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“365 Days” has Netflix in hot water over its glamorization of sexual assault

The Polish movie has recently been on the streaming platform’s top 10 recommended flicks.

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Women’s rights activists are calling for the Netflix film, 365 Days, to be removed because of its glamorization of kidnapping and sexual assault. 

The film follows a Polish woman, Laura, who is drugged, kidnapped and sexually assaulted by an Italian mobster, Massimo. He tells her that if he can’t convince her to fall in love with him after one year, then she is free to leave. 

As if the plot isn’t problematic enough, the film is filled with scenes of emotional and sexual abuse. Laura’s consent throughout all the sex scenes is questionable at best. They do not have a safe word, and boundaries and limits are never discussed. 

Massimo also uses several abuse tactics like gaslighting, coercion, reproductive coercion and Stockholm Syndrome to manipulate Laura. 

Mikayla Zazon, a body positive influencer on Instagram, launched a petition on Change.org urging Netflix to remove the film. It now has more than 68,000 signatures. 

“Netflix clearly stands on the side of the abusers by having a movie that glorifies, romanticizes, and condones sexual assault, trending on their top 10 recommended movies to watch around the globe,” she wrote. 

The way that love, sex and romance are portrayed in the media have very real impacts on children, teens and young adults. 

“When you put a movie out like that, it is teaching young men that women want to do whatever they want. It’s teaching young women that’s what they're supposed to do, to just want to do what men want to do,” Zazon told VICE News.

Welsh singer and songwriter, Duffy, also wrote an open letter to Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings expressing her discontent with 365 Days. 

“It grieves me that Netflix proves a platform for such ‘cinema,’ that eroticises kidnapping and distorts sexual violence and trafficking as a ‘sexy’ movie,” she wrote 

Duffy also recently opened up about her own experience with kidnapping and sexual assault. 

“I don’t want to be in this position to have to write to you, but the virtue of my suffering obliges me to do so, because of a violent experience that I endured of the kind that you have chosen to present as ‘adult erotica,’” wrote the singer.  

Nina Burrowes, founder of The Consent Collective, described an all-too familiar situation to The Tab, which could be flipped on its head given the movie’s depictions.“The very same people who are watching this and internalizing it could be sat on a jury in a few week’s time, deciding the fate of someone in a similar situation,” she said, and the fact that this sentiment, that ‘rape is romantic’ is so prevalent in the public psyche is so worrying.” 

The impact of films such as 365 Days cannot be minimized. The fact that there is even a marketable audience for this type of content means that we have a long way to go.

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