If there is one show that you should start binge-watching, it’s Alias Grace, a crime-drama Netflix series based on a 1996 novel of the same name. Written by Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace follows the story of Grace Marks, an Irish immigrant who becomes a domestic servant in Canada. In 1843, Grace is convicted of murdering her employer with co-worker, James McDermott.
However, some of Grace’s supporters believe she did not commit the crime, which led them hiring Dr. Simon Jordan to perform a psychiatric evaluation to find out the truth. Aside from the thrilling suspense factor of the show, it also tackles women’s issues in the 19th century, some of which are still felt today.
Abortion is focused on in a few episodes. The one that stood out was when Mary Whitney was forced to go to an unlicensed doctor. After the procedure, she spent hours in bed due to the pain until she eventually died after bleeding out. To not taint her reputation, they did not disclose her passing as a result of abortion complications.
Sexual assault was brought up many times throughout the show. From sexual advances of employers to being assaulted in an asylum, Alias Grace shows the reality of women in the 19th century that still happen today. The men who were in power treated Grace and the other women with disrespect, like their actions had no consequences.
Treating women like objects
Aside from sexual assault, scenes of objectifying women are prevalent too. The men ordered women around and would literally throw them across the room. In one episode, Dr. Jordan was frustrated with Grace because she didn’t want to talk about certain topics. He pressed on, raising his voice like it would force her to speak.
After watching all six episodes, you will start to see how these shows reflect problems that women still face today. Some may not be as drastic but the issue is still there. Now, the question is: When will start to see real change against rape culture and progress in feminism?
Art by Lara Intong
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