By: Danie B
It was a random Saturday afternoon. I’d finished cleaning my house, I’d done all my weekend tasks, and after binge watching Part 2 of The Get Down, I stumbled upon Chewing Gum.
At first I ignored this Netflix suggested series and continued scrolling, but there was something familiar about Michaela Coel’s full lips and dark skin that led me to say, “Eh, let’s check this out.”
I was not at all ready for what I was about to see. Chewing Gum is simply disgusting. Yes, you read right; this show is filthy, raunchy, and, as I said, utterly disgusting. However, in the midst of all that, I saw beauty. Actually, I think the perfect description of this series is inappropriately hilarious.
Chewing Gum is loosely based on Michaela Coel’s life. In the show she plays Tracy, a girl who grew up in a strict Christian household trying desperately to lose her virginity. It shatters the idea of women being pristine, perfect, and void of bodily functions delving into just how gross women can sometimes be. We see Tracey puke, we see her learn how to use a tampon after having an overnight accident, screw up while applying make up, and even trying different tactics to sort through her sexual urges.
The show also pokes fun at how hypocritical the church can be when it comes to the issue of sex. In Chewing Gum, the veil is lifted, and you see through Tracey and her sister, Cynthia, the struggles that some go through when trying to be devout Christians sorting through feelings of sinfulness over natural sexual urges.
Chewing Gum is perfectly imperfect. It’s the first depiction I’ve ever seen of a woman who is socially awkward, horny, and sometimes just plain nasty. Tracey is flawed, but it’s empowering. Through this character, she gives women the permission to be all of themselves at all times. Through comedy she’s teaching us to embrace the fact that we menstruate monthly, we vomit if we drink too much just like guys do, and believe it or not, we women like and want sex just as much as guys do. She’s encouraging us not to strive to be so pretty, prim, and proper all the time and to embrace the things about being a women that we’ve been taught to cover up and frown upon.
Yes, at the end of the day we are all human and the fact that Michaela Coel sees comedy as a means to get society to laugh at the hypocrisy of the unattainable standard of outward perfection placed on women is ingenious.