Essay #3: What Happened To Monday 

       What Happened To Monday also known in other geographical spaces as “Seven Sisters” is a 2017 dystopian science fiction action movie. Written by Max Botkin and Kerry Williamson and directed by Tommy Wirkola, What Happened To Monday takes place in year 2073 during a noticeable overpopulation of the world thus resulting in the plummeting of resources as well as the implementation of a one child (per family) allocation system. The content of the movie offers some themes that have proven to mirror some of society’s events.  

        In What Happened To Monday, Karen Settman, daughter of Terrence Settman has been estranged for years. Karen died while giving birth to septuplets identical sisters and their grandfather (Terrence) comes to claim them from an underground hospitalSince no family was allowed more than one child, this underground hospital proceeded to not report the birth of the girls. In the events that a family were to have more than one offspring, they were to report the additional child to the Child Allocation Bureau (CAB) and said child would be placed in a cryogenic chamber, frozen,” until the world regains stability over its resources. After claiming them from the hospital, Terrence decided to name them each after the seven days of the week and as they were raised, taught, they were also instructed to only go outside once a week, more specifically on the day that was corresponding to their names. Monday went out on Monday and Sunday went out on Sunday, so on and so forth. This started from infancy until adulthood. The general rules for their outside appearances were to never go out more than one at a time and every time they were outside, they would all assume the identity of Karen Settman. The government provided everyone with an identity tracker and the ones used by the Settman girls were hacked by their father so it would only show one Karen when scanned at point of entries and since they were not allowed outside more than one at a time, there should be no way they would get caught.  

         Karen Settman works for CAB and so far, they have managed to switch person every day of the week without any suspicion. This was the case until Monday went to work and never returned because it turns out that she became pregnant, with twins and decided to turn in his sisters because she did not want her children to live the life she led. This thus resulted in the death of other sisters who went out looking for her as well as answers. Throughout one of the sister’s investigation, we come to find out that the CAB was not freezing the children, they were incinerating them.  

          This film although displayed in a dystopian setting makes a thematic reference to the Onechild policy program that was initiated in the late 1970’s and early 1980s by the central government of China. This policy was created by the Chinese government to slow down the rate of the growth of China’s population. In 1949, as the people’s republic of china was being established, China began promoting birth control and family planning. During the beginning leadership of Deng Xiaoping, China’s population was nearing the 1 billion mark and a voluntary program was announced to encourage family planning, two children at most but one most preferably. The program was applied unevenly across the country until the 1980s when the government decided to make it nationwide. The program was intended to be universal, except for ethnic minority groups, those with a handicap first child and it was carried out in more urban areas more than in rural areas where the people were more compliant. And as can be expected, enforcement methods were implemented such as, wide distribution of contraceptives, financial incentives, and preferential employment opportunities for those who complied with policy. This was carried on until late 2015 when the Chinese government announced the ending of the program and in 2016 when China announced that families could have 2 children 

            Yet another thematic reference implied by this movie is the forced sterilization of women throughout history. In the United States, there is a history of forced sterilization where the women would not be aware they were being sterilized, deceived to receive her consent, and often coerced. A 1968 study showed that more than one third of women did not know that the practice of tying the tube or sterilization through tubal ligation was a form of permanent sterilization. Although the movie fails to mention sterilizationit inconspicuously implies it taking place as another method used to curb the population. Black and Brown women were most often the victims of the forced sterilization that took place in the United StatesLatin women in Puerto Rico, New York City and California were targeted for sterilization during the 20th century and although Black Women onlmade-up 25 percent of the population, 65 percent were victims of discriminative forced sterilization in North Carolina. This rate of the practice has dropped but a 2013 report found that almost 150 women in California prisons were victims of forced sterilization between 2006- 2010. 

         What Happened To Monday fails to mention the experience of colored women throughout this movie. Although it is set in a fictional dystopian world, it has managed to make illusion to the importance of consent and the abuse carried out by government on the people. We also get this view of the lives led by what we’d recognize as a 19th bourgeoisie type social and political class, an advancement of technology that has not had a positive effect on all the population. But what is interesting is the question it poses, what exactly happened to Monday. This query isn’t so much about what happened to her as she did not come back from work because we get to find that out during the movie. But what happened to Monday that would cause her to betray her sisters, make a deal with a vile government entity? The response leads one to recognize the importance of humanity, individuality and the freedom of life. Also, this very human trait of what and how far parents are willing to go for the safety of their children. 

https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book-excerpts/health-article/forced-sterilization/ 

https://www.britannica.com/topic/one-child-policy 

https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/not-guilty-what-happened-to-monday 

https://studybreaks.com/tvfilm/what-happened-to-monday-is-brutally-honest/