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 galore spanning the Marvel Cinematic Universe – especially Avengers: Endgame. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the aforementioned flick, you may want to stop reading now.
Natalia Alianovna “Natasha” Romanoff (portrayed by Scarlett Johansson) was born in Stalingrad in 1984. Natasha was recruited by the KGB at a young age and deposited at a Red Room facility. She received an extensive education regarding the art of spy craft. Natasha quickly rose as one of the most talented assassins in the world. Her meticulous work earned her the code name “Black Widow” in her later years. Prior to graduating, Natasha was sterilized to “avoid any distractions.” In Avengers: Age of Ultron Natasha discussed this at length with Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and her regret of being infertile.
Next, S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) dispatched Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to assassinate Natasha. However, Clint disobeyed Fury’s order and convinced Natasha to join S.H.I.E.L.D. She eventually defected from the KGB to side with the good guys. Natasha developed a close friendship with Clint thereafter.
Later, Fury assembled a team of super-skilled fighters to help defend the Earth from a Chitauri invasion. Natasha became one of the original six Avengers, battling alongside Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Over the years Natasha fought tooth and nail with her Avengers brethren to save the world.
Now, Natasha and her team’s most formidable threat Thanos (Josh Brolin) wiped out half of the population with a mere snap of his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War. In Avengers: Endgame, Natasha held down the Avengers fort by working in tandem with Captain America to bring back the lives lost from Thanos’ deadly snap. Once the remainder of the Avengers rejoined them, Natasha and her teammates developed a plan to revive said lost lives. Utilizing the quantum realm, they traveled through time to retrieve all six Infinity stones. Their plan was to essentially reverse the snap once they possessed all of the stones. Natasha and Clint arrived at the planet Vormir in 2014 to track down the Soul stone.
However, they learned that in order to obtain the stone they must trade a “soul for a soul.” Natasha and Clint fought each other for the honor of sacrificing themselves for the cause. Natasha won, ultimately paying a fatal price so the Avengers could snag the Soul stone. Because of her sacrifice, the team successfully defeated Thanos and brought back those affected by the snap once and for all.
The Real Deal:
Now, Natasha is the real deal. Obviously, she’s an immensely skilled fighter. Natasha spent her whole life training vigorously to be the best in her vocation, cultivated to be a finely tuned weapon. She’s physically very strong as well as mentally. Natasha learned early on the importance of a sharp mind, and her mental clarity has served her well throughout her career with the KGB and S.H.I.E.L.D. She’s multilingual. Not to mention, Natasha is compassionate. She had it rough growing up and probably has the biggest closet of skeletons known to humankind.
However, Natasha traveled the road to redemption by saving the world time and time again with the Avengers. If her arc in Avengers: Endgame is any indication, we know that Natasha literally gave her life so those who perished via Thanos’ snap could return. A life for many, many lives. Natasha possesses a vast ocean of a heart. She’s incredibly loyal, especially to Clint and her Avengers teammates. Her family-esque bond with them is touching. And, this probably goes without saying, Natasha’s bravery is second to none.
Why She Matters:
Alright, why does she matter? Natasha is all of us – that little girl who was fearful of taking that first step, of leaping headfirst into the unknown. Natasha is the very essence of bravery, of courage under fire. She knew the risks when she was on Vormir – she knew she would die. However, her selfless, unadulterated love for Clint and humanity served as the catalyst for her sacrifice. She’s proof that love overcomes all.
Not to mention, Natasha can duke it out with the best of them. Who says you need to be a man to be a skilled fighter? Natasha’s field is filled to the brim with men, but she still outshines them all. Natasha is also proof that you can possess brawn as well as brains. One does not negate the other. Natasha is complex and very flawed, just like you and me. She owns up to her mistakes, and accountability is crucial for self-improvement. I think we can all agree that Natasha has more than made up for her past errors.
Sure, her powers weren’t granted via super soldier serum or Asgardian blood. She’s not a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, nor does she turn green and smash things. But Natasha is our representation of humanity on screen. She incessantly throws herself into harm’s way knowing full well that she could die. However, Natasha fights anyway. She fights for what is right and true and ultimately good. Her sacrifice was not in vain. It won’t be forgotten, especially not by those who love her the most. We as loyal lovers of the MCU will make damn sure Natasha Romanoff’s legacy stretches to infinity.
So, be like Natasha. Be courageous despite your fear. Do what’s right for those you love. Save the world. Show ’em who’s boss. Fight like a girl. And never lose your sense of humor, even when a big celestial purple dude is trying to wipe out the universe.