Saturday 29 May 2021

"She Would Never Know" (aka "Sunbae, Don't Put On That Lipstick") - some thoughts [SPOILER ALERT]

I have to confess that I only started watching She Would Never Know because of Rowoon. His character in Extraordinary You (which I have an overdue post about, will try to get it done soon!) offered very little scope for him to show his acting skills. So I was curious to know how well (or badly) he would do in the leading role of Chae Hyun-Seung in his latest drama. But as I got into the plot, I became drawn in by the side story of his older sister Chae Yeon-Seung (Ha Yoon-Kyung) and her husband Kang Woo-Hyun (Lee Dong-Ha). 

Some of you may already have read the countless reviews and comments that celebrate the victory of how a same-sex attracted Woo-Hyun found his true identity and was liberated to pursue his deepest desires (for a same-sex relationship). And many of these writers even commend Yeon-Seung for being so supportive and understanding.

Honestly, I find such a narrative extremely disturbing as it is perpetuating the lies that have permeated popular media and culture, and are gradually seeping into mainstream society here in Asia.

Lie #1: Sex is everything!

That's what popular media tells us - if the sex is great, then the relationship must be good. And conversely, if there's no sex (or very little of it) in the relationship, then there's nothing worth saving.

Well, after being married for almost 25 years, I can tell you that sex is NOT everything in a marriage relationship! There are so many times and seasons in a marriage where sex hardly features at all, like when you're having a baby, or feeling sick, or drained after a day of work and running after the kids, and of course there's always that one week or so each month where sex is off-limits.

If sex were everything, then no marriage would be able to survive all these sexless times and periods (pun intended). But the fact that marriages have lasted and even become stronger only goes to show that the husband and wife relationship is based on so much more than just sex.

Trust, open communications, love and care for each other, supporting each other through tough times, partnership in building the family, and more. These are the qualities that help to strengthen a marriage and they are also the indicators of whether the relationship will survive and we can grow old (when sex drive is almost zilch) together till death do us part.

In fact, Yeon-Seung and Woo-Hyun had all these in their relationship even though Woo-Hyun wasn't physically attracted to her. After all, she was the one who helped him to come to terms with and accept his own sexual orientation. Contrastingly, Woo-Hyun's relationship with the man who had awakened his same-sex attraction, Chef Ryu Han-Seo (Choi Jung-Won), had none of these factors. So his relationship with his wife was much healthier than the one he had with his former lover.

Lie #2: Same-sex attraction trumps everything else!

Nowadays, if we do not allow someone with same-sex attraction to fulfil their sexual desires, we are labelled as bigots. And it has reached the extent where the same-sex attracted person should be allowed to ignore all other responsibilities and commitments, otherwise we would be seen as bullies trying to repress their sexuality and identity.

Again, we need to understand that we are not defined solely by our sexual identity. There's so much more to a person than their sexuality! And that includes the roles and responsibilities we each bear in our families, workplaces and society at large. So for instance if you're married, it would be adulterous to have a sexual relationship with someone other than your spouse.

In Woo-Hyun's case, he decided to divorce Yeon-Seung in order to pursue his same-sex desires. If he were not same-sex attracted and had left his wife to pursue another woman because he is no longer attracted to his wife, he would be condemned as being unfaithful. So it doesn't make sense that just because he's same-sex attracted, then his infidelity is justified. He had married Yeon-Seung willingly and without coercion, so he should be expected to fulfil the lifetime commitment that he had made, regardless of whether his sexual desires are for another man or woman.

Lie #3: The kids will get over the divorce.

Moreover as a father to a young child, Woo-Hyun also has to bear the responsibility for his daughter’s welfare. And divorce is never good for the kids! They won't ever get over it either. The destructive ramifications of divorce are life-long. 

The saddest part about all this is that the kids are often too young to be able to express the hurt and pain that they experience. I just read a well-written sharing by an adult of her difficult journey through her parents' divorce and the growing up years, and even through to adulthood.

I was particularly struck by what she said here:

The parents are supposed to be the ones who sacrifice and accommodate in order to support their children, not the other way around! The world has pretty much turned upside-down. Such warped values which promote the selfish pursuit of one's own happiness above fulfilling parental responsibilities are resulting in an entire generation of damaged, orphaned souls. 

Anyway, this has turned out to be a much longer rant than I had imagined. So let's be aware of the lies that are being reinforced when we consume popular media so we don't get sucked in or worse, even start living them out in our own lives.

If you're interested, here's an earlier post on the Brangelina divorce.

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