TV

Can Period Dramas ever be Feminist?

The last couple of years have seen an upsurge in TV and Film adaptations of literary classics, with a distinctly feminist twist. In 2018, period drama fans were treated to another adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic ‘Little Women’. Then came Autumn De Wilde’s ‘Emma’, and the Apple TV mini-series ‘Dickinson’.

The latest adaptation to join this discussion is Netflix’s ‘Bridgerton’, based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling romance series, set in the aristocratic marriage market of Regency-era England. Despite being Netflix’s biggest ever series, the sex-fuelled soap-opera has divided feminist viewers. To the shows’ credit, its protagonist, Daphne Bridgerton, is at the forefront of a difficult discussion about women’s limited life options and education. Daphne marries without any knowledge of how babies are conceived or what sex entails. But the show’s focus on how unfair and ridiculous this is is where its feminist merits end.

‘Bridgerton’ most significantly lets down the women of colour in its supposedly ‘colour-blind’ casting. Audiences can’t ignore that the only aristocratic woman to be unhappily married by the end of the series is Marina. It could be argued that this is a commentary on the racial prejudices of the era, but Marina’s skin colour is never mentioned, so her narrative feels like it has simply fallen into a lazy stereotype.  

For viewers who take issue with ‘Bridgerton’s sex scenes, which are male centred and often violent, Jodie Turner-Smith’s new three-part drama about Anne Boleyn will focus on Anne’s battle to protect her daughter, rather than on sex and romance. It is not known yet when the series will air, but whenever it does, there is no doubt that it will face a tough task in trying to marry the feminist ideals of the 21st century with the history of the past.


Follow Concrete on Twitter to stay up to date



Like Concrete on Facebook to stay up to date



Follow Concrete on Instagram to stay up to date


02/03/2021

About Author

Avatar

Eliza Duckworth


Calendar
April 2021
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  
Latest Comments
About Us

The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

If you would like to get in touch, email the Editor on Concrete.Editor@uea.ac.uk. Follow us at @ConcreteUEA.