Dramas with realistic themes like All is Well and Hope All Is Well With Us have received a lot of love this year. Modern drama Nothing But Thirty 三十而已 recently introduced its cast of Tong Liya, Maggie Jiang Shuying and Mao Xiaoting. The three will play middle aged women with different backgrounds who try to live their lives amidst love and domestic problems.
However, the casting announcement was tainted with some dispute at the onset. While there was the issue of who should get top billing between Tong Liya and Maggie Jiang, a lot of dissatisfaction was also directed towards Tong Liya’s character.
Tong Liya is supposed to be playing a strong independent woman, yet her character is cheated on by her husband and tries to cling on to her marriage. Many questioned why she would allow herself to go through that? Why not divorce immediately? This hit close to home as Tong Liya’s real life husband Chen Sicheng was rumored to be cheating on her before. People felt that in a way, Tong Liya seemed to be playing herself.
Regardless of the hate, there are those who counter that divorce is a choice, much like reconciliation. It is easy to be brainwashed by the media to believe that divorce is the only option when you’re a modern woman. With regards to Tong Liya’s character being made to look like she’s in a support role, a netizen commented that first and foremost, it is the actor’s job to give life to the role. If people think a support character is shameful, then the best supporting award is a shameful award.
From a neutral standpoint, I think that yes, divorce is a choice, not THE only choice and should not be forced upon those who don’t want it. The actress herself said that she’s seen the discussions online. She explains that the ‘character’ being talked about online is different from the character that she read in the script. Acting is the top priority of an actor and she thanks everyone for their concern.