MENACE, the dark-humored, feminist "microseries" that you can watch on Instagram

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When scrolling through your Instagram feed, you’re probably expecting to see photos of your friends, your favorite celebrity promoting their new fashion line, and maybe a Starbucks holiday cup or two. What you’re probably not expecting to see is a dark-humor, apocalyptic feminist TV show in episodes that last just one minute each. 

Image via newsofchicago.com

That’s what MENACE has created in their 13-episode show, released entirely on their Instagram, @menaceseries. The three women who produced (and edited, and wrote!) the series — Sarah Aló, Flavia Borges, and Devon Carson — wanted to create a show so eye-catching and perfectly bingeable that “even the busiest person couldn’t deny watching,” Sarah Aló said in an interview with HelloGiggles. This idea is pretty effective; you could watch the whole series while waiting for your face mask to dry.

It’s not exactly an uplifting show, however. Set in an alternate Chicago where “male pride” groups are committing mass femicide, the microseries follows three women, Ana, Daisy, and Jane, as they camp out in a small apartment and attempt to live their lives while receiving blaring, alarm-like alerts on their phones of reports of women being killed outside. The characters listen to a fictional podcast, also entitled MENACE, that serves as narration for the series.

In addition to being the target of these femicide attacks, each of the three characters faces her own unique struggle. Ana is an undocumented immigrant facing deportation, Jane has recently escaped an abusive relationship only to be targeted by these male pride groups, and Daisy is a sex worker making money through a financial dominatrix website in an increasingly violent environment.

With the past year’s success of the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and the Netflix series Black Mirror, these dystopian narratives are increasing in popularity as fast as they seem to increase in plausibility. We haven’t seen this much dystopian-themed media since the early 2010’s when titles like The Hunger Games reigned over our bookshelves and movie theatres. 

Flavia Borges noted in an interview with Feministing.com that, unlike The Handmaid’s Tale, MENACE hopes to openly address the struggles of women of color in dystopian settings. “For us, the only way to not tell a color-blind story was to hit the nail on the head. In our series, Ana is dark skinned and clearly at higher risk than the other two women so when they ban[d] together, it’s bound to come up,” she said. “If you fail to address intersectionality in 2017, you are behind.”

Although the protagonists of the series are terrified, they do their best to carry on as usual -- Ana tries to pick out an outfit for a date while alarms warning her to take shelter blare from her phone, in another episode, they braid each other’s hair, like a teenage sleepover. In spite of everything, this mini web series at least offers some dark comedic comfort amidst its harrowing circumstances.

 

Thumbnail Image via HelloGiggles.com

About The Author

Alex is a junior Creative Writing Major and Music Minor at Agnes Scott College. She likes exploring, sad music, and all things literary.