Netflix’s Jessica Jones features the feminist anti-hero that we never realized we needed — which, of course, is exactly what we need right now.
If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a dark superhero show reminiscent of X-Men — except the main character is a flawed, complicated woman. Based on the Marvel comic, the main character, Jessica Jones, has superhuman strength and works as a private investigator. Under the surface, however, she’s dealing with an alcohol addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder from being sexually abused.
The show’s second season just started earlier this month — and the show’s Jewish creator, Melissa Rosenberg, is being hailed as a feminist icon. She’s been vocal about her own experiences with harassment as the only woman writer in all-male rooms.
Because of this, the 55-year-old identifies only too well with Jessica’s character, as a woman in a male field in the world of detective work, trying to navigate morality in a world absent of it:
We’re both fighters. I also think I know the anger. The way she acts is kind of wish fulfillment.
The truth of the matter is I was standing on the shoulders of every movement up until this point. This is not a new issue. It dates back to the suffragettes, to the women’s movement of the 1970s, to Anita Hill. Some people [think] its prescient, but it’s just continuing the conversation that’s been brewing and building.
As the show focuses on a character who was sexually abused by her boyfriend, the timing is perfect for the #MeToo era. This season deals with the aftermath of assault and abuse, and what healing looks like.
For women and and teens, it’s valuable to see female characters as flawed heroes — and to see people as being capable of both. Jessica, for instance, saves people around her while also self-destructing through her own emotional blockage and abuse of alcohol.
Meanwhile, Jessica’s best friend, Trish, tends to be ultra-focused on her career to the point of becoming narcissistic. If anything, this show explores the gray areas and the dangers of extremes — a meaningful lesson for anyone to learn.
As someone who moved to New York at age 17, working as a stripper to support herself, Rosenberg understands what it means to live an unconventional life — and how different identities can lead you to a greater one.
For her, this actually allowed her to more fully realize her Jewish identity, saying, “I became much more aware of it. I was really welcomed. The community really supported me and the meaning of Judaism became more clear to me.”
Prior to Jessica Jones, Rosenberg made a name for herself as the writer for the Twilight movie franchise. Clearly, she’s not going anywhere anytime soon — and we think that’s super.