Hanna Marin is one of the main characters on ABC Family’s (Now Freeform) Pretty Little Liars. Hanna takes the place of the girly girl of her friend group. She isn’t perceived as very smart and is often saying ditzy overdramatic lines such as “I can’t go around without a phone. That’s like going around without a brain.”
Throughout the show the main girls are constantly being black mailed, threatened and played with by an overarching anonymous character that goes by A. The identity of A changes, but with each shift the “Liars” are at a higher risk than before. Other than being portrayed as highly feminine, Hanna also shows signs of being a feminist. Feminist criticism is something many of us are familiar with; analyzing a person who may be fighting for women’s rights and equality socially, economically, and politically. Hanna isn’t a typical feminist in that she fights for equality against men, but rather she fights for her own equality as a woman and as a person who deserves to be treated the same as others. In season five Hanna takes the SATs and aces them. She does better than the shows “smart” girl Spencer Hastings. Her friends are more shocked than supportive but Hanna just kind of shrugs it off. Of course the show had to oppress Hanna by making her call the SATs the SCTs again hinting that she is unintelligent, even though she proves that isn’t the case with her test scores. Hanna did so well the school counselor called her in for cheating. Hanna proves you can look good AND be smart. Whaaaatt? Another example of Hanna standing up for herself despite her position as a young woman was during season six. Hanna has always loved fashion, but her boss is a nightmare. A truly empowering scene is when she finally decides to stand up for herself, completely risking her future in design, and putting her boss in her place. Earlier her boss demanded Hanna leave her hometown and come back to the city because she needs gum and some other small things. Hannah tells her where the gum is but that she can’t leave town. When Hanna does arrive she offers her boss help but sees she’s already been replaced. Hanna sees how the boss is treating the new assistant, a reminder of how she was treated, and begins by telling her boss that she can’t talk to people the way. The boss replies that Hanna is making her stressed. Hanna explains how she’s done everything she has ever asked and received no thanks. Her boss insists she apologizes and tells Hanna that she’s making a mistake and will have to start from the bottom again. Her boss says she may consider taking Hanna back as a second assistant which Hanna replies, “Is that the best you’ve got? If you’re trying to scare me into staying, you’re gonna have to do way better”. Her boss says a bunch of girls are waiting to take her place and Hanna says “Great, let them. I’ve been pushed around by a lot worse than you” and walks out. Hanna had been held captive in a bunker and tortured by A, so she wasn’t about to let a mean designer win power over herself. By standing against her boss Hanna shows that her morals and beliefs about how people should be treated despite age, class etc are more important than a future in design. Hanna could have let herself be put down and she could have apologized and belittled herself in order to continue working for such an awful woman, but instead she showed fans of the show that sometimes you just need to stand up for yourself, and never should you have to be put down in order to achieve your goals.
Hanna is an important heroine because when you strip away the fact that she’s been stalked for most of her life, she is just a typical young woman. When the show first started I was the same age as the characters of the show, and as Hanna aged so did I, and there was always relatable ups and downs in the episodes. Now Hanna and the other girls are 25 and dealing with engagement, long distance friendships and work, which is basically everything the fans will be dealing with in the next few years. Hanna deals with these things with a fiery attitude, light heart, and sense of humor, which makes my anxiety towards the future a little less.