Have you watched the brilliant series that is Jessica Jones? Start now if you haven’t as series two is upcoming and we are excited. Why? Let’s recap: it tells the story of a former female superhero, played by Krysten Ritter, who quits the cape game when something awful happens and decides to try her hand at being a private detective for Avenger types. It’s all powerful females, mature sexuality and handsome male leads. It has broken the mold in terms of stereotyping females on the small screen; Ritter’s portrayal is complex and careful, she’s no damsel in distress, but hardcore and kick ass to boot. She does not wear spandex and heels to fight crime. She dresses in “boxy” sweaters and a leather jacket as well as ass-kicking black boots. “[She] does not give a shit about how she looks,” said Ritter. “Skin-tight and low-cut” were out in terms of clothing options, as well as a lot of make-up. “Honey pot, seductress,” Ritter said, “We are never doing that.” It presented, in short, a rare female-focused look at the superhero universe.
And if all the above has yet to convince you why this should be on your binge-watch list, we are thrilled to inform you the series is taking the same care when it comes to representing females behind-the-scenes too, as its showrunner Melissa Rosenberg announced that every single episode of the show’s second season (expected towards the end of 2017) will be directed by a woman. And as we all know, Hollywood has been rightly criticised for its (massive) gender disparities on and off screen – for starters, Jones’ first 13-episode run had only four female directors – so this is big news.
The ‘Bigelow effect’ never happened
There are myriad studies detailing the disgraceful reality for women in the industry, Glamour reported the number of women directing top Hollywood projects in the last 13 years is just 4% – a minuscule number and on the silver screen the ‘Bigelow effect’ never materialised – nearly seven years after Kathryn Bigelow won the best director prize for The Hurt Locker (the first woman in history to win the award), the slate of best-director nominees continues to be all-male and 20th Century Fox hasn’t a female director lined up for at least the next two years, so we’re hoping this starts a widespread trend and encourages more studio bosses to follow suit and make a point of letting women take charge behind the scenes – it’s time the score was evened out.
Rosenberg made the announcement just this past weekend; she’s only the second-ever showrunner to set such a mandate in recent months, with Ava DuVernay’s show Queen Sugar (which was her own) adopting a similar policy earlier this year.
We’ll take WAY more of this please, Marvel. And to be fair, they are trying; amid criticism for their portrayal of women in the past and the fact that a female Iron Man 3 villain was changed to the male character Aldrich Killian, because the franchise believed it would sell more toys, they are apparently seeking a woman to direct 2019’s Captain Marvel film.
At least there are some sizable dents in the celluloid ceiling, now we’d just like if (once and for all), it could be shattered.