Archive for the ‘ Feminism ’ Category

Taiwanese Drama & Social Commentary

by Sporadicwriter

I just completed watching a Taiwanese drama series that was, in my opinion, the pinnacle of the strong independent women category of dramas within Taiwanese modern culture. Never previously have I seen the main female character depicted with strength, power and independence in such a positive light.

“My Queen” is a drama about an independent, driven and ambitious 32.5 yr old woman who has always been at the top of her class and career status only to be lacking in love and relationships. In the last episode, she has waited 2yrs for her boyfriend’s return from medical training overseas. At this time, she is already 35, the age limit for a healthy pregnancy in childbirth (according to the drama series). It is at this time that the boyfriend proposes. Now, typically when your serious boyfriend of two years proposes, wouldn’t you be the most overjoyed and immediately say yes? But no, she smartly says that she will accept the ring but must think more about considering the proposal. Quite a surprising twist in the plot. Understanding, the boyfriend later says that its not bad to be single.

In this category of Taiwanese dramas, there has been a rise in the independence and strength of female characters. For all prior independent woman dramas that I have watched, the woman has always ended up marrying a man to provide her that protection and strength that is such a theme in Taiwanese and Chinese love stories. Yet this is the first time I have ever seen a drama so completely encompassed in the journey of exploration and identity discovery of life as a woman in modern day Taiwan. China and Taiwan have long desired to assimilate the ways of the United States. I believe one such thing that was brought over was the increasing career-mindedness of women in the USA.

I, as a Westerner, am amazed and impressed with the progressive thought behind this drama because I know that it has received disapproval for the ending. Many women in the Chinese and Taiwanese cultures still struggle with the idea of balancing one’s independence and career with the traditional roles imposed upon us as child-bearers and homemakers. Many have tried to become the “Supermom,” as it were, in order to achieve the perfect balance between tradition and modernization. And yet, to some extent…that can never be possible. This drama show a different perspective, not of balance but accepting who you are regardless of how others see you.

I like how this drama series demonstrates that struggle, presenting the pressures of a traditional, close-knit Taiwanese village as the main character initially fights to become that “Supermom” identity and later realizes that she does not have to conform. It is society’s realization that women do not have to be mothers and wives any longer, that they do not need to be restricted to serving their husbands. A new age has come, the age where a woman can and will rise in the ranks of men and achieve equally or better.

In Chinese history, few have achieved such greatness. Those than have are labelled with the “Dragon” pronoun. It is also interesting to note that when addressing a man, the “dragon” is a label of respect and reverence. Yet when addressing a woman, it denotes something out of place, warped and twisted, something distrustful and wicked.

Madame Chiang – for her political ambition, the Dragon Lady Who Bridged the East and West
Empress Dowager Cixi – for securing her position as ruler, the Dragon Empress
Emperor/Empress Wu Zetian (my FAV) – for being the first and only female emperor, Dragon Emperor