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Over the last few years, feminist movement entailing a belief in the socio-economic and political equality of sexes has entered the international scene (Crow 137). Feminist supporters hold that a woman has a right to be socially, economically, and politically influential regardless of what society have been meant to believe and practice. The movement championed for a number of issues such as ban on alcohol, right to vote, and sexual revolution which paved the way for gay acceptance. Despite these efforts, the research still shows gender imbalance in the job market. Currently, there are certain technologies that can be used to reach a wider audience such as TV series or films. The producers who hold feminist beliefs have integrated the ideologies in the contents of their programs and movies (Johnson 14). A good example of this trend is Nikita, an action packed TV series portraying exploits done by female characters that contravene the practices uphold by anti-feminist societies. Nikita is devoted to the life of a professional assassin. The series features Nikita Mears, a female character, who manages to escape from secret organization funded by the U.S. government, referred to as Division. After being in hiding for 3 years, she surfaces in order to bring the organization down. Division, under the leadership of one of its founding members, Percival Rose, is responsible for numerous black operations including sabotage, espionage, and assassinations. She also trains a young woman known as Alex, who she rescued during a mission to kill her parents. Alex becomes Nikita’s recruit and works as a mole inside Division, feeding her intelligence. The whole series depicts exploits performed by these two women against antagonist called Amanda (Jones). These characters embody several qualities adopted by feminists thus directly portraying the intents of the creator. Therefore, feminists have incorporated their views in the sphere of entertainment in order to reach as many people as possible. This paper discusses how the creators of Nikita employed feminism theories as a tool in the storyline to demonstrate importance of women, reveal that women have always been used as subordinates to men in the past, counter sexism, and demonstrate the strength of women in comparison to men.
Women’s Ability to Overcome Painful Past
In the show, main female characters are shown to have had painful pasts. Historically, women have been facing a lot of social and economic issues as compared to men (Crow 139). For instance, men do not have to worry about carrying a baby for nine months, abortion, gender discrimination, sexual violence, and abuse. Women have often been treated in regard to their past problems inflicted on them by the society (Heather 14). However, Nikita and Alex prove the viewers that women ought not to be defined by their painful past. The duo use their past as a catalyst to work hard and outdo mediocrity. This is illustrated in season 1 when the life stories of the two characters are introduced. Nikita faced death penalty for murdering a police officer; she was also a drug addict when Division found her and trained her into becoming an assassin. On the other hand, Alex had lost both her parents and got herself into drug addiction. Nikita and Alex manage to overcome drug addiction and painful pasts to become one of the best agents Division ever had ahead of their male counterparts. The duo succeeds despite fierce rebellion and negativity when brought in Division and reluctance to change. Season 4 reveals Amanda’s painful past and shows how she broke free. Her father used her as a lab rat to conduct painful experiments; when she found the right moment, she escaped. This echoes feminists belief that women should not be judged by their past life and predicaments. When they are empowered, they can be successful in their life just the way Division gave Nikita and Alex a fresh start and a new sense of purpose.
Nikita reveals historical injustices committed against women that prompted rise of feminism movement with the aim of bringing change. The main injustice depicted in the show is sex trafficking. Women are the main victims of this vice which is mainly orchestrated by men. An illustration is provided in season 2, episode 9, when Alex disguises herself as a Russian stripper to secure entry to Russia. Evidence of men treating the girls as objects of physical pleasures and entertainment can be clearly seen. They serve as sex slaves in the bars and are forced to dress in a way that would please the men lining to have sex with them. It is considered a form of oppression because they are owned by certain individuals and held against their will. In case of any attempts to escape, the consequences can be as fierce as death. The girls are portrayed as unhealthy, stressed, devastated, addicted to drugs, and oppressed. Alex and other girls get arrested by Immigration and Naturalization Service and, consequently, they get deported to Saint Petersburg. While under the custody of the authorities, Alex leans that the leading agent in INS has sold them to another trafficker as prostitutes. In response, Alex kills all the traffickers and uses funds she gets from Percy to finance the girls to start a new life. Such a devious act by INS agent shows how corruption in law enforcement bodies have provided a breeding ground for sex trafficking. The creator of the show tries to make a point to his audience by indicating that even in America and Russia, countries considered to have enough resources to fight sex trafficking, the vice continues to thrive up to date because of corruption and inadequate efforts. Another character used to portray a form of oppression – objectification of women – is Amanda. As has been already mentioned, Amanda’s father conducted painful experiments on her body. Amanda’s past exemplifies severity of cruelty and disgrace that women have to go through even in the hands of their family members who are supposed to protect them.