Two South East Asian series, Queenmaker and Wave Makers, that debuted during the same month both include an election campaign to put a woman in power. The latter takes place across ten months as opposed to a month in Queenmaker. We still recall the anticipation we felt for Queenmaker prior to its publication. We anticipated it would be a unique show that we had never seen before. We were completely mistaken. We will never forgive them for not understanding the difference between real misogyny and how it is portrayed because it was as lousy as it could be. We may not have had any expectations of Wave Makers because of our disappointment in that. We viewed it as a task to be completed, but were left with the impression that it was the content that led us to accept this work in the first place.
Warning: Minor Spoilers
Queenmaker and Wave Makers are not the same. The latter was a tale of retribution based on the relationship between the titular figure and the relevant queen, Hwang Do Hee and Oh Seung Sook. In the first, the obstacles that people who operate behind the scenes face on a personal and professional level are intertwined. It was also a look at what it takes to win over a nation with differing social and political beliefs, beyond just mudslinging as in Queenmaker. In terms of the requirements placed on women who pursue positions of authority, Wave Makers was much more realistic. Consider how Lin Yue Chen was perceived to be at a disadvantage because she had never been married or given birth, whereas her opponent, a different woman, was appealing to family values by highlighting the family background of her vice-presidential nominee. However, the married women were not exactly depicted as being at an advantage either, which is so poignant that it makes us want to cry. The wife of Chen Chia Cheng is having a difficult time managing the home because she is her husband’s second priority.
In the final episode of the television show Wave Makers, Chia Cheng claims that his job is what makes him feel accomplished and that he is in love with it. His wife, however, is unable to express affection as openly as he does. Along with her job, she also has to take care of the child and the house. Despite the fact that she may be passionate about her job, Chia Cheng is free to pursue it without restraint. Imagine her if she were vying for office as president or a councilor: she would be held up as an example of negligence in the eyes of the public, or her husband would be called into question about who runs the household. Men are expected to take care of their families, whilst women are expected to take care of their families. This difference in expectations cannot be overlooked. In the series, there are several other married women, including Chang Tse’s wife, who left her job to support her husband’s aspirations.
Even if he turned out not to be a cheater, she would still have been unhappy because women are expected to compromise their goals. This crucial detail was never explored in Queenmaker. In Wave Makers, it was demonstrated how Wen Fang’s mother handled the majority of the family’s emotional work by attempting to reconcile her husband and daughter. In Queenmaker, it was clear that Oh Seung Sook’s husband was very supportive of whatever she did, but it was never made clear whether he was also supporting their kid emotionally. If the father had achieved greater success, would the son have been more enraged with him? Instead of resolving this issue in a straightforward manner like Wave Makers did, Queenmaker left it in the air.
Then there was the situation involving the accusations of sexual harassment made against the competing candidates in both shows. We’re not sure if this qualifies as a Queenmaker flaw, but Wave Makers’ examination of how society views the ideal victim was a much more compelling approach to the subject, one that looked beyond feelings to reveal how cunningly manipulative these circumstances can be.
We also can’t ignore the distinction between Oh Seung Sook and Weng Wen Fang. In contrast to Seung Sook, who was already a leader, Wen Fang was a leader of the future. We had long grumbled that, aside from the evil leader in the Korean drama, none of the leaders were endearing. However, the Taiwanese one was spot on. Additionally, we were unable to comprehend how Queenmaker had attempted to convince us that Seung Sook was a good mayor because she preferred a detailed analysis to a broad perspective. Wave Makers, on the other hand, demonstrates how much more empowering it is when power is sought after for the right reasons and with a realistic understanding of the costs and tradeoffs involved. This important detail made a huge impact in the shows’ overall quality. Not to mention that, in contrast to the aegyo theatrics that Oh Seung Sook employed, Wen Fang truly possessed the steely will and the articulation necessary to convey herself. The metaphorically empowering act of ripping off the corset required far better execution.
The key point is that whoever created Wave Makers did it with practical experience of gender sensitivity, politics, campaigning, and advertising. In other words, they should get paid more, whereas the other person needs to conduct more research. This is the show that, contrary to what we had hoped for Queenmaker to accomplish, actually sprang out of nowhere and knocked us off our feet. The narrative of the difficulties a woman encounters as she seeks to occupy a nation’s highest office is still something we haven’t seen. Wen Fang, a lesbian woman, might grab the bull by the horns in her campaign for the councilor, the senator, or even better, the president, if there is a season 2 of Wave Makers. We would pay money to watch that because it would be a sight to behold. We didn’t care about the first season of Queenmaker, so the second season will need to do a lot better to keep us interested. Perhaps they could employ writers from Wave Makers. They’ll then put up a good performance.