Women movie watchers seem to prefer warm-hearted men who understand them to just handsome faces. The best actor in overseas films chosen for the 6th Women Moviegoers' Awards (hosted by Women Culture and Arts Agency) was none other than Shrek, the star of animation film <Shrek.>
The Women Moviegoers' Awards are given to the best and worst movie, actor and actress picked out of the movies that are screened over the year. This year, one thousand women Internet-users over the age of 16 took part in the on-line voting. The honor of best actor in Korean films went to Cha Tae Hyun, for his role in <My Bizarre Girl> as the innocent boy who doggedly continues to love his bizarre girlfriend despite getting beaten up by her all the time. And Jeon Ji Hyeon, who played his bizarre girlfriend, was voted best Korean actress. Best foreign actress was Renee Zellweger for proving in <Bridget Jones' Diary> that women do not have to be thin to be beautiful. The year 2001 marked an unprecedented boom in the Korean movie industry. Millions flocked to watch Korean-style gangster movies such as <Friend> <Gangster Wife> and <Kick the Moon>, making them record-breaking box-office hits. But the response of Korean women to these movies was far from favorable. As Dongkuk University professor Yoo Ji Na puts it, it may be because "the rise of the code of violent gangsters restores 'machoism' back to men who had lost their confidence during the economic crisis, and provides them with a regressive refuge from the current tide of gender equality." Women subject to these macho-buddy movies become outsiders of the worst sort, failing to fit in anywhere. This unpleasant feeling seems to be what made women choose <Friend> and <Gangster Wife> as the worst movies of the year.
Best Movie of the Year <Look After My Cat> went through difficult times under the dual system of wide release and blockbusters. After being taken down from cinemas three days into its first screening, this meaningful movie was revived thanks to the efforts of like-minded movie-lovers.
<Look After My Cat> portrayed a refreshing image of women not found in past Korean movies. The young women in this movie take charge of their own fates, unlike sex symbols of the past. This was what tipped women's votes in favor of the movie.
Another noticeable trend revealed by the Women Moviegoers' Awards is women's preference for honest expressions of their desires to portrayals of the ideal alternative woman. This trend seems particularly dominant among women in their twenties, who strongly prefer movies that bring out the inner desires and needs of women rather than portray outwardly successful women.
The 1000-strong panel objected strongly to movies that made sexual objects out of women. <Summer Time>, which does just that without any attempt at new structure or content, was chosen as the worst movie.
Women found just as distasteful <Gangster Wife>, which merely switched the male and female roles in sexual violence.
The Women Moviegoers' Awards, now into its sixth year, has been coming up with new interpretations of Korean movies from women's point of view, and encouraging movies that are made from that point of view.
The Awards has proven that movies portraying women as sex objects or passive subjects no longer appeal to women, who make up more than half the movie-watching population these days.
However, the Awards drew the participation of only a minority of Internet-users and was not publicized widely enough, leaving a lot to be desired in terms of truly representing women moviegoers' voices. Many people were of the opinion that the Awards should continue to grow and improve so that it can contribute to the environment for women-friendly movies.