Recently, the belly of Hollywood has been sliced open, revealing the perverse and murky dregs which reside underneath the surface. While there are also instances of men being victims that should be taken as seriously, it is women who are the majority of voices willing to expose that which they kept silent about for fear of losing their careers. These revelations were a surprise to approximately 0% of women and, as people from all walks of life shared their experiences, the #MeToo movement formed.
A few years prior in 2015, Netflix dropped Jessica Jones. Krysten Ritter took on the role of a super strong private investigator with a traumatic past. The series was brave in its decision to tackle the devastation of rape and respectful in its portrayal. As the series closed, there was no happy ending. Instead, trauma led to violence, which begets more trauma. Jump forward to International Women’s Day 2018 and season two has landed. That tough exterior is working overtime to hide the cracks in her psyche.
Like the people of #MeToo, she’s a survivor.
It’s fair to say that comparing real-life trauma to that of a TV character trivialises it, but we are in an age where representation matters. Not everyone can move on easily and, thankfully, not everyone is rape-murder victim on CSI. Jessica represents a side of survival that is rarely seen. She does everything that no psychiatrist would recommend. Opening up is out of the question, instead opening a liquor bottle is the favourable approach. Drinking is her decision, despite being self-destructive. Even after the earthquake, the aftershocks are still causing destruction.
Of course, despite efforts to force isolation, she is not alone. Nobody is out there living a happy, perfect life. Career, social status, age and gender are no protection in a harsh world in an apparently particularly unforgiving city. However, it is the physical strength of Jessica that adds weight to her story. She should be able to defend herself, and can, but only on a physical level. As millions can testify, it’s the mind that truly wears you down.
The emotional impact will resonate with many who tweeted out #MeToo. Whether it’s after one instance or several, sexual assault is mentally exhausting. In reality, their experiences have more significance than those of someone who does not even exist. Also in reality, large audiences are not going to tune into the story of their experience. Any exposure beats none at all and a suggestion to ‘deal with it because it’s a compliment’.
Miss Jones is, despite her skills, a woman composed of bad experiences who has the capability and desire to do good but with significant barriers. In a world of super strength, super speed and persuasion, the ways we destroy each other are the same. We can all be hurt. We can all be haunted. We can all fall into the trap of mishandling our lives. If a hero cannot simply move on and get over it, what chance do the rest of us have?