In the last few years, South Korean media industry has reached new levels of fame. With K-Pop sensations like BTS and Blackpink and South Korean films like Parasite making history, South Korea has allowed its media productions to gain global recognition. One other milestone achieved are Korean tv shows, commonly known as K-Dramas.
While K-dramas have had all sorts of storylines and character displays, among the most common are Rom-Coms. Such short 16-20 episode Rom-Coms have surprisingly normalized the idea of a sensitive male lead. With aggressive male leads juxtaposed with pretty heroines, K-dramas have brought with them a new dimension for the main characters.
Although ideas of beauty and perfection are still prevalent in these shows, men are shown to be sensitive and emotional, with scenes that allow them to express their sorrow, and shed a tear. With television so used to portraying the woman as the "emotionally weak" character, K-dramas are bringing with them this acceptance of a sensitive man. Dramas, like Coffee Prince, Secret Garden, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God and Encounter are among the few that have shown such important scenes with male leads
With such important portrayals of men, many fans have taken to their social media accounts to highlight their importance. From video edits to blog posts, many have chosen to appreciate the sensitive man portrayal.
What's more important is that in many ways these characters are not portrayed as "special," unique, or completely reduced to being a sensitive man. They are just regular on-screen characters that have been allowed the space to show emotion if need be. And with storylines that could very well do without such scenes, K-dramas incorporating such important ideas show that although they may have problems of their own, in many ways they are still trying to subvert certain stereotypes that exist within romantic shows.
Such portrayals become important when one analyzes the Asian portrayals of romance. Pakistan and India, specifically have had very few portrayals of this sensitive man. Even where the man is a sensitive one, he is completely reduced to such an identity and isn't "manly enough."
For example, Bhola in Ranjha Ranjha Kardi, played by Imran Ashraf, was a character that subverted quite a few norms of the male lead. However, Bhola's character was in many ways reduced to his sensitivity and him being mentally challenged becomes the only explanation as to why it is possible for him to display signs of emotion (more than the female lead in some ways). The normalization of showing sensitivity in male characters has been seen within popular K-Dramas, and local filmmakers should also try to portray and affirm such important ideas to a growing young audience.