Image courtesy of  feminisinmindia

March 9, 2021    |   Volume 2, Issue 21

TOTD: Not Accepting Misogny Within K-Dramas 

by Ashleigh Lowe, Communications Intern

A memorable feature of any Korean drama, or K-drama as they are commonly known, is the female-lead. They are often strong-willed, charismatic, and relatable. Despite the resolve of these characters, many older K-dramas are centered around the misogynistic belief that women are meant to be won. 

To accomplish this goal, many of these dramas follow a similar pattern or storyline. The audience meets an independent and determined woman who appears different from those around her. Her strong-willed personality causes her to clash with the male-lead but also catches his attention. What becomes problematic about this storyline is that, as it progresses, the once strong-willed female-lead becomes “unassertive, docile, and yielding.” She finds herself conforming to a prescribed gender role: women should be submissive, especially to their partners. Additionally, in order to ‘win’ the female lead, the male lead often makes unwanted advances, which raises the question of consent within these shows. “The female lead’s character ‘transformation’ is complete when she finds herself being conflicted, overly emotional, and easily dependent on the lover in the latter part of the story progression.” (source)

A popular example of this is the relationship between Goo Jun-Pyo and Geum Jan-Di in Boys Over Flowers (2009). Goo Jun-Pyo is a member of F4, which is a group of elite male students who also act as the school bullies. Jan-Di starts the series as one of the people taunted by F4, but she often stands up for herself and others. Her unusual assertiveness catches the attention of Jun-Pyo and for most of the series, he relentlessly pursues her. Jan-Di resists Jun-Pyo, but following the pattern, Jun-Pyo eventually ‘wins’ Jan-Di and she becomes unassertive and dependent upon him by the end of the series. 

In addition to these storylines reinforcing the idea that women should be submissive to their partners, they also suggest that women can be won over by any means necessary. Many of these storylines do not consider the feelings of the female lead about the relationship as the male lead makes continuous advances. For this reason, this storyline does not reinforce healthy ideas of consent. 

However, there have been efforts to change this storyline recently. For example, a Korean web drama called It’s Okay to be Sensitive covers the topics of consent and sexual assault. It is considered a truly feminist drama, due to its willingness to discuss these issues through a female lens. The Netflix K-drama Run-On is also a great example of healthy relationships. Within Run-On, the relationship between Ki Seung-Gyeom and Oh Mi-Joo forgoes problematic relationship tropes. Mi-Joo helps Seung-Gyeom practice self-love after living his whole life for his family and his career. The show also builds a stable friendship between the two that naturally develops into a relationship. Run-On spends time establishing that these two are equals, rather than creating a relationship where one partner is overly dependent on the other. 

The changes in Run-On and It’s Okay to be Sensitive suggest that audiences are no longer willing to accept the misogynistic portrayals of relationships that existed in older K-dramas. They are demanding that the industry portray women as complex individuals, with thoughts and feelings who have a right to an opinion on their romantic relationships. 


Further reading


Interested in sharing your own "Thought Of The Day" or TOTD? Come to WILD Wednesday or email us at

Have something to say in the WSS Weekly Zine? To submit an announcement, please email us.

In this edition of WSS Zine you'll find the following announcements...
  • Programs/Services:
    • Women's History Month Events 
    • WILD 2021 Planning Committee
    • WSS Online Office Hours 
    • SAS Student Survey *Amazon gift card drawing
    • Free Period Products at MSU Petition
    • Writing Centers and Access: A Speaker Series 
    • Queering Racial Justice Summit
    • Transgender Day of Visibility Student Research Symposium 
    • My Spartan Story
    • COGS Monthly Yoga Series 
    • MSU Center for Survivors Spring Groups 2021 
    • MSU Family Affinity Group
    • MSU Adult Caregiver Affinity Group 
    • Empowering Stories: Women in Leadership, Business, &Finance
    • Beyond the binary: A gender identity spectrum support group
    • Empower U
    • Gender Identity and Attractionality 
    • 2021-2022 MSU Student Affairs and Services Scholarships 
    • Save the Date for UURAF!
    • CAPS Connect
  • Community Heath Concern Information
  • About Women*s Student Services
Post your announcement here by emailing


Post your event here by emailing
Join MSU Women*s Student Services in watching the 2021 LUNAFEST films, followed by a Zoom panel discussion with students, staff, & faculty. To claim your free ticket, go to our EventBrite page linked here. For more information on LUNAFEST, visit their website linked here


By signing up on the EventBrite page, you will receive an email the day of the event with a Vimeo link and password to view the short films. You may watch anywhere within a 48 hour window. There will be a synchronous Zoom panel held by the staff of Women*s Student Services, featuring voices from the MSU students, staff and faculty.

The suggested schedule for the event is:

6:30-8:00PM EST - Watch the short films via the Vimeo link

8:00-9:00PM EST - Join the Zoom webinar for the panel discussion

                             Trailer for LUNAFEST 2021

What is Women’s History Month?

Women’s History Month is an annual occurrence every March. We at MSU have created a collaboration across many offices, departments, and groups to gather all events created to highlight Women’s History Month. In our use of “women” we recognize that gender is complex. We are all more than just our gender - we are comprised of intersecting identities that are grounded in history and our lived experience that goes beyond the gender binary. We celebrate this month because of the past and present existence of systemic gender oppression that impacts women  as well as others who exist differently regarding the gender construct. The involved in the creation of Women’s History Month are Women*s Student Services, the LBGT Resource Center, Prevention Outreach and Education, GenCen, TransAction, Womxn’s Council, Alliance, Transcend, Planned Parenthood Generation Action, ASMSU, James Madison College, Womxn of Color Community, Undergraduate Research, and the Work Life Office. All of these offices, departments and groups came together to create programming for all Spartans to celebrate the history of womxn, and we hope you will join us at some of the events listed above!

All of the events are held by different offices across campus. If you have questions about a specific event, please contact the office hosting that event.

Links to our events can be found here

Join Women*s Student Services on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at 7 PM EST for Crafternoons and Communitea! We will be making friendship bracelets. Hope to see you there!

Sign up here and select your colors!

Along with all the staff of Student Affairs & Services, the staff of WSS is currently working remotely. We are available to meet virtually one on one via Zoom. To sign up to meet with either Heather (Director) or Gabby (Graduate Assistant), please click the links below.

To meet with Dr. Heather Shea, click on this link to go to her You Can Book Me Page to sign up for a time slot.

To meet with Gabby Wahla, click on this link to go to her You Can Book Me Page to sign up for a time slot.
Please check your emails for the survey from Student Affairs and Services. You will be entered into a drawing to win an Amazon gift card. The survey will close on March 19th.  
At Michigan State University, items such as condoms and toilet paper are free and widely accessible. But period products are not. This budgeting choice is discriminatory, and Pad the Mitten is collecting names and emails of MSU students to show support for their bill that will be proposed to ASMSU. If you support their cause, please fill out this form.

Please join the Writing Center beginning February 4, 1-2 PM EST for the Writing Center and Access: A Speaker Series. The series will include topics that will be very helpful to students and faculty in their research. 



The Queering Racial Justice Summit is a vital two (2) day opportunity for students to come together to discuss the deep connections between racial justice and LGBTQA+ justice. The summit offers session rotations on inclusive leadership, White supremacy, allyship, and more. Throughout the two-days, there will be raffles for prizes, keynote speakers, and the opportunity to connect with other students to coalition build an action plan.
Sign-up TODAY! 
The Queering Racial Justice Summit is Friday, March 12th, and Saturday, March 13th! More details to come!
For Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st, the LBGT Resource Center is hosting their first annual virtual Research Symposium! Check-in throughout the day and listen to talks from student researchers on trans and nonbinary gender identities in various fields of study. Their schedule of events and keynote speaker announcements are coming soon! The call for proposals from undergraduate, graduate, and professional students will remain open until March 8th at

Join COGS and Recreational Sports and Fitness Services for an evening yoga class to relax after a stressful few weeks! Monthly Yoga sessions are offered free of charge for graduate & professional students. The next session is on February 11th! See RSVP link below to register and receive link.  Invite your friends! All you need to participate is an open space, water, and a towel/mat.

  COGS 2021 Yoga Series:

6:45 pm- 7:45 pm EST via Zoom

March 11

April 8

RSVP Link  

This semester My Spartan Story is offering workshops for students and Registered Student Organizations (RSOs)! Please see above for the workshop dates/times. Click on the image to sign-up and learn more information!
The Family Affinity Group (focusing on parents and caregivers of children and teens) has meetings the second Thursday of each month from 12-1pm via Zoom. This is a place for Spartans to connect on family related topics with the goal of connecting, building community, and sharing best practices regarding raising or caregiving for children and caregivers. ​The topic for February's meeting is "How to Talk to Your Children About Race," and the topic for March's meeting is "Avoiding Power Struggles with Your Children."

What is an Affinity Group?

“An affinity group is a group of people linked by a common interest”.

Family Affinity Group

Every 2nd Thursday of the Month

12pm-1pm via Zoom

Password: family

March 11thAvoiding Power Struggles with Your Children Featuring Jon Novello from MSU Employee Assistance Program

The Adult Caregivers Affinity Group (focusing on caregivers of adult/elders) has meetings the fourth Thursday of the each month from 12-1pm via Zoom. This is a place for Spartans to connect and share information on topics such as how to start conversations on living situation changes, higher levels of care needed, caring for yourself as a caregiver, and making a home safe for a senior. 

What is an Affinity Group?

“An affinity group is a group of people linked by a common interest”.

Zoom link: 

Password: caregivers


Women's Leadership Insitute and Go For The Green Financial Literacy Team Present:
Empowering Stories: Women in Leadership, Business, & Finance 
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021
6:00 pm-8:00 pm
                                           REGISTER TODAY
This semester, MSU Center for Survivors will be providing various virtual groups via zoom listed below.

Community Connect
Community Connect is a drop-in support group on Wednesdays from 12-1 focused on building community & fostering connections among fellow survivors. Questions? Email Christie at  or Kimmins at Interested? Fill out this quick form

Healing Through Yoga!
Healing Through Yoga is a drop-in trauma-sensitive yoga practice to promote healing and wellness. Classes begin January 28th  and will be held on zoom on Thursdays from 1-2 PM. To register, fill out this form  and email with any questions!

The Next Chapter
Center for Survivors presents “The Next Chapter” Book Club. We'll be reading Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski. Grab some coffee or tea and join us from 3pm-4:30, beginning Tuesday, February 9th, to learn more about how to ‘turn the page’ on your own burnout! Books will be provided. Registration Link:

Support survivors, learn more, and receive updates about MSU Center for Survivors by following their Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter.
Beyond the Binary: A gender identity spectrum support group.

This is a safer space for support for undergraduate and graduate students who are exploring or identify as transgender, gender fluid, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming.

Potential topics of discussion include challenges of coming out to self and others, identity development, limitations of labels, negotiating gendered environments, identity-affirming relationships, coping with minority stress and gender binary norms, accessing supportive health and social services, aspects of transitioning process, and adjustment to social identity, family dynamics, and impacts on wellness, needs and impact of being closeted, being TGNB at MSU.

All meetings will be held weekly via Zoom.
Registration required. Contact Ginny Blakely at for more information or to register.
Begins Jan. 28, ends April 22
Day/Time: Thursdays 3:30–5 p.m.
Facilitator: Ginny Blakely & Mike Evitts
Location: HIPAA Compliant Zoom
Empower U

Empower U is a virtual space for LGBTQIA+ graduate and undergraduate students of color to support and empower one another. Some themes of the group include relationships, self and community care, values exploration, intersectionality, self-compassion, family dynamics, navigating cultural expectations, and building resilience. All meetings will be held weekly over Zoom.

Group screening required. There will be a brief screening to see if the group is a good fit for you. For pre-screening, complete the CAPS Phone Request form and indicate your interest in Empower U.  Contact Olivia Scott at for more information.

Begins Jan. 22, Ends April 30
Day/Time: Friday 1–2 p.m.
Facilitator: Olivia Scott & Victor Leon
Location: HIPAA-compliant Zoom

*You can still join after the start date!
Gender Identity and Attractionality (GIAA) Undergrad

This support group for LGBTQ+ (including questioning) undergraduate students will address life and relational issues related to romantic and sexual attraction, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Topics are based on student interests and may include: exploring identity & identity development; trust and connections; dealing with heterosexism, cissexism, internalized homophobia and/or transphobia; dating and dating technology; attraction and romance; family dynamics; faith and identity; balancing academics with life; and intersectional identities. All meetings will be held weekly over Zoom.

Group screening required. For more information, screening, and registration, contact Victor Leon at The Zoom link will be given upon registration.

Begins Jan. 26, ends April 30
Day/Time: Tuesdays, 2–3 p.m.
Facilitators: Ginny Blakely and Victor Leon
Location: HIPAA-compliant Zoom
Gender Identity and Attractionality (GIAA) Grad

This support group for LGBTQ+ (including questioning) graduate students will address life and relational issues related to romantic and sexual attraction, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Topics are based on student interests and may include: exploring identity & identity development; trust and connections; dealing with heterosexism, cissexism, internalized homophobia and/or transphobia; dating and dating technology; attraction and romance; family dynamics; faith and identity; balancing academics with life; and intersectional identities. All meetings will be held weekly over Zoom.

Group screening required. For more information, screening, and registration, contact Victor Leon at The Zoom link will be given upon registration.

Begins Jan. 27, ends April 21
Day/Time: Wednesdays, 2–3:30 p.m.
Facilitators: Ginny Blakely and Victor Leon
Location: HIPAA-compliant Zoom
Save the date for the 2021 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF)!!! UURAF will take place between Thursday, April 15th and Monday, April 19th and will be hosted on a virtual platform. Abstract submissions will be accepted from January 12 to February 11, 2021. For more information about registration visit:

MSU Student Affairs and Services have more than 20 scholarships available for undergraduate students. The deadline for most of these scholarships is March 8, 2021. For more information and to apply, visit the MSU Student Affairs and Services scholarship page:


If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Vanwelsenaers at

Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) Updates:

Beginning March 17, as a COVID-19 preventive measure, CAPS offices at Olin Health Center, MSU Student Union, and the Neighborhoods will be closed.

CAPS counseling and psychiatry staff will work remotely to help meet the needs of MSU students.

  • Established patients with scheduled appointments will be offered phone or Zoom sessions. Patients will be contacted and given instructions.
  • All group counseling services have been cancelled. Group co-leaders will reach out to students to discuss alternative options, such as phone consultations.

Patients needing a prescription refill prior to their next appointment can use the MyMSUHealth patient portal to make the request:

CAPS Phone (517-355-8270) will be set to a voice prompt with 3 options: (Press 1) To talk with a crisis counselor, (Press 2) to leave a message with the CAPS Nurse which will be responded to within one business day, or (Press 3) for general messages.

CAPS Connect sessions and Outreach Services are canceled through the spring semester.

Community Health Concern Information:

For students with health concerns and more information on COVID-19:

Students who are struggling to meet basic needs should reach out to the Greater Lansing Food Bank (

Students experiencing mental health crisis can  MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services (517-355-8270).

About Women*s Student Services
Student Life: +1 517-355-8286
Voicemail: +1 517-432-7556

Contact us!
Director: Heather D. Shea, Ph.D. (she, her, hers)
Graduate Assistant: Gabby Wahla  (she, her, hers)

Visit us in the fall!
Interactive Campus Map
make a donation to WSS

Women*s Student Services (WSS) is committed to:

  • fostering inclusive conversations that explore topics of intersectional feminism

  • building collaborations and coalitions with other student services offices and other departments on campus,

  • supporting all students in working toward an empowering and equitable community for women-identified students at MSU, and aligning with the Division’s quality standards of being respectful, responsive, and resourceful.

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