The Glory School Violence K-drama
Image courtesy of Netflix

The K-drama The Glory has reached new milestones while bringing attention to school violence and bullying. However, were they able to properly depict the struggles of the youth in dealing with these issues?

School Violence in K-drama and Reality

School violence and bullying aren’t new concepts anywhere in the world. It is prevalent to some degree in every school. However, matters get worse as the little fights of youth force them to become victims suffering from its effects for a lifetime.

  • According to a 2022 survey conducted in South Korea, the percentage of students suffering violence went up to 3.8 percent in primary schools, 0.9 percent in middle schools, and 0.3 percent in high schools in 2022. It is greater than 2.5 percent, 0.4 percent, and 0.18 percent respectively than in 2021. Therefore, it isn’t surprising to see K-dramas and films covering the topics of school violence as plots and subplots.

  • This representation of victims voices their sufferings, struggles, and serious aftermaths of facing the bullying. It also works as a reminder for authoritative figures to not underestimate the gravity of matters. Bullies and authorities often report having no awareness of the effects their ‘joke‘ was having on the victim.

Let’s refer to some K-dramas that tried to bring awareness about school violence and its ill aftermath.

The Glory

The Netflix K-drama, The Glory starring Song Hye-Kyo in a different image tells the woeful tale of a victim of bullying trying to take revenge. The severity of violence in its scenes makes people wonder if it is an exaggeration. However, K-dramas (although a work of fiction) don’t fall far from real-life cases.

  • One of the most horrifying scenes of bullying comes at the beginning of K-drama where the school bully burns the body parts of the protagonist with a hair iron. The scene is directly taken from a real 2006 Cheongju bullying incident. Even after that, the teachers at the school dismiss the complaints by saying ‘friends hit each other at times’.
  • The narrative of the K-drama starting from these incidents passes through a long journey of 2 decades following the effects of the violence on the protagonist. Through this, it brings the audience closer to her sufferings and the severity of school violence. The Glory simply presents reality in graphic details.
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Beautiful World

Similar to The Glory there was another K-drama covering school violence that reached the top of the rating charts. In the K-drama Beautiful World, student Park Seon-ho falls from the rooftop of his school.

  • Following this incident, videos of him suffering from bullying surfaced online. However, the school hushes the matters away with minimum punishment for the delinquents. This prompts the Park family to take matters into their own hands.
  • This K-drama focuses on the emotional impacts of bullying and its aftermath. It shows the bitterness of the world as the family struggles to find any lead behind their child’s incident.
  • Here, even after the bullies are found they plead their actions were ‘just for fun’. These words match the reported words of the real-life bullies of Kwon Seung-min who unfortunately couldn’t receive the happy drama ending and was lost by suicide in 2011 after suffering school violence.
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There are many more mainstream K-dramas such as School 2015, Shadow Beauty, My Little Baby Jaya, etc. that brings school violence in front of the public. K-dramas like My ID is Gangnam Beauty and True Beauty also represent the discrimination a student suffers over matters of looks, money, and social status.

However, all these attempts of providing a closer look at the suffering of victims are only effective when the audience applies the same sympathy to real students. Real students whose dramas don’t end within 16 episodes and leave scars for a lifetime.

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SOURCE: Cinema Escapist
Kairavi Pandya is a writer, editor and proofreader who loves to write niche content that’s both receptive to readers and exciting for every mind. Coming from the curious land of India, she likes to explore society from the lens of literature, entertainment, and current events.