Marvel's Jessica Jones, one of Netflix's latest shows, is getting rave reviews across all press, rising from all the media coverage as a feminist TV show with a badass heroine, a diverse character pool and a great plot. But it's not because of its great reviews that you should watch it. Here's what Jessica Jones really means to our everyday life.
One of Marvel's least-known heroines in a world of Avengers, super gods, iron men and spider men, Jessica Jones is a character we can all relate to. The main storyline introduces us to a superhero who's hanging up her costume, parking her superhuman strength as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Jessica (Krysten Rytter) is a millennial through and through. In the series' many flashbacks we see her taking up and leaving a bunch of shitty jobs, living in a dingy apartment where she also works, mostly late at night.
Most importantly, Jessica is that person we become when we're struggling to live with ourselves, the person we become after living through trauma. Hers is personified by supervillain Kilgrave, played by the brilliant David Tennant in one of his best interpretations yet.
Kilgrave has mind control powers, forcing everyone - mostly women - to smile, look pretty and bend to his will, whatever that may entail. Kilgrave is charming, intelligent and delusional. He takes over Jessica's life for a year, forcing her to live with him, sleep with him and be his partner, reducing her to a shadow of herself, crushing her every fibre and making her commit crimes.
The whole of Jessica Jones characters are impressively thought-through and well represented, human, diverse. Take Jeri Hogarth, the ruthless lawyer played by Carrie-Anne Moss, trying to balance a demanding job with a divorce from her wife and a new love affair. Or Trish Walker, Jessica's best friend, a victim of both an abusive mother and show business. Or Malcolm, the junkie who has more to him than just drugs. Unlike many shows or movies, Jessica Jones has managed to create a racially and sexually diverse show without falling into the "token black guy" or "lesbian best friend" trap: every character crucial, whether they're white, black, gay, straight or the like.
Still, despite the incredible set of characters, Jessica Jones is ultimately a dark, painful twosome. The show is an abusive relationship badly and voluntarily hidden behind superpowers, proving that superhuman strength won't make a difference when you and your partner are trouble together. Jessica can hold a car with her bare hands, but she is powerless when Kilgrave uses his mind control on her.
And David Tennant's Kilgrave is the epitome of the abusive partner, the sociopath, shifting the blame on Jessica, quoting everything from an impossible, immeasurable love towards her to the old: "You wanted it!" as excuses for his behaviour.
The series' message is very similar to Megan Koester's brilliant "I Was a Feminist Victim of Domestic Violence" article on Vice. Koester writes: "The more people I told, [...] the more support I received--they didn't see me as a victim. They didn't see me as powerless. I was just a person who found herself in a shitty situation she thankfully extricated herself from. It didn't make me any less of a woman, any less of a feminist, to be in that position."
Jessica Jones is a journey through survival and relapse, through strength and weakness. Unlike too many other Marvel films, it's realistic, meaningful, relatable. Jessica copes with her PTSD by drinking, disappearing, not contacting her friends, finding herself as she fights Kilgrave. Her story is empowering and interesting for women and men alike, because abuse, control and manipulation take many shapes, all equally painful. Jessica is an unconventional heroine we deserve and need, and hopefully one we will see more of in the future.