I Was Born as the Second Daughter”: Exploring the Significance of this Korean Cultural Theme in Media

If you’re a fan of Korean dramas or webtoons, you may have come across the theme of being born as the second daughter. In this article, we’ll explore this theme, its cultural significance, and some popular examples of media that feature this trope.

What Does it Mean to be Born as the Second Daughter?

In Korean culture, being born as the second daughter is often seen as a burden. The first daughter is expected to carry on the family name and traditions, while the second daughter is seen as an extra mouth to feed. This cultural perspective has been reflected in Korean media for decades, particularly in dramas and webtoons.

However, in recent years, the trope has been subverted and reinterpreted to showcase the strengths and resilience of second daughters. Numerous works highlight second daughters’ challenges and successes as they cope with societal expectations and strive to achieve their goals.

“Second 20s” – This Korean drama follows the story of a woman who was born as the second daughter and who sacrificed her own dreams for her family. Once her children leave home, she returns to college to pursue her career dreams and achieve personal fulfillment.

“Cheese in the Trap” portrays the love story of hardworking second daughter Hong Seol and her senior Yoo Jung. The story explores the challenges of being a second daughter, as well as the complexities of relationships and personal growth.

“The Penthouse” drama revolves around a luxurious high-rise apartment complex where power and status hold the utmost importance. In this drama, second daughters face family pressure to succeed and compete fiercely to carry on the family legacy.

Why is the Theme of Second Daughters Significant?

The significance of being born as the second daughter reflects societal expectations for women in Korea and other cultures. Societal expectations often pressure women to prioritize family over personal aspirations, leading to sacrifices and unfulfilled dreams. They have reimagined the trope of second daughters to highlight their strength, resilience, and ability to succeed on their own terms.

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Q: Are there any cultural equivalents to the second daughter trope in other cultures?

A: The expectation and pressure placed on the second child are shared by many cultures, regardless of their gender.

Q: Are there any other common themes in Korean dramas and webtoons?

A: Yes, common themes include family, romance, school life, and personal growth.

Q: Where can I watch or read “Second 20s,” “Cheese in the Trap,” and “The Penthouse”?

A: Second 20s” and “Cheese in the Trap” are available on various streaming platforms, while “The Penthouse” airs on SBS.


The theme of being the second daughter is prevalent in Korean culture, reflecting societal expectations and pressures on women. Recent works have revised the trope to empower second daughters, emphasizing the pursuit of personal dreams and resilience.

Leland Winkelman

Leland Winkelman is a talented and experienced article writer with a passion for creating high-quality, engaging content. With a versatile writing style and a broad knowledge base, he is able to bring a unique perspective to each piece he writes. Whether he's covering topics related to technology, finance, health, or any other field, Leland's writing is characterized by its clarity, precision, and storytelling skills. He is dedicated to educating and informing readers while keeping them entertained and engaged. In his free time, Leland enjoys reading, hiking, and experimenting with new ideas.