The year that I turned 10 was by all accounts important on a global scale, due to the sheer amount of life altering events that took place around the world. But when I think about 2005, I can most clearly recall sitting in front of the television watching the premier episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender

I didn’t expect to fall so head over heels in love with a TV show, and in retrospect, perhaps I didn’t so much fall in love with the show as I did its characters – specifically, Katara. 

Katara is the first female character introduced in the show and one of its main characters. She is a fourteen-year-old girl living during a time of war and turmoil; desperately trying to balance her childhood against her burgeoning adulthood. Her actions are sometimes admirable, sometimes not. She fights with her older brother, develops crushes, makes friends, and mostly importantly, grows into herself as a person. 

As an adult in my early twenties re-watching the show, I’m considering the series from a perspective that I didn’t have as a kid. My experience growing up in a rapidly changing world without a doubt affected me and I saw that reflected in Katara. Beginning the series as a naïve youth, it is only through her travels and interactions with new people that she begins to change as a person – for better or worse. I see myself and others I have known in the rendering of her character: a teenage girl trying to get by in a world where the odds are stacked against her. 

In becoming enamored with Katara’s character, I found myself wanting to emulate her strengths – but I also found myself accepting my weaknesses. Katara’s flaws were prominent – as were mine – but they were part of what made her her, as my own flaws were part of what made me me

-Sara Dorfman
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc. 

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