Every single argument regarding the injustice of the unequal lives of men and women always frustratingly boils down to biology and the perceived “physical weakness” of the latter to justify the current societal structures. The patriarchy apologists will always revert to that in some way or another. You talk about pay disparity, and they will talk about how the man has been the provider since the times of hunter-gatherers because he is stronger; therefore, thousands of years later, he must make more money while doing the exact same job as a woman. If you bring up the choice to wear whatever one wants, they will talk about the “hunter instinct” in men. Talk about women having bodily autonomy, and they will talk about how it is the right of men to have a woman and children to “further their bloodline.” It really never ends, but the thing to realize is that patriarchy is systematic. It exists in every facet of society and is built on the foundation of maintaining the imbalance of power. But what if, one day, the imbalance of power is disrupted? If it all really boils down to biology, what if that becomes the very thing that gives women an advantage? What if women become so strong that men are no longer able to use their “physical superiority” as an excuse for the way things are? Those are the questions that the series “The Power” sets out to answer or tries to, at least.
The thing is, this series is a commentary on the nature of power itself and how it can corrupt. This is what makes it important to tell the story from the perspective of the powerless. But that was never a problem as women are running this show, literally. But somewhere, in trying to tell too much in too little time, the series failed to establish an emotional connection with its audience. But another side to that perspective would be that women already know these stories. When they look at Margot, they understand having to be polite because assertiveness equals unlikability, even though that is exactly what is deemed attractive in men. When women see Tatiana, they understand that a man would never be forced into her situation because even after his career in athletics dries up and he becomes old, the world would consider him valuable. When women see Roxy, they know that her drug-addict brothers would never be called “too emotional” by their father. Their stories do not need too much explanation because women already know them and live a part of them every day.
“The Power” was a story that needed to be told, and that is why it hurts us that maybe it’s not doing a good job of it. Women have a personal stake in a series like “The Power.” It is not just another piece of content for them, and that is why we worry that too much time is being spent on setting the stage for it. The first five episodes are spent on just the women gaining power. In a nine-episode series, that is too much time wasted. Maybe a different edit could have allowed showing the power politics already, but that has clearly not been thought about. That has been our biggest gripe with the series so far. It seems to be on the right path, but it is taking too long. But the one particular instance that we wish to talk about is the Saudi Arabia subplot in Episode 5. Most violence against women only happens because of the sense of entitlement that men have that they can get away with it, either due to rampant victim blaming or the legal and social fabric of society. But the moment women turn the tables, simply by becoming stronger than the oppressor, it becomes clear that these laws were not made for justice but were made on the assumption that the downtrodden wouldn’t be able to fight against them.
Another thing that particularly stood out for us was when male politicians across the world kept denying the developments as a hoax. Why were they so scared of what the girls could do? Clearly, they did not want to be the ones with less power, as they knew how the structures they had created and enforced treated people with a disadvantage. Men have always known what they are doing, and that is the fear that the power is bringing to the surface now. The series tries to bring up the stories of women across the globe and give them a voice. But we also feel that it is missing out on the nuances of it. For example, intersectional feminism has yet to receive its due importance in mainstream media. White feminism is the most popular discourse, and it completely ignores how racial and economic bias has served to undermine women’s causes over the years. Hollywood’s racial blindness might just push this matter under the carpet in “The Power.”
Other than that, we really hope that the writer of the series is aware of the differences between men’s and women’s wrongs. They might commit the same mistake, but while a man’s greed is as simple as it looks and sounds, a woman’s greed is fueled by years of rage, underestimation, and a need to prove herself that goes beyond what any man could ever feel. Power certainly corrupts, but there is going to be a difference in how someone who has always had power and another who has just started discovering it is going to react to it. We truly hope that this series is able to bring these to light; otherwise, the entire narrative would be nothing but an exercise in futility.
To end on a positive note, “The Power” has a gripping storyline so far and some really fantastic music. However, we cannot stress this enough that it needed a better edit, one that did not spend 5 out of 9 episodes just making us familiar with the new lay of the land. Other than that, we would recommend giving this series and all of its subsequent seasons a chance, if not for the story, then at least for the perspective of how women with power are perceived by the world.