramas.
Here are certain things that we can learn from Korean Dramas. While most of them come from an analytical perspective, some could be taken as lighthearted sarcasm.
Clichés are Meant to be Broken
While K-drama had successfully created some of the most common clichés such as the flower-like girl and the haughty hero trying hard to protect her, they have broken some of their ever classics clichés too. In this K-drama, we can see both the cliché and the act of breaking the cliché.
Awareness of Mental Health and Mental Disorders
Mental health isn’t a hushed topic anymore. However, this is juxtaposing to the condition in Korea as the stigma surrounding it is still prominent. ‘It’s okay to be not okay’ addresses this issue by introducing characters with Autism, anti-social personality disorder, and manic syndrome. Their journey of acceptance and healing is truly inspirational.
Korean office culture mostly has a stressful environment (subjective), and the hierarchical functioning is quite tiresome. The office trips, workshops, and recreational activity some firms offer helps in maintaining a healthy environment. It’s a different joy to watch the characters bond during office trips.
Men Can Cry Too!
We see an array of scenes where toxic masculinity is shattered into million little pieces and swept off the floor. The male characters question gender roles through their subtle actions.
Inclusive of all Genders and Sexualities
Though K-dramas had people from different orientations earlier, they were reduced to a role that was meant for the laughs. However, the representation and portrayal of people from all identities and sexualities have changed. The coming-out-scene in Itaewon classes is empowering and inspirational for many people.
Top Notch Fashion Sense
Be it Ajhumma selling veggies or Ajhussi from the convenience store, the way they pull layering and colour blocking are amazing. We need to learn how to go grocery shopping in style from Goblin and Grim Reaper.
While Korea is known for its world-famous plastic surgeries and beauty treatments, K-drama also calls out its toxic beauty standards. These beauty routines have slowly found its way into our lives as we started using Korean sheet masks and beauty regimes. ‘My id is Gangnam Beauty’ is a Korean drama that discusses the issue of body shaming and beauty standards. Personal choice and societal standards are clearly bifurcated here.
Mass Scenes and Dialogues are not just for the Guys
Yes, you heard it right. The damsel in distress is a passing fancy, and strong female characters are portrayed in K-dramas. While strong female characters immediately take you to a serious story with a woman being the central character, K-dramas portray strong female characters with humour who may or may not be the central character.
Can’t Stop Crushing over the Villains
Korean dramas show us that villains needn’t fit into the classic mould. Villains could be handsome, could be from any gender, and could be even from any age group. K-dramas have some handsome and beautiful villains, I tell you!
Do let us know what you learned from K-dramas. Till then fighting!!