Menace series — new formats and intersectional feminism

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When some new technology shakes the world, the same (stupid) question is made: will the new technology kill old methods and habits? When the television appeared, people wondered if the movies and the radio days were over. When the e-reader was first sold, people wondered if it would mean the end of printed books. And when streaming platforms earned space, people feared that the cinema and the cable TV would die. What they couldn’t think in any of the cases is that the new is not here to kill the old, but to create more opportunities.

That being said, let’s introduce Menace series. Do you remember when YouTube didn’t let users upload videos that were longer than 10 minutes? A restriction like this one is something that is actually GOOD for creativity. For the girls behind the Menace series, the restriction was bigger, and demanded the most creativity and synthesis from them. Because Menace series is an Instagram microseries — meaning that each episode must be one minute long or less.

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In 2017, we saw with horror a woman being killed by white supremacists in the US. Considering that this was improbable five years ago and it’s now a reality, the future seen in the Menace Series is even more disturbing. In it, there are male supremacists taking the streets of Chicago, killing all women they see. Femicide is real today. What if it becomes the rule?

Jane (Sarah Alò) had recently left home and a violent and abusive husband. Ana (Flávia Borges) is an immigrant from Brazil and wants to get married to an American to obtain a green card. She is no home wrecker and doesn’t want to catch a man on a trap. She is a survivor and just wants to, well, survive. Another survivor is Daisy (Devon Carson), who uses social networks and message apps to satisfy male desires and get money from men. When a raid is announced by the vigilant Menace podcast, the three girls, who are actually neighbors, meet and stay together in an apartment.

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The three girls bond in an extreme situation. This is meaningful, and true: women, when they get together for a common goal — even if it is raw survival — are more powerful. We are stronger together. We find strength when we unite. We saw proof of this in real life during the Women’s March in several US cities, in January 2017. We saw this recently in November 2017, when women in many Brazilian cities protested against PEC 181, a proposition that wants to forbid abortion in all cases.

Sarah, Flávia and Devon work as actresses, screenwriters, directors and producers. Most of the crew is composed by females — up to the artists whose works can be seen in the sceneries. The girls chose Instagram as they platform not because of the formal challenge, but because they realized in the research process that their target audience was using mainly that network. And it worked: so far, less than six days after the premiere, all episodes were watched at least 2000 times, and the finale was watched more than 70 thousand times!

Cover of the Chicago Reader

In so little time, we’re able to connect with the characters, who are by no means perfect, and we can even feel anxious and nervous every now and then — out of empathy for them. Jane, Ana and Daisy are not perfect feminists — who is, by the way? — and must recognize their internalized prejudices and rethink their actions and beliefs.

The Menace series is fantastic, and leaves us wanting more, much more. I want to see the girls take the street, break some skulls and smash the patriarchy. It’s intersectional feminism at its best, and it’ll take only 13 minutes of your time — probably the most well-spent 13 minutes of your 2017.

You can watch the Menace series HERE.