Issues with: Faux Action Girl

Total posts: [31]
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I think the definition of this trope is a little too broad. It's meant to be about an Action Girl who is said to be skilled and never gets to show off said skills, usually getting captured or getting her ass kicked by everyone else. I don't see why it still applies if she has the Designated Girl Fight because surely if the fight itself is well done that counts as demonstrating her skills. It seems to have the Unfortunate Implications that she can only qualify as a true Action Girl if she beats up men. And why does it count if she's not in any combat scenes? What about other action scenes where she plays an active role?

There are some examples that really don't belong there. Annabeth from the Percy Jackson movie doesn't qualify in my opinion. She actually outright beats Percy in their first duel and he only draws with her when he uses his powers, meaning she was clearly superior in skill. Then there's the Medusa bit. Yeah she needed to be saved by Percy but then she saved him a few seconds later by driving the truck into the garden that distracts Medusa, allowing Percy to kill her. As for her not doing anything during the final battle with Luke, she didn't have a pair of winged shoes so of course she couldn't do anything. And in her duel with Percy at the end, she gets the upper hand and they are clearly evenly matched. Seems like a proper Action Girl to me. And Katara from The Last Airbender movie definitely doesn't count. Her example gives a reason why she doesn't count as well. I don't think Anna from Van Helsing is an example either considering she drives the carriage successfully through the forest while Van Helsing gets attacked by the brides, she also is able to grab a stake flying through the air while swinging on a wire across two towers and of cours she kills Aleera and does save Van Helsing in the end if you want to get technical.
Generally speaking, a Faux Action Girl will be introduced as competent, usually beating the strongest (or one of the strongest) members of the group as part of The Worf Effect. It's only after that she starts losing competence in favor of getting shoved into the Distressed Damsel role.
3 nrjxll12th Jul 2011 08:18:06 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
Also, a lot of the examples relate to the misuse of Action Girl as "any female character who has a fight scene ever", which we have or had a different thread about already. Giving the Distressed Damsel some amount of competence doesn't mean that she's actually being set up as an Action Girl, especially in more recent works. I think a fair amount of supposed Faux Action Girls were never meant to be Action Girls in the first place - they simply weren't meant to be totally useless either. I'm not saying that this trope doesn't exist, or even that most of the examples are wrong, but I don't think this page would have as many issues if Action Girl wasn't such a messed-up trope in its own right.
4 Deboss12th Jul 2011 08:22:39 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
We could make a TRS for Action Girl. I can think of several restrictions I could apply that might clean it up some. I've seen characters named that never even got into a (person to person) fight.
5 nrjxll12th Jul 2011 08:27:20 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
There was a TRS thread for Action Girl. It died off because no one could figure out what to do and eventually it got locked.

There were also some issues about whether it was becoming less of a trope as fiction slowly becomes more gender-neutral - Action Guy isn't a trope, after all - and what its exact relation to Action Hero was. Come to think of it, Action Hero needs fixing too - it's widely viewed as part of a triumvirate with Science Hero and Guile Hero, but the page itself is about summer blockbuster Hollywood action film heroes.
So should the trope be reworked to remove the Designated Girl Fight necessity?
7 nrjxll19th Jul 2011 04:48:20 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
Certainly - I've never understood the relation of that trope to this. On another note, I'm beginning to wonder if there's actually two tropes here: Informed Action Girl and Quickly Demoted Action Girl. The first is where I think most of the problems with Action Girl come into play - basically, it's "Action Girl as Informed Ability". The second would be the Worf Effect-related version we've discussed - she's introduced as equally competent with the male characters, but doesn't stay that way. I'm not sure if there's enough difference for a split, but I do think that these are two distinct "flavors" of this trope.
I don't think that's a relevant distinction. The latter has Action Girl as an Informed Ability, she just "proves" it a couple times. That's a pretty common case with any Informed Ability.
The link to the page wasn't a Wiki Word; fixed.

It looks like the relationship with Designated Girl Fight is trying to accuse the writers of Unfortunate Implications, not exhibiting them itself. That actually sounds like a different trope - Only Competent Against Girls, perhaps?
Well Demoted Action Girl is really Chickification isn't it? A girl that gets Chickified isn't necessarily a Faux Action Girl is she?
If someone demonstrate during a show an ability, then it cannot be an Informed Ability. Thus, a girl who is an Action Girl and demonstrate it, even once, cannot be a Faux Action Girl. This trope is often confused with

  • Badassin Distress(when the girl has proved to be an Action Girl but was against a stronger foe than her)
  • Distress Ball(when the girl proved her ability but let herself be kidnapped/beaten for plot)
  • Skilledbut Naive(when the girl isn't a competent fighter at first but becomes so after some fight).

I think that at least a quarter of the examples of that page are wrong
Why not sharpen the definition to a gender specific Badass in Distress, then? Well, not strictly, but considering that these women almost always have to be saved at the climax of the story and that we rarely see enough of them to consider their predicament an exception, I think that could work.
Because it's not the same trope. Faux Action Girl is Action Girl as an Informed Ability, and a girl who is Badass is automatically a true Action Girl. Thus, a Badass in Distress can't be a Faux Action Girl. However, this can be a new trope.
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Why does Badass in Distress need to be split by gender?
15 NoirGrimoir31st Oct 2011 11:49:41 PM from San Diego, CA , Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
Rabid Fujoshi
It doesn't.

Though I disagree that if a character shows they are badass at least once they are automatically a true Action Girl. Look at Sakura. She has had a battle or two that showed should she could kick butt, but they are so inconsistent and she is so often relegated to useless, that all those action-moments are essentially Throw the Dog a Bone.

I could see an Inconsistent Badass trope that would accept those examples, though.

edited 31st Oct '11 11:50:33 PM by NoirGrimoir

SPATULA, Supporters of Page Altering To Urgently Lead to Amelioration (supports not going through TRS for tweaks and minor improvements.)
I'm just looking for a stable definition. The main thing is that she's useless when push comes to shove, right?
In part 1, Sakura wasn't at first described as a badass, but at someone who was very good at theory, in which she surpass Naruto and Sasuke without question. However, she was never described as being good at fight, so she isn't in part 1 a true Faux Action Girl. In part 2, she has became a true Action Girl. She isn't in the uber stong tier, but she belongs to the strong tier without any question. I would admit that she is not much when compared to Naruto or Sasuke, but that could be said of almost all the character of the Naruto verse.
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
[up] yeah, that's more Overshadowed by Awesome.

I would think that a character who is more often Damsel in Distress than Badass would qualify as Faux Action Girl.
A pure Damsel in Distress presented as an Action Girl is a Faux Action Girl, yes.
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
That's not what I said.
Sorry, I misread your statement. Then no, because you can't say X has an Informed Ability when that ability was shown. You can however say that the author like to put a lot of Distress Ball on his female characters.
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Ahhh, I missed that earlier. I'm used to a pattern of thesis, explanation, then comparison. The current description keeps switching between comparisons and descriptions.
Faux action girl: A female character whom the audience is supposed to believe is a badass and whom the cast treats as such but is portrayed differently. Useless in a serious fight (likely just gets her shit slapped at the first available opportunity, might hit the villain once or twice and then fall by the wayside to let the hero do the actual fighting), plays the damsel more often than not, stands on the sidelines while the serious fighting is going on when she should be joining on the fray (might dispatch a mook or two), etc.

May be introduced as an actual action girl and fall into being a faux action girl later.

And of course, if there's some kind of plot-related reason why she's not fighting or up to her prime (and thus not behaving like her usual action girl self), then she's not typically a faux action girl.

tl;dr: A faux action girl is when we're told that a female character is an action girl but shown otherwise.
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Where's the line? When does being a badass become an informed ability?
25 nrjxll4th Dec 2011 09:16:46 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
It would be much clearer to answer that question if Badass wasn't quite vague itself, but I do know that simply winning a few fights would not qualify a character as a badass - but it wouldn't necessarily equate to them being an "informed badass" either.

Total posts: 31
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