Happy International Women’s Day!
It seemed like a good day to talk about my girl crushes, and I thought I’d write about three in particular who I admire for different reasons: Jenny Han, IU, and Jun Young Jung.
The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before book and movie series gave me validation on a lot of different levels. For one, it gave me a sweet teenage love story that happened to be about a Korean-American girl, with little cultural symbols that felt realistic. For another, the series became a successful movie series that showed me (and others, I’m sure) that people were open to stories about people who weren’t white.
Finally, it was also extremely validating on the level of Jenny Han being a successful Korean-American writer. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, or if it’s obvious from the fact that I own a blog, but I love writing. I do dabble in creative writing, fiction, though I’m not very good at it. Still, I remember the first day that I learned that the books would become a movie. I was at my friend’s cottage when I saw the news and I felt this racing in my brain that I’d never felt before, and I suddenly thought to myself: if Jenny Han can do it, so can I.
And that, my friends, is why representation is so important.
There are some similarities between IU and Taylor Swift, probably my two favourite female musicians, and I am reminded of a quote of Taylor Swift’s when I think about IU’s career:
You can be accidentally successful for three or four years. Accidents happen. But careers take hard work.Taylor Swift, GQ
When I relate it to IU’s career, I think about how she kept trying and getting better and it worked. Of course she had some level of natural ability–IU’s voice, of course, has always been there–but when I look at how much she’s improved over the years, I am extremely impressed.
For example, her acting career. I watched her first k-drama, Dream High (a very solid show, by the way, though I’m not sure how it stands the test of time), in which she was light and cute and passable. It set the tone for her acting career to be like the typical acting career of a musician: someone who got the role because they were already famous, which would bring fans to the TV show, and would mainly be required to be pretty.
Flash forward to now. I’ve been watching her show from 2018, My Mister, which is a completely different show from Dream High–and as the lead, requires her to be able to carry the show, and she does. The philosophical, poetic show requires her to have a gravity to her acting that I didn’t think she could bring. She is completely believable as a girl fighting to survive the terrible odds life throws at her.
IU’s ability to improve in the various areas of her career has shifted my perspective into realising that I’m not a failure just because I’m not good at it the first time. And who doesn’t need a reminder of that?
Jun Young Jung
This is a very timely post, because she had already quit YouTube when I discovered her videos. However, she posted an update saying that she would be returning to posting videos again, which makes me so happy. I admire her for various things, but the biggest ones are her studyspo and incredible work ethic, as well as her ability to be herself on camera.
Listen, I’m a student, and I clearly like school to a certain point, having signed up for eight years of non-mandatory education post high school. But studying is a struggle for everybody at times, especially when there’s so much to learn. Still, it’s got to be learned, and her discipline and steadfast studying that is visible in her videos motivates me to study as well.
Additionally, her personality comes through her videos. As someone who would like to be a YouTuber, I know it’s not easy to film and be yourself in front of what can be a very critical audience. There aren’t any big things, but just stuff like showing your messy bed or making an annoyed face at the thought of studying. Those are things that aren’t easy for me to show on camera, and I admire that she can do it without fear of retribution.
Who are women you admire? Let me know in the comments down below! I’d love to learn about other women who are doing amazing, wonderful things.