For better or worse, I’ve lost any ability to enjoy a TV show without extracting some sort of political commentary. A divisive political climate, coupled with a never-ending news cycle, has saturated almost every aspect of my life, including my guilty pleasure: Netflix binge-watching. So when I sat down to watch Glow, Netflix’s new television series about women wrestlers in the ‘80s, I felt happy on a number of levels to see my old classmate, Britney Young. Her character embodied so many of the issues facing women in 2017, while also revealing the warm nature I remember from our high school days.
My shameless need for connection when the world feels like it’s burning, coupled with my fond memories of Young as a high school classmate, moved me to reach out to her to talk Glow politics, and what it’s like to suddenly find herself being a beacon of hope, inclusivity, and body positivity in a sea of vitriol, divisiveness, and hate. It had been almost 13 years since I’d spoken to Young. It was 2005, Livestrong bracelets were still cool, the Motorola Razr was the “hip” phone, preppy young men wore puka shell necklaces and layered popped collars for no discernible reason, and Barack Obama was three years away from being elected president. A lot has changed since then, but Young’s voice is just as I remembered it. Instead of echoing through the halls of Anchorage’s Chugiak High School, our shared alma mater, I heard her through my cracked iPhone as she recalled the night of the 2016 election; a night in which she worked with the cast and crew of Glow.
“We shot on election day,” Young explained, “and I was getting so many texts from people still on set after I left, saying people were crying. So many people were frustrated and in tears. But the next day, when we came in to shoot, we just said, ‘What can we do? How can we change this? How can we make our voices heard?’”