The month of December brings with itself all things warm and cosy. It is the perfect time to swaddle up in fuzzy blankets and binge on good TV. Speaking of which, what’s better for this purpose than patriarchy-bashing shows? Here are seven for your viewing pleasure!
Orange Is The New Black
Its fifth season released this year, and OITNB remains one of the most popular Netflix series. The show is centred on the women prison inmates in an unfair criminal justice system. The story focuses well on each character — all of whom are from very diverse backgrounds — bringing out their complex and emotional backstories. If you’re not already on the OITNB bandwagon, this interesting women-led resistance against the system is something you cannot, and should not, miss.
Daria is teen cartoon TV series from the 90s. Its main character, the brainy and sardonic Daria Morgendorffer, will be a delight for your inner geek. Sailing through high school with her artistic best friend, sparkling younger sister, and over-enthusiastic parents, Daria portrays a strong-headed female lead. It diverts from the conventional portrayal of female characters as pretty and sugary, and explores the intellectual surface of a growing woman.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Based on Margaret Attwood’s popular novel by the same name, this TV show probably already features on your to-watch (or already watched) list. The plot is set in a dystopian world where most women have been rendered infertile by unspecified environmental excesses; the ones who can still bear children are forced to become ‘handmaids’ – effectively, sex and childbearing slaves — of the autocratic regime. The show follows the story of Offred (literally, ‘of Fred’ or belonging to Fred, her ‘master’), who goes through different phases as this dystopia solidifies. Particularly interesting is the fact that her struggles resonate with the ongoing political situation across the world, particularly in the US.
Another show based on a Margaret Attwood’s novel, Alias Grace is a miniseries based in 19th century Canada. It follows the story of Grace, a domestic servant who is charged with murder of her master. She is sentenced to life in prison during which she is driven to insanity and her fate lies in the hands of a psychiatrist. With the upsurge of the disease of ‘hysteria’ among women, the story is said to be inspired by true events.
Game of Thrones
You’d be lying if you say you didn’t see this coming. One of THE most popular TV series of all times, Game of Thrones doesn’t fall any short in feminist inspiration. Although it is known for the explicit display of violence and abuse, its female characters do an impeccable job at dismantling oppressive structures. It has Cersei Lannister leading the crown, Sansa Stark standing up against her abuser, and my personal favourite, Daenerys Targaryen being the greatest conqueror ever. Along with strong leads, it also challenges conventional gender roles through characters like Arya Stark and Brienne of Tarth, whose skills are no less than any male warrior’s.
GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling)
From the makers of OITNB, GLOW looks at the personal and professional lives of a women who perform for a wrestling organisation. It narrates the stories of these women, who come from different paths and end up at the same place. With time, we see them get more empowered as they go through the challenges of their unconventional profession. The show shows us the journey of self-exploration in wrestling rings. What’s cooler is that it is also produced and written by an all-woman team.
Some people call this the most feminist show on TV. The Fall is a criminal drama with Gillian Anderson as its protagonist. Gillian is a crime detective and an outspoken feminist who is on the chase of a serial killer. Her emotional intelligence and unmatched skills in criminal psychology makes her stand out in a heavily patriarchal justice system. The show follows her fight to establish authority in a male-dominated field, and do her job on her own terms.