In a local newspaper I read an article about a new TV series airing this month: Dietland. It is produced by Marti Noxon and based on the novel of the same name by Sarai Walker. I watched the first 15 minutes of the first episode on YouTube, which was all that was available, as well as the teaser trailers. I rarely get intrigued about TV shows but this one has piqued my interest and I will definitely watch the first episodes as soon as I can get my hands on them.
As a woman who grew up thin and loving food I have never dieted or had an eating disorder so the novel did not catch my eye when it came out. This show, however, has a few things going for it that make it hard to ignore. For starters it is full of women. Whereas women's presence and voice is pathetic in the lion's share of what media produces they appear to be significant here. Also unusual is the minimal sexualization of women and the apparent absence of violence against women. These are the main things I have been tracking in movies for my upcoming book, so they are always at the forefront of my mind. Then there is the story itself. This is where it really gets interesting. The lead character is a writer named Plum Kettle (played by Joy Nash) who is overweight and struggles with self-image. She works for a narcissist (played by Julianna Margulies) who is oblivious of her struggles and gets the credit for her work. She also appears to get recruited by an underground group of women who are murdering sexual predators (men). This has got to be a first for a TV show. Moreover, whereas the vast majority of TV shows embrace the impossible beauty ideal that tyrannizes women's lives it looks like this show will be very critical of it.
Women's fury and resentment are at the heart of this show, which appears to be revenge fantasy. Having spent over two years writing 700 pages about the sexualization of women in media and violence against women—and analysing over 400 movies in the process—I can vouch for there being just cause for an ocean of both. Chances are that women especially are going to be very intrigued by this show and its messages.
© 2018 Alline Cormier