"Every little girl wants to be a princess, and not everybody can get to be a princess — but you can live up to the ideals that should come along with being a princess."
Do you know why there's so many white male characters in video games? Especially leads? Because no one cares about them. A white male can be a lecherous drunk. A woman can't or it's sexist. Sexualizing women and what all. A white male can be a mentally disturbed soldier who's mind is unraveling as he walks through the hell of the modern battlefield. A woman can't or you're victimizing women and saying they're all crazy. Consider Guybrush Threepwood, star of the Monkey Island series. He's weak, socially awkward, cowardly, kind of a nerd and generally the last person you'd think of to even cabin boy on a pirate ship, let alone captain one. He is abused, verbally and physically, mistreated, shunned, hated and generally made to feel unwanted. Now let's say Guybrush was a girl. We'll call her Galbrush. Galbrush is weak, socially awkward, cowardly, kind of a nerd and generally the last person you'd think of to even cabin boy on a pirate ship, let alone captain one. She is abused, verbally and physically, mistreated, shunned, hated and generally made to feel unwanted. Now, you might notice that I've given the exact same description to both of these characters. But here's where things deviate. While no one cares if Guybrush takes a pounding for being, for lack of a better term, a less than ideal pirate, Galbrush will be presumed to be discriminated against because of her gender. In fact, every hardship she will endure, though exactly the same as the hardships Guybrush endured, will be considered misogyny, rather than someone being ill suited to their desired calling. And that ending. She goes through ALL that trouble to help, let's call him Eli Marley, escape the evil clutches of the ghost piratess Le Chuck, it turns out he didn't even need her help and she even screwed up his plan to thwart Le Chuck. Why, it'd be a slap in the face to every woman who's ever picked up a controller. Not only is the protagonist inept, but apparently women make lousy villains too! And that's why Guybrush exists and Galbrush doesn't. Men can be comically inept halfwits. Women can't. Men can be flawed, tragic human beings. Women can't. And why? Because every single female character reflects all women everywhere.
— The Galbrush Paradox
"Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."
-— William Moulton Marston (creator of Wonder Woman), 1943
"As it is, with when one recognizes that sole responsibility for representing her gender and tackling sexism rests on Peggy-the-character's shoulders, that her actions are outlandishly large to compensate for all those other women who simply aren't there, some of the strain and hyperbole in her characterization becomes more explicable."
—Sophia McDougall, on Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger
"In response to a dearth of women, mainstream comics now turns to the Good Role Model for Girls as a panacea. Spider-Gwen! Spider-Woman! Batgirl! Hawkeye! Black Widow! All the women in X-Men! She-Hulk! Even Suzie in Sex Criminals! And oh, how the little girl marooned in 90s comic dungeons within me sang! It’s a new age, I thought; a turning point. We’re getting somewhere. We’re really going to see a sea change across the most visible sector of comics, from the most mainstream companies. Sure, there are still very few female creators. But that’s coming, right? We’re moving forward. Even the hashtags say so.
The first issues fly by, and I purchase every single one.
And I am bored.
Which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy many of these books, or that I think they have no redeeming qualities. But these brave new heroines can, by and large, be summed up as “smart, nice, vaguely sassy.” There is individual conflict, sure — Barbara's academic work, Gwen’s band, Kate Bishop’s desire for independence — but it’s rarely defining, and never truly risky. Certainly none of these books approach the kind of comedy, pathos, or danger that define the greatest male characters. They’re all a little safe, a little tame, a little quiet."