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Why GLOW is the ultimate feminist show you need to watch

Set in the '80s, "Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling" represents the new feminism and sexist Hollywood environment

Why GLOW is the ultimate feminist show you need to watch Set in the '80s, Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling represents the new feminism and sexist Hollywood environment

Ruth Wilder wants to be an actress.

Better, she is an actress, convinced of having the “sacred fire”.

No makeup, wrong haircut, is the kind of “normal” girl that movie makers always say they are looking for but who, after seeing her, discard because they realize that there is nothing attractive in being “normal”. So, the woman bounces from one casting to the other looking for a job. Too bad for her roles do not exist and the best that can aspire is a secretary part, with a single joke.

We are in the 80s and Hollywood invests exclusively on film with male leads.

Ruth came to the limit. She is forced to ask for money to her parents to keep up and has an affair with the husband of her best friend Debbie. Her only hope to recover, to which she clings to her full strength, is the project of Sam Sylvya, cocaine addicted B-movies director: GLOW aka "Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling".

This is the first show dedicated to female wrestling, actually aired from 1986 to 1990, but it is also a Netflix TV series.

Liz Flahive, screenwriter of Nurse Jackie, Carly Mensch and Jenji Kohan, both working for Orange Is the New Black, enact the story of a diverse group of races, ethnicities and body types. They are unresolved, loser trapped in a world manipulated by men with a visceral need to empower themselves and to show the world, and to themselves, to be worth more than the role that life has them sewn on.

There is a stubborn and petulant Ruth; there is her ex-friend Debbie (Betty Gilpin) aka “Grace Kelly on steroids”, which, after a fleeting success of a famous soap opera, he finds himself at home with little son and husband faithless; There is Melanie (Jackie Tohn), spoiled girl who drives a limousine; Sheila “the She-Wolf” (Gayle Rankin) who, suffering from dysmorphophobias, believes she is a wolf or Cherry (Sydelle Noel) stuntwoman-trainer.

Assuming the wrestler’s identity, based on stereotypes according to which the oriental girl becomes “Fortune Cookie”, the African American “The Welfare Queen” or the formidable blonde turns into the American paladin “Liberty Bell”, each of them becomes the protagonist of a powerful personal metamorphosis.
The mask they wear, paradoxically, allows them to be aware of their uniqueness and power.

In this playful dimension, with great self-irony, with faded costumes, backcombing hair and struggles of latent eroticism, wrestling frees the body from male’s gaze.

Because GLOW talks about the body.
As the screenwriters explain:

"Using our bodies for ourselves also means subtract certain dynamics of exploitation, although the border is very thin. This is the area that we really wanted to explore: how to make something that is done for others in something that we do for our own pleasure ...
Yes, because the point is that bodily activities like dancing, running or skating can be acts of freedom ... the land between exploitation and empowerment. An even more fertile achievement in the series, the dichotomy between an alter ego that essentially embodies a stereotype and identity".

Even Betty Gilpin, the actress who plays Debbie, points out "I’ve never worn fewer clothes and felt more powerful".

GLOW’s feminism is based on the re-appropriation of women’s own physicality, a consciousness that gradually emerges through the obstinate need to survive and re-emerge from the miseries of life. With blows of irony, with a straightforward acting by a brilliant, intelligent, funny and subversive screenplay. It is exactly the opposite of what is happening in The Handmaid’s Tale, another best-seen series so far in this 2017, in which women are an object and their body is sacrificed, tortured, concealed, mortified to such an extent that every scene it’s a punch in the stomach.

Both shows, however, are facets of a new feminism that, now, through the wrestling stratagem makes fun of sexism and stereotypes in Hollywood, and it does so very joyful, funny, ironic, without anger, but with a lot of determination.

Just one of many reasons to see GLOW.