5 female-centric k-dramas to give your inner feminist a boost

Mar 15, 2021

By Tanya

When we say a female-centric drama, it means that you remember the drama because of its female character or the story unfolds from a female protagonist point of view. K-Dramas have a reputation for producing cute, apprehensive or damsel in distress characters. Amidst them, some dramas have turned the table around and gave the feminist inside you a kick and rooting for the female characters who own the drama with their dynamic persona, realistic flaws and construction. These dramas aren’t afraid to show the vulnerability and flaws of their character, rather they live their life fighting for something worthy. Here are my five favorite K-dramas led by female protagonist over the years. 

1. Empress Ki (2013)

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Empress Ki starring Ha Ji-Won in the titular role, alongside Joo Jin-Mo and Ji Chang-Wook is a drama that promises you a strong lead, political twists and captivating chemistry between the characters. This historical drama spins around a Goryeo-born woman, Gi Seung Nyang, ascending to the throne and becoming an empress in the foreign land. She is strong, astute and resourceful paired with political shrewdness and ambitions.

The 51 episodes long drama will make you expect the unexpected in every episode and fulfill your appetite for a drama revolving around a female character.

You can watch this drama on Netflix and Viki.

2. Age of Youth: Season 1 & 2 (2016-2017)

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A youthful slice of life show weaved with a bit of mystery. The Age of Youth series revolve around five female housemates who are strangers at first, but they bond over their life experiences, growing up together and juggle with adulthood. You can easily find yourself in at least one girl. The girls are real and so is their story, ambitions and struggles. The male characters of the show are also a breath of fresh air and not rigid in their character building. 

The show is hilarious, touching and relatable. The best part is that it has two seasons to satiate you with the journey of these girls. Age of Youth gives you the right amount of hope, love, friendship and a reality check of life.

You can watch this drama on Netflix and Prime Video.

3. Witch's Court (2017)

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Witch's Court is a legal thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat. The drama stars Jung Ryeo Won as an avaricious prosecutor who does not waver to use personal attacks and forge evidence to win a case. 

In the rarest of cases, a K-Drama introduces an anti-heroine who is wicked, confident, gritty, sassy, charismatic and resourceful. Ma Yi Deum played by Jung Ryeo-Won is not your everyday female lead, which makes her super refreshing and interesting to watch. The dynamics between the leads and the supporting characters are a bonus never making a dull moment in the drama.

Apart from dealing with sex crimes, the show touches on the LGBT community subtly as they still face a stigma in South Korea. It's not your usual drama and I promise you a wild ride. 

You can watch this drama on Viki.

4. Mother (2018)

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Adapted from a Japanese drama of the same name, Mother is a story of a temporary teacher at an elementary school. She makes an impulsive decision to kidnap her student who has been abused at home. Lee Bo-young drive the 16 episodes as Kang Su-Jin playing the school teacher. She is anything but phenomenal with her poignant acting moments.

This show touches every facet of motherhood, yet excels in preventing it from turning into a cliché motherhood story. It tells a dozen variations of motherhood from vicious to heart-wrenching and also made a peek into the dynamics of sisterhood and fatherhood along with the sensitive portrayal of child abuse. This show will take you on an emotional journey so keep your tissues handy!

You can watch this drama on Viki.

5. My Mister (2018)

My mister also knows as My Ajusshi is a drama about characters straight from our life with actual struggles. The drama stars IU (Lee Ji-eun), Lee Sun-kyun, and Lee Ji-ah. The drama is woven around the lives of three middle-aged brothers and a resilient, bitter woman bearing the weight of life. Lee Ji-an played by IU is a woman in her 20s who is under heavy debt, has a sick grandmother to take care of and loan sharks beating her to blood and bone. The life of Ji-an will bite you, but her will to stand up for herself and making ways to get out of her pitch-black life will make you root for her.

Watch it for the praiseworthy acting by IU, a compelling plot and a realistic portrayal of daily struggles and tender moments; this drama has the right combination of black and white that makes every character seem a little more human.

You can watch this drama on Netflix and Viki.

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Which one are you saving in your watch list? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by Tanya

Tanya shares immense love for everything Asian and visual storytelling. She is an avid reader and just trying to get some sleep! You will always find her either writing stories or watching one. When she is not getting high on dramas and movies, she is probably clicking  pictures or talking with her plants and squirrels. You can catch her up on Instagram (@earl_of_june).