Why Daphne Bridgerton Makes a Great Romance Heroine
By Lacy Baugher
The story of Daphne Bridgerton is the perfect start for this Netflix series.
The first season of Netflix’s Bridgerton centers primarily on the relationship between debutante Daphne Bridgerton and the roguish Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings.
But it would be a mistake to assume that the romance is the only story this series is trying to tell.
The real story of Bridgerton’s first season is about a young woman coming into her own.
Daphne may begin the series as a largely sheltered ingenue, but by its end, she is a confident, capable, and sexual woman.
Daphne’s desires are largely “simple” ones, which is to say traditionally feminine.
She longs for a love match, a happy marriage, children of her own, and a home overflowing with the same warmth she was raised in.
And because our culture tends to devalue most things traditionally feminine, it might be easy to dismiss Daphne’s arc as dull or boring.
But Daphne’s Season 1 journey is anything but…
Over the course of eight episodes, Daphne learns to push back against the idea that her polite, delicate facade is all that she is, or that her dreams are silly.
Daphne consistently makes space for herself in a world that doesn’t want to give her any choices.
And she recognizes the common struggle she has with someone like Marina Thompson, who has also been given so little space to find happiness in a patriarchal society.
In the end, Daphne is able to both fulfill her dreams of a happy home life and push back against some of the limitations society has placed upon her.
With Daphne’s story, Bridgerton gives us a character who longs for a more “traditional” lifestyle and is still a feminist heroine.