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Check out this blog post by s.e. smith, which opens a discussion about why so man people "just don't like" female characters. Which may seem like old ground to some of you, but it lays the issue out so simply and well, and there are some good perspectives in the comments.

It appears the above post was inspired at least in part by this really great article about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the fact that Buffy's character is dismissed by many fans as "whiny". The article makes the (should be obvious, and yet somehow it isn't) point that if half the things that happened to Buffy happened to a male character, the fans would be filled with hugs and sympathy.

I find it telling the way that we are willing to hold Buffy to a different standard. She is a different sort of superhero than we are used to. She is young, and a woman, and was the longest superhero of her kind on the telly. But it just doesn’t seem that we are willing to give her the human space of emotion to hurt the way we do some of our other superheroes.

Why is that?


Yes, why is that? I wonder.

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/492660.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
imadra_blue
Sep. 8th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
I feel this can be directed to fannish reactions to any media. I am frequently ready to stab people over the Orihime-bashing in Bleach. This is a young teenage girl, 14 at first, who was abused as a child by her own parents, grew up with her brother who died when she was, like, 12, leaving her literally living alone, who discovers she has super powers when she tries to save her best friend from death after mind-numbingly awful attacks. She has a crush on a boy she views as a shining prince-like superhero, directly connected to how he saved the evil ghost of her beloved brother. She is such a pacifist that she heals those who hurt her and mourns the death and pain of anyone, especially those she loves. After being abducted and abused, she is proven weak during a fight that nearly kills the boy she loves (and actually does for a few moments), and forced to watch him turn into a rampaging monster. So, yes, she cries.

But fandom likes to call her immature, or childish, or a failure, or a crybaby. They constantly attack her. FUCK YOU, FANDOM. FUCK YOU UP THE ASS WITH A RUSTY PIPE GOING SIDEWAYS. GO THROUGH THAT SHIT, SEE IF YOU DON'T CRY.

And I hate how they compare her to another great female character, WHO IS A TRAINED WARRIOR WELL OVER A CENTURY OLD WHO CONSTANTLY DEALS IN BATTLES AND IS NOT A PACIFIST WITH ANY MORAL CONFLICT, as if they're in competition, when it's clear the two girls adore each other. They're two different people. End of story.

Ah, sorry, you started a rant. >.> But great post!
owlmoose
Sep. 9th, 2010 12:43 am (UTC)
I sense that you feel strongly about this subject. ;)

But yes, I totally agree, the double standard is alive and well in pretty much every medium -- TV, movies, games, anime. Because it's just so pervasive in our culture, which makes it really hard to escape.
imadra_blue
Sep. 9th, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)
>.> Ahahaha, yeah. Might feel a little strongly about it.

It really is. I get irritated because I wonder how these attitudes play out in real life. Are they that unsympathetic to RL females? I sure as hell hope not.
taricalmcacil
Sep. 8th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
So true that it seems like a lot of female characters are held to a way higher standard than male characters. If they're a hero, they have to be more manly and emotionless than the biggest male hero you can think of. I think a lot of it comes from stereotyping by people that don't really think about a character's background and such. Blatant example: if a female character sleeps with a few guys over a series, she often gets labeled a slut. If a male character does the same thing, no one bats an eye because 'it's what men do'.

BULLSHIT.

There's just so much stereotyping that goes on in fandom because people don't look into a characters psychology and background...it's horrible. But when you find someone who looks past the Stereotypes, you know they're a true fan, because they've taken the time to really learn about that character and all their struggles.
owlmoose
Sep. 9th, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
Yeah, I find it really frustrating. And although blatant stereotyping happens with fan interpretations of male characters too, I think it's more damaging with female characters, because the male stereotypes tend to be more empowering/heroic and because they cover a broader variety of character types. Only so many pigeonholes a female character can fall into.
darcenciel
Sep. 9th, 2010 07:54 am (UTC)
I also think it has a lot to do with female perception of other female characters (because most of the female character bashers, I've found, are also female). Women are harder on other women, especially when the woman in the story acts in a "normal" way. I see this a lot with both Relena from Gundam Wing and Rinoa, who are perfectly normal girls stuck in an at times varying abnormal and/or terrifying situation. They act childish, they cry, they cling to others, and I know that most of the people bashing them would do the same.

But no one thinks about that - instead, we focus on the "cool" female characters, like Lightning or Fang, because of course they act exactly how we would act when thrust into that same situation /sarcasm

owlmoose
Sep. 10th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
They do say that we most disparage in other people the thing we hate most in ourselves. I suspect that has at least something to do with it.

On the other hand, the so-called "strong" women also get dissed for not being nice enough or sensitive enough. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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