Sonia Fowler is the only feminist role-model we’ve ever needed

In a world full of Kardashians, be a Sonia


Let’s be honest, Eastenders’ Sonia Fowler is probably not the first person that pops into your head when you think of female role models, but she’s one of the best role models you could ever want or need. As weird as it may sound to some people, Sonia serves as a constant and ever so lovely reminder to me that I should never give up on my own strength. There will be some people who think a character from a soap can’t really be that inspiring, but Sonia really is, so let me tell you why.

She’s a survivor 

She deserves way more recognition then she gets, she’s been through the tough times, the crazy times, the sad times, and she’s always come out the other side stronger. She never gives up and she’s never one to blow her own trumpet either (although she did use to play one), and yet she always remains humble and down to earth to her very core. Sonia hasn’t had the easiest of lives. As a teenager she went into labour and gave birth on her living room sofa, having been completely oblivious to the fact she was even pregnant. Then chuffing Martin – Sonia’s baby daddy – ran over her first love, Jamie Mitchell, causing his death and breaking poor Sonia’s heart. To make it even worse it was Christmas Eve and Jamie was en route to propose to Sonia along with flowers and a ring.

The scene where he passes away is emotionally heart wrenching. There’s no way you can watch it without crying.

This isn’t even the half of what Sonia’s been through, she’s given her daughter up for adoption and then abducted her,  gone on the run after believing she was responsible for Pauline Fowler’s death,  been wrongly arrested for murder, had an angry Kat Slater push her face first into a cake, suffered countless romantic disasters and heartbreaks, including an unsuccessful marriage with Martin, and just after she found a breast lump she only went and discovered current girlfriend Tina had cheated on her. So it’s safe to say she hasn’t had it easy. But despite all these things she still stands strong.

She’s real 

Yes, she fucks up sometimes but that’s okay because all of her fuck ups show she’s human. Remember that time she fell asleep at her work station? Haven’t we all been there?

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Sonia isn’t without her flaws,  she did spend the naked calendar money (which was supposed to be given to charity) on a flight to Bulgaria and a gastric-band operation. However, it was simply because the pressure of losing weight for Fat Busters was too much, afterwards she realises it was stupid and is racked with guilt.  While completely in the wrong Sonia shows the dangers of taking extreme measures to lose weight, as she ends up collapsing and being rushed to hospital. All in all, Sonia’s an all rounded individual who’s heart is always in the right place even if her decisions aren’t necessarily the best. Occasionally the drama will come knocking on her door but she never purposely seeks it, she’s not interested in getting involved in any of the dramatic shenanigan on the square. But when the drama does come calling or she fucks up she she doesn’t hide from her mistakes. Instead she learns from them and uses them to constantly push herself to be a better person.

She’s just being Sonia 

Having been on (and off) our screens since 1993, Sonia’s story-lines have shown her struggling to find out who she is, however, she’s slowly discovered and grown into herself. As a character she always tries to take life in her stride, riding the ups along with the downs, and through her experiences – good and bad – she teaches us viewers to embrace ourselves more and worry less.

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She’s actually quite empowering 

One of the other major things Sonia has had to deal with is cancer. While she’s never had cancer herself she does have the BRCA cancer gene, and has watched mum Carol suffer from breast cancer and go through a mastectomy. The fact Sonia’s the first character in any soap ever to tackle the issue of the BRCA gene makes her storyline so powerful and compelling. Recently Sonia had a cancer scare leading to her considering the very real prospect that having a mastectomy could be the only way to eliminate her odds of getting cancer. Soaps like Eastenders play a significant role in raising awareness and helping people through terrible diseases like cancer. Sonia’s scare not only highlights the importance in checking yourself but also the harsh reality of cancer and how anyone can be at risk, more than this the bravery she showed sends an empowering message to all women.

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She highlights body-shaming culture 

Sonia demonstrates the dangers of body shaming and the pressures placed on women to be ‘perfect’, yes she might be a character in a Soap but that doesn’t lessen this message in any way. The gastric band situation can be seen as an example of this as Sonia has the operation because she feels fat. Too often the media perpetuates unrealistic beauty standards, yet the message Sonia gives out, and something she learns through having the dodgy gastric band op, is that it’s okay to be yourself.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t got any qualms with using a good filter or contouring yourself as much as you fancy, but nobody looks like a Kardashian 24/7. Sonia shows that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, she’s not about the contour, her eyebrows aren’t always on fleek and she’s probably wearing a cardigan she bought from the Per Una collection at Marks and Spencer’s in 2009.

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You can’t deny there’s a little bit of Sonia inside you

Sonia exemplifies the image of the real, raw modern day woman, no contour, no filter, just pure Sonia. Honestly, in a world full of Kardashians and contouring we could all do with being a bit more Sonia. So let’s embrace the fact that deep down there’s a little bit of Sonia in all of us. Plus, you can’t beat a good cardigan.

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