Culture Shock-Smile, Dong Hae and Rascal Sons

I did manage to complete Smile, Dong Hae, my first daily drama and am now currently watching Rascal Sons.  While I have thoroughly enjoyed both of these dramas for the most part, I feel that the vast cultural differences pertaining to marriage and how it affects the family made me a little crazy in some aspects.  I will follow with my list of grievances:

First, why do parents have to be so up grown adults rear ends that they don’t have their own lives?  Really?  I hope that’s not the way it really is, because if it is then there are a lot of Korean mothers walking around with ridiculously high blood pressure just waiting to have a heart attack.  Really?  Your children are grown ass adults capable of choosing their own partners for better or for worse.  I know the root of it is that we are an individualistic society and we see marriage as a fulfillment of the desire of two individual people, and they see it instead as a melding of the families as a whole and it directly correlates to societal status for the entire family.  This makes it difficult for me to be understanding when a mom freaks out over  a son wanting to live in his new fiance’s dead husband’s father’s house.  Okay. maybe this isn’t entirely conventional, but it’s what they want so that they can raise her son together.  In America we have all kinds of families, the reality is that the nuclear family really died a long time ago and blended families are the new norm.  Here, whoever you choose to live life with and love to the fullest is your family, it doesn’t matter who they are or where they come from.  Evidently in Korea parents have to check the resume of of every potential suitor, even if their child is a 40 something year old dentist who is clearly established enough to live life independently of his parents if he so chose to.  I know that both of these dramas are very much about just this very thing, a changing of the times from the traditional idea of the parents/grandparents ruling the family to children being able to be more independent and make their own decisions about who they choose to love, marry, and spend their lives with and who they choose to add to their families.  But these parents are just so closed minded and crazy that it is just making me plain batty.  And I know in my heart and realize that this is mainly out of a deep seeded cultural difference in the way that I view the world because I have been brought up to believe and accept a set of family values that are totally different evidently than those in Korea.  But damn, marriage is more about the two individuals that are getting married than their parents.  The parents are not the ones who have to sleep next to them every night and make decisions about their children.  And speaking of children, there is the matter of grandparents threatening to take their grandchildren away if their children choose to divorce, live with, or be with people that are not of their particular choosing but otherwise have no criminal offense against them or any good reason why they cannot be a good and decent wife/husband or parent   Really?  Seriously?  This is just plain out crazy to me.  How cruel to take a child away form their parent just because your daughter in law is not pining over your dead son her whole life and actually wants to remarry so she can be happy and her child can have a living father.  How ridiculously selfish can you be?


Second, the sexism in both of these dramas is so blatantly evident   Not that I am an ultra feminist or anything, but it’s just overboard to someone who has grown up in the U.S., and is used to being treated a certain way regardless of gender.  For example,  in Smile, Dong Hae, Dojin has dated around a lot, his parents make that clear in the beginning, but even though this is the case, he tells Sae Wa that he would never want to be with a girl who has dated another man, that that would be repulsive to him.  Double standards much?  So she’s had a boyfriend before, she’s a beautiful girl in her 20s, so what?  You expect her never to date while you are playing the field as much as you want?  Also, when someone winds up having accidentally dated two brothers they freak out and act like it’s the end of t he world.  Okay, so it may not be the most common practice in modern times, but it happens, and she may not have been right for one brother but she’s right for the other, who cares?  Also, in Rascal Sons the mom is having a duck because her already having been married with a daughter son does not want to marry a virginal, never been married woman, but instead another widowed mother who understands his loss and pain.  Really?  So your son can get married and have sex but the girl he wants to marry is not good enough for him because she has been married and had sex and therefore also had a child?  They’re in the same freaking situation, get your old head out of your ass!!

I’m sorry, I have never ranted this much before and I hope I don’t  sound like a bigot, I still love Korean culture and kdrama, but some of the particular culture in these two dramas was just really hard for me to wrap my brain around since I have been raised to see the world completely differently.  And with this I leave you to stew over my long winded bitching 😛


4 thoughts on “Culture Shock-Smile, Dong Hae and Rascal Sons

  1. The sexism and overly obsessive/controlling families are one of the few things I’m still getting over about how Korean culture is portrayed in these dramas.. sometimes, if it’s not bad enough I can shut my brain off and not worry so much. Other times, I absolutely can’t stand it. Hit or miss, I guess – but man, it can distracting sometimes.. 🙂

    • Yes!! Rascal Sons is an otherwise really good drama that touches on some topics that are often avoided like divorce and remarriage and how it affects the family, but the parents are crazy obsessive and it is majorly distracting!

  2. The sexism thing drives me crazy, too. Like the fact that a guy can basically treat a woman however he wants and no one says a damn thing in these dramas. Two examples off the top of my head: The Greatest Love, where the main actress basically gets bitch slapped and no one says a thing, but when a guy gets hit in the same drama, they want to press charges. WHAT???
    And Shut Up Flower Boy Band, this guy comes on to a girl IN THE HALL of their high school and basically tells her he’s going to share her with all his friends. When she smacks him, he beats her down once and goes to hit her again and no one stops him. Although it may be because his dad is powerful, there are zero consequences when he does it, and when someone even barely touches him or another student (both men) watch out! ARGH!

    • That makes me crazy when girls get slapped, or there are a few almost rape scenes that I’ve seen and that seems to be easily forgiven as well. It’s hard to accept when our culture is always striving for equality,

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