Shin Goon is a hooligan, anti-feminism popular?

goong1.jpgI feel sort of guilty not watching Goong sooner since it is after all the Korean teen drama everybody is talking about. I am not declaring the show to be an outright winner nor loser by any means–it is simply too premature to tell. I am currently at episode 16 out of the 24 and so far I can tell you I am at least enjoying it. But I digress because something that has been on my mind recently is rather Shin Goon’s douchebagery (forgive the vernacular but it demands to be used). I’ve seen Shin Goon do a lot of dastardly things to Chaegyung and without spoiling the series, let’s say I would safely brand him as a “punk”.

In all my brief time seeing Asian dramas, a trend that I have been seeing is how the male lead character is oftentimes portrayed as a “douche” towards the girl. I suppose this sort of thing is for better or for worse; better in that it provides a lot of room for character development, and worse in that it is to a degree anti-feminist. I’ve seen it happen in It Started with a Kiss, Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang, Full House, and now Goong, all of which are incredibly popular shows in various parts of Asia.

From what I can see, the reason behind the popularity of a blatantly dominant male lead could either be one of two, that is 1) it reinforces important Confucian filial piety laws that are so prevalent throughout Asia, or the complete opposite where 2) the development of the male from being a naive jerk to an actually decent guy speaks to a growing generation of progressive viewers who wish to break from traditional values. It could go either way or maybe to a way I haven’t thought of yet.

…Or maybe I’m just thinking too hard.

On another note, I’ll be reviewing the Korean film Windstruck tomorrow evening. I’ll finish the rest of Goong afterwards and set that up for review in the following podcast episode.


2 Responses to “Shin Goon is a hooligan, anti-feminism popular?”

  1. 1 Ahri March 19, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Interesting obversation =) I can see your view on how a common theme in Asian dramas seems to be anti-feminism, however at the same time I also disagree. I actually thought that Korean dramas and I suppose other Asian Dramas (although I haven’t seen many other Taiwanese, Japanese, or Chinese dramas so I really can’t say) embodies the idea of feminism.

    In ISWAK, Goong, and Full House all the male characters start out some what strong as these confident male lead characters seeming smarter and in some ways better than the female lead character. However as the story progresses in my opinion, I see that the male lead is not as strong or confident as I thought he was, and instead the famele lead character appears to be stronger as a result of her optimism and confidence in herself. And in the end, the female seems to complete or have a greater effect on the male lead character than he does on her, and the way she works through her trials and errors in some ways shows she’s stronger than the male lead character.

    I don’t know if that made sense =P But that was just my view =)

  2. 2 Tea April 9, 2007 at 3:05 am

    I know this reply is sort of late considering when this was posted, but I just found the ADP Podcast (is that redundant?) site tonight and I had to say something about this.

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who watches these dramas and notices the anti-feminist undertones! I’ve been wanting to verify this with someone, but none of my friends understand my Asian drama kick, and seems reserved for less philosophical speculation.

    But yes! I definitely see Asian dramas as being anti-feminist, but at the same time, I feel like this is something that is a remnant of patriarchal societies everywhere. After internalizing these misogynistic views, women find it hot when a guy is a jerk (or, well, a lot of girls are really attracted to arrogance).

    So yeah, I think that the douchebagery (as you call it) is a traditional trait, but I think that the whole realizing-he’s-not-a-total-jerk idea is still sort of anti-feminist. It justifies the abuse the girl endured before the guy became nice(-ish), and therefore also encourages female viewers to persevere in their pursual of guys regardless of the abuse that they might undergo.

    But of course, I still watch them. Just because they’re fun. And maybe because I’ve internalized the misogynistic views too.

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