In defense of Hanna Marin

This post will probably contain spoilers for all eight of the Pretty little Liars books. If you haven’t read them you may want to turn right around and read them. They’re pretty quick reads and it a fairly engaging mystery. This post has to do with the character of Hanna Marin, who I feel has basically been given the shaft by the ABCFamily TV series of the same name.

In the books Hanna is bulimic. This is pretty integral to her story and comes as a direct result of her body issues and the need to feel as if she has control in her life. It explains aa lot about her actions and her desperate attempt to hold on to the “Queen Bee” archetype, and as much as I hate tossing about gendered insults, let us not forget that “Queen B” is almost always synonymous with “Queen Bitch.”

Now in the show the actress is tiny! Seriously, I’d be surprised if she weighed over 115 lbs. This in itself is not a bad thing, as she does a pretty damn good job with role. The problem with a skinny girl playing a girl who spent eleven years being fat is that, in general, people delude themselves into thinking skinny people have no body issues. In the TV show, Hanna comes off as ridiculous and unsympathetic.

Take Noel’s party. In the books, Hanna doffs her dress and tries to cajole Sean into having sex with her. This behavior is extremely icky¹ if you fail to take into consideration that Hanna feels that sex will legitimize her relationship with Sean. Sean responds by basically calling her a whore, telling her she has no respect, and basically being a complete jerk. Hanna proceeds to get drunk, steals Sean’s² car keys, decides to go joyriding with Mona

In the TV show, Hana and Sean are making out. Sean is firm, but kind about his lack of desire to lose his virginity. Hanna leaves, taking his jacket and finds his keys and takes the car.

Is it just me or are these two scenarios giving you different feelings?

¹ Trying to get someone to have sex when they don’t want to, not being sexually assertive.

² Actually, it was his father’s car.

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About tooimpurenangel

Big reader
This entry was posted in Characters, Characters, Hanna Marin, Hanna Marin, Pretty Little Liars, Pretty Little Liars, Series, TV Shows, Young Adult and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to In defense of Hanna Marin

  1. C says:

    Haven’t read the books or watched the show (honestly I was pissed that ABC Family’s 10 Things I Hate About You series seemed to be cancelled to make room for Pretty Little Liars… I may be judging unfairly here but it looked like just another entry in the spoiled-rich-teen Gossip Girls type of programming. 10 Things’ sibling & father-daughter relationships were kinda refreshingly …sweet. Yes, I said sweet and I’m not ashamed!)

    Anyway… sadly not surprised the showrunners/network seemingly excised the bulimia backstory of this character. I mean, Hollywood in general sees nothing wrong with their unrealistic, unhealthy beauty standards. They’re forcing girls to starve themselves to attain an “ideal” weight in order to get work… so how often (or accurately) is this story told on TV anyway?

    It’s too bad the TV version you described, removed Hanna’s sympathetic motivation and missed a chance to send any young girls watching, some valuable messages.

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