Sunday, 14 February 2016

Why Jessica Jones Is Marvel's Unexpected Hero

This probably contains spoilers, but why are you reading this if you haven't seen the season anyway?

What girls worldwide have been waiting for is a hero - not a Prince Charming or a knight in shining armour but rather someone to look up for; what girls worldwide have been waiting for is Jessica Jones. Marvel's newest superhero has climbed her way to the top of Netflix watch lists and it's not hard to see why - Marvel have ditched the tiny skirts, lycra and capes and instead Jessica has turned up in combat boots and a leather jacket and we've all fallen in love with the idea that this unassuming woman, a woman just like most of us, could be Marvel's next big thing (and indeed the programme was quickly snapped up for a second season.) Jessica Jones is here to stay and there's not a damsel in distress to be seen - Jessica isn't here for love, she's here to save the world and - it seems - change it.

When we meet Jessica she is, for all intents and purpose a psychological abuse victim - she demonstrates actions suggesting that she is still suffering from PTSD from being kept captive in a psychologically abusive relationship. She is physically strong - her super power is in itself strength - but she is emotionally weak in the light of a relationship that came before; this doesn't manifest itself in a sense of revenge like we've come to expect from Marvel superheroes, but instead Jessica actively seeks to stay away from Kilgrave, her abuser, until he seeks her out.

Watching Jessica Jones Netflix

Although part of Jessica's charm is seeing her break through this isolation, that's not the reason that she's quickly become a hero for women everywhere - it's the fact we consistently see her selflessly protect others, bring women up. In other Marvel offerings, women are often viewed s romantic interests, victims or enemies but, undeniably, in this case the roles have reversed. Similarly, whereas usually men are physically strong and women are psychologically strong, we see a reverse in this; Kilgrave is physically weak but strong physically, and Jessica has strength as her superpower but lacks the emotional and psychological strength that we'd expect.

It is not only Jessica herself who is breaking the wall down for strong women - it would be impossible to talk about the season without discussing the fact that the programme shows Marvel's first abortion and, notably, it doesn't depict a young girl crying and forced into an abortion - Hope is instead a victim of rape who is making a strong, viable choice. This might not seem like a huge step forward, but realistically its a leap - women following through with abortion in film and TV are few and far between and this marks a huge step forward for the representation of women's rights in mainstream TV.

Similarly, it's important to note that Trish similarly shows a strong, female character in a way that is matched by few other female characters in similar shows. Trish's role is almost more important than Jessica as Trish has no powers at all - she is just an everyday woman working towards becoming a hero on a practical level. Trish doesn't let herself be seen as a victim even though by most standards she is - this is an important message that women see very little of in mainstream media. Whereas Trish relies on her physical strength we see little of Jessica's physical strength except from when she's using it against Kilgrave - Jessica's super power is strength and yet the one that she realistically uses to become triumphant is her psychological power.

All in all, Jessica Jones is a huge step forwards for women - it sets a precedent for similar films and series in the future; women are not just victims to be saved, we are here to save the world today - and it's time everybody got with the programme, literally.

Sammy xo.

If you liked this you might like: Feminism Vs. Human Decency

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