ITS OKAY NOT BE OKAY: BREAKING STEREOTYPES
It’s okay not to be okay. The tittle of the show itself speaks a thousand words. This Korean drama was unlike any other I’ve come across. It managed to touch the heart of innumerable individuals and gained massive attention internationally. Additionally New York Times even named it one of the best international shows of 2020.
The main character of the show Mun-yeong is diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder and her character demonstrates many of the clinical traits seen in real people with ASPD. However what really stood out for me was how the show avoided the stigmatizing features that are usually associated with the individuals diagnosed with ASPD. I feel that even though the show did portray Mun Yeong as someone who is impulsive and struggles with empathizing with those around her. Yet still the show never portrayed that she had no emotions and feelings which is a common stereotype usually associated with the people who have APSD.
Another character that really won over my heart was Moon Sang-tae. Sang- tae was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at a very young age. He struggled with understanding nuances, had difficulty controlling his emotions, had a fixation with dinosaurs and children’s books, and was shown studying a chart of facial expressions so that he could recognize other people’s emotions. The way Sang-tae was portrayed in the show really brought me to tears. This is because the show broke all stigmas related to individuals with autism and rather than showing them as helpless and dependent on others the show portrayed him as a brilliant artist who was able to largely navigate the world on his own. He worked part-time at a pizza shop and handled public transportation with ease highlighting how he wasn’t a burden on anyone and was perfectly capable of taking care of himself.
Lastly a quote from the show that had a great impact was ‘There are more patients out there who aren’t wearing hospital gowns.’ If you meet someone like Sang-tae, who is on the autism spectrum, on the street, I think it would be nice if people could think ‘I would like to be with that person’ instead of ‘I would like to help that person.'” This quote really stuck out as often when individuals are handicapped in some way the automatic instinct within people is to aid them. However I feel like this drama very carefully weaved in the concept of how they don’t need our ‘help’ and how in the end just like every other person they’re also looking for meaningful relationships.