The thing about the feminism on display in Jessica Jones is that it isn’t universally empowering or accessible. This is a series that centres the titular character’s pain above that of other people, and that treats the lives of people of colour—particularly men of colour—as accessories to her narrative.
As a show, Jessica Jones has represented peak ‘white feminism,’ centring white womanhood, from day one. Like Agent Carter, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman, it’s a narrative focused on white female characters in worlds where characters of colour are afterthoughts, sidekicks, villains, or background support. From Reva Connor’s death being used as a catalyst to jumpstart Jessica breaking free from the control of her abusive ex, Kilgrave, to the overwhelming lack of characters of colour in the series’ New York City, to killing off both of its black female characters in the second season, and to Jeri Hogarth filling the “Evil Lesbian” trope, this is not a series that cares about putting forward an inclusive or intersectional form of feminism.
However, one of the most glaring examples of this is in the way that the series treats its male characters of colour, particularly in its second season. Men of colour and their experiences (including their trauma) are never seen as important or as valid as Jessica’s trauma.
I got to write about Jessica Jones mediocre second season and how the season failed the three recurring male characters of color for Anathema Magazine last month. This season was even more awful about how it treated male characters of color and that’s saying something considering how the first season had Jessica stalk and sleep with Luke Cage knowing full well that he was connected to the woman that she’d killed on Kilgrave’s command.
If you’re interested in reading me at some of my saltiest, check out “Jessica Jones Doesn’t Care About Men of Colour” at Anathema Magazine!
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