When I set out to watch Netflix’s new series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I didn’t realize how much I would relate to Sabrina’s character. I expected to see the usual supernatural teen drama, but what I found was a female character who was unapologetically herself, unwilling to take the directives forced upon her. As a mom to two little girls, I found seven reasons why Sabrina is a role model for my daughters.
Some may argue that TV characters aren’t good role models, but there’s no question that art plays a role in shaping social and cultural perspectives. With a younger generation constantly looking for inspiration through social media and film, I think it’s important for young women to see strong female characters on screen. On The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the teenage witch is a modern feminist who's ready to kick ass and take names. You see Sabrina fight her coven’s patriarchal expectations head on, and despite all the emotional and magical strong-arming, she doesn’t budge from what she believes is right.
I’m no teen, and I’m certainly not a witch, but I come from a conservative religious community that expects women to be somewhat submissive — similar to Sabrina’s coven on the show — and I’m constantly trying to find a balance between their archaic traditions and my feminist core. I want my daughters to know that unlike the generations before them, they can choose whatever path they want in life, and that they aren’t bound by any patriarchal traditions or expectations.
I hope that my daughters grow up to be strong and confident women like Sabrina, and here are a few reasons why she is the perfect example of a young, bad-ass feminist.
1. She Doesn’t Conform Because She Has To
Sabrina’s coven — The Church of Night — expects her to sign her life away to the Dark Lord, go to a new school, and give up her human life completely. But Sabrina doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do, and she always chooses the path that's best for her, despite the ramifications.
2. She Questions Everything
The ability to question everything is what I find to be Sabrina’s most remarkable quality. When she was pressured into a Dark Baptism or was required to participate in questionable rituals, she didn't just say yes or no, she always asked “why?” It shows that she’s interested in making educated decisions for herself, rather than emotional ones.
3. She’s Inclusive
Sabrina has a diverse group of friends, and it shows that she is open-minded, non-judgmental, and accepting of people from different races, sexual orientations, and religions.
4. She Empowers Women
Rather than stand by and watch her friend Susie get assaulted at school, Sabrina takes the initiative to start a club for women that would serve as a safe space for female students in her school. Not only is she a strong woman, she protects and empowers the women around her.
5. She's Loyal
Sabrina is conflicted between her two natures — her witch side and her human side — but she’s equally loyal to both, including her family, friends, and communities on each side.
6. She’s Proud of Who She is
Sure, her family worships the Dark Lord Satan, but Sabrina is proud of being a witch. It shows how important it is to be proud of who you are, no matter what it is, or how unpopular it might be.
7. She’s a Leader, Not a Follower
The advice I give my daughters everyday is to be leaders, not followers, and that’s exactly what Sabrina is — a leader. She has led the charge in changing the patriarchal and often disturbing practices of her coven, because she felt that following those traditions was wrong. Even when Sabrina’s coven wasn’t on board, she stood up for change and won.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a fictional show with a fictional characters, but Sabrina’s feminist qualities are real and completely attainable. As a parent, all I can do is instill these qualities of strength and confidence into my daughters, and let them know that their feminist mom will always have their back.