A southern belle aiming a shotgun from a window.
Photo courtesy of Netflix


A Feminist Western

By Amy Soto Contributor

Two women in cowboy attire, holding shotguns.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

Just in time for the holidays, Netflix gifts us with “Godless.” It’s their new Western limited series based on the cliché gun shooting power struggles. But the story is executed with a unique twist and a brilliant cast. It is full of suspense and offers a fresh take on typical Western gender roles.

The most interesting struggle is between the men and women of the show. “Godless” depicts women rising and standing up for themselves in the darkest of situations. In the town of La Belle, the women are left to pick up arms, dress in men’s britches, and stand up to the men that threaten their livelihood. It’s refreshing to see a show portray women as something other than damsels in distress.

There’s a particular moment of dialogue exchanged by two characters in the show that captures the show’s unique appeal of strong female roles. “You ever worn a dress, Bill?” says Mary Agnes (Merritt Wever) to Bill (Scoot McNairy). Bill replies, “No, and neither do I intend to.” She responds, “Well, you ought to, right now, put on a dress. Put on a damn corset while you’re at it.” This small bit of banter challenges gender roles that project sexist ideologies.

Released this year on Nov. 22, the Netflix original is already creating buzz. The 70-minute episode uses beautiful cinematography that contrast the dark and eerie story. Although this Western starts off slow, audiences can appreciate the captivating scenery.

In addition, as the conflict between Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) and Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) intensifies, so does the action, which is what makes the show entertaining. With strong female roles, “Godless” is refreshing and innovative. If you are looking for a break from holiday-themed shows this season, give “Godless” a try. It’s definitely not what you would expect in comparison to older Westerns that follow the typical lone cowboy and sheriff.


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