I think that if I had just started reading homestuck when this update came up, I would have been mad at Jane, too. because at that point in time, I didn’t realize that I judged female characters differently than I did male characters.
media tells us a story, and that story is that men are more competent than women. media does this by centering all the stories on the actions of the male characters.
the audience sees things from the protagonist’s pov and typically want them to succeed and overcome the obstacles the face. the audience identifies with them. therefore, because most protagonists are male, this means the audience has a lot of practice identifying with male characters and not a lot of practice identifying with female ones.
I really like and approve of this post.
It’s also important to remember that when protagonists are female their narratives are overwhelmingly about being able to follow someone’s orders well enough, or being able to live up to (or, admittedly, exceed) someone’s expectations, or fulfill a role adequately. It is a rare narrative that asks or rewards a female protag to break the rules. Think, especially, of rom-coms, which are probably the genre with the most female protagonists: the stories are overwhelmingly of playing to a role well enough to win a man’s heart. Whoa, problem!! But it trains us to think that men can and should break rules when it suits them, whereas ladies are meant to conform to rules.
Homestuck is, enjoyably (to me), not a big enforcer of this. Rose goes Grimdark and breaks shit. Jade is the happiest little rulebreaker around. But when Jane (who I believe gets the brunt of the fandom’s unexamined women problems because she in some superficial ways conforms to stereotypes (and people don’t tend to look past that enough)) does something that could possibly be stirring up trouble, she gets a wave of tsk-tsking. I think it’s important to examine the different thought patterns at work here.
(Sorry that these posts are so binary-normative (what is the word I want there), but unfortunately right now it’s hard to work discussion of trans* narratives in there because there aren’t that many! Which is a huge problem in and of itself!)
these are Good Posts, and also very clarifying! it’s kind of a well-known thing in a lot of fandoms that fans hate female characters, and sometimes it’s portrayed as unjustified “those silly fangirls just want the guys to bang!” and sometimes as ‘justified’ “she’s so useless!”, but I’d never been able to put my finger on a clear reason as to why it happens.
you know me so well
BUT OH GOD YES LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW WHEN CAS THROWS OFF THE SHACKLES OF HEAVEN’S RULE HE’S EXALTED BY THE FANS AND THE NARRATIVE BUT WHEN ANNA DID IT SHE’S SELFISH AND WEAK FOR ‘RUNNING AWAY’ AND BECOMING A NORMAL HUMAN. LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW WHEN CAS COMES BACK FROM HEAVEN’S RE-EDUCATION TORTURE BRAINWASHED AND BACK ON THE ‘STARTING THE APOCALYPSE’ BANDWAGON, IT’S TRAGIC AND DEAN BREAKS THROUGH IT, BUT WHEN ANNA COMES BACK HAVING BROKEN OUT AND STILL DETERMINED TO STOP THE APOCALYPSE JUST WITHOUT THE HUMAN EMPATHY AND NOW A CRAZY DETERMINATOR WHO’D KILL SAM TO DO SO, SHE’S AN EVIL HARPY BITCH WHO DESERVED HER DEATH, AND NOBODY IN-CANON ACKNOWLEDGES THE TRAGEDY OF HER SITUATION.
LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW WHEN SAM RUNS AWAY FROM JOHN TO DO HIS OWN THING AWAY FROM AN OVERBEARING PARENT, HE’S CONSIDERED TO BE STRONG-WILLED AND TRAGIC AND WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE ON HIS SIDE, BUT WHEN JO RUNS FROM ELLEN SHE’S TREATED AS A BURDEN AND OUR SYMPATHIES ARE SUPPOSED TO LIE WITH ELLEN, DESPITE THE FACT THAT SAM WAS RUNNING AWAY BECAUSE HE WANTED TO BE NORMAL AND NOT HAVE TO DO THE ‘FAMILY BUSINESS’, BUT JO WAS RUNNING BECAUSE HER MOTHER WAS BEING OVERPROTECTIVE AND NOT LETTING HER BE A HUNTER DESPITE HER WANTING TO FOLLOW IN HER FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS AND BEING CONSTANTLY SURROUNDED BY HUNTERS AND BEING ISOLATED IN SCHOOL BECAUSE OF HER EXPERIENCE WITH THE HUNTING WORLD. ONE OF THESE IS MORE SELFISH AN ACTION THAN THE OTHER.
LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW GABRIEL RUNS RINGS AROUND THE BOYS AND DOES TERRIBLE THINGS AND IS KIND OF PRETTY MUCH A HILARIOUS ASSHOLE WHO STRAIGHT-UP MURDERS DEAN OVER AND OVER TO TORMENT SAM, HE’S ONE OF THE MOST WELL-LOVED MINOR CHARACTERS IN THE SHOW, BUT BELA TALBOT WAS UNCEREMONIOUSLY KILLED OFF BECAUSE OF NEGATIVE FAN REACTION BECAUSE FANS FELT THAT SHE WAS RUNNING RINGS AROUND THE BOYS TOO MUCH, BECAUSE SHE WAS SMART AND CONFIDENT AND GAVE NO FUCKS AND THE BOYS DIDN’T REALLY KNOW HOW TO HANDLE SOMEONE LIKE HER. AND WHEN GABRIEL’S DEEPLY-BURIED TRAGIC PAST CAME TO LIGHT, IT WAS THE FOCUS FOR HIS HEEL-FACE-TURN AND REDEMPTION-EQUALS-DEATH, BUT WHEN BELA’S DID IT WAS NOTHING MORE THAN A DEVICE TO BRING HER TO HER KNEES AND LEAVE HER DYING WHILE BEGGING DEAN IN TEARS FOR HELP.
OH AND LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW WHEN RACHEL FINDS OUT WHAT CAS IS DOING IN S6, HER ATTEMPT TO KILL HIM TO STOP HIS DANGEROUS DEVIL-DEALING PLAN IS TREATED AS MAKING HER JUST ANOTHER ANGEL MOOK THAT CAS HAS TO KILL AND COMPLETELY INVALIDATES ALL THE SUPPORT SHE’S SHOWN TO HAVE GIVEN TO THEIR SIDE AND THE NARRATIVE PORTRAYS CAS AS TRAGIC BUT RIGHT, BUT WHEN DEAN AND SAM FIND OUT AND HAVE A SIMILAR REACTION OF RAGE AND ‘FUCKING STOP IT’, COMPLETE WITH SAM EVENTUALLY TRYING TO STAB HIM WITH AN ANGEL KNIFE, THAT’S PORTRAYED AS COMPLETELY FAIR AND IN THE RIGHT FOR THEM TO DO, AND CAS IS NOW THE VILLAIN.
WE CAN EVEN GO REALLY MINOR AND TALK ABOUT LILY, THE FIRST OF THE ‘SPECIAL CHILDREN’ LIKE SAM TO DIE IN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE, BECAUSE SHE DECIDED THAT EVEN IF THE GUY BABBLING ABOUT DEMONS WAS JUST PROVED RIGHT, THERE ARE DEMONS IN THE TOWN AND SHE WANTED TO GET OUT OF THERE. STRAIGHT-UP MURDERED BECAUSE SHE WAS A STUPID FOOL WHO DIDN’T LISTEN TO SAM, EVEN THOUGH THAT’S A PRETTY REASONABLE CONCLUSION AND SAM JUST SHOWED THEM THAT THE DEMONS CAN BE BANISHED WITH IRON. NOPE. SHAME ON YOU, LILY!
i can only think of two people who might count as not falling prey to this so far in SPN: sheriff mills, whose mistake (keeping her zombie kid) was exactly the same as the male characters’ in the episode and she was not punished any more than them for it (she lost her husband as well, but i think it’s implied that a lot of people were killed by the zombies so i’m counting it); and charlie, whose illegal online activities at work got her essentially a promotion by the bad guy, and then her decision to say fuck it and read the information despite being told not to by her terrifying boss lands her all the leviathan info, and the bomb that buys the winchesters time is all her idea.
SPN is particularly bad because pretty much every character is judged unfairly because the winchester protags are a really shitty moral basis to judge the show from but the narrative consistently seems to favour them ESPECIALLY in S6/S7, and also that the winchesters usually do end up dealing with civilians who don’t know about the supernatural thereby making characters follow their orders and superior knowledge about the situation justified, but the female characters get it the worst because so many have been killed off for “negative fan reaction” or treated incredibly harshly by the narrative for crimes that male characters have gotten away with or exceeded.
i could go on but this is ridiculously long and basically all my followers should give homestuck a try because it’s genuinely the best treatment of female characters i think i’ve seen in any media ever.
|via: neraiutsuze / source: allyouneedarecats||1 year ago with 904 notes|