esmenet: Scar frowning (:[)
There's this thing in fiction that makes me see absolutely blinding red. That one where writers are like 'how can I show my main character is growing up and becoming a man? oh, I know! have him separate himself off from the women in his life, to show he is a real man who no longer needs mother figures to protect him!'

Which is bullshit in about 837591736 ways.

I mean, entirely apart from the sexism angle, there's this idea in those bildungsroman lone hero stories that he, the hero, must be the one to protect everyone (and if anyone else does it, they don't count). Which is just the most patriarchal harmful nonsense.

One of the reasons I love stories like Fullmetal Alchemist (the manga) and Sailor Moon, is because those say: everyone needs to be protected sometimes, from something. Yes, even you.


(This post brought to you by an FMA:B fic that so fundamentally misreads the character types and the overall ideals of the series I actually begin to understand why people throw books across the room.) (A very popular fic I have previously read in its entirety.) (it has not improved over time.)
esmenet: A duel scene from Revolutionary Girl Utena (wakaba+utena)
Reading " 'her secret, defenseless self' – strong female characters", my own reaction to this trope:

Secretly defenseless outwardly strong ladies is not a new trope, and it is not a good one. MEMO: ladies are never secretly defenseless. their secret inner core is made of steel and adamant, not squishy stuff. There is no room to be secretly defenseless in a society that presumes you are without defenses from the beginning. When you strip away the tough outer shell, inside you find . . . more toughness. Women are made of ice and knives, women are not secretly sweet vulnerable flowers they are monsters. just like everyone.


(Example: Neon Genesis Evangelion's Asuka. Her tough facade is there to cover up a ton of problems, but when you get past it she will not cry on your shoulder, she will FUCK YOU UP because she is fucked up and she's angry you can see that. Real vulnerability is not something she accepts, and I think that goes for most people who act like that.)

--

Whenever I'm reading a dudeslash fic and some awful drama goes down, I always say to myself "This wouldn't happen if you were ladies!" and I've only recently worked out that I say this not because ladies are better or because ladies don't have drama, but rather because the people who write ladyslash fic are not the kind of people who put up with stupid drama when they could be writing about cool things instead.

What I mean to say here is that you never see the "lack of communication causes AWFUL LOVE TRIANGLE MISUNDERSTANDING" plot in ladyslash fic.
esmenet: Azula raising her eyebrow and giving a sidelong look (*raised eyebrow*)
Hello, everyone! I am not sure you know this (though if I have known you for any length of time it is likely), but

  • strong yet nice lady meets morally ambiguous dude

  • lady befriends dude, with understandable reservations

  • dude develops interest in her

  • dude begins controlling her life


is a very problematic narrative! And this is sad for me, because I love stories about strong yet nice ladies and their relationships with morally ambiguous people (dudeness not necessary). Apparently there are many people who do not understand that the proper formation of a nice lady/morally ambiguous person is

  • strong yet nice lady meets morally ambiguous person

  • lady befriends person, with understandable reservations

  • person goes 'wow, this lady is pretty cool'

  • fun things!

  • *understandable relationship problems caused by difference in personal worldview*

  • *honest conversation about relationship boundaries*

  • a relationship enjoyable to both parties, as well as all their friends, who think they are HILARIOUS together.


Only having read several stories in this latter format do I realize exactly what was bothering me about the former.

(Feel free to spread this post to anyone you think would benefit by reading it, e.g. the creators of Black Bird.)
esmenet: Utena and Akio duelling (akio vs. utena)
I've started thinking about simply not reading any more shounen manga.

There are so many shounen manga that call to me, with plotlines I enjoy or characters I love or concepts that fascinate me. (Nurarihyon no Mago, for example, is an absolutely genius youkai manga, and Katekyo Hitman Reborn is the very height of shounen ridiculous.) But if I let myself start thinking about it at all it becomes immediately apparent just how sexist they all are. The female characters are strong fighters! (But not strong enough to win an actual fight.) They're training to become stronger! (But not as strong as the male characters.) They want to get better and make a real difference. (But the best way for them to make a difference is by using their ~feelings~ to inspire the main character. Or get kidnapped.)

It feels like a physical, material thing, a wall between me and my enjoyment of these stories. They are so many things I love, but I can't love them as long as this blatant sexism is there. I want to break it down, with anger and disappointment and my own two hands—but oh, wait. Even if it were right in front of me I couldn't, because with shounen manga girls don't get to win.


I am being perhaps a tad unfair to things like Nurarihyon no Mago and Detective Conan here. Girls do get to win fights now and then, even if the plot is pretty much dudes dudes dudes.

This rant is brought to you by Yuki Onna's kidnapping and the aftermath thereof, as the manga had previously managed to mostly stay out of these tropes.

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esmenet: Little!Anthy with swords (Default)
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