The ‘Damsel In Distress’.

In finding a perfect girl character in any drama (even in say, a disney movie to a movie made in Portugal), there must be something to that girl that makes people go and admire her. The girl is the epitome of a strong overall sense of a novel to a movie and even to a kdrama.

Even though some movies just seem to exploit women for their bodies regardless of their actual morals- it is said in the drama industry that a woman can turn into a ‘damsel in distress’ at some points… and that point can be argued on many points.

Strong woman (even Do Bong Soon) have a power to do anything a boy can do, and even more. Strong woman characters are needed to bring awareness to girls everywhere they sticking up is the right thing to do, and that even if people keep pushing you down, you need to keep getting back up.

I commend the writer of Radiant Office. (Imma look up their name real quick. Be right back)

Jung Hwe- Hyun.

It says he’s quite new.

Fabulous.

Hwe- Hyun (am I botching your name completely? It’s hard writing out those names. Kudos to people that subtitle stuff and have to write the names out with the hyphens sometimes) I commend you for the sake of your main lead character being the way she was.

The day I started this drama, I believed she would give up. Yet, she didn’t. With her tagline for the first couple episodes after landing the job at Hauline being “I failed 100 interviews”. It showed her compassion to keep striving on, and keep going even though she keeps moving further and further away from a dream at a good office.

Granted, she did get the job she had hoped for, she kept going with a terminal illness, saying- ‘hey, I made it this far’.

What I find interesting about this drama compared to a whole crapton of others is that she doesn’t look at her boss, Seo Woo-Jin with a kind of ‘I owe you everything’ composure. She goes along with him for the sake of staying in the office, and not getting fired for basically everything she does wrong. (Woo Jin just looks for ways of firing her anyway.)

What I feel hinders it way into the whole idea of ‘damsel in distress’, even a tiny bit is the way Seo Hyun – a doctor who worked a shift at the hospital that the lead- Eun Ho Won visits after almost committing suicide- treats her after he saw what happened when Ho Won and some others get out of paying after finding out that one of them has a terminal illness.

Then writing a book about the entire experience with the three people that committed suicide- leaving out the part as he talked to Woo- Jin that Ho Won legit has a life threatening illness that she can just drop over dead from. Although Seo Hyun gives Ho Won a job of a lifetime, he makes her act a little as a ‘damsel in distress’ character.

Because she doesn’t want to bring it up, and rather not tell everyone that she is gonna die, Ho Won keeps it a secret. It makes her seem as a damsel in distress that doesn’t want help, rather then screaming “HELP ME. YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SAVE ME! I AM WEAK AND GONNA DIE!” at her boss, she does as she is told and lets her dropping over dead any minute fade to the back of her head.

Many people have been talking about Strong Woman Do Bong Soon- and the whole ‘damsel in distress’ idea when she looses her powers and gets strapped to the bomb (an episode I haven’t gotten to yet, but feel like I already watched due to tumblr). Yet, there are many indications that it can lean to both sides of an argument here… and no one I think is really considered wrong.

Why, yes. She is exactly what kdrama leads are

strong.

I’m not just saying that. Her character being strong gave her so many personality traits that I never thought I would love in a girl, and traits that make her one of my top favorite leads ever. (Even behind Kang Mo Yeon in Descendents of the sun… even though she cries for half the show… another day, another topic. I would probably cry trying to explain what happened in the show to someone else too.)

Do Bong Soon, an inherently strong girl gets a job as a bodyguard for the head president (CEO?) of Ainsoft- a gaming company. Even though she’s a legit love sick puppy for her childhood crush, detective Kook Do.

The whole talk about this ‘damsel in distress’ topic is when she- as I said earlier is strapped to a bomb. In this case, she is allowed to be that little damsel in distress calling out on the top of her lungs “HELP ME I’M GONNA DIE!” because, she actually NEEDED saving, compared to Ho Won in Radiant Office- really didn’t. You can’t save someone from a terminally ill sickness. But, you can help someone strapped to a bomb from using human strength.

Playing devil’s advocate, the need for a damsel in distress in this scene is actually somewhat necessary. Even though someone might have a rock hard exterior and be as strong and independent as they completely can be- if you put them in such a position where they are literally facing death and are stuck with no one to help them, they become a form of damsel in distress. It can’t be helped, and anyone in her situation would not be solemn and go ‘okay I’m going to die’.

Bong Soon without her powers and with her powers is admired by a boy who – well in my opinion- is ¾ths the perfect boy lead.

Being that one sibling that almost got locked in things, I can imagine his pain when one of his brothers threatened him not to take the offer for the family business. He started ainsoft by himself, and got to that point without his family busting in and going ‘hey, whatcha doin’? He basically ran away and left his family behind. Even though, this in turn made most of his family hate him.

What I love most about him that differs him from most main characters is that he fell in love with Bong Soon at first sight. Most male main characters ‘understand’ their feelings in the middle. Example- Cheese in the Trap, Oh My Venus, It’s Okay, That’s Love. With Min Hyuk- everything for him was instant, and he waited for Bong Soon to get off of her Kook Do hype before saying “Hey, I like you. Now shut up and forget Kook Do.”

Now, even though with all the ‘gay’ scenes and Bong Soon even saying herself “Mom he’s gay”, that didn’t stop Min Hyuk from not loving her anymore. From the little desk he made her to his constant need for her around him, he established a kind of trust in me that I haven’t seen in a male lead before. He loved her with her superhuman powers, and without her superhuman powers. He loved her when she was drunk and she threatened to chop his butt off (still laugh at that), he accepted her mother coming over and shoving food in her face, and he accepted her small 5′1 frame always annoying him.

When she faced death in the face, he would not stop trying to get to her, ripping at the chains until his hands were bloody.

The scene shows a form a love that can keep the ‘damsel in distress’ at bay. He saves her, and keeps her safe even though that’s her job to protect him. And that, ladies and gentlemen are why men in kdramas are better then men in real life. (well…most of the time)

2 types of ‘Damsel in distress’ ‘s that I would like to name.

The ‘ignorant’ damsel in distress– When a lead character doesn’t admit directly about her troubles, and another person takes the troubles to their advantage.Example: Cheese In The Trap: Seol and Baek In Ha.Why? Seol has to deal with a stalker and a boy in her class always asking for notes- and oh, yeah.. someone that copies her and doesn’t tell a soul.Baek In Ha spies on her, tells false lies about her and makes her almost get killed in the end of the drama.

The ‘I’m in a dangerous situation’ damsel in distress: When a lead character is her own person and strong throughout the entire series, and they are put in a dangerous situation in which they have to be a little bit ‘damsel in distress-y’ to make sure they are gonna get out alive. Example: Kang Mo Yeon and Yoo Shi Jin-Why? Though lovers in the show (and maybe real life), they are threatened many times with the face of death. Which we figure since he’s a freaking army dude. This situation can really be seen throughout the entire series, but most recognizable when Shi Jin gets held hostage and has to have Shi Jin save her. But, then again… she could’ve died without his help.

Moral of the story.

Woman should be able to protect themselves without the aid of a man.

But sometimes it’s necessary.

– Stick around for more of my kdrama terms and opinions as I try to write on this blog through the piles of work I need to get through!

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Author: Anastasia

RACC Creative Writing first year Co- Assistant Editor of the FSJ

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