KBS Global wrote up an interesting article covering three upcoming dramas: ATHENA, Runaway, and Secret Garden.
In these dramas, strong female leads abound, from Su Ae and Lee Jia as spies, to Ha Ji Won as a stunt woman, to Lee Na Young as an agent/official in search for hidden treasure. All of the women had to undergo training. For Su Ae and Lee Na Young, it meant a change in their public images as the graceful girl. Even though Lee Na Young previously played a father-who-turned-into-a-woman, that role does not require much physical toughness. For Lee Jia, it’s almost like a return to her roots since she did action scenes in her debut drama The Legend alongside Bae Yong Joon. And Ha Ji Won has already shown off her skills in Damo.
More and more, we are seeing stronger female leads in Korean dramas, which I think is a good thing. The perception of having a weak female who cries and dies is still lasting, and probably the first thing that pops into the uninitiated’s mind. It is so easy to say that Korean dramas do not portray women in a positive light, but the same goes for American films. Since when were the female leads from “Confessions of a Shopaholic” or “Legally Blonde” or any other romantic comedy film considered a good thing for feminists? (OK – “Legally Blonde” is a weird exception, but still…) There might be cultural arguments on why Korean dramas portray women in a certain light (such as Confucian values), but Korea isn’t all that backward. In the past year (2009-2010) we have had a fair share of strong females (Queen Seon Deok, Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, IRIS) to hapless females (You’re Beautiful, Stars Falling from the Sky), and some in between (Prosecutor Princess, Personal Taste). I’m glad that strong female characters were highlighted in an article, even though the article’s purpose was probably more to market these upcoming dramas.
source: kbs global