Who Is Jessica Jones: Marvel’s Controversial Take On Abortion, Abuse And Trauma

When we think superheroes, we think superhuman powers and out-of-this-world villains terrorizing the streets. With Jessica Jones, we have a superhero with superpowers — whose villains include the likes of rape and abuse.

Jessica Jones is Marvel’s latest venture into television, particularly as a web television series for Netflix. Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, Jessica Jones revolves around the former superhero — played by actress Krysten Ritter — who has switched career paths, dropping her cape in lieu of becoming a private investigator in New York City.

What makes Jessica Jones so remarkable is its nonchalant approach to topics that are otherwise considered controversial. Having been a victim of rape and assault herself, Jones knows — understands — the pain and trauma that comes with the undertaking of such scarring treatments.

Jones isn’t the only one facing her own demons on the show. A whole roster of characters have their own personal issues to address, like Trish, Jones’ best friend, whose persona stems from enduring years of emotional and physical violence from her own mother.

Or what about Malcolm, a druggie in recovery whose addiction makes him an easy target to exploit? Even Kilgrave, the show’s mind-controlling villain and the cause of Jones’ pain, may have a few scars of his own, with his sociopathy coming into question as to whether or not it stemmed from abuse.

Everywhere you look, there is a trail of destruction on the show. Part of the characters’ daily struggle is having to go on living everyday with heavy emotional baggage, including the knowledge that such trauma is simply inevitable — almost impossible — to escape from.

Just recently, the series tapped into another controversial topic: abortion. The timing was impeccable, having aired the same week as the tragic shooting that took the lives of at least three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

The Jessica Jones abortion episode showed a more realistic side to the issue — one with less frills, and one that was more blatant and straight to the point. The story follows Hope — another of Kilgrave’s victims — who decides she wants an abortion after finding out she is pregnant from rape whilst in jail for the murder of her parents.

The episode explores the common grounds for abortion; a 1996 study found that 50 percent of women who became pregnant due to rape opted for abortion. It shows the less emotional side to abortion, in that the episode depicts it for what it is: a choice.

Jones eventually gets ahold of an abortion pill for Hope, warning the latter that there was no turning back once the medication is ingested. Yet, even with the foreboding advance notice, Hope downs the pill without hesitation, going on to chant, “Please work fast. Please work fast,” showing just how certain she was of her decision.

Clearly, Jessica Jones — the character and the show — is a force to be reckoned with. Its treatment of unconventional issues — issues that some shows are still a little afraid to prod and pursue — may rub some the wrong way, but for most, it is applauded as heroic and groundbreaking, making up the essence of a true superhero.

Read Also: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Trailer: Friendship Over With Iron Man

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About the author

Regina is a Fine Arts graduate who expresses herself through various mediums. She finds amusement in pop culture, enjoys video games, and watches way too many YouTube videos on a daily basis.