Jessica Jones – A mixing pot of neo-noir mystery and female empowerment

Kirsten Ritter as Jessica Jones Image Credit: Netflix

Arguably the best of Netflix Marvel’s TV returns for a second season- providing a perfect cultural avatar that reflects the outrage and unity of the Post #MeToo world.

The second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones was released last week to coincide with National Woman’s day. This happened for a very important reason. IT is a show created for and about woman.

Each of the 13 episodes in the second season was directed by woman and, while Marvel do often have strong female characters in their films and tv shows. This is their first creation with a female lead.

It is no secret that the world of comic books and their mainstream superhero’s has been a male dominated market. All the recent Marvel success’ – Avengers Assemble, Spiderman: Homecoming, Captain America, Thor – all feature men as the main hero, idols of super strength and unatural power.

Scarlett Johansson as Marvel’s Natalia Romanoff ( The Black Widow) Image Credit: Marvel Studios

However the woman in the Marvel universe usually fall within one of two categories.There is the ‘love interest’, or to put it more accurately, the damsel in distress. The classic narrative trope of man saves woman, who seems to get into trouble at every turn. Then there is the ‘flawless’ heroine. With their flawless fight sequences where their hair and make-up are always precise, clad in skin-tight spandex, and always equipped with a sarcastic line or funny quip as a comeback.

It was then that Jessica Jones broke the mold. Jones lives by herself, runs her own private investigator business, and is the very definition of anti-social. A woman dealing with the horrors of her past and is angry being labeled and told what to do by others. Oh and just so happens to have super strength as the result of being experimented on.

Jones is angry at the world. She and those closest to her where victim to many horrendous crimes and injustices. Repeatedly and often brutally committed by mostly men. Jones has been orphaned, raped, exploited, and generally abused by those in positrons of power. Both human and Superhuman in nature.

And it’s the ways she copes, or doesn’t, with her anger, superhuman alcoholism and tendency to rely on her fist to solve her problems that made her an icon. An embodiment of all the emotions in this post #MeToo age.

Kirsten Ritter, the actor who plays Jones, has had many people come up to her with praise for the character.

Real women on the street came up to me in tears because this was the first time they felt represented by the lead; it made them feel so much better about their own traumas,” Ritter says. “Even hearing women saying they were excited to see a badass female character was great: people responded to her in such a huge way.”

The series broaches some serious issues, such as abortion, rape, domestic abuse, and addiction. But it does so with a deft hand. Offering a new perspective on trauma, that even those with power can be rendered defenseless. That these issues can be subject to anyone. It re-writes the victim narrative so that the viewer can begin to understand a fraction of how abuse can affect someone.

Overall the show offers a message of hope and inspiration. Showing the difficulties that survivors face, that opening up can help even though its hard and that most of all , Jones wasn’t to blame. This is all the while fighting her demons, both metaphorically and literal.

Watch the season 2 trailer here:

Comment: “It is imperative that we learn how to have an adult conversation about sex, gender and appropriate behaviour without it blowing up into a political or cultural shouting match.” Gregor Thomson

Amid the recent cultural shift of men in power paying the price for their unforgivable and disgraceful acts in a wide array of different sectors, most notably Hollywood, it’s important to regroup and figure out where we are now.

It is abundantly clear that men and women do not know how to work effectively alongside each other appropriately or even communicate properly. This could be down to us not knowing the rules in which to conduct ourselves.

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#MeToo movemnet

Yes, many media corporations have altered their workplace rules in accordance with the #Metoo movement however, the lines of what is ‘acceptable’ behaviour between men and women is still a hazy topic. So, it is imperative that we learn how to have an adult conversation about sex, gender and appropriate behaviour without it blowing up into a political or cultural shouting match.

But first, let’s figure out where we are at the moment. The smorgasbord of sexual allegations that have blown up in the past year has had a positive impact on teaching the disgusting men and some women that rape, touching someone in the privates and exposing themselves without consent is not appropriate behaviour, although you’d think these people would’ve known that already.

I’m all for the Me-too movement however, I’m not a fan of the far left failing to distinguish between the degrees of bad behaviour. We are in danger of putting rape in the same category as a shoulder rub, these are both inappropriate behaviours that should be stopped but let’s not pretend that we wouldn’t be able to choose which we would rather.

Why can’t we all agree that sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour is not ok but also say that one is worse? Are we not capable of having two conversations at once? Even whilst the Me-too movement is still is full swing, we still do not know how to have a rational conversation about men and women. So, let’s start drawing some lines in the sand.

In a recent interview, Jordan Peterson, a recently trendy to watch Clinical Psychologist posed the question, “Is it ok for women to wear makeup in the workplace?” Yes, I realise you’re probably shocked that he’d even pose such a ridiculous question. He makes the point that women wear makeup to sexualise themselves.

Peterson asks, “Why do you make your lips red? Because they turn red during sexual arousal…Why do you put rouge on your cheeks? Same reason.” He goes on to say he thinks women should have the freedom to wear makeup in the workplace but that you’re naive if you think it doesn’t have anything to do with sexuality. He fails to take it account, however all the other possible reasons for women to wear makeup.

Also, Jordan Peterson states that makeup contributes to sexual harassment in the workplace. I would agree but I don’t believe that just because a woman is wearing makeup in the workplace, this shows a certain complicitness with being sexually harassed. So, that’s one line drawn. Women should be able to wear makeup in the workplace.

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Jordan Peterson

Is a workplace relationship acceptable or is flirting in the workplace appropriate?

Now this is a tricky one as flirting is extremely subjective so picking and choosing what is acceptable flirting is difficult. Flirting should be allowed in the workplace however, you have to know what it is you’re doing, know that it could be messy and to be careful.

What surprised me the most however is that men are struggling to tell if offering to buy a woman a drink is inappropriate. A recent YouGov poll showed that when it came to asking a woman out for a drink, about one in four young males and about 12.5% of young females said it would “always” or “usually” be a form of sexual harassment. What? Have we now gotten to the stage where a man cannot flirt with a woman or vice versa for fear of allegations and trial by public opinion?

Columnist for the New York Times, Bari Weiss states that “Well if that’s (buying a woman a drink) sexual harassment then touching someone’s arm is sexual assault and an unsolicited kiss is rape, we’ve lost. It’s over.”

Of course, it should be ok for a man to buy a woman a drink and vice versa just don’t slip something in the drink. Complimenting a woman is fine, just don’t follow her home screaming it. Hugging someone is fine, just don’t touch their butt. This should all be self-evident but unfortunately, on one side, we have the sexual deviants who expose themselves and grab other people in the privates but on the other side, we have ‘liberals’ failing to differentiate between the degrees of bad behaviour and failing to know when someone is flirting and when someone is being offensive.

In this article, I’ve discussed very few different encounters and rules for communication between men and women and this should be an indicator of just how difficult and complicated this conversation can get.

Bari Weiss goes on to say, “the conversation between our sexual culture is about consent and pain, what ever happened to intimacy and love and romance? Wouldn’t it be amazing that was our conversation?”

This speaks volumes as we are entering a world now in which we, as humans barely make physical contact anymore and we need this to feel happy and be mindful. However, if the far left keep having this influence we may enter into a police state and become heartless, tragic beings of solitude.

Men should be ‘free to hit on women’, Catherine Deneuve declares

French actress Catherine Deneuve has denounced social media movement #MeToo and states that men have the right to hit on women.

The actress warns that trends like these lead to a new puritanism in an open letter; signed by Deneuve and 100 other acclaimed writers, actresses, and academics. It comes soon after the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017, where he was accused of sexually assaulting numerous women.

The letter, published in newspaper Le Monde on Tuesday, presents the argument that openly ‘shaming’ men is not supporting women. As well as stating that hashtags like #MeToo and #Balancetonporc (Call out your pig) have gone too far.

They claim: “Instead of helping women, this frenzy to send these (male chauvinist) ‘pigs’ to the abattoir actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty – religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries.”

“As women we do not recognise ourselves in this feminism, which beyond denouncing the abuse of power, takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality.”

Collectively they acknowledge: “Rape is a crime. But trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not – and nor is being gentlemanly a chauvinist attack.”

People have been flocking to #MeToo to share their experience of sexual harassment and has been a key detail in exposing sexual abuse. Deneuve has spoken out on social media before about the hashtag, saying: “I don’t think it is the right method to change things, it is excessive.”

Communications and Administration Assistant of Scotland’s feminist organisation Engender, Maxine Blane gave her opinion on Deneuve’s remarks.

She said: “Statements like these are damaging and miss the point almost spectacularly. The point is that women have the right to feel safe and respected in their work environments, and these rights need to be enforced and protected. The slew of harassment, microaggressions, and abuse highlighted by the #MeToo movement indicates that this is manifestly not the case for women all over the world.”

The organisation is in support of the #MeToo movement, seeing it as a leap forward for equality by bringing the abuses to light.

“Since its inception a decade ago, the #MeToo movement has gained traction and has provided an arena to amplify women’s voices on pervasive issues of sexual harassment and abuse.  While it is not women’s jobs to highlight and combat these issues, it is undeniable that initiatives like #MeToo and others can be a powerful tool to raise awareness.

“The long-term effects of the #MeToo movement are not yet evident, but initiatives like the recently launched Times Up legal fund indicate that the movement has provided essential momentum for projects and initiatives that will improve women’s lives and further the feminist cause.”

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