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"Mask Girl": A Reflection of An Insecure Korean Society?

Is the much-anticipated Netflix thriller Mask Girl a reflection of an insecure Korean society? We break down this gripping drama as well as give our thoughts on whether it mirrors today's socially insecure Korean cultural dynamic. Let's take a bite into this juicy topic!

Still from "Mask Girl" (Netflix)
Still from "Mask Girl" (Netflix)

In a unique storytelling fashion, Netflix's Mask Girl centers on several characters, each taking turns as the main character for several episodes in this short 7-episode series. The plot follows a young office worker, Kim Mo Mi (Lee Han Byul), as an insecure woman who has loved to perform all her life. When told that she is "too ugly" to sing, her self-confidence plummets and she becomes reclusive in society with only one true friend she can rely on.

The only chance of her shining in the spotlight is performing in front of a webcam on a live-streaming website with a mask on while acting out favors for her fans. Little does she know that her very own co-worker, Joo Oh Nam (Ahn Jae Hong Reply 1988 2015), a social recluse himself, is watching her every move and wants to "protect" her from other men. The two are thrown into an unfortunate accident and are thrown into a spiral of murder, betrayal, and revenge.

Does insecurity cause extreme actions?

When humans are pushed to their limits, they are capable of anything. As seen in multiple dramas such as The Glory and Weak Hero Class 1, insecurities often start during a person's primary years, especially during high school. When humans feel that they no longer have anything else to lose, they snap. And with Mask Girl, we definitely see that happening!

"The Glory's" horrifying bullying scene (Netflix)
"The Glory's" horrifying bullying scene (Netflix)

Another real-life example would be the purchase of young Koreans purchasing luxury items. The idea of "success" to many Koreans means to look, dress, and act a certain way acceptable to Korean society. Take a look at this video and judge for yourself.

What's going on in Korea? Why are Koreans acting like this?

These are some very difficult questions to answer simply. South Korea is a very small country. With only 50 million people, trends are easy to come and go and citizens are expected to conform to a certain standard. When individuals choose to go against this "standard" fingers are pointed and public shaming starts. Already starting with the monumental task of out-studying and becoming better than the next person at an early age, Koreans are constantly stressed about their outward appearance and how others perceive them. This can greatly impact an individual's social interactions and workplace performance, as seen in Mask Girl.

What are your thoughts about Mask Girl? Do you think it is an accurate reflection of Korean society? Maybe it's a reflection of your country? Share and comment below!


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