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. Now, 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 youth to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following is loaded with spoilers for CBS’s sitcom The Big Bang Theory!
Penny (Kelly Cuoco) was an aspiring actress who moved in across the hall from her future husband Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and his roommate Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) at the start of the series. She was born and raised in a small town in Nebraska, where she once stole a horse and even rebuilt a tractor engine. She has a strong, outgoing personality and, most times, friendly as can be unless you get on her bad side.
In early seasons, while in Los Angeles, she balances working at the Cheesecake Factory and trying to book acting jobs. In season seven, she leaves waitressing to pursue a full-time career in acting. While initially a terrifying idea, Penny jumped in feet first with Leonard and her friends’ support. By season eight, she gets a job with Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) as a pharmaceutical rep and proves that she can do exceedingly well in the job.
Throughout the series, Penny forms a bond with Leonard, Sheldon and their friends. She dates, falls in love with and eventually marries Leonard later in the series. Throughout the series, she is the foil to the guys across the hall. Penny is neither well-educated nor specializes in a specific technical field. But, she great social skills and more streetwise than the guys. She has been Sheldon’s guidance in social situations and even helps him understand the day-to-day life of someone who doesn’t have an IQ of 187. She is also close with both Bernadette and Amy (Mayim Bialik) and supports them just as much as she does the guys.
The Real Deal:
Of course, Penny Hofstadter is the real deal. In a series full of geniuses, Penny is the normal person’s representation. She may have started as just a girl next door character or the potential love interest, but she grows into a complex and layered character. Her relationship with Sheldon is one of my favorite in TV history as they are near complete opposites of each other. But instead of focusing on it as a negative, the two lean on each other for support when they are outside of their comfort. Some of the funniest parts of the series come when the two of them put their heads together to solve some type of problem.
Penny stands true to who she is and never tries to change herself for someone. Early in the series, she has doubts that she is smart enough to be with Leonard, who tries to get her to go back to school, but in the end, she knows that while she lacks the same education as him, she makes up for it in so many different ways. She stays true to her dreams of being an actress and when she is ready to make the jump to go back to school, she does on her own terms.
Why She Matters:
Penny definitely matters! Penny’s position on the show far outgrows the girl-next-door stereotype before the first season ends. She may not be a physicist, but she has street smarts and some of the best communication skills. She is the down to Earth character that we can relate to. She struggles to find work, undergoes financial hardships and most of the time has no idea what the guys are talking about. But she also shows us how people can grow by introducing themselves to people outside of their world. Throughout the series, she begins to take an interest in what they share with her and sometimes those things stick and sometimes they don’t. But those things don’t change her; they help her grow.
So be like Penny. Stay true to yourself, always stick to your goal, seek out and try new things that will help you grow as a person or help you see through others’ eyes.
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