Weeks ago while browsing my Facebook news feed, and I stumbled upon an advertisement for an exclusive t-shirt with a picture of Suki captioned with her line, “I am a warrior, but I’m a girl, too.” I had forgotten about this quote, but when I read it I remember her saying it to Sokka in the first episode she appeared in. That phrase resonated with me so much I ended up buying the shirt. Why? Because this is part of my main philosophy about what it means to be a woman.
Suki is an underrated Avatar: The Last Airbender character. Katara, Toph, and Azula steal the thunder, and Suki only appears in a small amount of the show’s episodes, but I believe she deserves some attention. Suki is a Kyoshi warrior, one of many trained in the fighting style of Avatar Kyoshi. Additionally, she is the leader of the Kyoshi warriors meaning she is a fierce fighter and upholder of generations of tradition. She dresses in ceremonial garb and fights with fans and sword. She is Sokka’s first crush, and she begins to teach him about what it means to be a warrior, something his father didn’t have time at home to. But as her line states, yes, she is all this, but she is also a girl. She protected the Avatar when Zuko came to find him and she volunteered to escort refugees to Ba Sing Se, but she also blushes during her first kiss. Many of her mannerisms are accurately Biblical.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:25-26)
These verses make me think of when Suki describes what the meaning of her traditional clothing is:
“The silk threads symbol a brave blood that flows through our veins. The gold insignia represents the honor of the warrior’s heart.”
These virtues shouldn’t have to apply to just fictional warriors, but with real women too. Bravery and honor doesn’t necessarily mean those traits have to be shown in battle, but bravery can be a single mother working long hours to keep her family going or honor can be respecting her husband and parents. Other virtues of a woman worthy of being a role model are patience, kindness, humility, sacrifice, and endurance.
Many of the women “role models” nowadays don’t deserve to be called such. Harley Quinn is a very popular character nowadays, but I definitely wouldn’t consider her a worthy role model. She is crazy, cares nothing about modesty, and even uses her feminine wiles for her own gain. I’ve had a friend consider Olivier Mira Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist a worthy role model. Yes, she is a compelling character, but I also don’t think she’s a good role model. She’s harsh, brash, and has deserted her femininity to be a commander. Are these really women we want our young girls to look up to?
We women are strong. We don’t need to gain our strength from acting like a man. Men have their strengths and women have their strengths. It is okay to act like a girl. That doesn’t make us weak. That is simply part of who we are. The modern feminist movement is pressuring women to be less like women and pushing girls into deserting their feminine instincts like motherhood. It is perfectly okay to not want a career but to want to stay home and raise a family. It’s a desire that’s built into us.
I wear the Suki shirt with pride, because I love that I can wear something that states both my love for a character and my view on something so special to remember. I’m strongly pursuing a career as a writer, but I still love feeling pretty. I love guns and knives, but I also love cute jewelry. I love playing video games, but I also enjoy cooking a good meal. I’m a warrior, I’m strong, and I’m passionate, but I’m a girl too.
Victoria Grace Howell
Victoria Grace Howell is an artist and aspiring speculative fiction writer. She received Teen Writer of the Year in 2014 at the Florida Christian Writers Conference , a conference she attended since 2010, and the Believers Trust Award in 2015. When she's not writing her books or articles, she enjoys drawing her characters, playing the piano and practicing Kung Fu.
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