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How Love To Hate You redefines Korean rom-coms with its empowering feminist perspective

The series, which stars Kim Ok-vin and Teo Yoo-do, breaks stereotypes and is a refreshing portrayal of women and men

How Love To Hate You redefines Korean rom-coms with its empowering feminist perspective

Kim Ok-vin and Teo Yoo-do in the series

Last Updated: 06.05 PM, Mar 14, 2023


Right from the start, Love To Hate You defies expectations of a typical Korean romantic comedy. While the plot involves adversaries falling in love, and it is quite funny (although some scenes can make you cringe), the show's refreshing portrayal of women and what the male lead finds attractive and repulsive in women adds an unexpected layer to the genre.

If, like me, you’ve been watching one South Korean rom-com after another, then you may just take a liking to Love To Hate You, and applaud it for its feminist approach. 


The series opens with Yeo Mi-ran (Kim Ok-vin), a lawyer at an entertainment law firm, who immediately proves herself as a strong and independent character by beating up a thief while he is robbing a drunk man late at night. 

Mi-ran also stands up to her father, who treats her mother poorly, and moves out to live with a friend while taking on the responsibility of paying rent. 

She's unapologetic about her sexuality and uses foul language, breaking away from traditional feminine expectations. She thinks nothing of one-night stands and has several flings. 

Enter Nam Kang-ho (Teo Yoo-do), South Korea's top actor, known for his romantic roles and admired by women. However, Kang-ho doesn't buy into the typical male gaze of his young and vulnerable female co-stars. 

Kang-ho thinks nothing of an onscreen or offscreen romance between an older woman and a younger man, and is annoyed by the overly feminine and cutesy roles his female co-stars play, wondering why they're often written that way.


He's also open about his affection for his male manager, Do Won-jun (Kim Ji-hoon), whom he calls his soulmate in public. He doesn’t hold back from showing his affection for Won-jun, often hugging him, planting kisses on his cheeks, practising romantic scenes with him, and even telling him that he loves him. 

And what a welcome change that is! To see two grown men being able to show their affection for each other openly, the way women often do for each other.

Another point worth mentioning is that the crew of Kang-ho’s movie team has a lot of women, and the director is also a woman. 


When their paths cross, Kang-ho chooses Mi-ran to teach him how to fight for a movie, despite having access to the best trainers. This move surprises Won-jun, but Kang-ho defends his decision, saying he hasn't seen a better fighter than Mi-ran.

If you're a fan of Korean romantic comedies, Love To Hate You is a feminist take on the genre that's definitely worth checking out.

Read also: Why Shah Rukh Khan would be perfect for the role of Choi Chi-yeol in a Crash Course in Romance remake

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