Gender Roles in the 1st Shop of Coffee Prince

The First Shop of Coffee Prince cast

The First Shop of Coffee Prince cast

From episode one onward in Coffee Prince , the entire story revolves around a young girl named Go Eun Chan pretending to be a boy in order to  make more money, which presents a comedic narrative about gender roles and sexuality in Korean culture and what being a woman means in Korea.

The storyline of coffee prince follows the young female lead Go Eun Chan as she does various odd jobs, under the guise of being a young man, to provide for her family and help her mom with living expenses, and the young male lead Choi Han Kyul as he tries to make his grandmother proud by continuing the family business by starting up his own shop named Coffee Prince. Through a series of events involving other supporting characters in the story the two meet and Eun Chan is mistaken as a boy and a weird, sometimes dangerous relationship insures. She continues to feign being a boy to work at Coffee Prince because they only hire male waiters and she needs the income but becomes increasingly distressed as she gains feelings for Han Kyul as all K-Dramas tend to play out.

Coffee prince presents a girl who sacrifices her image and femininity to provide more for her economically depressed family. This narrative, while comedic and playful and without focusing on this aspect of the story, presents the image that women make less money than men in society. Her plight also shows that women are expected to be considerably more strictly feminine in appearance than women in other countries. This is especially evident in the fact that her mother and little sister are constantly remarking about her situation and her little sister makes snide comments about her boyish appeal over her feminine image.

Yoon Eun Hye as Go Eun Chan in Coffee Prince

Yoon Eun Hye as Go Eun Chan in Coffee Prince

Yoon Eun Hye with more feminine appeal

Yoon Eun Hye with more feminine appeal

In the end he sacrifices his preconceptions and decides to step out on his feeling no matter how uneasy he is about them. Coffee Prince, while a comedy and drama about Go Eun Chan and Choi Han Kyul’s blossoming relationship and the ups and downs they experience, it presents a subtle underlying critique of the role of women in Korean society and the sexual orientation that is socially acceptable.

Sources:

Coffee Prince(TV Series). DramaFever. Web. 8. April 2013. http://www.dramafever.com/drama/1/Coffee_Prince/

Wallpaper. Imzadi76. Fanpop. Web. 8. April 2013. http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/the-1st-shop-of-coffee-prince/images/32630456/title/wallpaper-wallpaper

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