Monday, April 10, 2017

Mr. Robot or Mr. Feminist?

Hacking, perhaps one of the most feared and glorified trade in today’s society. Mr. Robot, an American drama series by USA network follows a young man named Elliot. Mr. Robot has been glorified for its complex ad accurate portrayal of the tech world as well as it’s critiques on corporate america. With six Emmy nominations as well as a renewal for a third season, there is no doubt that Mr. Robot has something special. Mr. Robot follows Eliot,  a cyber security employee at a large firm by day, but by night, a serious computer hacker. Mr. Robot has been a breakout TV series because of its controversial themes that criticize corporate america, as well as its realistic display of gender and humanity. The cast of characters in this show follow a robust group of underground hackers as well as the top professionals in a technology corporation. Mr. Robot is a feminist work because it portrays women characters as fully human and complex as well as uncovering the damaging effects of masculine and feminine ideals in America.
Mr. Robot’s portrayal of a complex and anti-heroic female challenges all norms of women in television. A female anti-hero  is so rare in popular American television. Angela is a lifelong friend of the main character, Eliot. Angela’s physical appearance sways the audience’s first perception of he
Angela Moss
r. She is a tall and beautiful a blonde working as a cyber security worker at one of the largest businesses in America. Not only is Angela cunning, but she is resilient. She endures intense sexism in her job. As Angela discovers a scandal in her workplace, she meets with the head of the company she works at. As she tries to cut a deal with the boss, she is brutally humiliated and sexually harassed. The realization for Angela sets in; she can never make it as a women in this job by not playing dirty. Angela’s only viable option is to become ruthless, becoming an anti-hero. Angela ends up getting offered a prestigious job at the company because of her new found identity. Because Angela’s morals have been clouded, she commits very questionable acts in order to gain status and power.  A woman who is completely complex and represented in a tv show is almost unheard of. The notion of Angela being an anti-hero is also very rare in today’s media. Angela’s character exposes how sexism and patriarchy the workplace force women to decide between two extremes. Angela is forced to decide between giving up her dignity or throwing away her morality. The show is arguing that patriarchy forces women to endure defeat and give into the system, or become inhuman and evil. This system offers no true victory for any woman. Mr. Robot is a feminist work because it represents Angela as a complicated character who is not always likeable, yet the audience still roots for her. Mr. Robot also uncovers a larger truth about the detrimental effects sexism has on women as a whole.
The  consequences of patriarchal ideologies are exposed through Tyrell Wellick. Tyrell Wellick is a upstarting business man who works for the company. On the surface, he is cunning, handsome, put together and successful. As the audience sees more of Tyrell, we uncover that he is deeply unsatisfied with himself and is being driven crazy by his need to protect his family. Tyrell’s wife, a beautiful woman who has much complexity to her, schemes with Tyrell in order to blackmail his way to a promotion. Tyrell is so obsessed with being the provider for his family he risks everything. Tyrell cheats, kills, and lies in order to work his way to the top. Tyrell is also deeply enraged and repressed. This is symbolic to many men in society today. The stereotypical man is not allowed to show emotion. The “entrepreneur” needs to be cunning and friendly yet willing to use his power whenever needed. Tyrell’s insanity leading to a  downward spiral are a reflection of what societal norms do to men themselves. Tyrell needs to be the image of perfection, free from emotion and flaws. Tyrell reveals his sense of self when speaking with Eliot early on in the series, “But even extraordinary people, and I believe you are, are driven by human banalities. And unfortunately, we're all human. Except me, of course.” Mr. Robot critiques the construction of the male gender through Tyrell. It reveals the consequences of conditioning men to be robotic and emotionless, and the disgusting effects it has on men.

Mr. Robot most successfully displays the human side of people. While it does represent many different types of people-men and women alike, it is not afraid to show flaws in both. It is simply too hard to watch this show and decide who is innately good and bad. The characters and their circumstances are too complicated to determine morality. Mr. Robot is not a feminist show because it glorifies women and puts them on a pedestal of altruism. Instead, it exposes the very real and flawed characteristics of everyone. Most feminist type media places a strong and hero-like woman as a lead character. Mr. Robot challenges this old notion by presenting all types of women, good and bad. Mr. Robot’s subtleties also reveal an intense truth to the audience. Mr. Robot reveals the consequences that gender norms have on men and women, as well as the eventual destruction of the characters themselves. A feminist work does not require the utopian image of a woman and a society free from flaws, instead it simply asks for a true and honest portrayal of society today.

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