An ode to Lisa Simpson, everyone’s first feminist role model
In Lisa We Trust
Neglected, underestimated and misunderstood. Those are the apparent tendencies of a middle-child, yet research has proposed that such tendencies are a breeding ground for children to succeed. And thus we welcome; middle-child Lisa Simpson, aged eight, who dgaf.
Lisa is the smart talking, musically talented, witty, anti-capitalist, philanthropic, moral, feminist and ecological apostle, which we have always had and will always need. Has there ever been a more consistent, female role model? Despite being on the air for decades, she has transcended these eras to be completely relevant in both her appeal and ideologies.
Lisa speaks out for generations of both women and girls at a societal time where vacuous and superficial influences are abundant. Lisa has flippantly spoken of feminist notions, in digestible portions, to a somewhat un-consenting audience, for what seems a millennia. She highlighted the problems surrounding sexist discourse being fed into children back in 1992 in the episode Lisa vs Malibu Stacy. In this episode Stacy’s first words were: “Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl!” Naturally, Lisa exploded.
Angered by the sexist overtones, Lisa creates and voices a new power-dressed feminist doll which she hopes will inspire and encourage young girls. She names it Lisa Lionheart, who inspirationally declares; “Trust in yourself and you can achieve anything”. Both modern women, and young girls everywhere, would benefit from and be interested in a doll with such a promising sentiment.
Lisa is the ultimate role model, because although she has both the desire and capacity to change the world, her strengths and talents are attainable. She is relatable. She too is fraught with insecurities and doubts around her own self-image and intelligence. All of these serve to highlight and reinforce the issues that she challenges. Most TV shows feature beautiful female characters who are flawless in both their appearance and confidence. The Simpsons contested these notions with Lisa to reassure and comfort young girls everywhere.
In the episode Lisa the Beauty Queen, Lisa is devastated by an unflattering caricature of herself, and cries uncontrollably over how ugly she perceives herself to be. In an attempt to build her self-confidence, Homer enters Lisa into a beauty pageant to highlight the beauty that he sees in her. Lisa reluctantly enters and wins this pageant. Despite being uncomfortable and horrified by the lengths that her fellow contestants go to in the pursuit of beauty she takes part and wins.
Never one to bask in her own greatness, Lisa uses her newfound platform to publicise her political opinions about Mayor Quimby. Outraged, Quimby fights to de-crown Lisa due to a technical loophole, representatively, in the same way that vocal women are often muted by powerful institutions and agendas.
The Simpsons pulls no punches in its critical commentaries and Lisa is often at the centre. She’s fiercely opinionated and unapologetic, and this doesn’t go unnoticed or unpunished. Just as women in the media spotlight, are often demonised, criticised or mocked for being outspoken; so too is Lisa. She has converted the ignorance in her parents, brother, friends, and at times; Springfield. However she is quite often patronised, laughed at and isolated. She does not fear the backlash and humiliation of her unwitting society. She is valiant and unafraid of how her opinions make her a target, she stands unashamedly up to her critics and she fights for her opinions.
What makes Lisa such a fair and true feminist though is her drive for justice and true equality. She doesn’t decorate herself with feminist-only banners, she advocates for LGBTUA communities, men, the disenfranchised, animals and the planet. She’s a utopian emblem. In Lisa we trust.
In the episode Bart to the Future, the Simpsons predicted that Lisa, an accomplished, confident woman, would become the president of America. So here’s to hoping that just as the Simpsons predicted Ebola and Trump’s presidency, this prediction also comes true.
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