I’ve been obsessed with the world of Avatar since it debuted in February of 2005. I remember watching it every week on Nickelodeon and replaying the episodes with my stuffed animals that I named after the characters. I didn’t reflect on why I liked it so much while I was kid, mainly because I mainly watched TV for its entertainment value. But for one reason or another, this show was special and different than the other shows I watched as a kid. It was so special, that I’ve re-watched it multiple times as an adult, and have watched the spin off series Legend of Korra as a college student (even though it’s just “kids’ stuff). Now that I’m older, I’ve had some time to analyze the show to find out why I enjoyed it so much as a kid and why I enjoy it so much now. Few TV shows that we watch as children have the power to transcend into our adulthood, but I can boldly say that Avatar is definitely one of those.
I was finally able to see one of the partially of feminist episodes of BBT last night. In this one, Bernadette is asked to be in a science magazine in an article highlighting the “Top 50 Sexiest Scientists.” Here’s a play by play of the episode. Penny, Amy and Bernadette, are talking about the article. Bernadette is excited to be in the article, but wants to know what her friends think. Penny believes that she should do it. She thinks that showing a little skin to get ahead is worth it. In her sales person job, flirting to make a deal helps her make more money than the other sales reps. Penny knows the patriarchal system is against her, so she uses it to her advantage. As a stereotypically beautiful blonde white woman, the system is more open to women like her. Rather than her sexuality being exotified or threatening masculinity, it’s welcomed. Amy, on the other hand, can't do that. She turns to feminism, rather than trying to navigate sexist society. She says that there wouldn’t be a Top 50 Sexiest Scientist article for men. Amy then asks, why do women have to objectify themselves to be seen in science magazines? Women should be appreciated for their intellect, not their bodies. Bernadette is right when she responds, why can't women be smart and beautiful? But unfortunately, no answer is given to her question. I would respond - women can't be smart and beautiful because we still live in a world which diminishes women's accomplishments and would rather look at their bodies. If we did have gender equality, and saw everyone as people, an article like this probably wouldn’t exist (and if it did exist, it would probably include all genders).
The Killing Joke comic, which was later made into an animated movie, is part of the Batman Joker saga. It’s famous for its ambiguous final panels, when Batman could either be strangling the Joker to death, or simply resting his hands on the Joker's shoulders. This is where some fans believe the comic gets its title. The Joker tells his last joke and gets killed, hence The Killing Joke. However, I always thought the killing joke was when Joker’s original self died. After his primary identity was stripped away due to suffering from one disastrous day, he turns into the Joker - a person who has no humanity left because the world has shown him no mercy. The Killing Joke to me, is how awful things were for him. His day turned into one of those days that are so horrible you can’t help but laugh because things are so unbelievable. The joke of his former life killed him, and turned him into the Joker.
21 year old college senior. English major. Adopted from China as a baby living in the US ever since. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.