Jessica Jones is the feminist icon we need right now



Jessica Jones is wearing a floral yellow dress. She’s the picture of feminine decorum, with a hemline swaying by her ankles. She emerges on to a balcony and stands dangerously close to the precipice, as though she’s about to throw herself off and tumble to the street below. Behind her, we see a man. This man, like Jessica, has a superpower. Where she has unnatural strength, he has the power to control minds. He is, at this very moment, controlling hers. With little more than a thought, he is forcing Jessica close to her own death. When he releases her from his control, she trembles back to reality, realises where she is and, breathless, steps back to safety. This sort of coercion happens again and again, as Jessica is forced to act against her will, against her morals and against her own survival instinct. She is, as well as being a superhero, a victim of domestic violence.

The first season of Jessica Jones was driven by this storyline; an arc which saw Jessica manipulated by a man who could make her do anything. It was an intelligent, harrowing metaphor for domestic abuse that made the whole thing difficult to watch for anyone who had been there, or known someone who has. In rebellion, Jessica sheds the dress her abuser wanted her to wear and dresses herself in the same simple outfit every day: light blue jeans, black T-shirt, black boots and a black leather jacket with a tragic backstory. It is her way of shrugging off his influence, cloaking herself in her own choices again. She will, in this uniform, make him accountable for his actions.

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