‘Jessica Jones’ Tackles Rape And Domestic Violence — Not Your Typical Superhero Series

The first season of the highly-anticipated Marvel-Netflix series Jessica Jones finally aired on Friday, to the delight of many expectant fans.

All 13 episodes were released to numerous rave reviews from both critics and fans alike. Much press had been given to the show, including the characters, cast, and possible plots. On Friday, viewers finally got their fill of Jessica Jones, which has been dubbed by some critics as “the best Marvel show to date.”

Jessica Jones Series Opens To Rave Reviews

Who is Jessica Jones?

Unlike many other Marvel superheroes like Iron Man, Thor, and Spiderman, not much was known about Jessica Jones by the mainstream audience until the creation of this show. There is so much complexity in the character, which is – not surprisingly – brought about by an equally complex backstory. In the comics, the gist of her tale involves attending high school with Peter Parker, getting into a radioactive chemical accident that gave her super powers, fighting crime with said super powers, and getting sucked into a toxic partnership with a manipulative supervillain.

With the recent debate on gender diversity in Hollywood, having a female superhero as the main character at this time is a much-needed change. However, what might be more noteworthy are Jessica Jones’ qualities, which set her apart from other female protagonists. In the show, she is almost always seen with a bottle of whisky in her hand as she sleuths for her private investigation agency, Alias Investigations.

A description of Jessica Jones in Ritter’s words during an appearance at this year’s Comic-Con: “She’s rough around the edges. She’s dry, she’s sarcastic. She’s basically a total a—–e.”

Krysten Ritter Explains Jessica Jones at Comic Con 2015

Jessica Jones: The Quintessential Modern Abused Woman

The hard-drinking, curse-loving, and give-no-f—s attitude of Jessica Jones isn’t just another Hollywood ploy to project a “tough chick” character onscreen. The more you learn about her story, the more believable her attitude becomes.

Some critics have remarked that her journey through life can be likened to that of a woman who has endured abuse – either physical, emotional, or both – from a dominant male figure. In her case, her longtime abuser comes in the form of a “purple” monster called Kilgrave, who is played brilliantly in the show by the Scottish award-winning actor David Tennant. Kilgrave’s super power is controlling people’s minds to do his bidding, which he has exploited at the expense of Jessica Jones. Together they committed criminal acts on innocent people, only to be remembered – and deeply regretted – by Jessica Jones during frequent flashbacks.

Eventually, Jessica Jones breaks free of Kilgrave’s clutches through sheer willpower and proceeds to work as a private investigator in her own company. Viewers are provided with a glaring example of Kilgrave’s brand of mindless evil. He preys on college student Hope Schlottman, whom he controls to murder her own parents and consent to his sexual advances. As a result, not only is Schlottman imprisoned, but she is also pregnant with her rapist’s child – whom she is keen on aborting. Jessica Jones is, once again, confronted by her own demons and decides to destroy Kilgrave once and for all.

Jessica Jones is the “Strong Woman” Stereotype We Need

The outstanding overall production of Jessica Jones successfully depicted a genuine and relatable female figure that is strong and resilient without being emasculating and overbearing. In an exclusive interview by The Hollywood Reporter with Jessica Jones director Melissa Rosenberg, she breaks down why she decided to treat controversial issues like rape and domestic abuse in the manner that she did.

Breaking “tired” stereotypes of abused women, which Rosenberg calls “NTDs” (naked, tied-up, dead), can help to bring back “sensitivity and responsibility” to the issues. Rosenberg focused on keeping Jessica Jones as faithful as possible to a real-life human being going through their own struggles and dealing with their personal demons.

“Here’s what I don’t want to do.” I don’t want to see some buxom chick in a unitard with her boobs hanging out and a size 18 waist, a sort of unrealistic model for women. I didn’t feel a need to sexualize her character. Or, because her character is actually very sexual, I think objectify is the word I’m looking for. When you’re looking at comic books that’s what you’re seeing is these unrealistic manifestations of women. Men, too, frankly,” Rosenberg says of her vision for Jessica Jones.

[Image via Marvel]