How long does it take set designers to create the perfect scenery for a TV show? Is the poster on Jessica Jones’ bedroom wall intentional, or was it selected at random?
Either option is possible. However, the most likely situation is that they spent hours analyzing the painting, the artist, and the best scene for the poster to make an appearance in. Marvel did the best wink towards feminism on the only show about superheroes and villains that features a female protagonist.
When she reaches her home, we see the apartment in shambles, yet there is a single item on the wall, a female portrait: a redhead who holds her ankle as she poses provocatively for the painter capturing her image. Jessica has a cathartic moment in this scene, the painting seems to mirror a sense of loneliness and longing, while still alluding to eroticism.
The artist who painted that image was Egon Schiele, an Austrian painter whose entire life was marked by tragedy. Rejected by those around him, Schiele placed all his sentiment into this intense, explicit, grotesque, and erotic artwork.
Each line, much like the character of Jessica Jones, is full of strength and subtlety. The contouring of these figures are created through soft, barely noticeable hues, that bring these nude bodies to life. This also makes them even more sensual than other works of classic art.
Jessica Jones breaks with stereotypes in the same way as Schiele’s artwork. This character separates herself from other female characters shown on movies and TV shows, not only for her super strength, but because she is not hoping for a happy ending. Perhaps this is the thing that connects both works: a woman devoid restrictions, judgment, bias, and stereotypes. It’s the portrayal of human endurance shown through a female body.
Jessica Jones is considered an antihero, much like other Marvel characters such as Punisher, Wolverine, and Deadpool. She’s an alcoholic, challenges authority, emotionally vulnerable, and lonely. Yet, for all her flaws, she feels a constant need to help others. Unlike more heroic characters, Jessica doesn’t mind killing in order to make things right.
Jessica is tired of the world, of the imperfections that plague humanity such as evil, disloyalty, and corruption. As a private investigator she has studied more than her fair share of people’s problems and issues. In a way, Schiele did the same. For him, a body on a canvas does not need a la landscape or background scenery. He believed the human figure spoke louder than anything else.
A body, a mesmerizing gaze, strong brushstrokes, and a mood portrayed through mannerisms. Nothing connects them to the exterior. They live in a permanent bubble that allows us to see them as they are. There’s equally nothing that connects Jessica Jones to the world. She knows her solitude and refusal to admit her feelings for anyone keeps her safe, in the same way that Schiele’s characters are kept safe.
Schiele makes an extraordinary relationship between the private and the public. These nude bodies are unaware of our presence, making them vulnerable to spectator. Schiele was a master of human introspection. Jessica’s heartbreak comes from not knowing how to relate to others. Both show us three fundamental concepts: humanity before gender, female power, and the human condition devoid of stereotypes.
Have you heard of the X-Men spin-off that features a schizophrenic mutant?
What makes a hero a feminist?
Translated by María Suárez