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Why does TV’s biggest romance series consistently fail consent?

More than a week after its premiere, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story still tops Netflix’s TV show charts and is hailed as one of the biggest new romance series on television. The show has been praised for bringing audiences a steamy romance while invoking some historical aspects and delving a little deeper into racism and lack of mental health awareness in the Regency era, though most acknowledge that it’s not a perfectly nuanced portrayal of racism. However, one of the biggest problems with queen charlotte is strangely overlooked, and that is the issue of consent.

Unfortunately, this is a problem that occurred in the Bridgerton previously franchised. In the Bridgerton books by Julia Quinn and Netflix Bridgerton series, a story arc follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). The couple are forced into an arranged marriage, but later fall genuinely in love with each other. However, Bassett does not wish to have children as he wants to end his family line due to his father’s abuse. Instead of telling Daphne this, he tells her that he physically can’t have children. Due to her sexual inexperience, she does not realize that he is using the “withdrawal” method to prevent her from getting pregnant. When she discovers the truth, it leads to a disturbing scene in which she sexually rapes him despite her obvious panic and attempts to say “no”.

In the book, the scene is also disturbing as Daphne takes advantage of Simon while he is drunk. The main problem with the show’s portrayal is that it largely glosses over how it was a case of sexual assault, as well as the fact that Simon is a black man in the TV adaptation, which introduces a troubling racial dynamic into the aggression. Bridgerton does so much to demonstrate any concern for Simon that some even argue the scene was not a rape or sexual assault. NOW, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story apparently failed to learn the lesson of its predecessor and once again portrays marital rape in a problematic way.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’s consent issue

Queen Charlotte’Consent issues arise with his portrayal of young Agatha, Lady Danbury (Arsema Thomas). She is lady-in-waiting to Queen Charlotte (India Amarteifio) and wife to Lord Danbury (Cyril Nri), to whom she became engaged when she was three years old. In the series, the age of Lord and Lady Danbury is unconfirmed. However, Lady Danbury is believed to be in her 20s, while Lord Danbury is probably in her 60s. The whole premise of their relationship is pretty awful, as it seems that Lady Danbury was groomed from the age of three to be the wife of a grown man.

The show then depicts Lady Danbury being raped by her husband a total of four times throughout the series. While marital rape was legal back then, and it’s not wrong to explore this harrowing reality, Queen Charlotte’The portrayal of Lady Danbury’s abuse is excessive and disturbing. She is repelled after these assaults and is shown taking boiling baths afterwards to cleanse herself of her husband. The major problem with this representation, however, is that queen charlotte don’t treat it like it’s rape. The show incomprehensibly tries to capture the repeated assaults and how they unfold On the screena running gag, in which he portrays Lord Danbury as an old fool who later dies having sex, and jokingly attempts to contrast the Danburys’ “bad sex” with the steamy intimacy of Queen Charlotte and the King George (Corey Mylchreest).

Once again, the show’s handling of marital rape has left viewers arguing that the scenes don’t depict sexual assault, although they do a lot. In an article for women’s health, Nylah Burton recalled how when she expressed her disgust at the marital rape scenes, social media users told her she was “exaggerating” and claimed the show only portrayed the “wrong sex “. Burton wrote: “But it wasn’t just bad sex – Lady Danbury is groomed to be this man’s wife from the age of three, seems to dissociate during sex, and when she wants to abstain it seems to have consequences.”

It’s clear the show was portraying marital rape with its decision to cast Lady Danbury as a grooming victim and capture the dissociation and disgust she experienced during these assaults. Therefore, her decision to simultaneously try to make these moments “humorous” is deeply disturbing and makes the show seem to downplay the seriousness of marital rape. Considering that just half a century ago marital rape was legal in the United States and Britain, and that it continues to occur today, Queen Charlotte must take a clear stance against the ‘act or just completely exclude the performance, because it’s not particularly important. historical accuracy.

(featured image: Netflix)

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