The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Squid Games, Netflix’s newest original series is taking the media by storm, and rightfully so. The plot, symbolism, and characters are easy to follow, and very easy to get attached to. Which is something anyone who’s watched it does- I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get choked up over watching certain events unfold. While I do have a lot of thoughts on the show overall, there is one overarching theme that runs the main plotline of the show: money. Or lack thereof, as the reason all of the characters are in their current predicament because they’re in extreme debt. I’m going to keep this article mainly spoiler-free, but it’s important to know that the reason these characters are risking their lives is for money to pay off the mass amount of debt they’re in. Playing games, for money and if they lose, they die.
While money is the drive to compete, the real problem lies within one aspect, inequality. The inequality of society has driven these people to compete in a series of games to win all the money they’d need. However, one of the front lines of the people running the games is that everyone has a fair chance of winning these games. Which at first glance is true, everyone plays the same games, has the same amount of time to complete them, has the same food, the same clothes, and the same current housing situation. All in all, this seems like a perfectly fair chance for each person involved in the situation, but there’s something to consider. Some of the games were physical, which put those who were weaker, smaller, or disabled at a disadvantage. Some people knew what the games were beforehand, and thus had an advantage going into each game. Others were able to form groups, which gave them a leg up in physical games.
While it might not have been intentional, I think this situation is a great example of how society is set up. While it’s set up to be ‘fair’ to everyone, it’s very obvious that some people have advantages in this world. Whether it’s generational wealth, being able-bodied, or being of a social majority in regards to race, gender, or sexuality. To put it in a metaphor, everyone has been dealt a hand from the same deck, but the hands they’ve been dealt are either good or bad. It’s important to realize that while society, and the games, were fair they were not equal.
Equality vs. fairness has been a long-standing conversation and has quickly become more mainstream with conversations regarding DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). This conversation and training has started taking place in many different parts of society and is a crucial part of evolving society. As the conversation has moved from fairness to equality, we’ve started to realize that people have a better chance in the world if they’re given a playing field that sets them up to have an equal shot at life. Overall, I think the show is enjoyable as both a casual watch and as something to give thoughts into life. While season two may or may not be happening, the first season has set up a high standard, and a good standard for social commentaries across the board.