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Serena Van Der Woodsen: An Analysis

  1. Blair is not her real friend
    • No one talks enough about how weird and toxic Blair’s behavior towards her supposed friend is. Every single time Serena is on “top” Blair tries to bring her down because she believes that she deserves it more. When Serena got into Yale and Columbia, Blair tried to ruin her acceptance and could not be happy for her. A real friend supports you and sees your successes as their successes. Having a friend that was constantly trying to knock her down a peg definitely had an impact on Serena’s self-worth.
  2. Lily and William let her down
    • Serena wants a good dad and it seems like the only good one she ever got was Rufus. William abandoned her and never reached out and when Serena tried to find William, he avoided her and chose to meet up with and sleep with her mom who is married to another man. Then, all of a sudden, he reappeared in her life when she was a young adult, lied to her family (told everyone her mom had cancer when she didn’t), and wanted everything to be normal. That would mess with anyone’s head. 
    • It wasn’t just William, it was Lily too. Lily was almost never home. Serena never had anyone giving her and Eric guidance or advice, and whenever Serena wanted quality time with her mom, she was on a vacation with a new husband. When Serena had a mental breakdown and ran away to Poughkeepsie in the last season, her mom did not look for her for a whole summer. Imagine having no idea where your daughter was for a whole summer after she had a traumatic spring. Lily only seemed to care about Serena’s life when it got really bad and she could not ignore it anymore. 
  3. Dan is not her soulmate 
    • Dan is awful for Serena. He dated her best friend knowing that Serena still had feelings for him. Not only that, but he wrote a book about her and her friends in which he called her a spoiled, damaged, lost girl with daddy problems. It is almost like he had no love for her at all. He knew her life was complicated, but ran to judge her at every turn. He was such a hypocrite for it too, because he was desperate to live her life but would not stop judging her for her lifestyle. What kind of ex-boyfriend/step brother tries to ruin your reputation and date your best friend?
  4. Her relationship issues stem from watching Lily’s life
    • Lily introduced her and Eric to many husbands. There was Klaus, Bart, Rufus, and William. None of them stayed for long (except Bart and Rufus) and only Rufus took an interest in her life and wanted to care for her. One of them, Bart, hired a private investigator to follow Serena and used to slut shame her all the time. Bart’s son, Chuck, tried to sexually assault Serena in the first episode of the series. I would not feel very safe in my home with a person like that there but it didn’t matter because her mom would always put her husband before her kids. 
    • Lily also wasn’t great when it came to boyfriends. She abandoned Serena and Eric to go off with Claus (a different man than Klaus with a K), and she dated her husband’s nemesis Russel Thorpe, putting her stepson Chuck’s business future in peril. Her one night stands weren’t good either. She slept with her daughter’s boyfriend Steven Spence and cheated on almost all her husbands (and the kids knew). Serena did not get to see a solid example of a relationship growing up which gave her a skewed perspective of what love looks like. 
  5. She is really smart and driven
    • Serena got into Columbia, Brown, Yale and a lot of other schools. While a lot of this needs to be attributed to her social connections, people underestimate her intellect. Serena is well spoken in conversation, worked multiple jobs during the show’s six season run, and was a fighter. She never shied away from a challenge, whether that be running Gossip Girl for a short period of time in secret, competing against Blair to get into Yale, or saving her high school teacher from prison all by herself. She was potrayed as “dumb” compared to Blair, but Blair was the person who always showed off and felt like she had to prove her intellect by saying some smart literary quote. Serena just embodied it in her actions.
  6. She always protected family
    • When Charlie (who was really Ivy) got revealed as her long lost cousin, she took her in immediately and loved her. She invited Charlie to society events, tried to help her get her trust fund, and integrated Charlie into her friend group. When Jenny was getting manipulated by Damian, she hatched a plan to get her to see that Damian was a bad guy and helped find her when she ran away with him. When Eric was going through a break up and struggling with his sexual identity, she was there for him, more than their mother ever was and refused to let Lily hide him away. In terms of Chuck, she was always there to help with a plan to defeat Bart even though they have a complex past. Serena was a family person and protected her family fiercely and that is a wonderful trait to have.

Serena got a lot of hate during Gossip Girl’s six season run, but it was only because people looked at her character superficially. When you dig deep down you realize she had a good heart and tried her best in a world that was always trying to push her down.

Hi, I'm Kendall Garnett and I am a senior Biology major/Spanish minor at Bucknell University. I am a Co-Campus Correspondent for HerCampus Bucknell. When I am not busy researching the next big pandemic I like to write and wait in the Dunkin drive-through for hours.
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