This drama killed me because there were so many gorgeous shoes. In South Korea, like many places shoes are a symbol of status. In some ways I think that shoes are perhaps even more important here than they were growing up back in the US.
Good looking high heels are an everyday must for many Korean young ladies, to the point where I’ve thought sometimes it’s completely ridiculous (like girls hiking mountain paths in 4 inch stilettos!) They love their shoes here and it’s easy to find good looking and affordable shoes as well as shoe repair shops when you accidently break a heel. I think I’ve never cursed my large foot size more than when I first moved to Korea and realized that my foot size (American size 9 1/2) is a man’s size and I just missed the cutoff to have an amazing collection of smexy sparkly shoes. Instead I have to pay a ton to get them at specialty shops, order shoes online or stock up when I go home. The problem is when I go back to the US there’s such a large collection that I go nuts and my buy one or two pairs turns into a shoe shopping spree free for all. Guess that’s what I get for being a big-footed Caucasian woman living in Korea.
So, as I said before I watched this drama drooling over the shoes. But this drama isn’t ONLY about shoes. This one also tackles two issues that I wish more dramas would touch on – unmarried women getting pregnant and successful women choosing men who many would consider ‘beneath’ them. Korea is a land where arranged marriages still exist. Before I moved here I thought this was some sort of drama fluke – designed for entertainment purposes. How naïve I was. As an American I can’t imagine my parents choosing my future spouse. Heck, I laughed when my dad and his then girlfriend, tried to set me up with a date for new years.
What? Were they crazy?
Within my first month in Korea I realized how important family approval is here. I had a coworker who was studying hard to pass an exam and get her teacher’s license – not because she really wanted to teach, but because that would be seen as a good job to have that her boyfriend’s family would approve of. Maybe if she passed the exam and became a teacher then they could finally get married. Status and occupation are still extremely important factors here. Kim Sun-ah’s character would typically never end up with an upstart shoe designer with no experience – the doctor that her parents tried to set her up with certainly, but never someone so far beneath her. Additionally, that she got pregnant out of wedlock and wanted to keep the baby is something almost unheard of. Though abortion is illegal in South Korea, it’s still something that happens a lot under the table for the right price. With the low birth rates, I’ve heard tell that it’s one way many gynecologists stay in business. However, that’s hearsay. I don’t really know much about that personally. This drama shows a bit of the shame and challenges society associates with single motherhood – and how despite all the obstacles it’s a beautiful thing. I wish more dramas were as gutsy.