Elizabeth Vlossak, Associate Professor of History at Brock University, and John Grant, Associate Professor of Political Science at King’s University College, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about ideological and utopian components within the Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit.
“If you haven’t heard already, The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is a phenomenal success. After its release last October, it became the No. 1 Netflix show in 63 countries and has prompted meteoric increases in the sales of chess sets and books. At this year’s Golden Globe Awards, it won for best limited series or TV movie and its star, Anya Taylor-Joy, won for best actress in the same category.
The show is largely set in the 1960s and recreates a captivating esthetic from that decade. The hero is Beth Harmon, a young chess prodigy who, despite time in an orphanage and an addiction to prescription drugs, enters and eventually conquers the world of chess — one that is inhabited entirely by men.
Some viewers and commentators have revelled in what is absent from Beth’s trajectory: toxic masculinity and sexual violence. Aside from hostile looks and gruff responses from the over-confident men she defeats early on, Beth is surrounded by a community of male allies who train her in chess and provide emotional support, allowing her to fulfil her potential.”
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