Here at FeverWatch, we spend a lot of time -- and I do mean a lot
-- watching, talking, and thinking Korean dramas. We know you all do too.
So what are we waiting for? Let's talk kdrama!
This week, we want to explore gender bending. What is up with kdramas' fascination with characters pretending to be a member of the opposite sex?
1. Coffee Prince
We think this trend began with actress Yoon Eun Hye
's much-beloved portrayal of Go Eun Chan in the 2007 classic "Coffee Prince
After tomboyish Eun Chan is mistaken for being a man, she is hired to be a waiter in a coffee shop that keeps a strictly-male staff. Her boss doesn't realize Eun Chan is a woman and begins to develop feelings for her.
After the popularity of "Coffee Prince" exploded, gender-bending became more frequent in Korean Dramas. In particular, gender-bending was often used as a plot device in historical dramas where strict Confucian and patriarchal hierarchies left women outside the realms of power.
2. Painter of the Wind
In "Painter of the Wind
", actress Moon Geun Young
plays Shin Yoon Bok, a talented young woman who cross-dresses as a man in order to enter the Dohwaseo, a prestigious academy of painting.
3. Sungkyunkwan Scandal
A similar situation comes up in "Sungkyunkwan Scandal
" when an intelligent, but poor young woman named Kim Yoon Hee (Park Min Young
) takes her brother's place at the prestigious Sungkyunkwan University by cross-dressing as a man:
4. Queen Seon Deok
And who could forget the cross-dressing, gender-bending, identity-swapping of the epic historical drama "Queen Seon Duk
"? The future queen of Shilla played by Lee Yo Won
disguises herself as a poor foot soldier named Duk Man:
5. You're Beautiful
While gender-bending in historical dramas allows characters (in particular, women) to defy social limitations, what purpose does it serve in modern kdramas?
Answer: hilarity and romance.
Just as "Coffee Prince" did, Korean drama "You're Beautiful
" uses the girl-parading-around-as-boy plot device to allow its female protagonist to explore a world she would otherwise never be exposed to. Go Mi Nam, played by actress Park Shin Hye
, is an aspiring nun who replaces her identical twin brother in pop boy band A.N.JELL by presenting herself as a man:
Unrealistic? Of course. But entertaining? Absolutely. This is the sort of comedic and outrageous storytelling that makes Kdramas so enjoyable.
Okay, are we missing any more gender-bending goodness? If so, let us know. And who do you think is the most/least convincing gender-bender? Personally, we think Park Min Young was a little too pretty to pass as a boy.
Tune in to next week's Let's Talk Kdrama.