Bridgerton Season 3 Is Here And We Cannot Get Past Penelope’s Empowering Character

Growing up, I was mesmerised by Barbie and Disney movies. These tales often revolved around a nerdy, unpopular character who, through a magical transformation involving clothes, hairstyles, makeup and weight loss, became the story’s most desirable person.

This narrative is changed in the third book of the Bridgerton series, An Offer From A Gentleman. Pop culture has long embedded the idea that being curvy isn’t desirable, pushing a narrow definition of beauty: you need to have curves but only at certain angles, be thin but not too thin, be fair, and so on. This unrealistic list of beauty standards is tiring and sad.

Penelope’s character in the Bridgerton series has always resonated with me. Her insecurities, though sometimes portrayed humorously, felt very real. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I connected with the show, but watching Penelope’s struggle to break free from societal expectations kept me hooked. A sweet, simple girl with a rebellious streak—she’s the kind of character who can drive any narrative forward.

Having watched the entire third season of Bridgerton, I can say it was nothing short of a roller coaster ride. From intense drama to steamy romance, the show offered everything.

Bridgerton Glow Up

Throughout entertainment history, many films and series have promoted certain beauty standards. The female lead often has the “best” body type or undergoes a significant glow-up, losing weight or receiving a massive wardrobe upgrade. While the “plus-size as lead” trope exists, it remains significantly underrepresented which just showed how people often see women’s body on screen.


In the third Bridgerton book, the character transforms through weight loss, going from “a hideous pudge” to “roundly pleasant,” as bluntly explained by the author. However, in the show, Penelope’s glow-up is gradual and more impactful. She evolves from a wallflower to one of the most significant characters in the story without a physical transformation.

In the first season, Penelope’s wallflower status is evident in her looks—tight curls and yellow dresses that make her blend into the background. Honestly, I hardly noticed her initially. Talk about the power of styling!


By the second season, Penelope transitions into an observer hiding in the shadows yet exuding some freedom. Her hairstyle and dresses reflect this subtle shift, making her more attractive but still not overly noticeable.

Finally, the third season graced us with Penelope truly being herself. She ditches the yellow wardrobe for greens and blues, capturing our hearts. Looser hair symbolises the freedom and power Lady Whistledown has always portrayed.

Previous wallflower, current columnist, observer, wielder of a quill

Penelope’s character showcases various stages and emotions throughout the three seasons, each side captivating in its own way. In the beginning, Penelope is portrayed as an introverted girl with a quirky personality and unattractive outfits, always behind the curtains.

She has just one true friend and a secret crush, setting her apart even though many overlook her. Her journey of balancing fear and happiness with her writing is a delight to watch.

By the second season, Penelope discovers the power of her writing. The ability to spark gossip and influence reputations makes her feel more powerful and confident. Her writing is a means of protection for herself and those she loves.

The third season reveals a new side of Penelope. Although her appearance commands attention, her fears and insecurities remain. Her vulnerability, like when she asks Colin to kiss her because she doesn’t want to die without ever being kissed, is truly moving and relatable.

A poignant moment occurs when she talks to her mother after her match with Colin is arranged. Her mother’s expectation for her to be a good wife, sacrificing her dreams, highlights the societal pressures women face. Penelope’s question, “What about my dreams?” and her mother’s response, “Ladies do not have dreams, they have husbands,” underscores this struggle.

I also loved the moment when she explained to her designer she had quit writing for love. And, the designer’s passion for seeing the glow on ladies’ faces when they wear her clothes mirrors Penelope’s love for writing.

When life surprises us with unexpected joy, we fiercely guard it like a hidden treasure. Penelope discovered her dream match in Colin, yet she never hesitated to stand up to him to protect her dreams and passion. Her individuality is not only empowering but also profoundly inspiring.

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