Strong Female Character: Tina of Bob’s Burgers
Written by AJ Dent, GeekGirlCon Staff Copy Writer
“Dear Diary: Tonight I’m sneaking off to the abandoned taffy factory to look for treasure. Also, if boys had uteruses, they’d be called duderuses.”
If that’s not a perfect snapshot of Tina Belcher’s personality, I don’t know what is.
The cartoon TV show Bob’s Burgers features the antics of a family trying to keep their hamburger joint afloat while dealing with nosy neighbors, unpredictable customers, and each of their own idiosyncrasies. Restaurant owners Bob and Linda are a married couple with three children, of which Tina is the oldest. Each character is has a very distinct, engaging personality, and Tina stands out to me as she is simultaneously nerdy, boy-crazy, and confident. In other words, I would love to be her friend!
As far as geekiness goes, Tina’s interests say it all. She adores horses, enjoys writing, and, in her own words, has “a complicated relationship with zombies.” After dreaming about them lustily, she explains, “They’re dangerous, but I love their swagger.” At age fourteen, a burgeoning sex drive is normal, but hers veers toward the macabre and fantastical, with comical effect. She spends hours penning “erotic friend fiction” and concocting plans to win over her crush, Jimmy Pesto, Jr. The fact that the apple of her eye is an awkward amateur magician should come as no surprise!Tina also wears the signature accessory of a classic cartoon nerd: thick black glasses. Even though she pairs them with a bob haircut, Converse shoes, knee-high socks, short skirt, and crewneck shirt — an ensemble that’d actually be considered attractive these days — she manages to make the combination look downright dorky. This certainly doesn’t do her any favors in the love department, but as an independent spirit, she sticks with it. Thanks also to her monotone voice — actually that of a male actor — the boys she drools over rarely give her a second glance, but you can bet that in five to ten years, guys will be appreciating her unique charm and feisty sense of self.
While some may think that Tina’s frequent focus on boys and their butts is a sign of emotional weakness, I see it as the opposite. She totally owns her feelings and openly explores them. In fact, one of her most famous lines from the entire series thus far is quite the victory cry for ladies of all ages. “I’m sick of acting like a dumb, helpless girl just so a hot boy who dances his feelings will notice me,” she declares. “That’s not who I am. I’m a smart, strong, sensual woman.”
With her own amazing dance moves, deadpan honesty, uncompromised passions, and clear love for her family, Tina is a strong female character anyone could admire. The fact that she’s this bold while in her early teenage years also allows her to be a role model of sorts for young fans of the show. Thanks to her mix of humility and confidence, even her shortcomings and mistakes add up to someone surprisingly relatable and adorably quirky. I think we all would do well to express our interests and individuality as well as her!
What are your thoughts on Tina? How about the rest of the women in Bob’s Burgers?