UK based plus size fashion blogger AmandaApparel chats about the critically acclaimed Netflix show, Jessica Jones.
Please be aware, this post contains spoilers. Trigger warning: discussion about rape.
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If you’ve not heard of Jessica Jones, where have you been, girl?! Well don’t worry. I’ll break down the basics for you. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a ruthless, hard drinking, sailor mouthed private investigator living in Hell’s Kitchen (a la Daredevil, also on Netflix). Jessica has powers of physical strength and flying, which she refers to as “guided falling” or “jumping then falling.” Her best friend is golden girl Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) who is smart, beautiful, and tough as nails, even though doesn’t have any super powers. Jessica’s big bad in the series is Kilgrave (David Tennant) who has the power of mind control. He uses his power for selfish ambition and to harm others, but we’ll talk more about that later.
I cannot think of a more perfect actress to play Jessica than Krysten Ritter. She portrays so many facets of Jessica FLAWLESSLY, and I’m so in love with her work on this show. In a world that still tends to see women as frail, weak, inferior beings, Jessica Jones is a breath of fresh air. Her super strength allows her to stop a slow moving car, carry a full grown man, and more. She’s a clever detective who is quick on her toes. She experiences massive amounts of guilt and PTSD after being Kilgrave’s victim. She is equal parts brash and vulnerable, which makes her incredibly dynamic. She is not looking for a partner to protect her or complete her. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want a romantic relationship.
Hormones and Honey compares Jessica to Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which is a brilliant connection I had never thought of. Both are private investigators with illegal methods, a chip on their respective shoulders, and traumatic pasts always haunting them.
Now get ready, because this is what I’m probably the most passionate about. Because Kilgrave has the power of mind control, he uses that to get anything and everything he wants. This includes sleeping with multiple women. If we all agree that rape is sex without clear consent, then Kilgrave raped every single woman he slept with under his power, including Jessica. So are there rape scenes in the show? NO. THERE ARE NOT. On Jessica Jones, they choose not to show, but rather tell.
David Tennant told MTV news, “We refer to the terrible things that have happened…we see the horrors of the effects of things, rather than the horrors of them happening, which I think is a more effective way of storytelling.” Rape is a topic that film and television need to stop using gratuitously. It is incredibly harmful and triggering for SO many victims. I’m afraid that society is becoming so numb and accustomed to seeing rape in the media that many people are unable to take it seriously. If the thought of normalising rape doesn’t scare you, you’re not paying enough attention. I definitely applaud the producer (*ahem* a woman), directors, and writers for obviously putting a lot of thought into this, and for not letting Jessica be defined by her trauma.
A big moment for Jessica is when she actually calls him a rapist. Most shows aren’t ballsy enough to call that what it is, and they DEFINITELY won’t use the R word. I think they don’t use “rape” or “rapist” because it makes people uncomfortable. But like, if rape doesn’t make you angry, or at least uncomfortable, I don’t think we can hang. Another important note is that Kilgrave seems genuinely unaware that what he’s doing is actually rape. This reflects the current conversation of defining what rape is. Kilgrave uses people in a way that makes them feel violated, whether it was sexual, physical, or just a simple mundane task. Because his victims are participating against their will, it opens the door for viewers to talk about consent, both in and out of the bedroom.
Jessica’s closest friend, child star and radio talk show host Trish Walker is also a victim of abuse. Her mother/manager abused her physically, verbally, and emotionally throughout her childhood. It would have been easy to make this blonde, traditionally “feminine” woman weak and wounded, but Trish is far from that. She trains very hard to be able to protect herself and others the way Jessica protected her when they were growing up together. She’s bold enough to take a “red pill” which gives her super strength and stamina and ends up putting her life in danger. She would do anything for her sister. Perhaps compassion is Trish’s super power.
There are a handfull of criticisms of the Netflix original. According to IGN, the show strays drastically from the original comics. Jessica Jones is based on the Alias comic book series, and there are some big differences that the internet-fan-boy-trolls aren’t happy about. (I know, who cares, but I find the differences interesting.) In the show, Jessica’s BFF is Trish Walker, who starred as Patsy in a children’s TV show. In the Alias comics, Jessica’s BFF was Carol Danvers, aka Ms. Marvel. In The Avengers comics, Patsy debuted as Hellcat. There is a notable gender swap in the show as well. Tough as nails mega-lawyer Jeri Hogarth was actually Jeryn Hogarth in the Alias comics. There is apparently an upcoming Iron Fist series on Netflix, so we will likely see more of Jeri there.
In The Guardian, one reviewer argues that the show focuses too much on Jessica & Kilgrave. I didn’t get that vibe at all. Jessica took on a few other cases, and there were plenty of other characters affected by Kilgrave. The same reviewer also thinks the show is only for the comic book crowd, and I couldn’t agree more. It barely alluded to Daredevil which takes place in the came city and (I assume) at the same time. I’ve never touched an Alias comic, and I L-O-V-E-D this show. Of course it’s not perfect, but you definitely do not need to be a comic connoisseur to appreciate Jessica Jones.
Have you watched the show yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!
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