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I am full of contradictory desires, wanting to be my own self, whatever that may be, but also wanting to meet South Korean society’s standards on what a proper woman should be.

All the people I have met at school, at workplaces, even at home have influenced me.

You can see this contradictory expectation in female heroines of many K-dramas.

The beautiful female protagonist is independent and savvy at her office, but in front of a guy she likes, she’s one step behind, submissive and gentle.

It dawns on me that my battle isn’t just about fighting South Korean men’s expectations of how women ought to behave.

I learned that I need to fight my own expectations for myself, too.

The more we talked about our future, the more afraid I became that I might not be his perfect life partner.

I kept on worrying about whether I could satisfy his friends or parents’ expectations of a “good woman.” My fears were not the only reason we parted ways, but they were certainly a factor.

As a young woman, I kept wondering about how I should act, and how much of myself I should show men.I just needed to have the right opportunity, and the right man, to let these ‘girlish’ traits show.I realized that I might have forced myself until then to be this independent, outgoing girl with an “optimistic character,” fixing problems by myself without relying on my man.I see myself as a lively, bright and sociable girl.I love to interact with new people and have no problem making new friends.

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