ABC’s mini-series Agent Carter wrapped up with it’s final episode last week, and we are so sad to see it go! In honor of just how awesome it was, Agent Peggy Carter is our Woman Crush of the week!
There are so many things to love about the character of Peggy Carter. When we meet Peggy in the first Captain America film, she is immediately fascinating. The setting is the 1940s, a base full of United States Military men, and yet there is Peggy Carter. Taking her from the big screen to tv, gave this character an opportunity to really be explored and fully formed. We really get to see so many sides to this woman, her fight, her struggles, her heart.
The first thing that struck me when watching Agent Carter, was just how much Peggy supports other women. During World War II, with so many men overseas, women had to fill the gap in the workforce. But once the war was over and the men returned, women were pushed back out. In many places, for many women, this didn’t sit well. The time was a struggle, a fight for many women to find a place and space for themselves within the working world. This is absolutely the case for Peggy Carter. Peggy fought alongside Captain America. She was one of his most trusted friends and fellow soldiers, yet once the war is over, Cap is gone and the new era has begun, Peggy Carter is treated like she doesn’t matter. She is seen as nothing more than a secretary, she is seen as less than every single man in the office. It doesn’t matter that she is working in a top secret government organization, the song is still the same. At the end of the day, Peggy experiences the same gross sexism that the other women around her do. And they all use these experiences to bond and encourage each other.
Peggy’s relationship with Angie is one of the cornerstones of the show. They support and encourage each other throughout the craziness of Peggy’s life. When Peggy’s first roommate is killed and she needs a new place to live, Angie invites Peggy to come live in the Griffith, an all women’s boarding home. Many wonderful scenes, especially at the Griffith, show Peggy and the other women constantly sharing tricks and advice and encouragements. Peggy is continually cheering on Angie’s acting dreams, even through all of Angie’s self-doubts. When the SSR show up asking questions, not only does Angie cover for Peggy, but she defends her, calling out the men she works with. And at the end of the show, when Howard gives Peggy one of his homes to stay in, Peggy has Angie right by her side.
Another one of the most important aspects of Agent Carter is just how capable Peggy Carter is. Throughout the show Peggy uses so many different skills to help her investigate. The woman is incredibly brilliant in a myriad of ways, not just in her ability to fight or shoot a gun. Her quick thinking consistently gets her (and others) out of dangerous situations. I love that Peggy is so good at reading the people around her that she knows which skill to use on them to get the information she needs. Sometimes, it’s a nice dress and a flirt, other times playing dumb, others, a swift punch to the face. She recognizes the way people read her (often men, underestimating her) and very successfully uses that to her own advantage.
Finally, probably my favorite thing about Agent Carter is how much she believes in herself. She does so much of her mission without credit or without praise, which is just unacceptable. She goes to work and is treated like she means less than everyone there, like she is invisible and invaluable. Those things are never okay, and not only does Peggy fight against them, but more importantly she continues to know that they are untrue. As Peggy says best, “I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter”. She can fight back against all of the ways she is treated, all of the discouragement in her life, because at the core, she knows her own worth. And that is one of the most important things about having women like Agent Peggy Carter on tv.
BONUS thing that I love about Peggy Carter: she calls men out. There are many times where Peggy is in situations where can cannot point out the misogyny of the men around her, that is just how patriarchal systems work. The cost to her would be too great (ie, job loss, violence). But when she does find moments, they are the best!
There is no scene better than when she’s been detained, all seems lost, so she tells her colleagues like it is. The men act like they know her and her response could not be better. She says, “I’ve never been more than what each of you’ve created. To you I’m a stray kitten, left on your doorstep to be protected. The secretary, turned damsel in distress. The girl on the pedestal transformed into some daft whore.” Carter calls them out by pointing out the ways they pigeonhole every woman in their lives.
Unfortunately, the Agent Carter mini-series is complete. But there is always hope for another season! If you missed any episode, catch up now to support this week’s Woman Crush!