South Korea now has its own version of The L Word with a new show called Daughters of Club Bilitis. The drama follows two women in their 50’s, two in their 30’s, and two in high school as they live, love, and work in a society still struggling to accept lesbians.
The Korean Broadcasting System, the country’s most influential media organization has received both praise and criticism for its decision. They have given the drama a midnight time slot and a rating for ages 19 and up, but critics are calling the show an “illusion” and “a tool of corruption negatively affecting South Koreans.”
But many supporters have weighed in, especially over the Internet. People have yet to see the show with any subtitles but already commend the KBS’s move to do their part in bringing the LGBT population into the mainstream.
“There are LGBT persons around us,” says a representative from the network, quoted on AllKPop.com. “Just because a drama is LGBT-themed does not mean that it’s meant to purposely be stimulating, yet people still view it through those lenses. Because KBS is a public broadcasting network, there remains obstacles on airing dramas of such content. Still, we hope that people will view the drama for what it is: a drama.”
Homosexuality, despite recent steps forward, remains largely taboo in South Korea. However, with media often times changing the culture of a society faster and more efficiently than political evolution, South Korea appears to be moving in the right direction.
The show’s name is an homage to the original Daughters of Club Bilitis, the first lesbian rights organization in the United States, founded in San Francisco in 1955. An alternative to lesbian bars, which were illegal at the time, the group helped to educate researchers and mental health professionals studying the evolving culture of the LGBT community.