Netflix hit Elite has had me gripped the past few weeks and it is safe to say I most definitely binged my way through the box set, but for good reason. This Spanish hit has everything a millennial or Gen Z audience could want and should be exposed to.
Although on the surface it may be a teen thriller, beneath this it is so much more and does not shy away from complex topics such as race, religion, class and sex.
Often our society neglects to talk about these things; attempts to but gets it wrong or conveys them as topics which should be kept out of the spotlight for audiences, especially of younger generations. I, however, disagree. I think if we are exposed to these topics we become educated and they become the norm; the forms of oppression or stereotypes become dissolved.
I won’t spoil it for you, but I’ll give you a little taste of what it’s about, hopefully enough for you to go running for the TV remote to turn Netflix on and watch it.
Let’s Talk About Sex
Sex is a normal and natural thing but if we, and by we I mean society, keep portraying it as something not to be talked about, not to be explored then people will treat it as shameful. If it isn’t talked about how do we become educated? How do we get rid of stigmas? How do we remove embarrassment or shame?
Well, Elite certainly isn’t shy about sex, exposing all truths good, bad and ugly. Throughout the four seasons of the show areas including contraception and pregnancy are covered along with sexual health, consent, number of sexual partners and image based sexual abuse. Exposing the gritty aspects of sex is really important.
Grit aside, the show doesn’t portray sex in just one single form but shows how it is a different experience from person to person. Some characters are sexually inexperienced, some committed to one person, others are keen to explore the more exotic side of sex and some even are eager to redefine the ‘relationship’ itself so it doesn’t necessarily mean two people.
In any case, the show is talking about sex in a way that is educational and liberating to see on such a major TV show.
Cut The Class Divides
The show opens in a very boujee Spanish private school, where for most students money is not an issue. However, when three working class students are granted scholarships to the school their worlds majorly collide. Initially, I thought it was going to be similar to Gossip Girl where class snobbery is the norm and rarely condemned. However, this is not the case in Elite. In fact, not only are the characters on both sides forced to challenge their own prejudices, but so too is the audience.
The importance of education in progressing through classes is emphasised and class injustices, which occur all too much in society exposed. The person and not the class is reflected in this show and I think that is great. Don’t you?
We are the next generation where our voice counts and is crucial in making a difference. Who cares what neighbourhood you live in, what money you have or type of car you drive, or at least you shouldn’t care. Elite shows why judgements made on class are dated and exclusive.
Next up, Religion
Religion can be a difficult topic to approach. I’m sure you’ll agree that talking about your own faith, or lack thereof, is easier than trying to comment on another’s. Elite generates a conversation around religious duties and traditions, how you view your own faith and how it is viewed by others as well as the obstacles it can cause in relationships.
Christianity, Islam and Atheism are discussed through this series but rather than be one sided the show makes sure that each religion is looked at through a number of lenses showing the complexity of the topic.
I think this is so important because often we think our judgement call is the be all and end all. News flash, it’s not! Consider the person you are judging and the branches that stem from them like family, friends, communities and schools for example. Thought about it? Now I bet you are starting to realise things are not just as black and white as we make out.
A lot of the strong leads in the show are females who really all are badasses in their own right. Love them or hate them in episode one, you’ll be making a very different judgement call as the series progresses. Girls you once disliked are empowering and brave.
As females, as sad as it is to admit, jealousy often eats its way into our relationships, opinions or interactions with other females. We are great at talking about female empowerment but are the first people to condemn a girl. The character constructs in this show are real and sometimes that is messy, dark and unpleasant. Some things they say will have you jumping for joy, shouting, ‘Yes, Girl!’ at the TV whilst other times you’ll be thinking how did I ever like that character.
That’s what makes this show so good because the female characters are attainable and they are above all relatable, which for me is what we want. Real is better, real is empowering and real is what we need.
Now, I’m not pretending I am educated in all these areas. In fact I think we are always learning about them within ourselves and as a society on a whole. The topics in the show are complex and you know as well as I do with complexity comes obstacles. So, not everyone will agree but the very fact that the show is putting these themes out into the world and generating conversations about such themes, I think, is a great place to start and therefore, a good thing.