Is This a Case of Hero Worship?

Some viewers have categorized Ji An’s affection for Dong Hoon as hero worship, largely due to their huge age gap.  Here’s a discussion among some Soompi members after the show’s conclusion.

@kappy

Speaking of age difference in a love story, I seem to be drawn to them…lately, anyhow.  I admit that was part of the draw for me about My Ahjussi. After watching the first episode, I knew it wasn’t going to be your typical age difference love story.  Why, I wasn’t even for sure it was going to be a love story even though it was touted as such. However, I knew it was a keeper. It was so obvious because it just radiated excellence.

Anyway, when it comes to the age difference thing in a love story, I hardly bat an eye.  The reason for that is my parents were 18 years apart. They married when he was 36 and she was 18, so he was twice her age.  They were deeply in love, but as you would guess, they ran into difficulties because of the age disparity, and my dad was accused of “robbing the cradle.”  Thank goodness both families were okay with the marriage, and since those were the main ones that counted to my folks (besides each other), they took a “heck with the rest of them” attitude and lived their lives happily together, later adding six kids to the mix.

Now the age difference between Ji An and Dong Hoon is about 6 years greater than that of my parents, but it’s still not a big deal to me.  I was sad to hear about all the uproar regarding that age difference. And then, an apology by the drama people? Oh for crying out loud. I wish they could have just thought as my parents did…heck with them!  I know, easier said than done. As one or more of you have expressed, I do wonder if there were any changes made in final product, post uproar. Would we have gotten a kiss at the end? One where he is leaning in on her in contrast to her tippy-toeing up to him?  Like some of you, I really would like to see the script, especially if there was a before and after.

One more thing – I’ve said this before, but another reason I don’t think much on the age difference is because she’s had to grow up so fast because of her hard life, that it’s like she’s been an adult for a long while.  Sure, there are things that she didn’t know, like how her halmeoni could qualify for a permanent free stay at a care facility, and that’s understandable. As for him, on the other hand, seems like his stagnant life has kept him at the same stage – and age – for a while.  Which is why I think of them as equals and the perfect match.

@ninaanin

I do understand you very well. I found that whole uproar about age gap amusing, but also a bit rude towards people in this kind of situation. As well as you, in my life, age gap is something “normal”: my grandparents were 15 years apart, my grandmother married at 17 years old (back then it was legal and usual in my country!), and their love story is known in my family as the most beautiful and greatest love that ever happened between us. They had many children, two daughters married with a greater age gap: 22 and 18 years apart from their husband. I, myself, did follow my grandparents example. :wink:

I agree that what makes their relationship right, it is the fact that they are both adults and mature; in many aspects JA did seem to be older than him, her soul was old, and this is why it didn’t look out of place when she said she was 30 thousand years old. Their relationship was balanced – sometimes it was JA who learned from DH, sometimes it was DH who learned from JA; they understand and respect each other as a full person, and as equal, despite their differences in life (age, status, etc.).  And in part, this respectful and balanced relationship comes from JA’s attitude: she never accepted to be treated or considered as a not full adult, never accepted be treated by DH as a kid/child. She always put herself as a woman/adult in face of him. In a sense, I think JA considered DA as an innocent and naïve guy, who should be protected by her. They complement each other because DH was, let’s say, “humanistically” more mature than JA, and JA was “realistically” more mature than DA.

This is why I think that to say JA has a hero worship love towards DA is to infantilize and disempower her, it is to downplay the depth of her character and everything she has battle for, including her independence and autonomy. JA didn’t find a hero in DH, she did find in him, for the first time, a real human being. And that is something so precious to her, that she has to protect him with her whole being. JA didn’t need a hero, but a real human being with his strengths, his fragilities and kindness; someone with whom she can rest, share her hardships and learn how to live her humanity to the full. From JA’s (adult) point of view, it is impossible not to be in love with DH, with him she not only can receive, she can also give. And to be able to give and to receive is to love deeply and fully.

@timidjock0819

My apologies for cutting your post short. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that’s fine. However, I will never see “hero worship” as a valid argument about Jian’s feelings for DH. She knows what she wants and never backs down on it. Jian is written as a strong female character. It is quite insulting to minimize her love for DH as platonic or fatherly figure. Women find true love at different stages of life during childhood, high school, and older adult years. For Jian, she found that right person for her at the age of 21. She is not that young anymore compared to all other literary heroines in the last 20th century. Some people say that she will find another person after DH. I say not likely. DH is her other half. She waited 30,000 years for him. Do we still  think that she will move on and stay away from him permanently after the time jump? Pfft! one full year is such a short time:) for someone like Jian.

 

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