Photo from Netflix
Over our holiday weekend, we caught up on Netflix’s latest female-centered show, GLOW. The show is a fun throwback to women’s wrestling in the 80s that we were excited about, but slightly nervous for. In the constant stream of inequality, it seems that every woman-focused show or movie (remember the stress put on Wonder Woman last month?) is held to a higher standard. However, we were not disappointed.
The show is effective as a period piece, but didn’t fall too deeply into the typical trappings of an 80s caricature. Instead, it captured the even-worse-for-women attitude that was so pervasive in Hollywood during the latter half of the twentieth century. The women who are literally fighting to appear on TV are made to play caricatures of themselves and their cultures to make themselves more interesting in the wrestling ring.
Initially, the casual racism coded into the caricatures the women must play took us aback. How could we support any TV villain – especially a man – who forced women to exploit themselves in this way? But, as the season progressed, we began to see the beauty in what Netflix had done.
The women are strong, and they are intelligent. They clearly aren’t thrilled with what they have to do. However, they recognize the opportunity they have been given, and work together to create a cinematic masterpiece in their self-choreographed fights. The women render the men trying to control them largely irrelevant, bonding together to exert their control. By working together, they take what could have been an unfortunate situation and transform it into a chance for each of them to glow.
The workplace that these women are faced with is full of overt sexism and harassment. We wouldn’t wish that on anyone, and we’re happy at least some progress has been made since the 80s in terms of how women are treated at work. We’re also glad that now there are at least a few parts for women with more substance than pretty wrestlers (though there is still much work to be done on that front). However, we were also glad Netflix gave us a fun show full of strong women working together.
We definitely recommend GLOW for your long weekend. Happy binging!