Why Felicity Smoak is a True Hero of ‘Arrow’

When it comes to superhero shows on television we’re often presented with a look at either a super-powered or super-skilled hero that rises above all odds and becomes a public figure for his or her city. These shows are named after these heroes that are all-inspiring forces.

On Arrow, Oliver Queen represents how one can rise above darkness to be a symbol of hope as the Green Arrow. But the real treat, for me, is finding other heroes that stand out among these shows – people that aren’t taking on a hero persona so much as they’re inspiring ordinary people like ourselves to be something bigger than we are.

For me the true hero of Arrow doesn’t wear a costume and isn’t physically superior. She wears stilettos and is intellectually superior and the ultimate representation of heroic in our world where ordinary people are heroes in their own right. And that is one Felicity Smoak, played by the brilliant Emily Bett Rickards.

When it comes to the most empowering and inspiring women in this DCTV universe Felicity Smoak is at the top of my list. Every. Time. She defies expectations for what a hero is perceived to be. She isn’t out on the front lines taking and delivering hits in a flashy costume, and yet she’s the important person on Team Arrow. Like Oliver said, “She’s stronger than all of us.”

I often stop to wonder why our world is so obsessed with superheroes, and the answer is quite clear. We want to find people that can defy the unthinkable and stand up for what they believe in. That’s what makes them super. It’s not the super powers so much as it’s the super ability to fight and sacrifice for what they believe is just. We could all use some good faith in a world that’s filled with so much darkness.

But we also live in a world where heroes walk among us. No, they’re not costumed and don’t have super catchy nicknames, but they represent heroism in its truest essence. Much like Arrow’s Felicity Smoak.

For a while, Arrow thrived on the groundedness of its nature before Grant Gustin’s super-powered Barry Allen sped his way into this universe that has since expanded and become one of television’s best genres. Not that there’s anything wrong with super-powered superheroes (that is the nature of comic book superheroes), but for me the true beauty of Arrow is that it was a representation of what having a superhero in our world might look like.

And even though there have been other less grounded entries introduced into this shared universe – like metahumans – Arrow has still managed to maintain a sense of groundedness. But it has evolved over the seasons from one costumed hero to now four that are actively on Team Arrow. And while they all remain quite human, there is still something that puts them out of reach due to the whole wearing super suits matter.

But Felicity is the one constant that has never needed a superhero suit to define the hero that she is. She is such an incredibly strong, intelligent, passionate woman that is a role model for women everywhere. She has shown that true strength and courage comes not from physical superiority but from the fire within.

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// With Arrow now four seasons in, we’ve been graced with following not only Oliver’s heroic journey but Felicity’s, as well. We’ve watched as Felicity evolved from IT girl to an invaluable member of Team Arrow. It was a journey that has made her even stronger as she’s had to deal with some pretty dangerous and challenging things that have shaped her into this strong woman that she never thought she could be. Most recently it has been dealing with being paralyzed perhaps for the rest of her life. While her intial reaction was what it should’ve been — anger and a sense of helplessness — she eventually picked herself up and has taken charge of her life. And it’s truly been inspiring to watch. Felicity has made those around her better, and those around her have made her a better person, as well.

But we’ve also gotten a taste of the trials Felicity faced when she was younger – from her hacker past to her father abandoning her and her mother when she was a little girl. She wasn’t always this hero that we know her to be – she’s been faced with her share of darkness and no doubt will continue to face it – and that’s what makes her journey and who she is so authentic and beautiful.

Felicity has risen from the bottom and grown the stronger for it. Felicity isn’t someone who succumbs to darkness; her light shines bright above it. All of those experiences have shaped Felicity into the person we all know and love today, and she’s a true role model for what it takes to harness that courage within and to keep fighting even when it might seem easier to simply give up and give in. Felicity has encouraged me to be stronger in my life; to never give in and to fight for what I believe in.

I can never thank Arrow and Emily Bett Rickards enough for what they’ve done in bringing such an incredibly inspiring character to life. I feel blessed every time I see her strength and courage on display each and every week. And no matter what challenges she faces – and no matter how dark things might get – I always know that Felicity will rise above it and show us the badass that she is; the badass that she has always and will always be. And that’s the kind of motivation that we could all use in our lives.

Felicity Smoak always has and will always be my hero.

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