“Young Lady and Gentleman” Criticized by Viewers for Its Patriarchal Values

"Young Lady and Gentleman" Critized by Viewers for Its Patriarchal Values (credit: KBS)

Young Lady and Gentleman” doesn’t resonant with the current society. Its old-fashioned story about marriage is criticized for going against the modern times.

If one cannot follow the (society) change, one will fall behind. That’s not exceptional for dramas that use similar genres and storyline all the time. If the drama is unable to keep up with the trend, but simply repeats a cliche story over and over again, it won’t win the public’s appreciation.

A chaebol (T/N: son of a rich family) male protagonist and a female protagonist who went through difficult circumstances, or a poor male protagonist and a childish young female protagonist from a rich family – these are regular stories found in weekend dramas. With a provocative and obvious story, along with “the secret of one’s birth”, “terminal illness”, a relative that’s “doubly related by marriage”, you get a new makjang drama (T/N: drama with rididculous storylines).

"Young Lady and Gentleman" Criticized by Viewers for Its Patriarchal Values (credit: KBS)
“Young Lady and Gentleman” Criticized by Viewers for Its Patriarchal Values (credit: KBS)

What’s problematic here is that such storyline is no longer interesting to viewers. Nowadays, marriage is not a requirement but an option. There is no prince riding on a white horse that waits for the princess, nor would he turn one’s life around. Though one can say drama is a kind of fantasy, people don’t welcome drama which does not reflect the reality.

KBS weekend drama “Young Lady and Gentleman” is very old-fashioned indeed. A lady in her 20s falls in love with a man in his 40s, who’s actually 14 years older than her. What’s more is that the man is a chaebol president who lost his wife and has 3 children. The drama shows a sexist value on women’s marriage. The story generates from an outdated concept that’s very far away from the concept of independence.

At first, the female protagonist Park Dan Dan (acted by Lee Se Hee) is cute. Unlike with Lee Young Gook (acted by Ji Hyun Woo) who went through some difficult times, Dan Dan thinks love is what’s most important. Whether he’s a chaebol president, nor is he a father of 3 kids, nor is he a man in his 40s that’s 14 years older – these are not important to her.

With Park Dan Dan set as a character who “confidently protects the life and love that she chooses”, it was fun to see how she turns the story around when everyone was against her relationship (with Lee Young Gook).

However, during EP47, it was just a repeat of Park Dan Dan saying on one end that “I hate breaking up with the president. Aren’t we in love?”, while telling her family, “We’ve broken up. Don’t do that to the president.” She cries as she misses the man, then looks for him to say “I don’t like breaking up” on the next day.

Park Dan Dan’s obsession, persistence and the childish attitude that’s excused as “daring” don’t draw the support from viewers. Instead, the viewers feel uncomfortable with it. It would’ve been better if it was a Park Dan Dan who would be smart and independent instead of just spending her time crying.

KBS is particularly bad at catching up with the society’s trend. Everytime they aired a new drama, the story would be full with patriarchal values and old-fashioned female characters. Hence they received criticism. Their sit-com drama “Old Miss Diary” was once heavily criticized for its patriarchal value, and for portraying a single woman as an incompetent figure.

If they continue to make viewers uncomfortable, they’ll continue to be criticized. There had been plenty of such issues in the past, but not only for “Young Lady and Gentleman”. It seems KBS is not trying to change their old-fashioned thinking. But if they don’t, they won’t ever be able to grow.

source (journalist: Woo Bin)