In Korea, the culture of no drama, a popular genre that focuses on the mundane aspects of everyday life, has gained a certain cult following.
For some Korean women, it’s not just a sign of being on the right side of history; it’s a way of life.
For others, it just means not being bothered by the fact that you have to dress and eat properly.
In an interview with BBC World Service, actress Kim Yeo-sang (Kwon-kwon) said she doesn’t care if her friends don’t enjoy her work, she just doesn’t want them to complain.
Kim, who has a degree in theatre and dance, said she found the culture hard to embrace as a woman, especially after her husband, a director, was killed in a car accident.
“It’s so much more stressful and difficult to maintain,” Kim said.
“The more difficult it is to maintain, the less we enjoy ourselves.
So I think that we can’t really relax if we’re not enjoying ourselves.”
The popularity of ‘No Drama, No Party’ is also partly down to Korean culture’s reliance on family and friends, which is why Kim has often told her friends to avoid getting into trouble.
Her mother is also a huge fan of the genre, she said, and they both have friends who do.
The show is one of several TV series aimed at changing the way women dress and talk, with dramas about dating, dating, sex and relationships all set to air later this year.
In the past, there was a large segment of Korean culture focused on ‘normalcy’, or the idea that society should be kept as normal as possible.
This is also reflected in the genre’s name.
In a previous interview with the BBC, Kim said: “We’re trying to make a society that’s more comfortable, and that’s why we’re making ‘NoDrama, no Party’.”
Kim said she was able to make the transition to the show due to her parents’ help, but that they were also aware of the need to show that the Korean culture was not the norm.
The popularity also owes something to the rise of internet culture, with Korean people increasingly accessing their own media through social media.
The show’s creators also believe that they can use the internet to raise awareness about Korean culture, especially around topics such as sexism and discrimination.
“When I first watched the first episode, it was like, wow, that’s a lot of Korean girls who are really good looking, and it’s like wow, Korean girls don’t really look like this in real life,” Kim added.
But it’s important to recognise that these are very individual stories, and not representative of the entire Korean population.
“We’re not trying to create a single culture,” said Kim.
“This is not about one culture being perfect, or one culture wanting the other culture to be perfect.”
Kim said the show will have an emphasis on women, but she also wants to make it inclusive of men.
“If we want to change people’s perceptions, we need to speak to their problems,” she said.
“We can’t just have an ‘everyone’s equal’ view of things, because we don’t all fit into that society.”
Kim, like many other Korean women I spoke to, said the pressure to fit into the idealised image of the Korean woman has increased in the past few years, particularly after her parents died.
“I think it’s hard for women to look at themselves and say, ‘I’m Korean, I’m a Korean, and I’m not ashamed of my heritage’,” she said.
“The pressure to conform has become so intense, Kim feels she has become too much of a ‘woman’s woman’.”
When people tell you that you’re Korean, you’re supposed to be proud of who you are and your culture,” she added.”
And so people see it as a burden to just accept yourself, just do your job, just keep doing your job.
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