Why Bridgerton Is The Perfect 21st Century (Feminist) Show

Picture of By Asiah Capponi

By Asiah Capponi

Dear Gentle Reader, 

I shall hope you have already binge-watched the second season of Bridgerton, otherwise, I see no point in your participation in social gatherings. Everyone is talking about it and I am sure you would like to participate in the conversation as well. So, make haste and catch up if you haven’t already.


Do You Have Permission To Waltz?

The way women are viewed and considered in society has changed so much over the centuries. Bridgerton is set in the 1800s, when women were not entitled to anything. They were not allowed to have money of their own, nor any kind of other possession. They were merely seen as daughters and wives. They were expected to learn how to impress a gentleman through learning some kind of art, like the pianoforte or the violin. 

At dances, they had a card hanging on their wrists, where men could write their name and ‘book’ the young lady for a dance. A lady also needed permission from her parents to dance the waltz, because it was considered a rather intimate dance. At the age of 17, a young woman coming from a respectable and rich family of the ton (the high-class society of that time) was introduced to society, shown off and thrown into the marriage market as a prize to be won. Women were mere objects to be owned by men. 

Bridgerton also adheres to the criteria of the 1800s society, but, although the characters start out by wanting to behave in the proper and expected manner, meaning that power is laid with men, slowly they realize that there is another way. The men fall in love and start putting the life of the women they love in front of their own, allowing them more freedom compared to what society would normally have accepted.


All Is Fair In Love And War

The Bridgerton men showed us the power of true love. Men who desire women more than anything else. Men whose biggest wish is to make the woman they love happy. Men who respect and love their mother and wish to protect their family. Surely, men had much more possibilities compared to women back then, and yet this story clearly explains how we got to where we are today: when the power of love overcomes the love of power, that is where the change happens. 

Yes, it took centuries, but eventually, women got their rights recognised. I do firmly believe that the Bridgerton brothers would have been fighting alongside the women they so loved to help them achieve the equality they already felt in their regards. 


Shall I Swipe Left Or Right?

Bridgerton is such a relatable show for the young generations of today because certain things in life are destined to never change, and perhaps it is a good thing. The search for love is something that used to trouble young people back then just as much as it troubles them now. Anthony Bridgerton is in search of a wife in the second season and he intends to find her with a method that today we would call ‘a dating app’. He has a list of young eligible ladies and he holds interviews with them, asking what their hobbies are and if they wish to have a family, and then he simply swipes left on them, deciding after mere moments one is not the right match for him. 

So relatable indeed. He is terribly afraid of true love because he has seen it growing up between his parents and he is scared that if he falls in love he will lose sight of his duty towards his family. How an uncontrollable feeling love is, it is something poets write about and singers loudly sing about. Something so magic and primitive that it makes us lose focus of everything else. It certainly sounds scary, as much for him as for us. Love makes the world go round, year after year, it is the thing that started us all and that, centuries from now, will still be the same feeling.


How Does A Woman Come To Be With Child? 

Women were seen as nothing more than something to be owned back then, but love could change it all for them. Love entails respect and desire, two things that this show considered very important. In both seasons, the lead men’s most inner desire was to please the woman they loved. The fact that young girls back then had no sexual education whatsoever and did not even know how one could get pregnant, which seems such an absurd thing to withhold from a daughter, might seem rather distant from today’s world. 

However, sexual education is still seen as taboo in many countries, even the most developed ones. Schools do not teach it and many young people today learn everything from the Internet, which, in all honesty, is probably not the most reliable source to get such relevant and important information. It is so easy to be misled and confused by the information found online, just like young ladies were confused and full of questions back then. It is rather sad to see that in certain aspects society has not progressed at all.


I Will Stop!

Another important and up-to-date matter included in the show was the concept of consensual sex. Lately, lots of debate has appeared on social media, discussing where exactly the line for consent needs to be drawn. It might seem resolvable quite easily: if both parties agree then the consent is present, otherwise, well, not. However, we are speaking of passionate moments where sometimes, stopping to make sure two people are on the same page could slip from one’s mind. And here, Bridgerton again shows us how important it is. 

Towards the ending of season two, the main characters, Anthony and Kate, whose sexual tension has been building up from episode one, finally don’t seem able to keep their desires at bay anymore. Even while overwhelmed with passion, Anthony still manages to get away from Kate and say ‘I will stop’, to which she responds ‘Do not stop’. It seems like a pretty clear consent to me, which is not something to give so easily for granted nowadays, and that it definitely should not have been implicit also back then. 


Lady Whistledown

Well, dear reader, I think we can agree on the fact that Bridgerton, even if set in an era where women had no power, managed to show the world how important it is that men consider women as their equals because it is the starting point to change society in its whole. Another interesting fact is the one of my identity. I indeed managed to fool all of Mayfair for quite a while, and if men are far superior to women then it could be expected my identity to be male. 

However, I regret to inform you that, in my case, the female mind has proven itself to be superior by far. The fact that nothing less but a woman is the one person behind Lady Whistledown, shows how women are capable of so much more compared to what they were given the chance to do, and perhaps, they can be capable of reaching new heights even now.

Cover: Shayna Douglas

Edited by Katrien Nivera

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