Avatar the Last Airbender is Iconic

Avatar: The Last Airbender Is Still Iconic, And Here's Why

Although it's a children's cartoon from the 2000s, ATLA remains one of the greatest shows ever made.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender ended in 2008, but I've watched the full series at least ten other times since then. I was a big fan of ATLA when it was first airing, but sometimes I marvel at how lasting it's impact is over a decade later. I've seen ATLA bumper stickers and tattoos depicting the four elements, not mention that I myself have a "Jasmine Dragon" sticker on my laptop resembling the Starbucks logo. ATLA was incredible. It's witty, fun, emotionally impactful, interesting in plot, and filled with relatable characters. "Korra" was a nice attempt to follow up on a passionate fanbase, but it ultimately didn't resonate with viewers to the same degree. That said, sometimes people wonder why I'm still so invested in a kid's cartoon from the 2000s. Here's why.

The show referenced a variety of cultures from around the world

If you've watched the show, you've probably realized that there aren't actually any "white" characters in the Avatar-verse. Not that European cultures aren't valid, but it is notable that the show was created as an appreciation of cultures that often go overlooked. The art and music were heavily influenced by East and South Asia, and the different nations clearly reference Asian and indigenous traditions. Earth Kingdom cities were based off of real cities in East Asia, and the culture depicted drew from various East Asian nations as well. The same applies to the fire nation, which was originally modeled off of Japan and China. The water tribes have their foundations in Inuit and Sireniki cultures, and the air nomads are based on Tibetans, Sri Lankan Buddhists, and Shaolin Monks. There are many other historical references throughout "Avatar," including a nod to ancient Mesopotamia in the Sun Warriors.

The characters were complex and relatable

"ATLA" didn't just give us a typical group of teenage heroes, with each one fitting into a typical mold. They were complex and realistic, and that's what made them relatable. We saw Aang balance his role as Avatar with his personal moral philosophy, all while experiencing the onset of puberty and young adulthood. We watched Katara struggle with responsibility as the main female role model in her family after her mother's death. We observed and related to Toph and Zuko's complex relationships with their families, including the influence that an abusive parent can have on a young life. We experienced the struggles of inferiority to "better" friends with Sokka, and even learned about toxic friendships with Mai and Ty Lee. These were all growing kids and teenagers, and nothing could have been more genuine.

"ATLA" gave us some incredible, strong female leads to look up to

Katara was truly the first feminist I ever encountered on television. Not only did she become a master waterbender in the span of weeks, she also taught the Avatar! And the whole time, she reminded us that strong fighters can be feminine too. Meanwhile, Toph showed us that just because a person has a disability, doesn't mean that they are defined by it. In fact, Toph's blindness only enhances her abilities, rather than holding her back. We also encounter powerful female characters like Azula (I know, she's evil, but that doesn't make her any less of a prodigy), Ty Lee, Mai, Suki (and all the Kyoshi warriors for that matter), Smellerbee, and even Princess Yue (who literally died for her people, mind you).

It made a deep, dramatic topic witty and fun

It occurred to me recently that "Avatar" is basically about imperialism and genocide. The Fire Nation decides to take over the world through military force, and it does so by exterminating an entire people and occupying and colonizing everyone else. For such a deep topic, you wouldn't think the show would be quite as fun as it is, but it is. I've restarted watching, and I find myself constantly laughing. With Sokka's sarcastic comments, Iroh's oddities, and everybody else's regular quips, "ATLA" is regularly lighthearted and never takes itself too seriously.

There's some real wise advice throughout

Finally, what "ATLA" is really known for, is its heart. Uncle Iroh provides us with a regular understanding of the world around us, encouraging us to see the world in balance and look for our true selves. His wise words ring true throughout childhood and adulthood. The underlying themes and messages of the show, including balance, friendship, love, and loyalty, all serve the greater purpose of advising the audience.

In summary, "Avatar" was amazing. If you haven't, I highly recommend you do. If you have, maybe go rewatch!

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Let's Get Back To A 'No Scrubs' Mindset

In a dating culture so poor, let's get back our worth.

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Dating culture has come a long way in the last fifty years, and I don't mean that in a good way. We have gone from men walking up to the doors and meeting our parents at the start of a date to guys honking the horn our front and expecting us to come outside.

We have come from long relationships that have milestones and are special, to one-night stands and not even remembering your partner's name the next day.

We have gone from guys bringing flowers just because to guys bringing flowers just because they messed up.

We've gone from the man leading and the woman following, playing her part as care-taker to women being strictly independent, not needing any man to tell her what to do.

This needs to change.

Now, before people get offended and start yelling at me about "feminism" and women's rights and how they can take care of themselves, that's not what I mean. Of course women can be independent and more power to you for being so secure in yourself, ladies. Here's all I'm saying: just because a man buys you flowers, or wants to lead in the relationship, that does not mean he is looking down on you. That's just what a man is supposed to do!

Now, I'm going to be honest that I'm a bit confused. Women don't want men to look down at them and are so much in this 'I don't need no man' mindset, yet I see so many women settling! They're having meaningless one-night stands, staying in abusive relationships, staying with a guy who just treats you horribly (though, not abusively). So if you're viewing yourself more highly, how can you look at the relationship you're in and not see how that's dragging you down?

You don't want men to look down at you, but, honey, I kinda am (no judgment). When I see someone in a bad relationship where I can clearly see an out, my heart breaks for them, yearning for them to break free.

As the beautiful and powerful women that we are, we need to step back into a "No Scrubs" mindset, instead of wherever we are now. We need to let TLC talk to us and really take their advice.

"No, I don't want your number /
No, I don't wanna give you mine /
No, I don't want no scrub /
A scrub is a guy who can't get no love from me /
Hangin' out the passenger side /
Of his best friend's ride /
Tryna holla at me"

This is great advice of the treatment that we should NOT take. If a weird guy just comes and asks for your number, don't give it to him! Don't take his number! If a guy is catcallin' you, or wolf whistles at you out of the car window, pay no attention, sister! You are better than that.

They continue on to tell us:

"If you don't have a car and you're walking /
Oh yes son, I'm talking to you /
If you live at home with your momma /
Oh yes son, I'm talking to you /
If you have a shorty that you don't show love /
Oh yes son, I'm talking to you."

Again, good advice! A few kinds of guys you should avoid: guys without cars who are slumping off of other people, guys who still live with their parents, guys who are IN A RELATIONSHIP that don't respect their partner by flirting with you!!!

Avoid them.

You deserve better, sis.

Please don't just give out because some guy hits on you and you're bored. Know that you are worth so much more than that. You deserve a guy who is going to cherish you, pursue you, be loyal to you, respect you and take care of you. A man who will lead you. Don't settle for just a scrub.

Wait for a real man.

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You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.

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1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

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