Heisui’s Thoughts: Escapism & Dramas
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Escapism: “habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine”
From trusty Wikipedia:
“Escapism is mental diversion by means of entertainment or recreation, as an “escape” from the perceived unpleasant or banal aspects of daily life. It can also be used as a term to define the actions people take to help relieve persisting feelings of depression or general sadness.”
So, as summed up by these two general definitions, escapism is basically escaping from reality by immersing oneself in fiction & entertainment.
………..BE HONEST. DOES IT SOUND FAMILIAR TO ANYONE?
This past week, I read a short wiki analysis of escapism that made me think a lot about this topic. The basic gist of it is that it offers possible explanations for how escapism works & why we seek to escape from reality through fiction. Of course, these are only possible explanations and some of the claims made are bound to be controversial. But I couldn’t help but see a bit too much of myself in some of these concepts.
We often choose a certain character bias in dramas. We choose one or two characters that we like, and then we decide to root for these characters with blood and sweat all the way ’til the end of the drama. This often holds true whether it’s the second lead syndrome, the fated star-crossed lovers who will tragically end up apart, the secondary OTP that was never meant to be, etc. We like to live vicariously through the characters in dramas, we fawn over our favorite actors & actresses, we constantly check the web for updates about our biases…sometimes, I look back at my own love for dramas and I do a double take. I think to myself, what is the point when we are so far away from our favorite celebrities? What is the point, when the story is outside of our world, a fantasy, not even real?
^ESCAPING BY SHIPPING YI KANG & AN LEI!
I’ve said before in other Heisui’s Thoughts posts that I watch dramas to relax & destress and to just not think about reality for a while. That I love living through the characters. That I am often seeking for dramas that offer a more realistic story, that will get me closer to something real. That it makes me happy.
But now that I really think about it, I feel like there is something deeper than just ‘I-relax-by-watching-dramas’ reasoning. I have also been watching dramas as a means of escapism & identification with characters. On identification:
“Identification is a term used in literary and film studies to describe a psychological relationship between the reader of a novel and a character in the book, or between a spectator in the audience and a character on screen. In both cases, readers and spectators see themselves in the fictional character.” -Wikipedia
I think identification can be equated to vicariously living through characters. I can either see myself in a character (usually if that character has many traits similar to me), or even if I can’t see myself in that character…I wish that I could. I wish I could be like that character. At times, I am totally aware of my viewing certain characters/actresses as role models. Or other times, maybe I am less aware of it. There is some sort of subconscious desire to be like some of the characters portrayed in dramas, to have those characters’ experiences and circumstances..even though I know very well that it is all fiction.
Of course, I don’t think we ALL project ourselves onto our favorite characters & I don’t think I ALWAYS use identification while I’m watching dramas. There are some characters that I may admire but would not want to be in their shoes at all. But I think identification is a big part of living vicariously through dramas as well as my own motivation in watching them.
^ESCAPE IN SOP QUEEN!
As for others’ motivations in watching dramas….I can’t really say for sure. I can only give my own take on it, but I fear that I am overgeneralizing. >__< One basic explanation for drama-watching is, ‘ah, we have such HUMDRUM LIVES, we just need some exciting entertainment to brighten up our day!’. For some, it may be just that–that dramas are a form of entertainment, plain and simple. For others though, there is clearly some kind of psychological connection to dramas that goes beyond ‘pure entertainment’. I feel like out of the many drama bloggers I’ve talked to, many of them are going through very stressful and difficult times. Well, of course, all of us are going through hard struggles in our lives. But sometimes it is all swept under the rug to the point where we are either spazzing forever or broodingly empathizing with dramas. Our screennames and blogs often mask the struggles that are going on in ‘real life’. I feel like blogging & drama-watching are both activities in which drama fans can distance themselves from their troubles & immerse themselves in a story.