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What's Stitch Into This Week - Issue #4

What's Stitch Into This Week
What's Stitch Into This Week - Issue #4
By stitch • Issue #4 • View online
This week I read about a side character falling in love, listened to Megan Thee Stallion at her most vulnerable, and got critical after an episode of Itaewon Class that yeeted Meems and me from the narrative.

What I'm Reading: A Side Character's Love Story
Akane Tamura’s A Side Character’s Love Story is such a cute and cozy read. I picked this up because I misinterpreted the title due to an extreme case of Webtoon Reader Brain (patent pending). Initially I thought this was going to be, for some reason, a contemporary transmigration story about someone being a side character in a story getting a romance.
It is… not about that.
Instead, A Side Character’s Love Story is a sweet contemporary romance between two college students. Nobuko Tanaka sees herself as a “side character” in her own life and when she realizes that she has a crush on her coworker Hiroki Irie, her life kinda goes into a spin. It’s just a very quiet, cozy romance as these two socially awkward characters realize they’ve developed a bond deeper than mere coworkers at the grocery store where they both work.
I love this series because it just so stinking soft. Both of the main characters are just very quiet, very fragile people and they’re unsure of how to develop their relationship into something “more”. I’m five books in and they’ve barely held hands, they’re so awkward. It’s just such a charming book because essentially, it’s two “side characters” realizing they’re the main characters in their own story and figuring out how to take things from there.
On Twitter I called it tender but in the way a ripe fruit is tender? Sweet and soft and prone to bruising/damages. I am just so incredibly fond of this series and I can’t wait to read some more.
All eleven volumes of A Side Character’s Love Story are available on Amazon Kindle - free on Kindle Unlimited and about $6 per volume beyond that.
What I'm Listening To: Megan Thee Stallion TRAUMAZINE
Megan Thee Stallion - Her [Official Video]
Megan Thee Stallion - Her [Official Video]
Megan Thee Stallion’s Traumazine is an incredible work of music. Revealing, raunchy, and just a freaking experience, Megan’s latest album is pretty damn close to perfection.
I chose “Her” as the visual focus for this week because it was just a seriously fun song and music video, but there’s a lot to love with every single track on Traumazine. I love Megan’s confidence and how she balances cuteness and coolness. I always want to see Megan owning her shit and letting folks know that she’s not going anywhere. Her voice is just so perfect, her flow is just… impeccable. Most of the features are fine. (I’m notoriously Not Into a lot of dude rappers so even when my girl lets them on her album, I’m staying firm.)
Currently, my favorite song on the album is “Not Nice” because the message is messaging. Truly, being nice to people who tear you down and undermine you is so 2021. It’s old, played out, not helping me. I’m not downplaying myself and my impact for people who wouldn’t respect me if I paid them.
Like Megan says “I’m done with bein’ humble ‘cause I know that I’m that bitch”.
Listen to Megan’s album on Spotify!
Traumazine - Album by Megan Thee Stallion | Spotify
What I'm Watching: Itaewon Class
Itaewon Class | Official Trailer | Netflix [ENG SUB]
Itaewon Class | Official Trailer | Netflix [ENG SUB]
Meems wanted to restart Itaewon Class (she was on episode 5) and so we picked up in the middle and it’s definitely interesting to like… realize the limitations in “progressive” Korean dramas? It reminds me of how other dramas with progressive elements like Mine (closeted lesbian main character) or Extraordinary Attorney Woo (autistic main character, queer minor characters) handle the marginalization through a kinda… frustrating lens hinged on oppression?
One of the main things about Itaewon Class is that supporting character Ma Hyun-yi is supposed to be a trans woman. Beyond how Hyun-yi is played by cis actress Lee Joo-young (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo), it’s very frustrating that the episode Meems restarted her rewatch on… has Hyun-ji deal with transmisogyny… from our second main character Jo Yi-seo. There’s a reveal when their coworker at the restaurant DanBam, Choi Seung-kwon, is dancing all up on Hyun-yi and once he realizes that she’s his coworker we get a traditionally transmisogynistic reaction… but not from him?
It comes from the main character?? And it’s just hard to keep watching a series where the main character - whose defining traits are that she’s super smart and “worldly” (because she lived in New York for years) - takes a turn as a transmisogynistic bully that has to be told that Hyun-yi is a person worthy of care, respect, and guidance.
And the complaint on my end is that, this is kind of… how it goes? Increasingly, Korean dramas are doing subplots around marginalized identities where those characters are main characters. But their plots constantly revolve primarily around… oppression. Around suffering. And some of it is because of how trans people, autistic people, etc are normally treated in dramas and beyond that… but also… it’s weak writing.
Itaewon Class is a good drama. I mean, reviews consistently have been great. But it’s just frustrating that storytelling there [in dramas we know to be progressive] still relies on presenting marginalized and vulnerable characters through how bad things are for them first and then getting better.
Did you enjoy this issue?
stitch
By stitch

I spend a lot of time watching shows, listening to music, and reading as I work. Every week, come take a journey with me through the media that holds my attention when writing... might not.

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