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Only women will direct Jessica Jones Season 2, and that's great news

Catch Team | First published: 25 October 2016, 0:13 IST
Jessica Jones

There's no superhero that's even remotely as average as Marvel's Jessica Jones. She uses her real name, sports no gimmicky costume, and absolutely refuses to live up to the superhero crime-fighting experience.

Yes, she too suffers from that deep-seated messiah complex like every other superhero. Plus there's that little thing about superhuman strength.

But Jessica Jones doesn't train to hone her superhero skills. Instead, she weakens it with alcohol, is debauched at best and an emotional wreck at her worst. She's painfully relatable. So, when Netflix brought out a show about her, it had to live up to that fantastic expectation of being realistic. And it did.

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A large part of the credit for this completely everyday superhuman, who could be anyone you know or even you, goes to the people who toil behind the scenes. Incidentally, what made Marvel's Jessica Jones worth its salt was the inclusion of women in telling her story. The inclusion of women in telling a story about a woman.

Seems pretty standard, doesn't it? Except it's not. While women made up 1/3rd of the directors for Jessica Jones Season 1, that's not a highly usual occurrence.

Popular shows from the past year like Stranger Things, Fargo and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia have had white, male directors and that seems to be the general industry trend.

" All 13 episodes of season 2 will have female directors."

What's phenomenal then, is that the executive producer of Jessica Jones, Melissa Rosenberg has announced that all 13 episodes of season 2 will have female directors.

During a panel discussion at Transforming Hollywood 7: Diversifying Entertainment, a conference at University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Rosenberg made the announcement that she was going with an all-female group of directors.

Rosenberg also noted that Marvel was completely in agreement with her decision. A welcome change.

How's this diversity?

A counter-argument to inclusiveness is to question why Rosenberg would only have a homogenous population i.e. women direct the whole season. Wouldn't that serve to eliminate the male voice?

No. Because how much of what we consume is served from the male perspective with zero intervention? If one were to go by last year's TV shows, more than 82%.

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That's not a pretty figure. Even a show like Game of Thrones, with women holding all imaginable positions of power in a medieval society, will be directed by an all-male crew in its coming season.

For Jessica Jones to then swim against the wave is pretty damn inclusive. For a TV show that holds a female friendship - between Jessica and Patricia or Trish - it's imperative that a woman lends her voice to a narrative. The more female voices, the merrier.

Diverse in both content and direction

Jessica Jones' biggest strength is what it stands for: the strength, both internal and external of a woman.

She challenges societal norms. Lives alone, picks her working hours (usually in the dead of the night), wears what she pleases (usually the same outfit every other day), doesn't feel compelled to smile or be polite, goes with what she thinks is instinctively right, and kicks ass.

That's subversion of everything a woman is asked to do to seem affable, to be acceptable in society, and, most importantly, to be safe.

Sure, Jessica Jones can break skulls with a polite slap, but that's frankly tertiary to what she embodies. That's not to say that she isn't vulnerable to her abusive past, to her personal insecurities and fears, or to Trish's mother-like love.

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For a show like Jessica Jones to then be directed by men may actually take away from its premise. She isn't a superhero for her superpowers, she's a superhero the way just women around the world need to be every day. To survive.

First published: 25 October 2016, 0:13 IST
 
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