Oh, it is good to be back in the blogging ring. Specifically, when it comes to collaborating with all the other amazing bloggers. And once more I am grateful to throw my words into the Fiction’s Fearless Females series.
Fiction’s Fearless Females (#FFF) is a cross-blog event that has been going strong for years now. Each year a collection of my favourite friends and bloggers come together to celebrate women in fiction.
This year’s line-up includes the usual suspects including posts coming throughout the month from Nancy at Graphic Novelty₂, Kalie at Just Dread-Full, and Jeff at The Imperial Talker. Thankfully, you won’t have to wait much longer. Plus, it gives you time to catch up on the masterful additions to #FFF already available.
This year, Kathleen of Graphic Novelty₂ launched the series with an exploration of Kara Zor-El – the best of the Super-Girls. Michael J. Miller of My Comic Relief followed it up with everything you could possibly need to know about Doctor Who’s Marth Jones. Both are worth reading right now. So, go ahead, I’ll save your spot here.
Choosing a character for the #FFF series is harder than you might think. There are so many amazing women to explore throughout pop culture. When the #FFF first began, I was quick to write about Ripley from the Alien franchise. An easy choice I would easily make again. This year I wanted to find a character equally deserving to be in this collection of fantastic fictional females.
I gave this some deep thought. There are three criteria for a character to be added to this series. They have to be fictional – obviously. They have to be “fearless”, which can be taken in many ways, but we don’t need any one-note distressed damsels. And finally, they should celebrate femininity. While there are many characters that fall into these categories, for me, there was one that stood out in all three.
Lisa Marie Simpson.
The Simpsons has been on television since 1987, first appearing as shorts during The Tracy Ullman Show. We all know what happened next. As the show landed its own ongoing series in 1989, The Simpsons exploded becoming the most popular television program of the 90s. Redefining and dominating adult animation as a media. And has gone on to become the longest-running scripted television show in history, currently running a 32nd season and weeks away from premiering the 700th episode.
Beyond the small screen, Lisa Simpson has appeared in every form of merchandise there is from action figures to toothbrushes. The Simpsons Movie brought Lisa and her family to theatres in 2007. She has appeared in video games on nearly every console since the classic NES. And comic books galore, including her own self-titled Lisa Comics, which lasted one glorious issue with a parody of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
You cannot mention Lisa Simpson without mentioning Yeardley Smith, the beloved voice and advocate for all things Lisa. For which, Smith won the 1992 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice Performance as well as many other accolades. Three decades later, and Smith continues her role as well as being one of the biggest faces for the series appearing at conventions and panels year-in-and-year-out.
As far as fictional goes, Lisa Simpson fits the bill. It could even be argued that she is the most recognizable female character on the planet. In fact, she is one of just a handful of fictional women on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
When it comes to hitting the ‘fearless’ category, Lisa does not have the raw power of most of the other fictional females. We are talking about an eight-year-old girl here. However, I do not think that anyone could argue that Lisa Simpson could be defined as “fearless”.
Lisa Simpson started out as another childish character, getting into antics as much as her brother, Bart. However, her character began to shift early. She has become one of the most intelligent figures in all of Springfield and she is never afraid to show it. Lisa is now one of the strongest liberal voices in primetime television. And she stands for a wide range of causes.
Though she feels like an outcast from her town and family for her beliefs, Lisa is not afraid of progression. In fact, of all the characters in the show, Lisa has shown the most growth and stuck to her guns. In season seven, Lisa became a vegetarian and some years later she adapted to Buddhism.
When it comes to activism, Lisa is at the frontline. She is a feminist, often getting into disagreements with her mothers’ traditional guidance. Lisa Simpson is a figure of environmentalism, winning real-world awards for being a voice of the planet. She was even named as one of the animal-friendly TV characters of all-time by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
In a town that is at times meant to showcase America at its worst, Lisa is always the opposition. Bravely she will not allow anyone to get between her and what is right. Her left-wing ways have become legendary. Ted Cruz has referred to the Conservative Party as the “Party of Lisa Simpson”. In one particular Simpson’s future, Lisa even becomes POTUS, which was surely achieved through her strong voice and reasoning.
Still, if you want to talk about powers and abilities, Lisa has had a few. “Treehouse of Horrors X” even gave Lisa super strength, Clobber Girl, along with Stretch Dude became a formidable duo, and have made their own appearances in comics. In video games, Lisa can knock people around with the best of them. And it could be argued that her spiritual connection has granted her some powerful gifts throughout the years.
Lisa Simpson is as fearless as they come. For a second-grader, she shows bravery and courage whenever she sees injustice. Whether it is the mistreatment of snakes on an out-dated holiday or the ongoing battle with the local nuclear power plant, Lisa’s voice is heard.
Not only does Lisa Simpson ooze femininity, but she is also a leader in women’s rights and a role model for young girls everywhere.
It is easy to forget at times that Lisa is just an eight-year-old. But she is very much a little girl who loves ponies, her Malibu Stacy dolls, and believes that unicorns are real. She is sweet, nurturing, and gentle. But she is as flawed as anyone, being stubborn or righteous at times. Lisa is as real as an animated little girl can be.
But over three decades, Lisa has become a symbol for women everywhere. The feminist character has often spoken out about gender rights. Of course, while maintaining the strong voice that we just covered.
Additionally, Lisa has proven time and again that she is capable of anything her brother can do. Never treated as fragile or delicate, Lisa has played sports alongside Bart and the other boys. And though her brother often plays the muscle, as a duo the two of them have accomplished some fantastic things like solving crimes and saving their friends.
Most importantly, her strong morals have guided girls for three decades. Lisa is a symbol of what women are capable of while changing the way that girls are represented on television.
Lisa Simpson is one of the greatest fictional characters, absolutely fearless, and an amazing figure of femininity. An icon for speaking your truth and standing up against injustice, Lisa is a powerhouse.
5 Comments Add yours
I haven’t watched ‘The Simpsons’ regularly in years but I LIVED on this show when I was in middle school and high school, in its peak ’90s era. Reading this brought back so many feels and so many memories! And, if I was a betting man, I’d bet a deep dive return into ‘The Simpsons’ is ahead of me.
What I love about Lisa, and something you capture so well in this post, is that she’s a character you grow with. As a kid, I enjoyed her because she was on ‘The Simpsons’ and I lived and breathed ‘The Simpsons.’ As I grew up, I was able to more fully appreciate all she stood for which added layer upon layer and dimension upon dimension to her character. I’m sure when that deep dive begins, I’ll find even more to celebrate in her now than I did when I was last regularly watching her in the early ’00s, during my college years.
This was such a great post, Green! And thank you for reconnecting me with a character I used to love and haven’t spent enough time with in the last ten years.
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That Lisa’s character has stayed fresh for over 30 years is a testament to how fabulous she is. I like how you mention that her strong morals have guided girls for decades- for she never gives up on fighting for justice and is a great example of how to persevere despite obstacles. Lisa is indeed fearless!
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