New Chinese drama inspired by BBC's work draws attention to problems facing women
Published: Nov 19, 2020 10:18 AM

Photo: VCG

A new Chinese drama named Hear Her was launched on video platforms on Tuesday, focusing on contemporary female dilemmas and featuring issues such as domestic violence and concerns about appearance.

The drama, directed by well-known Chinese actress Zhao Wei, was inspired by another drama with a similar theme, Snatches: Moments from Women's lives, which was produced by the BBC. Zhao got permission from BBC Studios to produce the drama.

Hear Her is expected to be aired on the BBC next year and is considered a beneficial cooperation between the director, BBC Studios and Tencent's video platform.

The drama deals with issues facing full-time housewives, and also touches on midlife crises and domestic violence, with the aim of drawing the attention of the whole of society to these problems.

The form of the drama is a monologue, which is a kind of experiment to test whether audiences can accept a performance in which just one actress talks about what she has experienced.

One poster of Hear Her Photo: Courtesy of Sabrina

 Eight actresses play eight women who have different troubles. For example, Bai Baihe plays a housewife for the first time. Her life is seemingly peaceful but actually miserable. 

The first episode is about anxiety over appearance, featuring actress Qi Xi as a woman who spends over two hours a day looking in the mirror. In the drama, she faces the camera and tells her story while taking off makeup.

When the lead character was in middle school, she was ignored and mocked by her classmates because of her appearance, and this became the beginning of her obsession with being pretty.

Her conversation with a plastic surgeon is the core issue of the episode. "Are pretty women the most confident? Or are the confident women prettiest?"

At the end of the episode, the lead character accepts herself as an ordinary woman with a plain appearance when all the makeup is taken off. This is what the drama wants to convey.

The drama has sparked huge discussion on Chinese social media about female anxiety over appearance and how to relieve this anxiety.

The hashtag "Do you worry about how you look?" has been viewed more than 540 million times as of Wednesday on Sina Weibo.

Many netizens recalled their own concerns about their appearance during childhood and encouraged women to be themselves and care more about their personalities.

"I have serious anxiety about my appearance and even having plastic surgery cannot help me become pretty," one viewer surnamed Leng living in Beijing told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Leng said that she has not found out how to ease the anxiety over her looks.

"Those who call on us not to be anxious are slim and pretty women. They do not understand our misery," she added.

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