Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. This not only includes fictional female characters in geeky media, but creators as well. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for young girls to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following contains spoilers out the wazoo for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you’re not caught up with the series, you might want to mosey on over to Netflix and binge til your heart’s content. You’ll thank me later.
Jemma Anne Simmons (portrayed by Elizabeth Henstridge) was born in the United Kingdom and is a former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. She’s also a brilliant biochemist, managing to snag two PhDs for biochemistry at 17 years young. On top of possessing a genius level intellect, Simmons is also a talented physician, treating various injuries for her fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Simmons graduated from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Science and Technology alongside future husband Leopold Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), both of whom were the youngest cadets in the history of the school.
After graduation, Simmons joined Agent Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) S.H.I.E.L.D. team, initially starting out working in the lab. However, she honed her skills as a fighter and inevitably joined the front lines as a field combatant. In Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., she went undercover as a HYDRA agent. By the beginning of Season 3, she was sucked through a monolith that transported her to an alien planet, where she spent 4,722 hours surviving incredibly harsh conditions. Simmons fought to break free of the Framework in Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and in Season 5 she managed to travel far into the future to a Kree-inhabited world where Earth didn’t exist anymore.
On a happier note, Simmons also married Fitz in Season 5 in a ceremony that made me wish I wasn’t cutting onions while simultaneously watching TV. Phew. In short, Jemma Simmons has lived a lot of life for someone who’s 30 years old.
The Real Deal:
Now, we know the basics – Simmons is a genius biochemist. She discovered Gravitonium, for one, which plays a vital role in not only Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. Simmons is also a skilled fighter and an excellent marksman. She’s a valuable asset to the S.H.I.E.L.D. family. Science and combat aside, she’s also incredibly loyal to her friends and family. Her deep-seated love for Fitz is something the poets romanticize about. It’s worth admiring – even envying. Simmons possesses an overabundance of empathy and kindness, always putting others before herself. She’s a bright sunny spot on the darkened face of the reality she resides in. Always cheerful, always ready to lend a hand when necessary. Simmons’ inner strength only grows over the course of the series, and she proves to be one of the most resilient agents both physically and mentally. Not to mention, she’s always present to provide a cuppa when you need it most.
Why She Matters:
Alright, why does she matter? Jemma Simmons, at face value, appears to be your stereotypical geeky scientist who shies away from danger and flees when faced with obstacles. However, she’s so much more than that. Simmons is a multifaceted woman with depth, thanks to the writers and Henstridge’s brilliant portrayal. She is one tough agent. She went undercover at HYDRA, waltzing straight into the lion’s den. Simmons survived on an alien planet with very little at her disposal. Only her vast intellect aided her in her survival. In Season 5, she once again was subservient to the enemy by playing the role of Kree outcast Kasius’ (Dominic Rains) favorite maid. Simmons is the pinnacle of resilience. She will fight tooth and nail for those she loves and for the good of humankind. Of course, this tenacity has dredged up a darker side to Simmons. Who doesn’t have a dark side, though?
Not to mention, Simmons is also a prime example of encouraging women to pursue scientific fields. She is valued for her intelligence and her loyalty to science. She’s proof that we as women are more than just our outward appearances. Simmons may not possess superpowers like some of her colleagues, but she serves as a reminder that we can be everyday superheroes merely by doing what’s right. We can save those around us through acts of kindness and selflessness. Oh, and brain power counts as a superpower! Simmons’ brain is as big as her heart, and she throws the latter into everything she does.
So, be like Simmons. Be curious. Never shy away from intellectual pursuits. Fight for what’s right. Keep your friends close. Be a shining light for those living in darkness. Love with every inch of your heart. Find your Fitz, and don’t let the universe stop you from being together. Oh, and never go without a cuppa. Nothing beats a good cuppa.