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Eloise Bridgerton: A Pioneering Beacon of Independence in Bridgerton's Regency Realm

Image source: JuliaQuinn

In the alluring series “Bridgerton" a world where romance, drama, and societal expectations collide. This is a historical American fiction romance that is streamed on the popular streaming service Netflix. This series is based on Julia Quinn’s book series, and it is produced by Shonda Rhimes and created by Chris Ban Dusen as part of Shondaland’s first scripted show for Netflix.

This series revolves around the powerful fictional family, the Bridgerton's. It is set in the world of the Regency era. Each season of the show focuses on London’s Ton during the social season in the early 1800’s.  Eligible youth of nobility and gentry are presented to the queen and then launched into society as poised, chaste, and beautiful debutantes who are deemed ready for marriage.

In this incredible series, one character rises above the corseted constraints of the Regency-era norms. This character challenges these norms and accepts herself as being different and wanting more than the life expected of her. She is Eloise Bridgerton. ‘Bridgerton’ showcases a world where women are expected to act, dress, walk, speak, and do everything a certain way and all characters seem to follow these societal norms but Eloise, who emerges as a bold and independent spirit, challenges not only the characters within the narrative but also the way women are portrayed in period dramas. Her character is a welcome departure from the delicate flowers often associated with the Regency era, bringing a refreshing modernity to the screen. This brings forward a character that many women may relate to and appreciate.

In a world where women were expected to be ornate fixtures, Eloise disrupts the established order with her unyielding spirit and relentless pursuit of individuality, education, and aspirations of a career of her own. While other debutantes prance around in gowns and gloves in pursuit of noble partners and marriages, Eloise's contempt for such trivialities becomes a rallying cry for a new era of on-screen representation, as she speaks out for women who bear their own opinions, wants, and desires. Women who aspire to be independent and career-driven and women who value and long for education. I find myself longing for more characters like Eloise—women who although living in constricting times are truly themselves and unapologetically independent and unafraid to rebel against the stifling social norms that sought to confine them.

Eloise's journey unfolds as the younger sister of Daphne Bridgerton the “seasons diamond”, as named by the Queen during her presentation to the Queen. Later, in the series, Eloise is launched into society, and there we see more of her fiery spirit. She becomes a clear testament to the true strength that lies within women and their ability to defy the limiting roles imposed upon them even if they are the social norms. Her refusal to simply conform to society's expectations of her and women is a powerful statement. That makes the audience question the status quo and envision a world where women are not defined by their marital status or societal approval. It makes the audience question the social norms that govern their own lives.

Eloise is outspoken and keen to learn, and what makes her an inspiration is her avid appetite for knowledge, education, and a career of her own. She longs for all of this during a time when women were denied formal education and their intellectual capabilities were often underestimated, however, Eloise emerges as a self-taught scholar. She conceals her pursuit of information, keeps up her reading habits, and articulates her opinions on matters of politics and society. Eloise becomes a symbol of intellectual eagerness, a reminder that women are more than the sum of their romantic entanglements.

As viewers, we find ourselves drawn to Eloise's unwavering commitment to challenging the gender norms that restrict her and the women of her time. Her refusal to be confined to the role of an innocent and poised debutante highlights the importance of showcasing diverse narratives on our screens as representation is important and should come in different forms. We need more characters like Eloise who break away from the mould, inspiring audiences to reject societal expectations and forge their paths.

Furthermore, we see female camaraderie through Eloise's relationships with her close friend Penelope Featherington. This series displays a lot of competition between women, be it their gowns or their martial matches, Eloise's genuine and supportive connections between her and her family or her dear friend present a refreshing alternative. Her relationships with her siblings and friends surpass the superficial as she shows that women can and should be allies rather than adversaries. Women are often placed as competitors against each other. Eloise's character becomes a reminder of the strength that emerges when women uplift and support one another.

The importance of showcasing women like Eloise extends beyond mere entertainment but exists as a powerful message about the impact of on-screen representation. By presenting a character who defies the norm, "Bridgerton" challenges viewers to reconsider their preconceived notions about women's roles in historical contexts and, by extension, in contemporary society.

Period dramas often romanticize outdated gender roles, but in such a world, Eloise Bridgerton becomes a symbol of resistancea figure who demands to be seen and heard on her terms and not just for her delicately sown gown and place in society. Her rebellion against societal norms is not a rejection of love or companionship. It is a call for a more authentic and fair representation of women on screen.

As we eagerly anticipate season three of "Bridgerton," one can't help but hope for an expanded exploration of Eloise's character, relationships, and explorations of her career and desire for knowledge. Her journey holds the potential to inspire a new generation of viewers and creators alike. We, as viewers, need more women like Eloise—strong, independent, and unafraid to challenge the narratives that seek to confine them.

Edited by Georgiana Jureschi

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