The movie that was previously trending amongst Top 10 on Netflix in countries around the globe now has a petition filed against it. Based on an erotic romance novel by Polish author Blanka Lipinska, 365 Days has been embroiled in controversy since its official release date nearly 6 months ago. The reason why is clear to all who have seen the movie: due to its highly problematic themes involving sexual abuse and coercion.
The petition on change.org now has more than 80,000 signs. It was filed by Instagram body image influencer Mik Zazon, who says the movie is offensive and hurtful for victims of violence and abuse, including herself (view the petition and her statement here). As of yet, there has been no response from Netflix on the matter.
Indeed, the movie contains scenes displaying an intensely misconstrued understanding of consent. Several critics have argued that Laura, the female lead, is frightened and intimidated by her kidnapper and even when she does agree to sexual acts, she is not in the right mental state to do so. Simply put, consent provided under duress is not consent.
Unfortunately, however, even if Netflix does take down the movie – and it doesn’t look like it so far – that will not solve the real issues at play here. Why was such a movie able to generate millions of dollars in revenue? The fact is, the public enjoyed it.
There are hundreds of other books and narratives similar to 365 Days being churned out every year, simply because they receive favorable attention. A powerful mob boss capturing an innocent woman and then forcing her to fall “in love” with him is a favorite topic for authors. And this is not the only scenario. The romance genre is rife with such themes, with one thing in common – a subservient female lead helpless in the face of a “magnetic” (read: abusive) hero.
Netflix is just a moneymaking business. It is the authors and filmmakers – people who set the bar for what is acceptable and what is not – who need to start being more careful about the content they create. There is no doubt that filth sells. But we don’t need to add fuel to the ghastly fire.