Damsel In Distress:
 How Asian drama series and movies stereotype females

The following article was written by Eugene G10

Do you ever feel like women always got treated unequally compared to men? As a female, I certainly feel that way. But, girl, do you ever wonder if what we felt is from the actions of the guy towards us ..or is it really us who makes ourselves felt that way. As an Asian who have been living in Thailand for my whole life, I grew up watching all kinds of famous Asian drama series and movies, including Thai, Japanese, and Korean. I hate to say it, but those kinds of media give bad examples and stereotypes of how an ideal women should be in terms of appearance, characteristic, and roles.

Throughout most of the Asian drama series that I have watched, females are shown as a person who always have a perfect appearance. In this case, I would say that sometimes the images that those series are giving to the audience through the character are kind of ‘too much’, especially in a Thai Drama Series industry. In A b Ruk Online, a famous Thai drama series from Channel 3, the female character always had a really thick layer of makeup on her face. This actor was quite famous at that time, not just because of her beauty, but because of the makeup that she had on her face, usually when she was in a scene where she was supposed to be sleeping because of her sickness (see the image below). I mean, in real life, would you even have enough energy to put that much makeup on your face when you are sick? In a Japanese Drama, Kurosaki-kun no Iinari ni Nan te Naranai (2016), known in English name as I ‘m Not Just Going to Do What Kurosaki-kun Says, the female main character also denied letting the guy see her face without makeup on because she thought that she looked plain and he would lose interest in her. This really showed the stereotype of females, that we would always have to look good by having a lot of makeup on!


Not only the appearance, but the characteristics of female that were shown through these drama were unacceptable. Female characters are mostly portrayed as a kind of person who can not protect themselves. Hello? This is already the 21st century, females should have learned to become stronger, with more confidence. A Werewolf Boy, a Korean Drama, is a great example to show a stereotypical weak female. During the scene that Soon-Yi, the female character, got harassed by Ji-Tae, an antagonist who basically grew up as a spoiled child, Chul-Soo would have to save her since she could not get herself off from that situation. A Thai drama such as, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, is another example that shows the stereotyped characteristics of females very clearly. Nam, an ordinary and unattractive 14 years old girl, fell in love with her senior who is really famous among the girls in her school. In order to get him to notice her, she needed helps from her friends because she could not do it alone by herself. As mentioned that this is already the 21st century, the female should know how to be a strong independent and know how to protect themselves. We are currently living in a modern world where women can get jobs and can do a lot of things as well as guys can. This means that we, female, does not have to show our weakness in order to get protected by others anymore.




Lastly, female characters are always portrayed as house wives (or at least someone who would know how to cook). Throughout the Korean drama, A Werewolf Boy, there were many scenes where the main female character had to do the housework, including taking care of the guest (even though she did not want to) or drying the clothes. Not only that, one of the conversations between her and a male character showed that the male expected her to become his good wife who would know ‘how to cook nice dinner’ for him when they get married (see the image below). The same was shown on one of the Japanese dramas, Koe Koi, in one of the episodes there are scenes where two female characters have to do a ‘home cooking battle’, where they have to cook dinner in order to low-key show each other that each of them could win the guy’s heart. It is these kinds of expectations, that only girls should know how to do basic things in the house to become a good house makers when they grow up, that are commonly found on these types of drama. Personally, I think having basic daily life skills, such as cooking or cleaning, is something that is relevant to us since it is the skills that we can used in order to survive. However, it doesn’t mean that only female is supposed to be in the role of taking care of the house when they get married. I mean, I do not want to get married to become someone’s housekeeper. My parents send me to school, not hoping that when I grow up I can become just a a person who would clean up after someone else mess.


It’s true that Asian drama series are incredibly popular, and have a pretty wide viewing audience (because it is entertaining to watch!). But when I stop to think of the messages that were conveyed through those media, various questions starting to flow into my head. Will these roles and how Asian women value themselves continue to be seen in the society if the stereotyped had continued? Will we be able to change those stereotype in the future? Asian TV shows should started to change the images that they are giving about the women stereotype. Honestly, I know that it won’t be happening in a year or two, but if we take this issues more serious and started to get rid out of the negative female stereotypes, I believe that one day women can become as equal as men like Wayne Dyer once said, “when we change the way we look at things, the things you look at change.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s