MBTI Type: ISFJ
ISFJs are practical and observant of other people, aware of their emotions, and seek to influence society through sharing their feelings—which is what Penelope is doing through her pen, as Lady Whistledown. She is squirreling away money, either for her future dowry or in case her family’s financial status falls through, by listening, observing, and being a wallflower. Since no one pays any attention to her, she can pick up whatever they are talking about and make it part of her scandal sheet – but as Eloise points out in season two, it’s mostly just reporting on gossip and exploiting situations, and not really “an intellectual exercise.” Lady Whistledown has let Eloise down by being too focused on scandals, and not enough on “improving society or planting ideas in their mind.” Hearing this, Penelope goes out of her way to make small steps in that direction, to make Eloise happy, but Eloise still doesn’t consider it “enough,” as an intuitive. This shows Penelope’s own weakness in Ne terms, but also a Fe desire to alter her publication to appeal more to other people. She shows an incredible amount of Fe in how easily she pays attention to what matters to her audience and creates material that appeals to them. She also understands what’s going on between people, without them necessarily confiding in her, and it causes her an enormous amount of angst when she must expose Eloise to protect her from the queen’s retaliation, without revealing her true identity. Penelope is warm, generous, and caring toward others, going out of her way to be sweet and kind to them, but uses her pen behind their backs to expose their lies, if she deems it necessary (she won’t allow someone to hurt the man she loves!). Penelope sees writing as a form of self-expression, and her witty, sarcastic, and biting commentary on society and its ills, from the “sparkling diamond” of Daphne to others “fall from grace” allows her to manipulate situations in the direction she wants them to go. Many of her speculations are “open-ended,” where she leaves the reader to puzzle out what might happen next, without making any actual predictions about it. She wants to understand people and their motivations, but doesn’t form any assumptions without having done the research and homework necessary to feel confident in them.
Enneagram: 9w1 so/sp
Penelope has a hard time standing up for herself, or being specific about what she wants; she expresses it best when a batch of new gowns arrive for her and her sisters. She picks up hers, sighs, and says, “Of course mine is yellow,” but makes no further protest or objection. She does not raise her concerns within the family often, since she assumes no one cares (and for the most part, no one does). She cannot tell Colin that Marina is playing him straight out, because it’s “mean” and will hurt his feelings. She does lash out at Eloise when she is in emotional distress, but then feels bad about it later and tries to avoid her in public. Even her column, in which she goes by a secret name to protect herself, is a passive-aggressive backlash against the society that she disdains, and that has not treated her well. She can take all the digs at them that she wants, and never has to directly face any criticism in return, or deal with people’s anger or their hurt feelings. She is often appropriate in public, even if she does not want to be, and doesn’t approve of Marina’s decisions on moral grounds (she intends to mislead people).