By Kendra Williams
Over the past two months, the hit original Netflix series Bridgerton has been planting “burning” seeds in people’s hearts everywhere. The show is in the “Top Ten” still and pulled in over 82 million people in the first 28 days.
After reading the title, you might be wondering, how is Bridgerton the perfect showcase of feminism? I mean come on, these girls are forced into finding a husband or becoming a spinster. If they don’t find a husband and choose to make their own way in the world, they are scrutinized and judged by the public. Their entire worth is brought down to one day. Sounds awful right?
Well for women in the 1800’s, that was reality. You were raised from birth to find a husband and raise children. Even if your husband died, you couldn’t inherit his assets or deeds.
But the Bridgertons are different.
Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the family, decided to do things a different way. Daphne wanted marriage and a family, but it wasn’t a choice for her back then. Nothing was much of a choice for women back then. Despite this, Daphne knew she had to take control in the only way she knew she could.
When given the chance to fool the public to raise her chance at finding a suitor, she tells Simon (her love interest) that she simply can’t have the ruse they formed go wrong. The scheme that they came up with, is more than just a silly game. It is about her life now, and she must take control of it in any way she can.
Feminism is all about women having choices, right? She didn’t have a choice to get married. However, she knew that she had a choice on who she was going to marry. That is not something that she took lightly (even though Anthony tried to make it as so).
Daphne is always putting her brother in check. Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest (and cutest) of the Bridgerton family is the head of the household. He inherited the position of the Viscount after their father passed. Anthony seems to be clueless about the realities of what it is like to be a woman in their society. Daphne is always quick to let him know. She never lets him just boss her around into doing what he thinks is best, just because he is a man.
When it’s time for the duel between Simon and Anthony, Daphne fights to stop the fight between them. She realizes that men are always telling her to stay out of affairs, especially affairs that affect her and her loved ones. She decides to put a stop to it then and there, interrupting the fight and saving the day.
You know the story of a great knight riding in on a horse to save the princess? Daphne is always her own knight, riding in on a horse to save her own self. She promptly tells Simon that they are to be married, despite him choosing what he thinks is best for her.
In every coming-of-age story, there is a breaking point for the characters. One that makes them grow, even though it is borderline traumatic.
Throughout the series, we learn just how sheltered women are in society. Their mothers would not even tell them what sex was, how it worked, and most importantly how they were to become with child. Isn’t it ironic that the very human beings that were to give life to the world were sheltered from knowing how it came to be? For the average man, it was a given.
The Bridgerton household is made up of 8 siblings – four boys and four girls – each strikingly beautiful and poised. The boys of the household seem to be very educated on sex. The girls are left clueless.
Violet Bridgerton, the matriarch of the Bridgerton household, is very shy and hesitant to give her daughters proper sex education. In fact, she doesn’t give much at all, and in turn, Daphne is left clueless and finds out from the Duke of Hastings himself.
The education given is not enough, however, as Daphne doesn’t know how children are made until her honeymoon, finding out from her maid. This is the ultimate betrayal for Daphne because she trusted Simon more than anything.
Throughout the turmoil her relationship with Simon endures, she uses her pain and new knowledge to uplift other women around her. Marina Thompson for example is lost after losing her suitor Colin Bridgerton after her pregnancy with another man is revealed. Now that Daphne knows how misinformed she was, she is able to have a better understanding of the world around her. She fights for Marina to demand the father of her child own up to his responsibilities.
Even though she is facing possibly one of the greatest heartbreaks in her life, she realizes that there is more work to do within the women around her, even calling out her mother for not telling her how sex works. Part of feminism is uplifting not only yourself but the other women around you. That is exactly what she does.
Even though Daphne is constantly being pushed into different directions, she takes control of the boat every time. If she is to embark on the journey that is life, why should others get to decide what becomes of her life? The same goes for you.
As a woman in society, we still face obstacles thrown our way because of how people think a woman should behave. Despite this, it’s important to keep fighting, take control over your life, and help the other women around you. Just like Daphne Bridgerton, the diamond of the first water.