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 laden with spoilers for Marvel’s WandaVision and various properties within the MCU. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) was born and raised in Sokovia with her twin brother Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). When she was 10 years old, her parents were killed via bombing courtesy of Stark Industries tech. Later, Wanda and Pietro joined HYDRA believing they could alleviate the strife in Sokovia. They volunteered for experiments with the Scepter while under the watchful eye of Wolfgang von Strucker. The Scepter is commonly referred to as “Loki’s Scepter,” and it originally housed the Mind Stone.
Next, Wanda developed psionic abilities after she was exposed to the Mind Stone. Pietro, on the other hand, developed super speed. Post-HYDRA collapse, Wanda and Pietro joined Ultron in a bid to destroy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). It was vengeance for his missiles slaughtering their parents. However, after learning of Ultron’s true intentions, they sided with the Avengers. Pietro died protecting Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) during the Battle of Sokovia, which utterly wrecked Wanda. She played a pivotal role in eradicating Ultron.
Then, Wanda officially joined the Avengers. Throughout the time leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, Wanda and Vision (Paul Bettany) grew closer together and forged a relationship. Unfortunately, Wanda was forced to kill Vision at the latter’s behest. This was to prevent Thanos from utilizing the Mind Stone that lived within Vision. Shortly thereafter, Wanda was “snapped” by Thanos. Five years later, she reappeared in Avengers: Endgame to help take out Thanos for good.
Now, mere days after the battle with Thanos, Wanda traveled to S.W.O.R.D. headquarters and asked Acting Director Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg) if she could bury Vision’s body. She was his next of kin, after all. However, Hayward refused to grant her access to his body, citing that she can’t just bury billions of dollars’ worth of Vibranium. Feeling more than dejected, Wanda drove to a quaint little town called Westview in New Jersey. Apparently, Vision purchased a piece of property for them to “grow old in.”
Later, Wanda’s overwhelming grief came to a boiling point. She created a spell that not only held all of Westview in its sway but “resurrected” Vision as well. Wanda proceeded to live out her wildest American sitcom fantasies with Vision and her twin boys in suburbia. Her “nosey neighbor” Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) turned out to be a powerful witch named Agatha Harkness. She incessantly tampered with Wanda’s new reality.
Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) attempted to help Wanda. Hayward had insidious plans for her. Monica refused to brand Wanda as a “terrorist,” revealing that she could feel Wanda’s palpable, unrelenting grief. Wanda was a victim too. After becoming aware that her spell was inadvertently hurting Westview residents, Wanda dismantled it all. She promptly entrapped Agatha so she couldn’t use her magic. Then, Wanda said goodbye to Vision and her children, all of which were “fabrications” that could only exist within the spell.
The Real Deal:
Now, Wanda is the real deal. She’s experienced tremendous pain throughout her short life. From growing up in an impoverished country to losing her parents, her brother and later her beau, Wanda’s life appears to be characterized by trauma. WandaVision is a turning point for her. By accumulating her powers and becoming the strongest Avenger, we see that she’s not defined by her grief. Wanda’s battle against Agatha and the strength it took to sacrifice her family is proof of that. It would have been easy to continue “living the dream” in Westview with her husband and children. But she knew that it wasn’t real life. She didn’t want Westview to endure the pain she felt. She wouldn’t wish to unintentionally inflict that on her worst enemy.
As far as I’m concerned, giving up everything you love to protect others takes an inordinate amount of strength. Bravery and courage. Wanda has all of that in spades. WandaVision taught her that she cannot be shoved into a box labeled “grief.” She knows exactly who she is. While the pain of losing her loved ones, notably Vision, will always linger, she’ll carry them with her forever.
Wanda is kind, curious and goodhearted. She has grit, tenacity and survival know-how. She’s a survivor, above all else. Wanda’s strong in more ways than one. It takes an immeasurably tough person to grapple with so much grief and come out, flourishing, on the other side.
Why She Matters:
Why does she matter? Wanda Maximoff is a fighter. Her iron-clad will and strength of character are more than admirable traits. Her ability to weather any storm. Not to mention, despite all of the loss, she doesn’t let herself succumb to it. She rises above it. The seemingly unending waves may knock her down, but she gets up again and again.
So, be like Wanda. Always do the right thing even if it’s the uncomfortable thing. Never let anyone dim your light. Be a fortress that can withstand all the elements. Don’t let your pain and your trauma define you. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. Know that your grief is valid. Let your love persevere.
Oh, and don’t trust anyone named Agatha Harkness. Chances are it was her all along.