What my favorite Qing Dynasty historical/fantasy dramas teach me about being female then.

I love anime. I love, also, Koren, Chinese and Japanese historical dramas or dramas set in long in the past with fantasy elements and generous re-writes of the original story. Sometimes the more ridiculous and over dramatic it is the more I love to watch it just because it is that ridiculous. Although they have also been very educating. I have learned these quality lessons from these historical dramas:

  • As a lady of high rank in Qing Dynasty your worth is only measured in how young you are, how pretty, and how many babies you can pop out. And not just any babies–sons. Sons are way, way more important than daughters.
  • If you can’t pop out babies, at least be pretty and murder everyone else’s babies or take them from them.
  • If you can’t pop out babies or are pretty, you’re so fucked.
  • If you can’t pop out babies, aren’t pretty, and old–you are super fucked. And you are probably the villain of the entire series.You should kill everyone younger than you because reasons. And the cat. God damn cat.
  • It doesn’t matter how strong you are as a female/woman in the series. You could have survived a war, killed other men, have the highest martial arts training–the moment your heterosexual love interest grabs your wrist you are 100% powerless to do anything and must be drug along, flailing and whining and looking terribly upset and innocent at the same time. The wrist-man-grab is not block-able  It sucks any will power and feminist strength you may have had on your own until you are powerless to fight the handsome lead pen–male.
  • You will faint constantly. Someone runs in? Faint. Someone runs out? Faint. Did you pass gas? STARTLING. You must faint.
  • Any emotional upset what-so-ever, regardless of your past, will a) make you faint, b) make you ill and fake-cough horribly, c) make you lose a baby, d) make you insane e) turn you evil or f: all of the above. SO DON’T EVER GET UPSET.
  • If people like you, no one will tell you anything. If they hate you, they will go out of their way to tell you things that make you upset.
  • Nobody hugs from the front. Husband going off to war? Lover leaving you for someone else? Love interest going to commit some really ridiculous act in the name of whatever? No front-hugs for you. You have to hug them from behind. And you have to run to them first, to do it, and then you have to soulfully gaze at the back of their head and deliver a soliloquy.
  • Dirt paths/roads/streets/perfectly flat, smooth patches of land will fuck your shit up.  If I were to dramatically run down a path with the male lead following I am going to fall and trip and twist my ankle. Every. Time.  Also, I will fall in super slow motion, possibly cut and rehashed from seven different angles with DWOMP DWOMP music in the background.
  • The male lead will then be ‘forced’ to carry me on his back. Despite he rode behind me on a horse earlier/some sort of litter/had six men around him with horses/screw sense.
  • If you are female and poor, you are innocent and do-gooding. If you are female and rich and innocent and do-gooding you will be poisoned in the first season. If you are female and rich and not do-gooding, you will scheme and plot and subtly kill everyone. Men never do such things and are completely helpess when asked to help with the scheming-plot-evil-rich-lady. Because breasts, that’s why.
  • Spending 66 episodes to build up an amazing, complicated plot with characters that have finally grown with one another and have great chemistry together needs to be ended by killing every. single. person. off. but the main character. In the most ridiculously horrendous, and our idiotic way possible that should leave any sane person mentally scarred for life. Leave no one–and I mean–no one alive. Kill their parents, sisters, brothers, children, and their entire country. Also the best way to do all that is in episode 67.  End series with main character looking soulfully off into the distance. Ignore the million WTFs of fans.

This is going to be so hard to apply to real life. I will have to start with fainting every time the phone rings.

  1. Love this post! I also love how ridiculous period piece dramas tend to be. What is the drama you refer to in the title?

    • The image is from the series The Legend of Zhen Huan, which was pretty much every cliche period drama packed into one. Yet the sets were gorgeous, the costumes amazing, and the main actress/actor who played the Emperor were actually very good. It made up for a lot of the usual sexism and ridiculous fainting :p