Look What You Made Me Do

I’m taking a look at some awesome women characters whose trauma gave birth to their unrivaled power.

The many faces of Wanda

My favorite thing is when a woman enacts her revenge. Whether that be on a small level, or a super-powered disastrous level, it’s good to see our kick-ass ladies rule.

In Game of Thrones, WandaVision, and Van Helsing, we see women who have come through a lot of trauma and rise as powerful beings. When grief overcomes Queen Daenerys Targaryen over the execution of her beloved translator, Missandei, she destroys the capital of the land with fire, killing thousands. Prior to this, Cersei Lannister had pushed our dragon queen so close to the edge, it was only a matter of time before Daenerys showed her true, unabridged power. Despite the complaints of many on the ending of GOT, it was liberating to see a woman who had been through so much over the course of eight seasons finally let her rage flow, with echoes of “look what you made me do” resonating round King’s Landing.

Game Of Thrones final episode
Our Queen takes down the city at the source of her trauma

Equally, the death of Vision causes grief to consume Wanda, and in that wake, she becomes the villain of Westview. A woman who had spent so much time moving to the beat of others finally has some form of control. I wouldn’t recommend taking over an entire town, and their minds, as part of the grieving process, but the sense of calm Wanda creates in the mayhem of her grief is beautiful. We see her perfect life, her homely quirks and her desires, it gives her character a chance to slow, to let the audience know her a little more, let you in. The entire hit series is created by Wanda’s response to her hurt and how she champions that and grows bigger than it. It truly is a show that evolves with each episode and Wanda allows us into her grief process.

On a more serious note, it is common for us to see women persecuted necessarily when reacting to trauma. Far too often we see women incarcerated after finally defending themselves against real-life abusers. There are examples of women being pushed to the very edge, retaliating, and then becoming a villain in the narrative eyes of society. Season Two of The Confession Tapes on Netflix deals with many of these cases, where women needed support from trauma, not a prison sentence. I ask you to listen in to some of these stories, see what domestic violence trauma can do to a person, and discover how much further we need to come in the criminal justice system in understanding trauma and its effect on every person.

As a woman, I love to see woman characters grow and evolve. Sometimes that trauma has a giant impact on their lives, but we know that these women grow much bigger than their trauma. We see them express themselves in powerful ways, beautiful, enchanting in the way their trauma doesn’t define them.