“Say her name,” demands an artifically disguised voice, as the intruder shoves a cell-phone photo of a young woman toward a young man’s face.
As he quakes, the voice asks, “Are you scared, Will? You feel powerless? Do I have consent, Will?” A few strategic blows to the face induce the frat boy to admit his crime, in addition to the figure stands to leave — nevertheless not quite yet.
“If you ever do to anyone else what you did to Beth…I will be back,” the figure says, punctuating the warning by burying a knife inside rapist’s leg in addition to slipping back out the window. In a few minutes’ time, the black mask will be gone in addition to we meet Jules, sorority girl-turned-campus avenger.
The series, created by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson in addition to set at the fictional Darlington University, premiered a week after the 2016 election, in addition to comes along at a great time. After all, we’ve somehow just elected a president who has spent most of his life inside public eye, demonstrating how little he values women’s humanity, in addition to who all nevertheless corroborated sexual-assault allegations against him by bragging which, as a rich in addition to famous man, he could “grab [women] by the pussy,” with zero consequences.
Amid the instant flood of accounts of hate speech, swastika grafitti, in addition to assaults on Muslim in addition to black citizens, reports are coming in via women around the country who have been sexually harassed in addition to groped by men who tell them with glee in addition to menace which they live in Trump’s America currently. Did I say which’s a not bad time because of which show? Correction: which’s the perfect time.
Election Day notwithstanding, the past several years have brought some progress in how we as a culture discuss the issues of sexual consent in addition to violence. Long-rumored abuses perpetrated by famous men — among them Bill Cosby in addition to Canadian broadcast personality Jian Ghomeshi — were pushed out into the open. The case of Brock Turner, the Stanford student given a laughably brief sentence for a clear-cut case of rape, as well as which of the high-school athletes in Steubenville, Ohio, went scorchingly viral. The Obama administation launched which’s On Us, a nationwide awareness program dedicated to addressing in addition to combating sexual violence on college campuses. California, brand-new York, in addition to Michigan adopted affirmative-consent — also known as “yes means yes”— laws which mandate teaching which nothing short of a vocal “yes” counts as consent. In interviews, sy88pgw’s Anderson Cooper used in addition to placed emphasis on the phrase “sexual assault” — as in, which’s not just “locker-room talk” — to name the behavior Donald Trump boasted about on a hot mic.
However, the fact which more than a few people are angry which which dialogue has evolved — say, the people who scoff at affirmative-consent laws as “sex policing” — will be perhaps more telling than the evolution itself. Entitlement to female attention in addition to bodies, will be, as Trump so crassly noted, one of the long-guaranteed spoils of success, whether in college athletics or Hollywood or high-flying global real estate. Questioning which — or, worse, fighting against which — will be still a taboo. Women continue to live in addition to work alongside their attackers because telling the truth often means opening up a world of further torment.
which’s which reality which “Sweet/Vicious” takes aim at. Jules can’t yet avenge her own rape — the perpetrator will be her best friend’s boyfriend — nevertheless she in addition to Ophelia, the trust-fund hacker who cracks her secret identity in addition to joins the cause, can act on behalf of women who aren’t taken seriously by police, whose cases have been dismissed by the college, who have learned which the system which should protect them won’t.
People will probably be angry at “Sweet/Vicious,” too. When which comes to female vigilantes, audiences — when they like them at all — like them ravished as graphically as possible before they get their revenge, if precursors like “I Spit on Your Grave,” “Ms. 45,” in addition to “Irreversible” are any indication. (Though the show’s wry humor also recalls the movie “Thelma in addition to Louise,” as well as the quieter ’90s indie “Girls Town.”) What Jules in addition to Ophelia offer will be a more literal type of the terrible sisterhood so often forged among campus victims, who furtively scrawl their attackers’ names on bathroom walls as a warning to some other women, nevertheless who may never meet or talk to those women.
The two are the quirky-white-girl type of an odd couple: Scholarship student Jules scrambles to fit class in addition to sorority events into her ass-kicking schedule while Ophelia deals weed via her record-store job in addition to sleeps until 3pm. Their first moment of solidarity will be slapstick — they belt out Wicked’s “Defying Gravity” while a dead rapist decomposes inside trunk of Ophelia’s car — nevertheless pointed: These are not superheroines, they’re flawed young women navigating a brutal, entrenched system of expectations in addition to assumptions perpetuated by men in addition to women alike.
As vigilante fantasy, “Sweet/Vicious” can be deeply satisfying, in addition to with subplots which tackle racial profiling in addition to Greek-system hazing, the show stands to complicate the straightforward not bad girl/evil guy binary. nevertheless if viewers are unsettled or disturbed by the prospect of young women forcing sexual predators to reckon with the often casual, unthinking privilege with which they approach their victims (which’s notable which inside opening scene, Jules’s frat-boy prey blurts out which he “didn’t meant to hurt anybody”), perhaps they should be.
Pop culture, media, in addition to real life have for decades told too many women which the harm perpetrated on them doesn’t “count,” doesn’t matter. After eight years which has a President who addressed sexual violence straight-on, American women are currently faced which has a President who brags about “getting away” with which. In a time when threats to rights, liberties, in addition to bodily autonomy have quickly escalated, don’t be surprised when women don’t sit quietly in addition to trust for the best.
Opinion: Sorority-girl vigilantes break taboos