Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Feminist boys and Jessica Jones. (Possible spoilers. Not big ones.)

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Jessica Jones is a uniquely feminine story. Sure, there are female stalkers, and female domestic abusers. I would never deny that. But if you are going to tell a story about stalking and rape and abuse, it would be weirdly callous and artificial if the victim was a male and the abuser female (unless, of course, the point of telling the story was to talk about female abusers). This story is one that far too many women know from personal experience.

Okay, spoilers over.

If one was to attempt to gender-swap the players in Jessica Jones, the story wouldn’t work nearly as well. It’s a story women can very much relate to—men, not so much. Yet, the show was recommended to me by a male friend, who had turned into an over-pressurized soda, so frothy was he with enthusiastic fandom. Branden and I proceeded to watch it, a little skeptical because of the samey-ness of Marvel IP, and were immediately drawn in before the credits even started.

They love everything I love about it. Though it is true that Jessica is a “victim” of Killgrave, she does not play a victim. She is a traumatized woman barely coping with life, but managing anyway. She relies on no one. She takes care of herself. This is made easier by the fact that she has super-strength, but honestly, that aspect is peripheral to the story. She is flawed, and so is every single other character in the show. Killgrave, too, is shown to be relatable—like so many stalkers are reported to be, he is charming, attractive, and even likeable. They both commented on the fact that, if Jessica were smiling, Killgrave’s behavior on its face isn’t very different from that of men in popular media, showing us all what “real love” looks like. This is even blatantly called out in the show.

In short, they liked it because—not even though—it’s a story about a woman, from the woman’s perspective, portraying every aspect of it exactly how a woman would experience it. No apologies or excuses or minimizing.

Boys are also getting sick of watching cishet white guys doing the same shit on a different day.

That was a nice thing to realize.

Okay. Back to your regularly scheduled internet.

1 comment:

Becky Munyon said...

I've heard a bunch of guys rave about this show. My boyfriend loves it.