by XingBack, February 28, 2020

After the initial awe wore off from K-dramas, I found myself "hating" on female leads often. And with that, I kept hearing things like:

  • why are you so hard on female characters, you'd not be that hard on a male character
  • They went through so much of course they'd cry, don't blame them for not doing anything
  • Why are you calling her a cry baby, she's poor and jobless, and the male lead yells at her
  • How many female leads do you hate

And I actually got personally offended. I'm not finding faults in "women", I was just tired of the same characteristics getting reused for every female lead out there.. and for what? to make the male lead look like a hero when he helps her? ;/
People can be weak. People can cry. People can depend and ask other's help. Everyone is awesome. The problem is that writers are lazy. ;)

Disclaimer, I'd drop a drama with a jerk rude male lead faster than I'd drop a drama with a weak female lead, though I'd enjoy a drama with a great female more than a great male. :)

And so, long story short, I decided to make a list of my favourite female characters. But I still hear things like "there aren't that many real strong female characters" plus the fact that I think the actual tag for "strong female lead" is so misused is why I'm here to mention a few of my "amazing" female characters, part 1. ;p

Han Ji Eun in Be Melodramatic (Hwang Han Joo)

I think she's the best way to start this definition of  "strong" in my book. When you 1st look at her she fits the "clueless, naive" type more, but as the drama progresses you can see how amazing she is. The writers used those traits as her basic setup; it did not define her as a whole.

Hwang Han Joo was a working single mom that tried hard to balance raising her son, focusing on her career, taking care of herself and having a love life.

My favourite part of the drama was her "Oppa attack". The guys at her job told her to lighten up with her "demands", and act "cuter" when she asks for favours, and she obliged until they regretted it. ;)

Kim Tae Ri in Mr. Sunshine (Go Ae Shin)

She's honestly the ideal "modern woman" in a not-so-modern time. She wanted to use a gun when girls at her time were expected to use a paintbrush. She wanted to learn new languages when girls at her time were expected to sit at home and do nothing.

The best part was that she always made the 1st move, she never waited for others to tell her what to do or how to feel. She was elegant, proud, cute, playful, smart, a little headstrong and sometimes naive, but overall she was a great well-rounded character~

Lee Da Hee in Search: WWW (Scarlet

Scarlet was THE model modern woman. She had it all, confidence, a beautiful style, a career and she was not afraid to expect more for herself. 

My favourite part was how she never doubted herself or her age gap with LJW. That's the mindset I strive to live by. We deserve it all, we can have it!

Kim Hee Sun in Woman of Dignity (Woo Ah Jin)

At some point of her life Woo Ah Jin kinda just accepted her role as a housewife of a rich family and was satisfied with her life, and she didn't expect anything for herself. But as the drama continues and "things" happen, she starts to work on her dreams while putting herself first~

IU in My Mister (Lee Ji An) 

Writers can never use the excuse "poor weak crybaby that needs the male lead to save her" when a character like Lee Ji An exists. She is one of the strongest characters I've seen, crying did not make her weak, it made her human. Basically, she's what every romcom drama uses as an excuse, but she was real, she was independent to the point that she thought asking for help or relying on anyone was a weakness. She didn't trust anyone, so she had to do it for herself...

 Kim Da Mi in Itaewon Class (Jo Yi Seo)

She's a new addition to my Favourite Female Characters list. She's smart, fashionable and the best part is that she stands up for herself and she fights back, but she's not unreasonably mean or a bully. Sure she's a sociopath, but they admit it, so it's actually a weird roller coaster ride with her. xD

Hani in XX (Yoon Na Na)

She's another new 2020 favourite character, I think my keyword for this whole thing is "normal", but Na Na was so relatable, and it was easy to understand her actions. Like for one thing she had a normal build-up with her romance, they were coworkers, and they were casually interested in each other without it getting a weird "fate".

I just love how she had her own dreams and ambitions she was working on; the romance was a bonus, not an obligation.  Also, she handled her own issues, and she wouldn't let the guy "save the day" - he was a nice guy, so he asked if she needed help, he didn't force his help on her. ;p

And these are only a few from my long list. My 2020 goal is to find more awesome female characters and enjoy their beautiful presence. ;p

Who's your favourite from this list and if I wrote part 2, who would you like to see?

*Gif and picture credits to owners, all found around Google, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube or recap pages. 

Info credit goes to Wikipedia, blogs, recap pages, MDL and my memory (one of the side effect from watching too many dramas are that one can easily forget minor details, so I needed basic reminders. ;p)

Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor)

strong female lead girl power