Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Backlash Against Jessica Jones and Why It's Important to Acknowledge It

In her essay “In Our Glory: Photography and Black Life” bell hooks defines the importance of cameras and photography in the context of black representation. Cameras and visual images and media offered the black community a medium they could participate in and use to create their own voice and recreate their representations. By using the media, particularly photography, minority or marginalized groups could document the truth and “create a counter hegemonic world of images that would stand as visual resistance, challenging racist images (57).” Literally using cameras as a political instrument and documentation as a tool for resistance is a powerful way to dismantle the master’s house and popular media has utilized this tool for both resistance and conformance.

Jessica Jones has offered an incredible opportunity for resistance and I believe that so far, it has used the medium of film to create new representations of womanhood and redefine many character archetypes within the superhero and film noir genres. However, there are significant gaps in Jessica Jones as well that are harmful to the potential success of the production in its efforts of resistance. For instance, it was disappointing to see how little representation there was for women of color (WOC) in the series. In an article that praises the feminist qualities of the show, Caroline Siede still makes it a point to state that she finds it "frankly embarrassing that Jessica Jones doesn't have a single woman of color in its main of supporting cast." In addition to the lack in black representation, the show also lacks LGBTQ representation. Other than Hogarth, presumably every main and supporting character is heterosexual. Not to mention, the only homosexual relationships are the unstable ones between Hogarth, her ex-wife, and her new girlfriend.

Although these flaws seem minimal, Jessica Jones is such a great new text for feminism and resistance, that it's just a little upsetting to see the creators and the series not jump at every opportunity they have to reinvent the superhero genre. It seems that Rosenberg has the intention of using the series to do just that, but with a series that's not too popularly known , much more could've been done and hopefully more will be done in the future of the show.

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