Television portraying mental illness in women!

Television portraying mental illness in women!

In this patriarchal society, there are many aspects that can trigger mental illness in women. While solely mental illness is not a personality trait, there are many television series that have mastered in portraying women with their mental illnesses (and so much more) 

Here are some television series you should watch if you want to learn more about women and mental illnesses: 

1. Girls ( 2012- 2017 )


This controversial HBO series takes us through the life of Hannah Horvath, played by writer, director, and executive producer of the show Lena Dunham. In this series protagonist Hannah is an aspiring writer who struggles to find a way in her life dealing with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Hannah is suffering from OCD from her young age and still struggles with a relapse of it’s symptoms. Lena Dunham, creator of the series through Hannah’s character, has portrayed the struggle and journey of a person with OCD.

In real life she also happens to be a patient of the same illness which allows the writer to take the realistic approach regarding the disorder. As per Lena the main motive of creating the show was to discuss mental illness openly and widely so that people could emotionally bond with the people suffering from OCD. This show is also popular for portraying strong female characters. According to IMDb this show is rated 7.3. 

2. Homeland ( 2011- )

Homeland was praised by audiences and critics for creating a female protagonist suffering from bipolar disorder when it first aired. In the series Carrie Anne Mathison, played by Claire Danes, works for CIA on field although she takes medication for the disorder. Carrie’s career and personal life are hardly thrown into turmoil by her bipolar disorder. For the series creators closely worked with various psychologists and patients of the disorder to get the portrayal right.

Although the series was also criticized for showcasing that people who suffer from bipolar have some kind of special talent in them, a positive message shown by the series where her colleagues are supportive regarding her disorder was highly praised. To prepare for the role, Claire Danes had to learn the nuances of playing someone who has bipolar disorder. She also personally consulted with the female CIA officer whom the Carrie Mathison character was loosely based on. IMDb has rated the show with 8.3 out of 10. 

3. Silver Lining Playbook ( 2012) 

This movie created a lot of buzz and was highly applauded by The Academy and people all over the world for showcasing the life of people with mental disorders. The movie deals with topics not usually seen in a mainstream movie with an ensemble cast of many A lister actors like Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. 

In the movie Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a man with bipolar disorder while Jennifer Lawrence plays Tiffany who is suffering from depression. It is a highly acclaimed movie which empathises with mental illness where both the protagonists are suffering from different mental disorders. In the movie both characters find it hard to cope with their disorder. It also depicts the complication brought by the illness in people’s relationship. In addition, Robert De Niro, who plays Cooper’s father, is shown with symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) , including strong superstitions and pathologic gambling. Overall Silver Lining Playbook isa must watch. This movie has been rated 7.7 on IMDb.


4. Jessica Jones (2015- 2019) 

Generally Post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD )  is assumed that it’s mainly about men specially military veterans who have served and witnessed the horrors of war, but research shows that women who are living a normal life are actually twice as likely to develop post-traumatic stress. In Jessica Jones, the lead character develops PTSD after being manipulated and raped by antagonist Kilgrave. She develops a drinking problem to cope with her trauma-related stress.

Usually female characters are shown weak and feeble when it comes to portraying them dealing with mental illness but in this marvel series Jessica is fighting with villains inside and outside her brain. The Marvel franchise is often applauded for its exploration of the mental and emotional toil suffered by its heroes showing no matter how strong or larger than life a person is they can always be troubled with various traumas and disorders. 8 is the rating given to Jessica Jones by IMDb.

We hope these television series’ are helpful to you and will benefit with your time in self-quarantine !

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