Who is Tina Belcher? And why should America care about her?
Tina Belcher is pretty much your average American thirteen-year-old girl. In the series Bob's Burgers she lives in an apartment with her family above her family’s burger restaurant, Bob’s Bugers. She is your average teen girl obsessed with horses, boy bands, zombies, and boys (especially boy's butts).
But what makes her special is that she is a model for what feminism in America should be. Tina is a girl who loves who she is as a woman, and is confident in herself. While Tina likes boys, never lets them trample over her dreams, opportunities, or self esteem. While she may have an on-off relationship with show character Jimmy Jr., she generally never lets his lack of commitment keep her from being the sparkling unicorn that she is.
Tina also is a girl who treats other girls and women with respect. She knows who she is, is comfortable in her own skin, and wants others to feel that way as well. Even though sometimes her arch nemesis Tammy gets to her a bit, she always apologizes and recognizes when she strays away from the path of the feminist she knows she is.
For example, in one-episode (Season 8 Episode 4: “Sit Me Baby One More Time”) Tammy and Tina are up for the same babysitting position and competition gets the better of them and leads to some harsh words and hurt feelings. Once Tina realizes that she went a little too far she not only apologizes to Tammy but also helps Tammy become a better babysitter and the two have a good few moments of true friendship before their next competition.
And as every woman knows it is hard to be that amazing person all the time. Tina is a great model for feminism because she always tries to do the right thing, and even when she fails she owns her mistakes, remedies them, and stays true to the inner feminist badass that she is.
Tina is also very body positive, not only accepting her battles with puberty but helping others to see that it is ok to feel awkward and different and just to always be yourself no matter what. She does this most notably by singing in a puberty choir sponsored by the school’s guidance counselor Mr. Frond.
Tina also has various quotes that fans of the show have coined as “Tinaisms” that are amazing, unique, and helpful to remember while being a woman in America. Here are some of the best:
“I’m no hero I put my bra on one boob at a time like everyone else.”
“There are no such things as leagues, except in bowling! Everyone should be able to like or date anyone else!”
“I’m a smart strong sensual woman.”
“I don’t need a boy to pay attention to me. I’ll pay attention to myself.” “If you wanna dazzle, you gotta take some razzles.”
“Dad if you believe you’re beautiful, you will be. I did.”
“I’m sick and tired of acting like a dumb helpless girl just so a hot boy who dances his feelings will notice me.”
But her biggest feministic/human moment was in season eight episode seven “V for Valentine-detta” where she had a real feminist epiphany. The episode opens as Tina found out that long time on-off boyfriend Jimmy Jr. decided to take another girl out on a date on Valentine’s Day. Which “broke” Tina (basically she walked home saying nothing but ‘UHHHHHH’) Tina’s mom knew how to make it better by making Tina and her sister Louise go on a girl’s night out.
The girls go have a night of fun while renting a limo for the night. The eccentric limo driver helps the girls to have the best night of their lives set to a montage of “This is a Girl Power Jam”. They have makeovers, dance in a fountain, have a dance party while in the limo is getting a car wash, dancing on the beach, and eating at a fancy restaurant.
But then Tina and company get the idea to go ruin Jimmy Jr.’s date to get revenge on him. They find out what restaurant he will be eating at and get stink bombs to smell up the restaurant. But just as Tina is about to ruin their date she realizes it wouldn’t be fair to the girl who did nothing but just say yes to go on a date with Jimmy Jr. Tina leaves them alone, BUT when Jimmy Jr. dumps the other girl, Tina helps her get her revenge. Together Tina and the girl stink up Jimmy Jr., become friends, and have a great rest of the night.
This is what feminism should look like, people. It should be about body positivity, helping each other to be the best person we can be, being true to ourselves always and loving ourselves. It should be about lifting each other up, not down. And at moments of competition or heartbreak being the better person who lets their own sparkle shine.
We can all learn many lessons from Tina.
Rachel Kurasz is a fiction writer from Villa Park, IL where she lives with her husband, Peter, and their loyal puppy dog Boo-Boo. Rachel earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Roosevelt University and her BA in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Rachel’s poetry has been published under her maiden name, Rachel Head, in The Bicycle Review. Rachel is currently working on two larger projects including a novel and a creative nonfiction project.
Follow Rachel on Twitter: @KuraszRachel