August 8, 2016
About the author : Project manager by day, crazy cat lady by night. Emily's first love is J.R.R. Tolkien. She's also into Walking Dead, video games, Doctor Who, and anime. When she isn't knee-deep in her latest fandom, she's usually sleeping.
Yesterday was National Sister Day. I don’t usually care about seemingly made-up holidays, but it seemed like a good opportunity. There’s so much outcry against the media, particularly in its portrayal of women and their relationships. I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with everything said, but I do believe the outcry is overblown. In fact, a BuzzFeed quiz implies that a movie shouldn’t be released unless it passes the Bechdel test. Really, guys?
Really, guys? Is the Bechdel test the gold standard for evaluating movies? If everyone thought that way, Citizen Kane wouldn’t have been released but we would still have Twilight.
Rant over. Instead of complaining about the lack of women in the media, let’s look at some great examples. Here are some of my favorite sisterly relationships. (Please note, I left out a lot of other examples because I wanted to focus on more modern ones. There are many classical examples–Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, anyone?)
A word of warning–there are spoilers in this post for all of these properties, so read accordingly.
Katniss and Prim are the most well-known relationship on this list. While Prim isn’t a primary character in the story, one could argue that she’s the primary motivator in the story. After all, Katniss only ended up in the games because Prim’s name was called.
In many ways, Katniss cares for Prim more than for anyone else. Katniss’s two goals in life are to protect Prim and to save herself. (Katniss is nothing if not a master of self-preservation.) Prim, on the other hand, has a much bigger heart. While she loves Katniss dearly, Prim also wants to care for and protect others. Katniss doesn’t always understand or approve of Prim’s decisions, but she can’t help but admire them.
Katniss and Primrose have an unshakable love for each other–one that lasts beyond death.
Okay, yes, Lin and Suyin are half sisters, not full sisters–I don’t think their relationship would have been any different if they had the same father.
Theirs is a dysfunctional relationship. Lin didn’t even mention that she had a sister until she was forced to mention it. From the time they were young, they were constantly at odds. Toph, although she loved her daughters, didn’t do the best job at raising them. Even as the two start to reconnect, things don’t always go well. There’s a lot of realism in their relationship.
Like so many other characters in the Avatar universe, Lin and Suyin break stereotypes. It’s common to see siblings drawn closer together through childhood adversity. While there’s nothing wrong with that scenario, it is refreshing to see a different take.
Due to the nature of the show, TWD doesn’t frequently deal with familial relationships. (Not in the traditional sense of family, at least.) One of the few exceptions is the Greenes. Maggie, Beth, and their father Hershel manage to survive together over several seasons. Everything comes to an end eventually, but that makes the relationship all the more important.
Maggie and Beth don’t really have a lot of conflict. The biggest source of conflict comes from around the middle of season two when Beth wants to take her own life. Maggie wants to save her sister–she knows this isn’t what Beth really wants. Maggie does everything she can to protect her younger sister.
Even to this day, after many other tragic moments, Beth’s death is one of the most heartbreaking. Maggie had spent so long not knowing what had happened to Beth. She finally learned that Beth was alive and safe–only to see Darryl carrying Beth’s body.
A lot of Beth’s and Maggie’s relationship is left unsaid, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming.
This relationship is probably the most relatable. (Or is that just me?) Tina and Louise don’t have a ton in common, their priorities are different, and they don’t always see eye-to-eye, but they’re still sisters. Although Louise doesn’t always seem to care, she knows she can count on Tina when she really needs her. Louise can be pretty selfish, but she will do what she can to help Tina if she has to. It’s a pretty normal relationship.
Are there any sister relationships you love?