I, like so many people, have watched season 2 of Bridgerton with delightful anticipation of seeing Anthony’s journey to find love. For me, the primary reason was due to the fact that the person he fell in love with was a dark-skinned Indian woman, a member of a community that does not get much representation unless you are MindyKaling.
Surprisingly, the character that I’ve been reflecting on the most has not been Kate Sharma and her journey to accept love in her life — that deserves its own opportunity to be unpacked because being the older sibling while processing trauma is a difficult task that I know all too well — but Eloise the second eldest Brigerton sister. Eloise represents the white feminist of the 21st century but is stuck in the 19th century where women’s rights was not even an afterthought. Her criticism of the system is admirable but the privilege with which she can do so has never sat well with me; which is why she’s my least favorite Brigerton.
Her rebellion of this season in my opinion was selfish not just because she was absent when her family needed her most but also because she put Theo, a paper boy, in danger too by associating with her. I think the unique things about privilege is that it allows for us to not think about all the consequence of our actions because we don’t have to. The consequences that may occur will not directly affect us, but those around us. When news of her scandal broke — acknowledging the messed up way that news came to be known — it was her family that suffered the most. It also put Madame Delacroix, a black woman, in danger because of her association with Lady Whistledown.
So it left me with many reflective questions. Do we rebel because there’s an innate security that allows us to do so? Do we follow the rules because doing so ensures our survival? I have trouble empathizing with people with the privilege enough to rebel and the outcomes do not wind up in their favor. Perhaps because my opportunities to rebel have always had disastrous consequences. But when you look at the other black women, like Madame Delacroix, on the show, their rebellion have also had complicated outcomes. Is this just the show giving an accurate glimpse of black women or is it just projecting hardship on black women because it’s easy for us as viewers to receive?
But in the end, Bridgerton is just a tv show. Eloise can speak and do whatever she wants because in the end it will always end well for her. We will always root for characters like her because we are conditioned to do so. Thankfully for me, we will have characters like Kate Sharma and hopefully the Duke will come back at some point that I can somewhat relate to in this world of escapist television.