The Netflix limited series The Queen’s Gambit has had no end of praise heaped upon it and it deserves every bit of praise it’s getting. The show is smart, engaging, well-acted, and well written. I’ve yet to come across a review that was bad.
I’ve even written one myself which you can read here.
According to IGN, 62 million households watched Gambit over the past month. This is an incredibly high number of viewers for such a short time. This makes the show the most-watched limited series on the streaming service yet.
62 million households watched The Queen's Gambit on Netflix over the first 28 days. pic.twitter.com/SB1mPfjZkK
— IGN (@IGN) November 23, 2020
This is all well and good but a lesson can be pulled from it that puts some things into perspective in the midst of our politically charged atmosphere.
Feminists often complain that our patriarchal, sexist society can’t handle powerful women in lead roles. That we just don’t like to see a woman front and center, much less a woman who succeeds.
The reactions to the box office bombs like Mulan, the Elizabeth Banks-led Charlie’s Angels remake, and the 2016 Ghostbusters remake are perfect examples of how feminists put the blame on society when a film they promoted doesn’t do well.
“If this movie doesn’t make money it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies,” said Banks even before her movie flopped.
We have prime examples of women-led movies that play well with moviegoers. Alien, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Hunger Games, Wonder Woman, Terminator 2, and Kill Bill are all celebrated films with female leads that are beloved by fans.
Now we can add Elizabeth Harmon to that list and toss out any idea that our society dislikes female leads.
The anger feminists have about movies they love flopping is misplaced. It’s not society…it’s them.
Their characters are one-dimensional, archless, and excruciatingly boring. They’re usually flawless and overly powerful. The only lesson they ever need to learn is to learn that they’re even more powerful than they think they are. They never lose and have no weaknesses. There’s no room for building anything and, what’s more, their villains are always just as boring as they are because they’re always the same over-confident and controlling white men.
Gambit‘s Harmon is exceedingly brilliant at chess but not much else. She’s flawed, troubled and prone to self-destruction. She gets beaten by people simply because she’s not as good as them. Harmon isn’t an all-powerful chess player out of the gate. She earns her advancement through study and hard work.
Gambit proves that you can have a powerful lead without sacrificing believability.