Monday, December 5, 2011

Lisa Simpson

Lisa Simpson is Monday’s Awesome Woman. Why does Lisa Simpson, who happens to be fictional, animated and only 8 years old, merit a AW day?

1. She is so cool. Lisa is a feminist, an intellectual, a vegetarian since age 7, a Buddhist, a pacifist, a Mensa member, a saxophone player, an environmentalist, a gay rights advocate, and a staunch activist and supporter of many causes including the Free Tibet movement. Lisa provides the moral center for the show.

2. Her presence on such a popular, long-running show gives girls (or anyone) an excellent role model of a smart, committed, active citizen. Kudos to the Simpsons writers for respecting Lisa’s character by making her likable and human while not making fun of her sincerity or beliefs. (Compare this to the character of Meg on “Family Guy” who is treated horribly and disrespectfully. It’s so beyond hateful and misogynistic that I am compelled to share some of the ways she is treated: her family is mean and abusive to her, there are constant references to her “ugliness” and suggestions that she must surely then be a lesbian, a fellow student fires a staple gun into his own stomach to avoid going out with her, her brother calls her a “bitch,” and according to Wikipedia, when Meg is depressed, her mother “gives her a Sylvia Plath novel and a bottle of Ambien, and with a ‘Whatever happens, happens,’ leaves Meg to her misery.” WTF?!?!?!?)

3. Cartoon characters CAN make a difference. Check out this entry on Wikipedia ( on Lisa’s cultural influence:

Jonathan Gray, author of the book Watching The Simpsons, feels that Lisa "is probably the best and certainly longest-running feminist character that television has had. She's the heart of the show and she quite often questions the gender politics" but only her own. Christopher Borrelli of The Toledo Blade wrote, "Has there ever been a female TV character as complex, intelligent, and, ahem, as emotionally well-drawn as Lisa Simpson? Meet her once and she comes off priggish and one-note -- a know-it-all. Get to know her and Lisa is as well-rounded as anyone you may ever meet in the real world."

According to PETA, Lisa was one of the first vegetarian characters on primetime television. In 2004 the organization included Lisa on its list of the "Most Animal-Friendly TV Characters of All Time". In 2008, environmentalist website The Daily Green honored Lisa's role in The Simpsons Movie with one of its inaugural "Heart of Green" awards, which "recognize those who have helped green go mainstream." They wrote "young Lisa Simpson has inspired a generation to wear their hearts on their sleeves and get educated, and involved, about global issues, from justice to feminism and the environment." Japanese broadcasters reversed viewer dislike of the series by focusing marketing of the show on Lisa. Lisa's well-intended but ill-fated struggles to be a voice of reason and a force of good in her family and community struck a chord with Japanese audiences.Mario D'Amato, a specialist in Buddhist studies at Rollins College in Florida, described Lisa as "open-minded, reflective, ethical, and interested in improving herself in various ways, while still preserving a child-like sense of innocence. These are all excellent qualities, ones which are espoused by many Buddhist traditions."

Lisa and the rest of the Simpsons have had a significant influence on English-language idioms. The dismissive term "Meh", used by Lisa and popularized by the show,entered the Collins English Dictionary in 2008.In 1996, The New York Times published an article saying that Lisa was inspiring children, especially young girls, to learn to play the saxophone.

Rock on, Lisa! We love our little yellow spiky haired activist!

Lisa Simpson - Wikipedia, the free
Parents: Homer and MargeSiblings: Bart and MaggieGrandparents: Abraham Simpson, Mona Simpson, Jacqueline Bouvier and Clancy Bouvier