Nerdy Girl Contributor Jo takes a close look at the writing of female characters (especially the titular one) on The Legend of Korra:
Earlier this year, I absolutely devoured the series Avatar: The Last Airbender. I watched all three seasons in about a week in anticipation of its sequel, The Legend of Korra. As a feminist, I was incredibly psyched about a series about a female Avatar. She would undoubtedly be awesome and kick-ass and “I am woman hear me roar.” Right?
After the first few episodes, I was disappointed. We are introduced to Korra when she already has three out of four bending abilities already under her belt – just handed to her by the writers. This is justifiable, I suppose. The writers didn’t want to just rehash Ang’s learning in ATLA again with Korra. However, despite being a powerful bender, she was not as strong as I had hoped, and she definitely didn’t have it all together. But Ang needed time to get it together too, so I gave her a few more episodes to get really in the swing of this whole ‘Avatar-thing.’
What unfolded in the remaining episodes seemed to be a story that happened around her rather than being her story. Supporting characters stole the show from the its supposed lead. Those most notable ones for me were:
Lin Bei Fong – inventor of metal bending*, daughter of Toph Bei Fong (from ATLA), and all-around kick-ass woman.
Bolin – sweet, silly, loyal Bolin. Powerful fire bender*. Dork extraordinaire.
Yes, Korra did things. Yes, her bending was good and she kicked butt in some fight scenes. Yes, she saved the day most days, but she never did it alone (until the finale – and even that is questionable). Ultimately, her struggles never really felt like struggles to me: Gee gosh, I can’t air bend. Darn.