Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Television

Why ‘Stranger Things’ Is the Best Show for Girls Right Now

stranger things

I binge-watched all nine-and-a-half hours of “Stranger Things” this past weekend. And I’m not ashamed.

It seems like everyone is praising the Netflix series — and largely because “Stranger Things” is a perfectly campy, scary but not terrifying, nostalgia-packed horror-thriller. It hits all the right notes, with Winona Ryder making a comeback as Jonathan’s mother, Sean Astin playing her adorable boyfriend, and lots of hair metal and high school romantic tension. But those are not the reasons why I loved the show’s second season.

I loved the second season because it has powerful main characters who also happen to be girls. It’s not just a show about nerdy boys playing Dungeon and Dragons, and discovering that their town has some otherworldly visitors.  It’s also about girls growing up and just being awesome. The character Eleven, for instance, comes back and the viewer watches as she runs away to find her mom — and really, herself.

Max, nicknamed Mad Max, is the new kid in school. She befriends Dustin, Mike (who, in real life, is getting roasted on Twitter for accidentally drinking out of a bidet, poor thing), Lucas, and Will — even if slightly begrudgingly at first. Let’s also not forget Nancy, the teen who is the best friend (and kind-of love interest) to Jonathan and girlfriend to Steve (although that sure changes).

Eleven and Max both dispel gender stereotypes in the process of fighting for what’s right. Eleven’s journey is more fantastical in many ways (and how could it not be — she has superpowers). She not only saves the day and remains a loyal friend, she chooses not to fight violence with violence.

Max, on the other hand, has a story that may be easier to relate to: She’s a video game master and doesn’t care that she’s seen as “tomboyish.” In a crucial scene at the end of the season, she confronts her abusive, metal-head brother, Billy. It’s pretty incredible to watch.

In many ways, both Max and Eleven stand up to male violence because they (like us) live in a world where they have to. Nancy, meanwhile, could choose to be more submissive, and let others fight against the scientists that created the whole Demogorgon problem. Instead, Nancy takes matters into her own hands when she realizes no one else will.

Of course, in a smaller way, Nancy also stands up for Dustin at the school dance; when she sees he’s sitting alone and crying, because every girl has turned him down, she dances with him.  It’s a small act of kindness that proves Nancy isn’t about being popular; she’s about being a good friend.

And if the show teaches us anything at all, it’s that true friends don’t lie — and that they are there for you, thick and thin.

Skip to Banner / Top Skip to Content