The ‘troubled rebel girl’ and the ‘boy-next-door’: The apparent inversion of gender and love archetypes in 13 Reasons Why, Élite and Sex Education | Intellect Skip to content
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Television and Nostalgia Now
  • ISSN: 2046-9861
  • E-ISSN: 2046-987X

Abstract

Teen series play a central role in the socialization process of young people, since they offer portrayals and models that young people can relate to, identify with or modify and break. Previous studies have shown that teen series continue to perpetuate a stereotyped gender representation and usually reproduce a heteronormative relationship model based on the myth of romantic love following the storyline of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The present study consists of a close reading of three popular current Netflix teen series: (2017–present), (2018–present) and (2019–present). The results show an inversion of the gender archetypes of Beauty and the Beast. The three female protagonists are ‘badasses with a good heart’, embodying the typical archetype of the ‘Beast’, while the three male protagonists are patient, caring, innocent and even virginal, embodying the archetype of the ‘Beauty’. However, unlike in the classic model, the boys fail in their attempts to save their beloved from themselves, and the girls end up suffering irreparable consequences. The tragic end of the female characters condemns them to the impossibility of a redemption that has traditionally been granted to males.

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2021-10-01
2024-03-04
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