'Bridgerton' Season 1 creates controversy for showing non-consensual sex scene
Bridgerton, which is trending at no. 2 on Netflix in India right now, got mired in a controversy. Its Season 1 shows a forced sex scene, and as a result, social media has called out the makers. Many members of the audience feel the inclusion of the scene totally violated the message of consent that one wants to see getting spread in entertainment culture.
TV producer Shonda Rhimes of Grey's Anatomy repute is backing Bridgerton, her first show as part of her agreement with Netflix. This a Regency-era drama revolving around the romance between two scions of high society families holding the titles Bridgerton and Basset. Phoebe Dynevor plays Daphne Bridgerton, while Regé-Jean Page portrays Duke Simon Basset. The scene that has stirred controversy involves the two.
The drama series is based on historical romance author Julia Quinn's novel The Duke and I, which contains a questionable incident where Daphne tries to impregnate herself without Simon's consent. The book narrates how Daphne takes the chance when Simon returns home drunk with an "intoxicating surge of power" and leaves him at a "complete loss of speech, this choking, strangling feeling."
The show had Daphne take advantage of Simon's position while they were making love. This happens in episode 6 titled Swish, in which the woman positions over the man during intercourse, stopping him from removing himself before the climax. Daphne, the show portrayed, did this to take revenge against Simon's planned intercourse that stops her from getting pregnant. Nonetheless, that sequence glorifies rape.
As most book readers will have guessed, this scene was the reason I never much cared for Daphne. Consent issues in general, and rape in particular shouldn't be plot points - and they especially shouldn't when they aren't going to be dealt with at all. #Bridgerton https://t.co/ocqMxUtSk5— Lizzie ⛄💫 (@lizziethat) December 24, 2020
Twitterati lashed out at the show, claiming the creators "glossed over" the rape, while remarking that there were many other ways with which the scene could have been shown. However, show creator Chris Van Dusen told reporters that the team had thought through the inclusion of the scene and that they kept it as "it's a part of her journey" in the show.