These are three of my favorite female characters in dramaland and the negative comments they tend to receive.
Jin Seon Mi
This article was actually inspired by this character. There are so many negative posts about JSM that it just got me thinking about all the unfair bias towards female characters.
Reasons why I loved her
Jin Seon Mi was eager to live her life. Even though she had been ostracized by her family and classmates her whole life, she didn't feel sorry for herself. Instead, she wanted to overcome the things they said and she wanted to just live a normal life. She didn’t allow her past to make her feel like she wasn't worthy of being happy.
She worked hard at her job and she was a CEO. GET IT, GIRL!
She was nice to everyone even though her whole life she had been treated horribly. She even babysat for her employee. She also had an awesome group chat with her friends.
She was realistic. She didn't let herself be fooled by love. She knew every time Son Oh Gong was lying to her and she played the part because she knew that was what he needed at the moment. She knew that the love she felt was probably not reciprocated honestly and didn't allow herself to give into it completely.
Finally, and I think this is the most important for me, she fought for what she wanted. She confronted whoever she thought was evil head-on without hesitation. She rarely called Son Oh Gong to rescue her unless it was dire. She just fought without fear because she believed in what she fought for. I especially loved it when she met the character who was going to call the dragon out into the world and she immediately confronted him. It really solidified her character for me. I really think we need more characters like hers in the drama world.
The actress was bad. I thoroughly disagree. Oh Yeon So did an amazing job with her character. In fact, I wish she had been given more screen time. One thing is that you don’t like the character but another is to say she is bad. I mean, a lot of people didn’t like the character Lee Seung Gi played but I didn’t read any comment saying he was a bad actor. Why the double standard? Not to say there aren’t bad actors but I really don’t think that Oh Yeon So deserves the hate because she did a really decent job.
Jin Seon Mi was weak and consistently called her man. Son Oh Gong typically showed up to save her but most of the time he did that himself. It wasn't because she called him. When she first found out she had the power to call him, she tried it a few times but not as much as people proclaim she did.
Sam Jang had no purpose. I actually agree with this one. I think they led us on to a big climatic ending and then they let the ball drop and they took away her power. But seriously, that is not her fault. Her character was kick-ass even though they changed her purpose in the end.
Ji Eun Tak
Reasons why I loved her
Jin Eun Tak was funny even though her life was messy and full of hardships. Her family only took her in for money and despite all this, she didn’t allow herself to become miserable. She was fun and light-hearted most of the time. Sure, sometimes she got sad and cried but don’t we all?
Jin Eun Tak was a hard worker. At school, she took her work seriously because she knew that was the way she would improve her life. She also maintained that same attitude at work.
Jin Eun Tak was smart. She knew ghosts referred to her as the goblin’s bride so when she met the goblin she was ready and not scared. She made it into something funny and then she asked him how he could help her improve her life. She wasn’t shocked or scared but she was more ready to figure out what it meant to be the goblin’s bride.
She was too young - both the actors and characters. Seriously, the characters barely kissed and when they did, she was in college and like 21 if I remember correctly. A goblin who was 939 years old is too old for anyone. As for the actors, they have a 12 year age gap. I don’t think that is a big deal when the youngest person is already in their late 20s.
Kim Go Eun was a bad actress. Again, I didn’t see her acting as bad. I don’t think her acting was as great as her peers' but in no way, shape or form do I think her acting was bad. She portrayed the emotions of the character and she made me feel which I think is the definition of acting - to make the audience feel. But I guess different people have different opinions.
Jin Eun Tak was too materialistic. When she first met the goblin she kept asking him for money. I get why that bothered some people. Let's look at it from her perspective. She was being treated badly by the only family she knew and she saw money as the only thing that could help her get out of her situation. We would like to watch dramas and see stories of people who make money despite obstacles. However, let's be honest, sometimes in real life, we would want the easy solution and that drama reflected that. Money equalled freedom from her abusive family and she thought that her husband, the goblin, would bring her freedom, or in her eyes money.
Na Ae Ra
Reasons why I loved her
Na Ae Ra chose herself. Divorced women in drama land are consistently portrayed in a negative light. Even before the first episode, the title already depicts her in a negative light. I started this drama apprehensively because of the title but by the end of the first episode, I knew I would stick around until the end. Na Ae Ra didn’t seem selfish for getting a divorce, she just seemed like someone who had enough of being unhappy and chose that it was better to be alone than unhappy with someone else. I respect that decision.
Na Ae Ra was a hard worker. In her marriage, she worked many jobs so that her husband could pursue his dreams and after her divorce, she continued working so that she could live a decent life.
Na Ae Ra was the right amount of petty. So this is a horrible thing to admit but pettiness to an extent can be hilarious and this character nailed it. She not only got a job at her ex-husband’s company, but also tried to make his life harder. She brought flowers that he was allergic to and painted over his pictures. She really didn’t try to act like a perfect person and that made her more likeable/relatable.
Na Ae Ra moved on. A lot of dramas focus on past relationships and make it seem as though the women never move on. NAR wasn’t one of these cases. She got divorced and went through the pain of a miscarriage with her best friend. Then she moved on with her life. She continued working and living. Even when she was presented with the chance for a new relationship, she took the chance. She gave into the flirtations with a new man.
Na Ae Ra loved her family. Even though her family was a bit over the top, she still loved and confided in them. Also, her friendship with her best friend was awesome. We all love a good bromance but I’m here for a good sismance too.
Na Ae Ra didn’t love Cha Jung Woo. Na Ae Ra was in love with her husband while they were together, even when they got divorced. She simply couldn’t continue being second place to his dreams. She didn’t mind supporting his dreams when they first got married but after a while wouldn’t any of us make the same decision? It doesn’t mean she didn’t love him.
Na Ae Ra was selfish and to blame for her divorce. She was definitely not selfish. She had a miscarriage and was heartbroken that her husband wasn’t even there for her during her toughest time. She made a decision to keep the miscarriage a secret because she knew that would only make him feel guilty. She spared him the pain because her decision was already made, no point in hurting more than necessary.
Na Ae Ra was immature. Ok, so immaturity and petty kind of go hand in hand. So maybe this is true but she wasn’t immature about serious things. When it came to the company, their relationship, and her family, she was all business.
So, the reason I call these critiques to female characters ‘unfair bias’ is because if we applied these attributes to any random male characters, they would be totally accepted. I can name 10 male leads who were immature and petty, without even thinking too hard. I can name at least 5 male leads who were selfish and materialistic and quite few who were purposeless and weak. YES, I can name weak male characters. We all can but we don’t. Also, I see such a trend of saying that actresses are bad, yet we turn a blind eye to actors who are bad. There are maybe a handful of comments about male actors being bad leads and we all know that is just not the truth. And yes, I understand that some actresses are bad but the disparity in praise for actors vs actresses is just astounding. I think female characters keep getting better and better as time goes on and I hope we don’t let our double standards get in the way of our judgment. Especially when it comes to dramas, this is supposed to be a fun space. Feel free to drop some comments below and thanks for reading!