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Marshy's Journal
Why I hate (most) female characters in movies and shows

I just hate hate HATE most of the female characters that pop up in TV shows and movies. Why? They're all done wrong. Unless a show is specifically aimed at women, chances of them having a female lead character are VERY low. Yeah, there will often be a female side character, but most often they will just exist as a stereotypical, girly love interest. Often those are just cheap attempts to appeal to a female audience. Occasionally we get a generic tomboy character so the studios can go "SEE, SEE? WE'RE NOT SEXIST! WE HAVE A STRONG, FEMALE CHARACTER!". But more on that later...

When you actually do have shows aimed at women and have female characters, it's all stereotypical girly s**t. When I was a kid, I noticed the lack of female characters and I wqas disappointed about it. I would always pick the girl characters in video games even though they were ALWAYS weaker than the male ones. I wanted to watch more shows with good female characters, but those tended to be either romance oriented or about "normal girls living normal lives". Since I didn't like boys until I was about 13, I didn't give a s**t about any romance aspect. I also preferred fantasy and action type shows, so the "normal girls going to normal school doin' normal s**t" TV shows didn't really appeal to me. That's why when I was younger, I was OBSESSED with The Powerpuff Girls. The show was cutesy and there were some girly elements, but it was also action-packed and violent. (REALLY violent, actually. I recently watched some episodes for the first time in years and I'm surprised they could get away with so much blood)

Yet for most shows, female characters still have such a small variety of roles they're allowed to fit into. Male characters can be ANYTHING: they can be strong, weak, athletic, lazy, smart, dumb, mean, nice, and they can have a wide variety of interests. But female characters all tend to be the same: in a bit of positive discrimination, they're always down to earth, smart, "voice of reason" characters. Maybe studios are afraid that if they make a flawed female character people will cry "sexism!", but my point still stands that most of the female characters are the same. The "down to earth" roles they're forced into often end up making them into "buzzkill" characters who exist only to stop the male leads from having fun or doing anything reckless that might be entertaining. This, my friends, is why I got into anime at an early age. There were a lot of fantasy series that had female leads, sometimes whole groups of them, and they actually went around and did cool stuff like fight monsters. The girls all had different personalities and they weren't all complete girly girls.

Of course, there are always exceptions. As mentioned above, The Powerpuff Girls. Again, girly, cutesy, but violent. Second is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, whose creator used to work on the PPG. There are six female leads, all with different personalities. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, and their flaws that get them into troublesome situations. Like the PPG, it shows the idea that girls can be what they want, and that not even girly traits are bad. Rarity, the fashionista character, would probably be a bitchy, snobby antagonist in another series. But in MLP, she's a nice person (er, pony?) even if she can be rather prissy at times. She shows that not everyone fits into a mold, you can be obsessed with fashion without being a snobby b***h. Avatar: The Last Airbender, also had some great female characters, even if they weren't the lead. Katara was the love interest, but it wasn't her only purpose in the story. She had some great character development and she moved the story along. Toph was also really fun, she was a tomboy but not a totally generic one. She had her weaknesses and also served as the snarky character.

But those are only exceptions and most shows still fall into the rule. The whole reasoning around this is based on this stupid, sexist belief about men: that they cannot and will not watch a show if the main character is female. By contrast, in a bit of "positive sexism" (which, by the way, is still sexism) the belief is held that women are totally cool with everything being so man-oriented. We know that statement about men isn't true, though. MLP: Friendship is Magic has become a big phenomena among teenage and college aged men. Avatar: The Last Airbender was praised for it's strong female characters. The praise was so great that the next series will have a female lead, and the fans (yes, even the male ones) are pretty pumped up. So why, then, do studios still cling to the idea that men are closed-minded misogynists who will turn and run at the sight of anything girly?





marshmallowcreampie
Community Member
marshmallowcreampie
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  • [09/24/11 08:42pm]
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