By Sophie Squire
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2788

Rules of the Game and the sexist system’s cover ups

It explores the limits of just putting women into powerful positions
Issue 2788
Maxine Peake as Sam together with a police officer

The death of a colleague forces boss Sam to confront a sexist workplace culture (Picture: BBC/The Forge/Matt Squire)

A new series, Rules of the Game starring Maxine Peake, attempts to expose the horror of sexism in the workplace.

It starts with Peake’s character, Sam, discovering the bloody body of a colleague who seemingly jumped from a balcony in their place of work.

But this is not the only body Sam has found. A decade ago she discovered the body of a 16 year old employee at a work party.

As the series progresses, more is revealed about the daily sexual harassment and assault in Sam’s toxic corporate workplace.

Capturing how the bosses neglect and exploit their workforce is what this drama does best.

Peake expertly plays the companies’ chief operating officer. She keeps saying she would prefer for there to be fewer women in positions of power.

She uses the sexist language of her male colleagues and early on says that she has no female friends.

Her character, especially in the opening episodes, represents how women in power have a part to play in maintaining a sexist system.

The legacy of the #MeToo movement hangs over this drama.

The bosses at the company are keenly aware that the movement has changed things and so are desperate to sweep any allegations under the carpet.

They employ a new women head of HR, Maya, played by Rakhee Thakrar, who is keen to unravel the dark secret of the company.

But ultimately Maya is powerless to bring justice to victims of sexual harassment because the company is more interested in a cover up.

The series is engaging at times and suffers from a somewhat predictable plot and sometimes cringe worthy dialogue.

More dramatic and extreme plot points seem unnecessary in this series when sexual harassment and assault are already horrific enough.

But if you can look past this, Rules of the Game unveils one very sad truth about the system.

And that is that after Me Too companies have moved from ignoring sexual assault allegations to covering them up instead.

Watch all the episodes on BBC iPlayer here

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