@Mars' first post
: Strong =/= muscles or fighting. Harry Potter is bursting at the seams with strong female characters, the most shining example of course being Hermione, but then there's McGonagall, Molly Weasley (big time), Narcissa Malfoy (in her way), Luna Lovegood definitely (though she's so spacy, maybe she only seems strong because she doesn't understand the concept of danger :p), Ginny Weasley of course, various secondary student characters, especially in the DA and the Gryffindor Quidditch team, like Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet and Katie Bell. You wouldn't know any of that from the movies (which are so teen dramabomb, especially the latter films, and which turn Hermione into a cliched Hollywood female secondary-protagonist), and I'm not going to take the time to explain why those characters struck me as strong (it'd take too long). I'm just assuring you they are.
lillerina wrote:Harry Potter had the character of Hermione, who was fantastic except that she was constantly ridiculed by the POV character (her supposed best friend). Loaded words like "shrill" were used, and she was portrayed as a nagging busybody.
Are you talking the books or movies? 'cause I didn't see Harry constantly ridiculing Hermione in the books. I can't recall a single instance of what I'd call ridicule, actually. Harry was your typical lazy student who didn't care about school and never wanted to study, and Hermione was a teacher's pet, and so she was always trying to get him and Ron to be more studious, and they constantly complained about that
, but Harry and Ron finding Hermione's enthusiasm for education exhausting hardly seems like ridicule. Not to mention it's realistic.
Though maybe you were referring to something else. Care to list any examples? You don't need exact quotes, I remember the books pretty well, I'll know what you're talking about.
Mars wrote:I'm not trying to diss Harry Potter or say it's sexist, it just seems like the usual male hero and male mentor (Dumbledore) vs. male villain. It's very much a fantasy version of Star Wars, and do we even need to discuss Star Wars stance on the portrayl of women?
Actually I should've mentioned Star Wars in the first post. I'm a fan of science fiction, but because of Star Wars, it's probably reasonable to say that not many people ventured to make another sci-fi franchise because they would've be able to "be better" than Star Wars since it "did the sci-fi genre the best".
I was also a Metroid fan. Samus Aran was a great example of a strong female protagonist. Then "Other M" came out. :(
In my opinion, you can't complain about the gender of a specific character that way. You can't say "I don't like that all the important characters are male." Life isn't equiprobably gender-distributed, why should our stories be? Not every group of friends has a girl, a black guy, an Asian and a kid in a wheelchair. Putting them in just for the sake of it seems much more problematic to me than a cast that happens to be all white males.
You especially can't complain that the protagonist is male in a series like Harry Potter, which has tons of great female characters.
Fellow Metroid fan, by the way. I think I have less of a problem with Other M because I didn't go into it with any expectations. Also because I mentally cordoned off a "my Samus" long ago, and my Samus (the good, old, expy-of-Ellen-Ripley Samus) isn't affected by modern portrayals of the character. Though the portrayals themselves are, of course, problematic. Also, Other M was a fun game, so.
Sonic# wrote:The negative portrayals seem at many points to come from Harry's own point of view. He's a young boy going through school. He's going to have some issues that he's pretty good on (like social justice) and other issues (like his regard for women) that requires work throughout the series. I don't see that being too great of an issue.
Okay, what? I clearly missed something if you and lillerina both saw Harry and his POV as being less-than-enlightened regarding women. The very worst I can remember about Harry regarding women was his indulging in the "girls are an alien species, jeeze oh man, I just can't understand them" attitude along with Ron, and really, that's not that bad for a teenage boy who, in his actions and speech, always treated his female classmates the same as his male, and all his friends and everyone who fought against Voldemort the same regardless of gender, and for that matter race and blood status. I can't remember a single instance of Harry being prejudiced towards any group of people (save Syltherins, of course).
Mars wrote: I'm a fan of science fiction, but because of Star Wars, it's probably reasonable to say that not many people ventured to make another sci-fi franchise because they would've be able to "be better" than Star Wars since it "did the sci-fi genre the best".
I think I could argue that the Alien series was successful and surpassed Star Wars in it's portrayal of women. And as far as rating the movies are concerned, while Empire Strikes Back might be at the top of my list, the Alien movies would come long before Episodes I-III.
Seconded. Ellen Ripley is one of my all-time favorite characters, and easily one of the best, most feminist portrayals of a woman to ever come out of Hollywood.
Rainbow Dolphin wrote:I think there's also a big division when it comes to the age of the target audience. I feel like shows and books and movies targeted toward adult audiences (like Alien and BSG) have FAR more strong female characters than those targeted towards teens and young adults (like Star Wars and Harry Potter and Twilight). And really, it's more important for younger audiences to see that. I mean, I really like Harry Potter and I think Rowling did a good job of incorporating a lot of good, diverse female characters, but the fact is the hero and the mentor and the villian and the hero's chief social rival ARE all white men. I mean, she could have made ONE of those characters a woman. I feel like every female character in Harry Potter was there to fulfill her "woman quota"- one girl to have a feminine element in the main group of protagonists, one female teacher, one mother figure, one love interest for the hero. What I'm trying to say is it seems like all the characters started out as male as default and were only changed to female to serve some kind of purpose.
As a writer myself, this argument really gets my goat. "Ugh, too many white men. Why couldn't the author have made one black or female or something?"
Because for me, the answer is simple -- because the character isn't
black or female or whatever. For me - and I know a lot of other writers besides me are this way - characters just come to me. I don't sit down and say, "okay, what kind of character should I make? What gender? What sexuality? What color? etc." It's not like the Spore Creature Creator, or any given Character Creator from a Western-style RPG, where I start out a character by choosing what it looks like.
Jo Rowling said Harry Potter just "walked into her mind" one day while she was riding the train. She didn't decide to make Harry a white male, he just was
I just think it's completely illegitimate (not to mention sexist in and of itself) to have the attitude of "I wish the author would've made some more of the characters female."
Now, if the portrayals of women in a book are misogynist? Sure, we've got a problem there. But the facts of the characters themselves (what race is any given one of them, what race are most of them, what sex is any given one of them, what sex are most of them, etc.) you really can't complain about unless A) the author says they hand-picked the race and sex of their characters (which most don't, I feel confident saying) or B) the author writes many, many books which, while the stories themselves are diverse, have the same general cast, which would indicate a systematic racial/sexual bias. Otherwise, the fact that Harry Potter is male and not female, white and not Asian, etc. is beyond question.
I mean honestly, how would Harry Potter (the book) be improved if Harry Potter (the character) was, say, a black girl? Or how would that help gender relations or women's rights or such?
lykin005 wrote:Obviously, Mass effect has to be mentioned! Femshep is actually more badass than... Masshep? Anyway Jennifer Hale is just such a boss voice actor that unlike most other female characters in games I can HEAR the veteran soldier badassery in her voice! If by some stretch Jennifer see's this. Kudos! As for boys identifying with female leads. In my youth I did hold some fairly sexist ideas. (Mostly being overprotective and similar such things.) But I've always been cool with female characters who kick ass and or are strong and capable. I blame this on video games oddly enough. (Alongside power ranger's and anime.) I'm a big rpg player and sometimes you play as a women, sometimes a man. I think this combined with my solitary and self reflective life has led me to where I am and has influenced me to adopt feminism and adapt it into my own philosophy. So certainly some boys can identify with girls. (I myself have been strongly influenced by a totally awesome teacher who was with me for... 5 years probably.)
I'm not particularly fond of asskicking female characters in videogames or movies or whatever, myself. Because if you just take a female character and give her a male gender role, that's not progressive, that's not feminist, that's no different than if it was a male character with a male gender role. To me, the thing is either subverting or utterly ignoring gender roles, not switching them.
drunken dragon wrote:If we're talking about video games too, what do people think about Final Fantasy? Aren't there a fair number of female characters in those, as well? The only one I can remember is IX (9), which had Freya, the dragon named after the Norse (is it Norse?) goddess. Skyrim and Fable II and III very fem-friendly as well.
I'm begrudgingly reading The Hunger Games since there's a movie in the works. Honestly I simply wasn't drawn in initially because of the writing, but I guess I'll push through it, now.
Blood And Chocolate had at least two strong female characters. (I'm thinking of the book, not the movie.)
Final Fantasy games are typically pretty decent (especially for Japan) in terms of portrayals of women. Yes, they're all beautiful and most of them are princesses or some such, but they're typically strong of character. Terra, Celes and Garnet immediately come to mind.
Ama wrote:Final Fantasy does have a number of female characters, and some of them are even strong, capable and more or less self reliant, which is bloody amazing given that final fantasy is a japanese series.
I always love it when I type something (I type my replies as I read the topic) and then see that someone else already said the exact same thing.
Ama wrote:I think that's a series that's gotten better about its portrayal of women as it went along, and is noteworthy for one of the games having an all female cast, and for several of the games not having set classes, so you could make your characters do whatever you wanted. On the other hand in nearly ever FF game with set classes, female characters are largely relegated to support classes such as healers, archers or mages, with only a few contrary examples. Also, in the game with an all female cast classes are apparently changed by changing their clothes mid-battle. So it's a pretty mixed bag.
I never played FFX-2. Or FFX for that matter. I always got the impression that FFX-2 was not feminist-friendly at all. All the dressup and karaoke and cliched Japanese cuteness so forth. Am I wrong?
Also, while it's true that most female characters in FF games are healers, archers, etc., I don't see that as problematic in and of itself. Garnet, for instance, is a white mage, but that's irrelevant when you consider how strong a character she is.
Marry hatter ladle limb, itch fleas worse widest snore.
An ever-wear debt Marry win, door lamp worse shorter gore.