Women Will Kick Your Butt

Women Will Kick Your Butt

Not all sci-fi heroes are bald space marines.

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Except... Live Free or Die Hard was terrible...

Firefilm:
Not all sci-fi heroes are bald space marines.

Dam strait! I standby my previous statement on this subject.
image

The biggest problem with defining all characters into three categories is that by failing to provide an example of what you want the fourth (presumably better) category to be, it is difficult to provide any sort of good counterexample. For instance, if you have a woman who is willing to stand up and fight for her child, couldn't you put her in category 3 because of movies where the dad fights to save his child?

By having three categories as general as that, especially with the last one being 'the role could be filled by a man' it will be almost impossible to come up with something that doesn't fit that category.

After all, aside from specific actions involving genitalia, I can't think of anything that a man can do that a woman is completely unable to do or vice versa. Certainly not once you take into account the already heightened skills of anybody in fictionland.

As a sort of way of proving my point: I would like to see an example of a character you feel doesn't fit the three categories. I'm 78% certain I'll be able to fit her into one of the three categories given a bit of simple logical reasoning.

Falterfire:
By having three categories as general as that, especially with the last one being 'the role could be filled by a man' it will be almost impossible to come up with something that doesn't fit that category.

I agree with this, and I think there's another difficulty with the category. The way it's presented seems to suggest that "masculine" or even just "tomboyish" women aren't really women, which isn't really fair to women who are go-getters without feeling the need to project a "softer" or "more feminine" side as well. Those ladies aren't fiction just because some kinds of fiction overuse certain stereotypes.

I liked the debate, guys--my vote goes to Ripley--but rethinking the categories might help.

Azuaron:
Except... Life Free or Die Hard was terrible...

You are wrong. I am sorry, but it was a good movie, maybe even great. Everything about it was excellent. The acting was great, the dialog was good, the action pieces were amazing. The only thing really wrong with it was 1 massive plot hole that has to do with our particular area of expertise. And it wasn't even that bad, we have been asked to swallow much more for the sake of entertainment. Dark Knight Rises, for example, had much dumber plot holes and everyone just gives it a free pass.

It certainly was not as good as the original Die Hard, but what is?

DrOswald:

Azuaron:
Except... Live Free or Die Hard was terrible...

You are wrong. I am sorry, but it was a good movie, maybe even great. Everything about it was excellent. The acting was great, the dialog was good, the action pieces were amazing. The only thing really wrong with it was 1 massive plot hole that has to do with our particular area of expertise. And it wasn't even that bad, we have been asked to swallow much more for the sake of entertainment. Dark Knight Rises, for example, had much dumber plot holes and everyone just gives it a free pass.

It certainly was not as good as the original Die Hard, but what is?

I... honestly wasn't expecting disagreement on this point, but apparently Rotten Tomatoes agrees with you. But I do not know a single person in real life who liked it (and most people I know don't know much about computers).

That being said, opinions can't be wrong.

Live Free or Die Hard was terrible. :-P

Also: I can't believe I originally said Life Free or Die Hard. *facepalm*

Dan: "The other point made by our commenters was that greatness in female-itude should not have anything to do with being maternal, because that is a gender-role prison that men don't have to be strapped down with. I flat-out reject the place those complaints come from. Men have gender roles that, when followed, make them stronger protagonists as well. Sure, men can't give birth to a child, so it would be pointless to shoehorn character development into a male role that revolved around such tropes. But you know what men do have issues with? Impressing their father."

I have to disagree here.

I can get behind the idea that 'female-itude' should not involve the rejection of being maternal, but the way Dan puts it sounds like maternal factors are a requirement. By his own example Starbuck was a Fem-Indy of sorts, but she wasn't tied down with obligatory diaper strings.

By the same token I don't agree with Dan's assertions that 1. A core part of male character development involves Daddy issues, and 2. That maternal factors and Daddy issues are effectively equal, (or particularly comparable, for that matter).

Dan here reminds me of how MovieBob did a spiel on Metroid M and basically accused every male who criticized the handling of the Samus in that game of projecting their own desires for fem-dom as well as preconceptions onto the character.

MovieBob was wrong because there were a lot of people--like me--who didn't have a clue about Metroid's history and simply came into the game and found the plot with Samus being a wuss where her ex was concerned eye-rollingly cringe worthy.

It feels like Dan was trying to make a point by coming up with something comparable to maternal instincts and not only selected a poor choice but fell short in asserting his point.
.
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Azuaron:
Except... Live Free or Die Hard was terrible...

Live Free or Die Hard was a great movie. I've rewatched it I don't know how many times. And I do happen to know plenty of people who enjoyed it.

Azuaron:

I... honestly wasn't expecting disagreement on this point, but apparently Rotten Tomatoes agrees with you. But I do not know a single person in real life who liked it (and most people I know don't know much about computers).

On the other hand I take reviews from Rotten Tomatoes with a grain of salt (no pun intended). The "official" reviewers routinely can movies the fans love. Just a couple of days ago I checked Rotten Tomatoes' rating for 300. The "Official" reviewers (less than 300 worth) gave it a 50% and whined and condemned it. The fans, however, gave it an overall rating of 90%.

How many fans approved? Over one and a half million.

So, yeaaaaaah. I take "Official" reviewers' critiques--good and bad--with a grain of salt.

Falterfire:
The biggest problem with defining all characters into three categories is that by failing to provide an example of what you want the fourth (presumably better) category to be, it is difficult to provide any sort of good counterexample. For instance, if you have a woman who is willing to stand up and fight for her child, couldn't you put her in category 3 because of movies where the dad fights to save his child?

By having three categories as general as that, especially with the last one being 'the role could be filled by a man' it will be almost impossible to come up with something that doesn't fit that category.

After all, aside from specific actions involving genitalia, I can't think of anything that a man can do that a woman is completely unable to do or vice versa. Certainly not once you take into account the already heightened skills of anybody in fictionland.

As a sort of way of proving my point: I would like to see an example of a character you feel doesn't fit the three categories. I'm 78% certain I'll be able to fit her into one of the three categories given a bit of simple logical reasoning.

I'm quoting to agree with you.

Saying 'a woman in a man's role' is basically a blanket statement to say, 'And all those other women.' Both men and women can work in the military. Both men and women can fire a gun. Both men and women have the ability to hide emotions. Just because you take role A and put in a female character instead of a male character, she shouldn't suddenly be put under pressure to prove as a character that she has tits and pussy. She should be expected to play the role. If that role involves going into enemy territory to put a hole in a few zombie brains, or stealthily go into a hide out of ninjas to take out the leader, then so be it. If she's a tough cookie or has a smart mouth, maybe she has a bitter hatred of the government, perhaps she got screwed over and is more than happy to get revenge, it shouldn't suddenly disqualify her as a good character so long as it's handled well and fits the plot. It doesn't matter if she's a woman, man, it, alien, or colorful shade of blue. She shouldn't have to have a kid tied up at the end of the tunnel or a reason to maternally want to protect shit. She can also be a reasonable, self-controlled human being.

That's what I have to say about it.

Copper Zen:
I can get behind the idea that 'female-itude' should not involve the rejection of being maternal, but the way Dan puts it sounds like maternal factors are a requirement. By his own example Starbuck was a Fem-Indy of sorts, but she wasn't tied down with obligatory diaper strings.

What? All he said is he rejects the idea that strong female protagonists can't be maternal. He never said they had to be, in fact the first example he gives of a good female character has nothing to do with maternal instinct. He's just saying maternal instinct shouldn't be dismissed in this issue.

By the same token I don't agree with Dan's assertions that 1. A core part of male character development involves Daddy issues

He never said that. All he said was it's a gender role that can be used positively.,

and 2. That maternal factors and Daddy issues are effectively equal, (or particularly comparable, for that matter).

He never said they were both equal. He just said they're both gender roles and just because a character subscribes to certain gender roles doesn't make them badly written.

Azuaron:

DrOswald:

Azuaron:
Except... Live Free or Die Hard was terrible...

You are wrong. I am sorry, but it was a good movie, maybe even great. Everything about it was excellent. The acting was great, the dialog was good, the action pieces were amazing. The only thing really wrong with it was 1 massive plot hole that has to do with our particular area of expertise. And it wasn't even that bad, we have been asked to swallow much more for the sake of entertainment. Dark Knight Rises, for example, had much dumber plot holes and everyone just gives it a free pass.

It certainly was not as good as the original Die Hard, but what is?

I... honestly wasn't expecting disagreement on this point, but apparently Rotten Tomatoes agrees with you. But I do not know a single person in real life who liked it (and most people I know don't know much about computers).

That being said, opinions can't be wrong.

Live Free or Die Hard was terrible. :-P

Also: I can't believe I originally said Life Free or Die Hard. *facepalm*

I'm gonna second or third it and disagree with you and say I thought it was a great movie. I personally love it and would go as far as to say I think it's one of the top ten films I've seen in the last decade.

Quaidis:

Falterfire:
The biggest problem with defining all characters into three categories is that by failing to provide an example of what you want the fourth (presumably better) category to be, it is difficult to provide any sort of good counterexample. For instance, if you have a woman who is willing to stand up and fight for her child, couldn't you put her in category 3 because of movies where the dad fights to save his child?

By having three categories as general as that, especially with the last one being 'the role could be filled by a man' it will be almost impossible to come up with something that doesn't fit that category.

After all, aside from specific actions involving genitalia, I can't think of anything that a man can do that a woman is completely unable to do or vice versa. Certainly not once you take into account the already heightened skills of anybody in fictionland.

As a sort of way of proving my point: I would like to see an example of a character you feel doesn't fit the three categories. I'm 78% certain I'll be able to fit her into one of the three categories given a bit of simple logical reasoning.

I'm quoting to agree with you.

Saying 'a woman in a man's role' is basically a blanket statement to say, 'And all those other women.' Both men and women can work in the military. Both men and women can fire a gun. Both men and women have the ability to hide emotions. Just because you take role A and put in a female character instead of a male character, she shouldn't suddenly be put under pressure to prove as a character that she has tits and pussy. She should be expected to play the role. If that role involves going into enemy territory to put a hole in a few zombie brains, or stealthily go into a hide out of ninjas to take out the leader, then so be it. If she's a tough cookie or has a smart mouth, maybe she has a bitter hatred of the government, perhaps she got screwed over and is more than happy to get revenge, it shouldn't suddenly disqualify her as a good character so long as it's handled well and fits the plot. It doesn't matter if she's a woman, man, it, alien, or colorful shade of blue. She shouldn't have to have a kid tied up at the end of the tunnel or a reason to maternally want to protect shit. She can also be a reasonable, self-controlled human being.

That's what I have to say about it.

Quoting to agree with you. Women are people too.

Honestly, I think guys should stop trying to write Female characters to be "Female", and just write them to be "Characters". Otherwise, we end up with female characters that tend to fall into stereotypes or forced to act stereotypically 'female' in particular roles.

The problem I have with the traditional argument "Strong women shouldn't engage in [traditionally masculine activity] because it asserts that Masculinity is better than femininity by default" is that it declares the activities to be exclusively the domain of men.

All that said... I think Sarah Connor, while certainly a sympathetic and well-written character, when it comes to the all-too-often-forced "Role model issue" is NOT a good example of a "Strong Female Lead" - far too often, she's a psychotic bitch (I have similar words for similarly-portrayed males). Yes, circumstance has driven her to that extreme, but she is NOT a good model of heroism or citizenship.

Science fiction is one of the few genres that has begun pushing forward with some interesting plays with motherhood as central themes, such as in the Alien movies and here and there in the Metroid series.

Yeah.. not really. Since sci-fi movies are pretty much restricted to high-budget hollywood box-office hits, we get the dumbed down female versions. Alien is the rare exception. When you go outside hollywood it doesn't matter what the genre is, there's an instant improvement in how females are portrayed.

The Bride = no emotion?
I don't think we saw the same movies, Chris.

Azuaron:

DrOswald:

Azuaron:
Except... Live Free or Die Hard was terrible...

You are wrong. I am sorry, but it was a good movie, maybe even great. Everything about it was excellent. The acting was great, the dialog was good, the action pieces were amazing. The only thing really wrong with it was 1 massive plot hole that has to do with our particular area of expertise. And it wasn't even that bad, we have been asked to swallow much more for the sake of entertainment. Dark Knight Rises, for example, had much dumber plot holes and everyone just gives it a free pass.

It certainly was not as good as the original Die Hard, but what is?

I... honestly wasn't expecting disagreement on this point, but apparently Rotten Tomatoes agrees with you. But I do not know a single person in real life who liked it (and most people I know don't know much about computers).

That being said, opinions can't be wrong.

Live Free or Die Hard was terrible. :-P

Also: I can't believe I originally said Life Free or Die Hard. *facepalm*

gonna have to toss into the pool that i know plenty of people (including myself) who love the movie, it was much better than half the crap shoveled out these days, and the actors/actresses were picked well i think.

I despise the argument "Male character with female body". It's basically saying that X behaviour is masculine, therefore if a woman does it, she is more like a male than a female.

Especially considering that by and large with the exception of our bodies, the vast majority of traits that we consider to be masculine and feminine are entirely defined by the current society that you are in, and that most of these are stereotypes anyway.

DrOswald:

Azuaron:
Except... Life Free or Die Hard was terrible...

You are wrong. I am sorry, but it was a good movie, maybe even great. Everything about it was excellent. The acting was great, the dialog was good, the action pieces were amazing. The only thing really wrong with it was 1 massive plot hole that has to do with our particular area of expertise. And it wasn't even that bad, we have been asked to swallow much more for the sake of entertainment. Dark Knight Rises, for example, had much dumber plot holes and everyone just gives it a free pass.

It certainly was not as good as the original Die Hard, but what is?

Didnt like Live Free or Die Hard, but still thought it was a good movie. But it just seemed to lack... something, that other movies had...

Well, to follow up on Chris's suggestion, a book (or rather books) that has incredible female characters would be the entire Dune Saga, especially the last books. I acknowledge the last two have the rather odd theme with sex and love and the Honored Matres and whatever. Still, the entire saga is overflowing with strong characters, many of whom are women. In fact, the women never fall into one particular archetype and can be warriors and loving mothers at the same time, ice-queens and people of far-reaching empathy. Heck, an entire faction of the universe is made up only of women who can cripple your mind and body in seconds but exude feminine attributes all the time, and wrestle to balance their emotions and their reason constantly.

Not suprisingly, my choices for strong female game protagonists come from those that resemble books the most, having Grace Nakimura, April Ryan, ZoŽ Castillo, Victoria McPhearson, and I'll add Jade in there (even if not from an adventure game). Of course, none of these are particularly bad ass in a physical sense, but man, can they put up with tons of shit.So, yeah, none of them are badass in the way it's being debated here, but I just wanted to give them a shout out.

As for the whole "strong" character thing, I believe that Hollywood and, by association, the game industry, have a poor conception of what makes a character strong. By and large, they think it's someone with no other emotions other than anger, depression, bitterness, or just general apathy who don't take shit from anyone and can kick everyone's ass, which ironically can result in very bland, uninteresting characters. I like to think that a strong character is:
-someone that is flawed, a character with as much positive traits as negative. In some cases, you could have a positive trait bringing about a negative trait on the character.
-A character that can be easily recognized, particularly because of the personality trait that defines them. Now, this isn't saying the same as the character being one-dimensional, I'd say that there are a lot of villain characters that I find fascinating even if they are mostly defined by simply wanting to BE the bad guy, although having a wide range of emotions, motivations, etc. cetainly helps. For example, just because your character is the comic relief doesn't mean you can give the character a certain insecurity or unfunny trait. In fact, a layer of vulnerability can make such a character much more than the "funny guy".
In short, a strong character is one that feels wholesome and fascinating, regardless of who he/she/it is.

Now, I really can't post this without giving credit to Ms. Sofie Liv, host of Red Suitcase Adventures over at agonybooth.com. Some of what I wrote here is paraphrased from the following video:
http://www.agonybooth.com/video354_My_Little_Pony_Friendship_is_Magic_Five_Arguments.aspx

What? Don't give me that look.

Did somebody call for strong women?

SadakoMoose:
Did somebody call for strong women?
[snip]

They are strong women compared to the average woman.

Then there are strong men, compared to the average man.

And there's a very good reason why nobody tries to make "strong men" fight "strong women" in tournaments :)
(or atleast, 99.99% of tournaments, before someone tries to find a freak exception).

What I'm trying to say is that strength is relative >_<

Also this is purely accounting for physical strength, mental strength is just as important and in that category males and females are on a far more even footing :D

Azuaron:

DrOswald:

Azuaron:
Except... Live Free or Die Hard was terrible...

You are wrong. I am sorry, but it was a good movie, maybe even great. Everything about it was excellent. The acting was great, the dialog was good, the action pieces were amazing. The only thing really wrong with it was 1 massive plot hole that has to do with our particular area of expertise. And it wasn't even that bad, we have been asked to swallow much more for the sake of entertainment. Dark Knight Rises, for example, had much dumber plot holes and everyone just gives it a free pass.

It certainly was not as good as the original Die Hard, but what is?

I... honestly wasn't expecting disagreement on this point, but apparently Rotten Tomatoes agrees with you. But I do not know a single person in real life who liked it (and most people I know don't know much about computers).

That being said, opinions can't be wrong.

Live Free or Die Hard was terrible. :-P

Also: I can't believe I originally said Life Free or Die Hard. *facepalm*

tricky things opinions and generalizations are, aren't they?

Wow, that was astonishingly terrible.

My senior year political science teacher got the class to levels of pandemonium one day when he mentioned that the best male athletes are always stronger, faster, and more impressive than the best female athletes. On a purely scientific level, yeah, you can't disprove that (world records for universal "best" are currently all held by men). But the problem comes from us defining women's abilities based on the standard we've supposedly agreed upon, which is currently "man."

Are you fucking kidding me? The standard isn't "man", it's "human". Or in the case of the sports being referred to, it's actually usually universal. Concepts like "time", "distance" and "mass" aren't some sexist ploy by the evil patriarchy to keep women down. If one person runs a certain distance in 9.58 seconds, and another runs it in 10.49, then the first is objectively better (if the goal is to run as fast as possible).

But I digress. What I want to get at is that anti-sexism arguments are often extremely sexist. This article is a prime example. Take for instance Chris' third category of women in entertainment: "men". Defined as "it's a woman, but it might as well have been a man". Yeah, that just means that's she's human and that the type of her genitals didn't matter terribly to the task at hand. That is pretty much the least sexist you can get. To suggest that you may as well make a character male if s/he doesn't have any distinctly feminine qualities encourages the use of the stereotypes we so dread and reinforces the idea that men are the default and they should be used unless there is a very good reason not to.

I think Dan starts out well. The idea of describing what would make a good female character is a good one that is often sorely missing. Many people are saying that women in fiction shouldn't show female stereotypes, but they should also not just be "men" in the way Dan describes. I would love to see these people describe such a character, because I very much doubt that can be done.

It goes downhill from there. Taking a male character and saying "that is what would make a strong female character" seems kind of ironic, but I don't mind so much. It falls deeply into the "interchangeable gender" pool that Dan seems to despise though. But after that, Chris goes on to talk about how "Protecting your young and drawing power from that is a unique skill that women bring to the table" and that (apparently in contrast to women) men want to impress their fathers. Aren't those the exact kind of stereotypes we are trying to get away from because they are overly broad generalizations (and extremely often false)? Caring for your kids isn't a uniquely female thing. And caring about what your parents think isn't uniquely male. It would be far more accurate to say that people in general tend to care deeply for their kids and (the judgment of their) parents. Why make it into a gender thing?

 

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