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Agent Carter Is Not Your Darling

Originally, this was going to be a one-time post about five fictional women in media (television, film, books, etc) that inspired or influenced me in some way but then I realized that there were more than five of them.  I couldn’t choose just five, so this may become an ongoing series of posts about awesome ladies!

First we have Margaret “Peggy” Carter from the television show Agent Carter.  First seen in Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011 as a no-nonsense British officer working for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), Peggy was responsible for rescuing the scientist Abraham Erskine, creator of the Super Soldier Serum.

Now, I realize that the show could be better, but with the bar set so low for female lead media, I believe it did a pretty good job.  While the show has many faults ranging from a predominantly male cast, no memorable characters of color, and a somewhat superficial stance on feminism, Agent Carter does have one brilliant thing going for it… Strong ladies.

(image source: @AgentCarterTV)

After the end of World War II, Peggy Carter continues to work for the SSR and, as far as the audience knows, is the only female agent in existence.  Most other women in the agency have been relegated to telephone operators and/or secretarial positions.

Although her abilities are continuously ignored by her male counterparts and superior, Peggy is quick-witted and sharp enough to use their underestimation of her to her advantage:

  • When ordered to watch the phones, Peggy calls the operator and instructs her to forward all calls to the briefing room; there will be no keeping Peggy from important meetings.
  • To further her own agenda, Peggy serves coffee and is able to glean vital information about her investigation when her male co-workers dismiss her to the background.
  • When Howard implies that she is overly emotional due to being on her period, she verbally smacks him down with a quick, “You don’t get to use my reaction to your lies as a reason for your lies.”

Peggy Carter is a tough, resilient woman who stands strong even when no one is on her side.  She doesn’t put up with being mistreated by the men or women around her and will protect her friends from the same mistreatment.

Even through all of the vicious fights (and believe you me, she can kick butt harder than most of the boys) Peggy never forgets that she is a woman; she uses feminine things like perfume and lipstick in the line of duty as easily as she uses her fists or a gun.  There is something very empowering about seeing a woman kicking butt and taking names which I appreciated.

And while Peggy learns that she doesn’t need to do everything alone, she doesn’t need the men around her to rescue her from danger.  She is quite capable of rescuing herself, thank you very much.  Throughout the show, Peggy gives us little gems and tidbits of advice that are applicable in everyday life, but my favorite quote is this:

“I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.”

Peggy Carter

These are just a few things that I like about Peggy Carter.  If you’re interested in her then you should watch the show.  Also, I will be posting about other women from this show, because they deserve to be talked about.  Who would you like me to write about?