Korean drama ‘Mine’ and the faces of feminism

Empowerment. Agency. Selflessness. Motherhood. Femininity. Unconditional love. These are some of the major themes presented in ‘Mine’. It was a narrative that pictured women and their shared destinies as well as their individual pursuits. It was a fairly good attempt in shattering the ceilings of the patriarchy. In the entirety of its 16 episodes, different faces of women were showcased, each with their unique motivations and personalities, yet driven by the same force that is feminism whilst experiencing parallel social constraints.


Read: First Impressions on the Korean Drama ‘Mine’


‘Mine’ is a fairly good mouthpiece about the power that women hold when they join in a collective mission of claiming what’s rightfully theirs and unshackling themselves from the manacles of patriarchy and social standards. It showed women with imperfections and contrasted these imperfections with their assertions of their truth and taking control of their agency. It was fulfilling, in a way, to witness these characters take shape and develop under the circumstances that they were in. The decisions that they made and stood for, their pursuit of happiness and fulfilment devoid of male approval was a strong message that women are not Snow Whites and Ariels- one who waits for a Prince to rescue her with a kiss and the one who changes her nature for the man that she loves. 


Read: ‘Mine’ Explained: 3 Things that did not sit well with me after 6 episodes


The three leads of the show- Seo Hi-soo, Jung Seo-hyun, and Lee Hye-jin satisfyingly represented women who dare to take what they want from the clutches of men that force to cripple them. What started to be a long series of cat fights between Seo Hi-soo and Lee Hey-jin over Han Ji-yong was transformed into a fairly logical alliance between the two which allowed them to come out triumphant towards the show’s finale with each getting what they claimed to be theirs in the first place.


Profound: Two mothers bound by the same love start to form an alliance against an enemy they both want to be out of their lives. | K-drama ‘Mine’ (Photo: Hancinema)


Moreover, through these women, the show continuously asserted that motherhood is something that transcends blood; that a birth mother and the one who raised the child can both be present in the child’s upbringing. It cemented the idea that motherhood is not limiting but liberating. It showed two different women driven by the same powerful love that is motherhood. The love that they share for Ha-joon created a bridge that allowed them form such an alliance. It was refreshing to see women in arms and not fighting over one man. It was a classy take on the idiom sisters before misters. 


Seo Hi-soo, as the mother who raised Ha-joon, lovingly gazes down on her son. | K-drama ‘Mine’ (Photo: Hancinema)


Lee Hye-jin, as the birth mother, exemplifies that same level of love and affection for a son she has not seen of years. | K-drama ‘Mine’ (Photo: Hancinema)


Jung Seo-hyun, on the other hand, represented the gender minority who was imprisoned by the judgments of society. Her character started off as an alpha female who hides in the closet. How she exudes that power amidst the weight of the sacrifice she has to bear for the most part of the show was heartfelt. How she came out later on was all the more satisfying and emotional. I felt it. I rooted for her and was satisfied with how she reclaimed what’s truly hers. It was good to see a character belonging to the gender minority to be part of a major story arc and not just a sideline character. For a show to do this in a country still gripped by conservatism and reservations on LGBTQAI is big. As an audience, I would certainly love to see more of this in K-drama. 


These three represented the collective fight that women take against a male dominated society. Their fight against Han Ji-Yong is a symbolic fight that women in an abusive and imprisoning marriage  take. Albeit in a strictly moral approach, the maid who killed Han Ji-yong as well as the women of Hyowon are culpable for the man’s death. By not holding these women completely accountable for what happened, I believe, is the assertion of the idea that a bad act, albeit in the cloaks of self-defense, conquering far more evil is justified. But then I guess, the certain amount of guilt that the maid carries with her as well as to these women, could be and would be enough to cover for that act. 


On a side note, the other women in the drama are also worth mentioning. Women like Han Jin-hee and Jasmin who succumbed to their urges though differently and giving them the hope of a reconciliation was a good side story. Then there’s Mother Emma- a woman who was hunted by her guilt thus living a life of penance and moral uprightness as a nun. She played such a huge factor in the lives of these women. In a way, she was key to some of their transformations and decision makings. In addition, there’s Kim Yu-Yeon who followed her heart and stood up against the social structure that a woman of her background can’t have men like Han Soo-Hyuk. Although theirs is a subplot that lacked depth for me and that their story kind of fizzled out towards the end, it is a nice thing to see a woman taking the love she believes hers. 


‘Mine’ is not a perfect drama. There were parts in the plot that could have taken more depth. But in general, I liked it and enjoyed it down to the final episode. As an aspiring feminist, It makes me happy that women characters in this drama were given utmost agency in all their undertakings. It is a good message to the feminist movement- that women can be whoever they want to be; that they can pursue things that will make them happy; that they can have full control of their lives. The narrative started off strong and ended satisfyingly with a fairly strong message that if you can still love yourself amidst everything taken away from you, then that is what’s yours, that is something you can truly claim Mine.


Have you seen Mine yet? What do you think? Do you approve of this feminist take in a drama? Share your thoughts below and let’s have a dialogue…


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HanaDulSes is a blog created by cousins Von and Mara who share the same enthusiasm to the Korean Popular Culture. This blog centers in three things: Korean Skincare, Korean Popular Music and Korean Drama. Thus, the name: hana, dul, ses! With the Korean wave being at the peak of cultural blending, we aim to provide a rookie guide to people who love similar Korean contents as we do.

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