Top Funny Quotes
So it’s 2020 can we talk about how Avatar portrays femininity as well as just gender in general?
You have Katara, Toph, Suki, and like 800 other amazing female characters who are out here being warriors and making a point that women can be incredible fighters too, and there’s an episode that addresses this explicitly where Katara duels Pakku and basically explodes his reductive view of women (best scene in the whole thing is when everyone carts her in to apologize to him.)
And there’s a lot about women being encouraged to take part in traditionally masculine spaces, particularly again with Toph and Katara. Katara is great too because the show doesn’t draw a dichotomy between a fighter and a healer. Katara can be gentle and motherly and a good shoulder to cry on, while also being a hundred percent badass.
But then also the show is really good (albeit a bit subtler) about the value in men embracing traditionally feminine traits and activities.
Our main character is pacifist vegetarian soft-boi who wears flower crowns and makes jewelry and spends a lot of time talking about his feelings and he is by and far the most morally sound character in the series who is completely at ease with who he is.
Then you have Sokka who a lot of people have pointed out has an arc that’s basically “chug respect women juice,” and part of that arc includes him wearing the Kiyoshi uniform, something he feels emasculates him, (and which the show makes a joke about tbf) but then they turn it around and make the ensemble genuinely badass.
And then sweet Zuko who is absolutely someone who is portrayed as caring and sensitive in his childhood (by no small part due to his mother’s influence) who is raised in probably the most toxically masculine environment in the show. The Fire Nation might have women in its ranks, but feminine traits like compassion, mercy, and basically any emotion that isn’t a desire for destruction are seen as disgraceful. It’s notable what gets Zuko banished is his refusal to fight his own father, and how that is labeled disrespectful.
It’s also notable that the people and places that change Zuko are more feminine in nature. He works in a shop, cleaning and preparing tea. He meets two young women who drastically change his view on Earth Kingdom civilians. He spends time helping a family with children. And through all this he’s there with Iroh, a guy who enjoys music, culture, and natural beauty, who’s sensitive and dedicated to humble acts of kindness for others, and who Ozai dismisses as an embarassing failure.
And the show ends with Zuko ditching all this toxicity and just being the guy he wants to be. He even hugs Aang at the end, something Season 1 Zuko would never do with anybody. Our boy hugs!
Like the show doesn’t just empower women by letting them fight, it also shows the power and value in emotional vulnerability and compassion that is usually only reserved for women. It empowers women to fight and kick ass while also deconstructing toxic masculinity.
Tl:dr: Avatar says let women fight, and let men be emotionally open with each other and hug!