The 2013 Women in K-Drama Awards


When it comes to the entertainment business, women are marginalized. Heavily. If you look at popular polls and discussions of end of the year awards both informal and formal, you’re far more likely to find not just male nominees, but male winners. Examining the history of the Academy Awards shown in the infographic below, it’s easy to see that women are severely underrepresented even in the most prestigious of awards cycles. The male:female ratio is about 4:1 when it comes to overall nominations, and it’s probably even worse of a gap in co-ed categories.


The K-Entertainment universe is no different. K-Drama or K-Pop, females tend to be unacknowledged/underrepresented, or reduced to empty puppets for the dynamic male presence. But to say that women have made no progress is to put duct tape on the voices that have dared to become something. Rather than wallow in the misfortune of female marginalization, I’d rather see women in K-Drama have their own merits highlighted. Entertainment is one of the most dynamic sectors of society when it comes to social change; what consumers support and perpetuate by word and by cash will be reinforced by the companies and greater society. Therefore, the more we place attention on the men of K-Drama, the less women are going to be represented. When International fandom places emphasis on “beloved Oppa,” and the ever changing cycle of “It men,” no one should find it surprising that discussions and polls skew towards male. In fact, it was in this year’s Beanie Awards that the trend became clearer than ever:

  •  80% of the best character nominees are male
  • There’s a separate category for bromances, but not female friendships
  • The “Frenemies” category is dominated by men
  • 70% of breakout performance nominees are male
  • 90% of wasted actors/actresses nominees are male
  • Males are celebrated for being shirtless, have manes of glory, etc. while women lack similar treatment–except when it comes to a “mane of shame”
  • “Powerful Character” nominees skew male

This however, is not a result of the wonderful ladies of Dramabeans attempting to underrepresent women. This is a product of the drama culture we live in, a drama culture that cares more about “Oppa” than “Unnie,” a culture that says female leads are merely supplementary characters/characters that only search for romance.

That they are pushovers.




Through this poll, we’re going to try change that kind of thinking; even if it’s just a little bit. The Women in K-Drama Awards attempts to celebrate women in K-Drama, from the production side to the characters themselves. We want to encourage discussion about female characters and actress have been meaningful to all of us; we want to spur the growth of a fandom for nuanced and vibrant characterizations of females. Women need not be strong, talented and rich all at once. All we want are women that are relatable, self-respecting, and commendable; women who are willing to love themselves as much as they love their families and significant others. We want women who want to talk about things other than men and have dreams and goals of their own.

We want real women on our screens.

And that’s why this poll exists.

Click Here To Access Poll

(New York Film Academy, MBC, KBS, SBS, tVN, jTBC)

15 responses to “The 2013 Women in K-Drama Awards

  1. Reblogged this on RandomSoju and commented:
    Reblogging a great post. Let’s hear it for women in the entertainment business, from support staff, cinematographers, writers, directors, producers, and actresses. Let’s hear it for strong, interesting, multidimensional, female fictional characters. Let’s celebrate them, let’s watch them, and let’s bloody well WRITE them.


  2. Hear hear, DDee. Great post and I couldn’t agree more. This year alone, I hardly see female lead leading the drama (Queen’s Classroom and The Suspicious Housekeeper are the only two obvious one), mostly male. Sad but it’s the truth. Sigh Let’s hear it more for women in entertainment industry!


  3. Oh, can we make suggestions for possible awards? I nominate Go Dok Mi from FBND and Bo Tong from Pretty Man/Bel Ami for most relatable!


  4. This is brilliant, truly, and sorely needed. So much sexism goes on in regards to awards and just in the day-to-day stuff from fans. If male actors show the slightest gleam of talent, fans praise like crazy, and then an actress can put on a truly masterful performance in a drama and she gets completely overlooked. Or criticized, usually for her appearance or something similarly deeply rooted in misogyny. So yes, I can’t wait to vote in these awards where finally there’ll be a chance for women to be properly appreciated 😀


  5. Reblogged this on Creating Volumes and commented:
    I am beyond thrilled that this project exists! Part of what I love about k-dramas is that it’s stories told by women (to a much greater extent than I’m used to in TV), for women. And it gives us lovely shower-scenes, but it also gives us lovely, dynamic and interesting female characters who aren’t just there to be eye-candy on the male lead’s arm. That’s something that should be celebrated. And look! It’s happening! I’m looking forward to Dec. 15th…


  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this! I’m so, so happy something celebrating the lovely ladies of k-drama is out there. Because they are lovely and they totally deserve celebrating. ♥


  7. Pingback: Weekly OCD Drama Digest 2 Dec – 8 December | obsessive compulsive (k)drama-watching disorder·

  8. Pingback: Weekly Drama Check-in Post (grumpy…) | Creating Volumes·


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