Picture this: you are watching a drama and the confident female lead suddenly stops in her tracks, gives her body a wriggle, and says with a whine in her voice, “OPPA!”—then almost steps into traffic. What?! No! Dear Dramas: you can give us damsels in distress, you can give us strong women put in situations they are not prepared for, you can subject your poor characters to the pain of star-crossed love, but DON’T give us women who wimp out when the hero shows up! Give us women like these:

7) Ha Ji Won as Gil Ra Im in Secret Garden.

Ha Ji Won kicks butt in everything she does, and we expect to hear from King 2 Hearts and Empress Ki partisans out there, but our deep and abiding love of Secret Garden won this slot. Gil Ram Im was never intimidated by a sparkly track suit, an uptight businessman, or the strange effects of dandelion wine handed out by mysterious personages in a forest. We can forgive her her girlish blushes around Oska; who wouldn’t be a bit tongue tied around their favorite K pop star? Most kick-butt moment? Single handedly fighting off a host of movie set ninjas after racing to the set in Hyun Bin’s sports car.

6) Choi Kang Hee as No Eun Seol in Protect the Boss.

No Eun Seol is an example for us all on how to embrace the awesomeness of being your real self. Who hasn’t wanted to write the resume and cover letter explaining how our experiences as a high school tough girl best qualifies us to deal with the cutthroat world of the secretarial pool? Most kick-butt moment? Tying a gangster up with his own neck tie in a nightclub men’s room, then fighting off all his goons.

5) Lee Si Young as Yoo Eun Jae in Wild Romance

Eun Jae may not be the smartest cookie in the world, but she was a tough customer well able to flush out a creepy stalker and keep Dong Wook on his toes. Say it with me now: my heart is blue, my heart is blue. Most kick-butt moment? Her knock-down-drag-out fight with Dong Wook when she thought he was having an affair with his best friend’s wife.

4)  Bae Suzy as Dam Yeo Wool in Gu Family Book.

So a shaman tells you that you will meet your doom after finding your true love under the a flowering peach tree in the full moon—most of us would give peach trees a wide berth. You find out said true love is a fox demon in love with another girl and targeted by an obsessed, politically strong baddie and you still stick with him? You are hardcore. Add dear old dad’s training in archery and you officially rock. Most kick-butt moment? Protecting Lee Seung Gi from waves of assassins in the forest.

3)  Han Ji Min as Na Yeo Kyeong in Capital Scandal.


See Jung Il Woo fight ghosts and monsters in his quest to become the rightful ruler of Joseon in The Night Watchman’s Journal

It was tempting, really tempting to put Han Go Eun

as Cha Song Joo from Capital Scandal in this slot. Both women were not to be taken lightly, but ultimately Na Yeo Kyeong wins because she never gives up and has a passion for righteousness. Bonus points for staying strong in the face of Kang Ji Hwan’s devilish smile. Most kick-butt moment? “This will never be untied until Joseon is free.”

2)  Park Min Young as Kim Na Na in City Hunter.

You have to be pretty awesome to be on the President’s protective detail, even better to face down a rogue spy intent on revenge. Living out your prophetic dream of taking a bullet for your very pretty boyfriend? Sweet Baby Moses but you’re cool. Most kick-butt moment? Tripping the alarm on Lee Min Ho’s car to force him away from the gangster’s moll to get her phone.

1)  Choi Ji Woo as Park Bok Nyeo in The Suspicious Housekeeper.

You knew that the speed at which they wrapped up the children’s problems and the reintegration of the father into the family meant that discovering Bok Nyeo’s past would be explosive. It takes a lot of courage to face the things that most scare you, to stand up for the right even if it destroys you, and Bok Nyeo manages to walk through literal fire for justice. Most kick-butt Moment? When Bok Nyeo agrees to be her stalker’s fiance.

Who did I miss, drama fans? What are your favorite kick-butt moments from these drama characters? Sound off in the comments below.