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rimpala
topic
08:07:34 AM Feb 19th 2014
I'm confused because I've seen all of the Disney examples given as Reactionary Fantasy examples before, though not on this site, and Everything Is Racist might have in play.
harostar
topic
01:42:35 PM Jan 14th 2014
edited by 184.5.240.239
Since there seems to be some confusion and disagreement concerning this, I'm going to lay out my argument that Attack on Titan fits this trope. I have seen it argued that it lacks a female protagonist, which is patently not true.

Mikasa is a Protagonist equal to Eren, with as much screen time and attention given in merchandise. Moreover, the dynamic between the Male and Female protagonist in this series throws the usual dynamic between a male and female lead on its head. Eren is the valuable person that often requires protection or rescue, while Mikasa is the Hero that protects and saves him. We also see a reversal of the typical dynamic where the woman is the emotional one and the male is the one that acts/gets things done.

People's thoughts?

guyy
02:00:35 AM Jan 16th 2014
All of the above is true, but some counterpoints:

Eren is still technically the main character, and is more powerful than Mikasa (in Titan mode), though less skilled. I haven't read the manga, but I can't think of a time when Mikasa successfully saved or protected Eren, other than pre-military-training. Eren saves her from some titans early in the show. Later, she attempts to save him from the Female Titan, but fails, forcing Levi to injure himself while saving both of them.

And the kidnapping scene from her backstory is the most problematic thing of all. We already knew that her life revolved around Eren to an unhealthy extent, and then we learn that her will and ability to fight both come from Eren's heroic rescue and inspiring speech. If not for that, she could be seen as a realistic and feminist character, but that scene eliminated both for me.

The irony of Attack on Titan is that it does have some effective, not-dependent-on-men-for-everything female characters—as I understand, humanity's entire ability to fight Titans at all is based on Hange's sciencing—but the main female character is probably the worst one in that regard.
harostar
10:30:40 PM Jan 16th 2014
edited by 128.143.9.237
Mikasa repeatedly rescues or protects Eren throughout the series, particular later in the manga (recent story arcs have focused on a Damseled Eren and Mikasa leading the charge to save him). As I stated, the male lead is valued not for actions but for what he is and must be protected. Instead, the female lead is valued for action and is a physical force.

I think one issue in viewing Mikasa's character is that you need to look at her from the perspective of the intended Audience. One of the most important tenants of Japanese society is Duty and Obligation. One person devoting their efforts to protecting and aiding someone they owe a great debt to is /very/ common in Japanese mythology and culture. It has nothing to do with a woman being submissive or needing a man. Check out the Pillars of Moral Character entry for more on that. In particular:

''On (恩) The best translation for this term would be "Reciprocity". On is a virtue that requires the individual to acknowledge and repay debts he owes, including debts of honor. A source of I Owe You My Life situations.

Gimu (義務) Can be interpreted as "Piety". If one owes a debt (including a debt of honor) but cannot repay it, Gimu encourages the debtor to show allegiance to the debt-holder in lieu of true payment. ''

Western audiences have an unfortunate tendency to judge an Asian woman that follows their culture's values as a negative representation of a woman. I've seen it with Disney's Mulan, with Mako in Pacific Rim, and with Mikasa as well. It's kind of a really ugly attitude, as it basically invalidates incredibly strong female characters based on judging another culture's values as inferior based on not understanding them.

In fact, a lot of fans had issue with the anime for handling of Mikasa and Annie, and their interactions with Eren. They kind of try to add more Ship Tease elements into their relationship, where as in the manga it is incredibly ambiguous whether Eren or Mikasa even views the other in anything but a platonic fashion. Annie's role was reduced, removing scenes of her acting as his mentor.

(Do we even need to go into how his "rescue" didn't go as planned, because Eren is pretty close to a male Faux Action Girl with his tendency to write checks his body cannot cash, requiring a woman to save him?)
StraightMaleYaoiFan
topic
06:58:23 AM Dec 20th 2013
edited by 2.222.16.248
FMA is the most un-Feminist thing I’ve ever seen from a woman. All the female characters but two (Olivier and maaaybe Izumi), are attached to, serve, or are in the shadow of men (Ala Never a Self-Made Woman), are Faux Action Girls, easily defeated by the (mostly male) enemies, and therefore being damsels-in-distress at one point or another (I'm not one of those people who scream sexism or faux action girl when she is defeated, but there is a difference between getting defeated and getting taken out easily and needing rescuing):

  • Riza: even though she is a tough gunslinger (and that fact that she is a sniper fits into the Guys Smash, Girls Shoot crap), Riza was made a bit of a Damsel in Distress as The Führer made her, like Winry to Edward, a hostage to keep Roy in check. She was also twice made into a complete Damsel in Distress when she was attacked by Gluttony, and later, when she had her throat slit. Despite her skills, she was saved on both occasions, the first time (the Gluttony one) by men! Not to mention that because she had her though slit, she could not take direct part in the final battle.
    • Then there is the scene is Riza crying when she thought Roy was dead. Do we ever get a scene where the man is crying and screaming because he thinks the woman he loves is dead? Even if there is a scene like that, the man does not cry most of the time. Not only this, but she begged for death just because her man was dead! What kind of woman does that?! A weak-minded, pathetic, man-pleasing, submissive one, which is who I hope women like that do not exist in real life (though I have a feeling do)! How can Riza be 'so strong' if she has this, a female character trait showing the weakest of will and self-believe/respect? It does not show she cares, it just shows she is as weak as a non-fighting female (like Winry and Orihime).

  • Lan Fan: Ran Fan (a ninja) was made a blatant Damsel in Distress when Wrath attacked her (taking out with just ONE HIT!) and she was rescued and protected by Ling, a boy, and the person she was supposed to be protecting! It pissed me off. Why build her up to be this competent bodyguard only to [[Chickafy Chickification]] her before she does any protecting?! Classic Faux Action Girl.
    • There’s even a picture of Ran Fan appearing weak and helpless, while Ling has one arm wrapped around her and the other clutching his sword in front of her. The roles should have been reversed, as it is her job to protect!
    • Oh, and because she received this injury and had to cut off her arm, she was out of the majority of the story while Ling received all the adventure and attention!

  • Mei: Well, she STARTED off as an independent (and averting the Never A Self-Made Women tropes of the other females), used Rentanjutsu and marital arts, but she still cried many times. Like when she lost Xiao Mei (though I guess that is understandable, as she knew her for so long and they were good friends), when Alphonse gave himself over to the gate to restore Edward's arm in Manga Chapter 107 and when she thought Alphonse was gone.
    • Just like Riza and Ran Fan, she had to be rescued/saved and was motivated by some stupid crush (no MALE character was crushing on anyone/doing something purely because of that). This happens every time she attacked Father. In both incidents, like Ran Fan before here, it takes ONE HIT to defeat her and leave her needing rescue and protection by a guy!

I copied this from somewhere (edited it to be more my tone, a bit too posh for me xD), but it is still exactly what I think.

Not to mention Winry is a crybaby, a ditz and a coward (She couldn't even shoot her parent’s killer and let a guy protect her). Because nothing say “I’m a strong woman!” like supporting chivalry and chauvinism. Let’s not forget that when she finally grew a backbone, she soon goes right back into waiting around like a pathetic little dear. Oh. and her job doesn't make her 'feminist' as her personality is completely unsuiting and is just a way to attach her to Ed (other clients or not). If, say, she were fixing cars, and on the side, and the story showed Ed was not the most important thing in her life, maybe.

You want a Feminist Fantasy? Look at “Claymore”, “Black Lagoon” and “Sailor Moon”. Hell, "Attack on Titan" is one if you ignored Misaka's turning into a Badass being because of Eren 'saving' her (or, being chauvinistic by saving her) and Anne (or is it Anna?) being trained and made the way she is by her dad. Most people are gonna say some Feminazi shit like "You can't judge! You have a penis". But I'm waaay more a feminist than say...Joss Wheaton (yeah, I went there, Mister Loves-his-Damsels-in-Distress).

If I made any typos, sorry. I ain't the best of writers.
harostar
03:10:00 AM Dec 24th 2013
edited by 128.143.9.234
Sensing a lot of the typical hate that gets lobbed at female characters, as opposed to a genuine critique of the series. I adjusted my writeup to better reflect the Feminist themes and elements within the series. It sounds less like valid points and more like you just plain hated the series. That is fine to not like the series, but that.....really isn't the same as a rational, critical review.

We have a society that is extremely equal, especially considering that it is modeled to be an equivalent to the beginning of the 20th century. Women are presented as having equal opportunity to excel in any field they choose, with many examples of women in typically male-dominated fields. We see many female soldiers and officers, we see doctors (as opposed to nurses), mechanics, merchants, and business owners.

With the very purposeful exception of Lust, the female characters are not treated as sexual objects or a source of cheap fanservice. This is especially noteworthy since it is a Shounen series, which often sticks female characters in skimpy outfits with plenty of pantyshots.

You also make multiple false statements and misrepresentations of the actual events within the series. As I already said, it is fine if you simply don't care for a series. However, please don't present it as a fair and balanced evaluation when it is very clearly just Fan Hate.

Yes, several of the women in the series are presented as love interests or potential ones. But we see a lot more equality and respect going on then is typical in such situations. They're proactive, varied in personality and looks, and play vital roles in the series beyond "designated victim". So what if they might cry in absolutely horrible circumstances? The series is a very emotional one at times, with some incredibly tragic moments where the person who doesn't cry is explicitly shown to have serious emotional issues.
harostar
03:46:12 AM Dec 24th 2013
edited by 184.5.240.239
I'm going to go ahead and address your other troubling statements, while we're at it. For someone claiming to have feminist ideals, you sure rely a lot on very negative and troubling attitudes.

1. Straw Feminist arguments.

2. Emotions are not weakness, and showing emotion is not the automatic sign of a weak character.

3. Romantic relationships do not automatically invalidate a work having feminist themes. Rather, it can be another way to explore them.

4. Gross misrepresentation and distortion of facts in order to bash female characters, a common issue in fandom. Belittling and making things up to deny their importance, their strength, or their positive equalities is a pretty ugly thing that gets aimed at female characters.

5. There are types of strength besides "face smashing", and a good feminist work acknowledges them by allowing female characters to be more than just the "Tough Chick" (re: Guy with Boobs) and the Girly Girl love interest.

These attitudes are not good, as they are used to undermine and shove women into little boxes. A woman that shows emotion is labeled weak, and a woman who is not a bigger badass than everyone else is labeled a damsel. A woman can have a relationship without being "pathetic" and "man-pleasing". A woman can choose whatever role or path makes her happiest, and shouldn't be judged if she's a career soldier or a housewife. Both are equally valid choices in life.

Vasha
topic
12:08:46 PM Oct 11th 2013
I’m not sure that works without female main characters belong on this page. It seems to me that this trope is somewhat narrow in scope: it doesn’t just mean fantasy that is feminist (or more feminist than the dismal average, anyhow), it is a perhaps-not-well-chosen name for works starring strong women in lead roles. Yes, this discussion has been had before, see above; I am once again moving some works that maybe don’t belong to the discussion page. Go ahead and disagree with me!
  • Attack on Titan has earned considerable praise from fans for its complex and respectful portrayal of female characters and its lack of fanservice. Female soldiers wear the exact same uniform as their male peers, and are treated no differently. Traditional tropes concerning gender roles are either completely ignored, or more often subverted without the cast treating it as unusual or a big deal.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni deserves a mention where despite having a male protagonist, his female companions are all well written with their own quirks, flaws, and interesting spins on their character archetypes. By the finale, they all survive by working together using their unique talents, with neither one overshadowing the other.
  • Claymore, arguably.
  • Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer
    • [Vasha’s note: the page for this work says it was directed at a male audience]
  • Simoun
    • [Vasha’s note: all-female cast but crammed with fanservice... I dunno...]
  • Y: The Last Man explores the fate of the last surviving human male after a disease kills the rest of the gender. Hence the world is exclusively populated by women, allowing for the exploration of a range of gender-based ideas and assumptions, and women form almost all the characters.
  • Although With Strings Attached is about The Beatles and hence has four male main characters, the world they're sent to has complete equality of the sexes. In fact, all of the leaders they meet on the worlds they visit are female: Grynun, Kerrun, Aurion, Brox (sort of), Amelia, and the queen of the Warrior Women. And the female Shag is the leader of the Fans and the instigator of the entire adventure.
    • Notably, the world that Jeft put together himself is male-centric.
  • How to Train Your Dragon counts in the sense that in the Island of Berk, set centuries ago, the participation of women in combat as equals beyond rank is simply taken as a given.
  • In The Chronicles of Prydain, Eilonwy has a somewhat larger role than girls did in most fantasy of its time (1960s). She is shown to be just as capable as any of the other main characters. General protests aside (most of which are more centered around the fact that it's improper for a noble girl like herself to go to battle, and not necessary because she's female), everyone generally accepts that she's going to be coming along.
  • The Wheel of Time is not feminist per se, but at least half the main characters are female, and women in general have some sort of dominance in the world, most cultures being either outright matriarchal (Ebou Dar, the Sea Folk and Far Madding come to mind) or giving equal rights to both men and women (most village have both a male Village Council and a female Women's Circle, the Aiel being ruled by both the clan chiefs and the Wise Ones).
  • The Beyonders is an unusual variation. The primary viewpoint character/protagonist, Jason, is male. However, the secondary protagonist, Rachael, is female, and she's very Genre Savvy about the gender inequalities inherent in a Standard Fantasy Setting (or any adventure story, really) and is not only highly displeased with them, she's intent on defying them. After "taking a cliff"—I.E., a huge risk—for her friends, she earns their respect massively.
    • A similar theme exists in the author's previous series, Fablehaven. The one of the main heroes is a girl named Kendra, and one of her allies is an elderly gentleman, Coulter Dixon, who will not willingly put a woman in danger or ask for one's help on a dangerous mission. This frustrates Kendra to no end, but as the series wears on, Coulter lightens up after seeing what Kendra (and her Badass Grandma Ruth) can do.
  • Final Fantasy X has aspects of this. While most of the focus is on Decoy Protagonist Tidus and his relationship with his new friend Wakka and enigmatic mentor Auron, they are actually mostly just some dumb muscle, who do a rather poor job of being Yuna's bodyguard. But as the story progresses, it becomes more apparent that Yuna and her guardian Lulu are actually on a quest to save the world and are pretty much pulling all of the weight, while the men are too preoccupied with their own problems to really grasp what's all going on right next to them. Auron seems to be aware, but consciously chooses to let the women run the show while interferes as little as possible. While Yuna falling in love with a man is what eventually makes all the difference, it's not that she leaves the role of being the hero who saves the world to him, but rather that she decides to get what she wants for a change, and not simply doing what is taught and expected by tradition. Which happens to be represented by a council of old men.
    • Final Fantasy XIII has an overall equal ratio of capable men to women, but the women in particular have a more active role to the story in taking mentorship (Lightning) and protectorate (Lightning again, and Fang even more so) roles, not to mention that the plot was instigated by Serah and Cocoon was eventually saved through Fang and Vanille's sacrifice.
  • Persona4features four female characters in the main party, all of whom are very different, nuanced and well written examples of female characters.
  • Though far from perfect, the Fire Emblem games to have a large amount of female characters that run the gamut of femininity from Clerics and leaders of Incorruptably Pure Pureness to badass buttkickers who revel in combat and war.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening deserves special merit, as one of its three lead characters is a well rounded woman and the player's Avatar character can be male or female with no change in how they are written or thought of by the in game characters (except in matters of romance).
  • Several arcs and episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender have feminist themes. The Kyoshi Warriors, Katara challenging Pakku for the right to learn combat waterbending, and Toph's entire existence all prove that it's okay to be a girl and be kickass at the same time. Even more "traditional" women in the show such as Yue, Ursa, and Kya have a quiet strength about them and heavily impact the plot in ways that don't involve fighting. And with six recurring female characters in Katara, Toph, Suki, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee, the show has plenty of examples of different kinds of kickass girls instead of just one archetype.

harostar
09:56:04 PM Nov 9th 2013
edited by 128.143.9.221
Chiming in on the ones I'm familiar with.

  • Attack On Titan: Mikasa is a lead as well (they have a main trio), and the cast is well-balanced between the genders. Female characters occupy several important roles, and are treated not only as equals by their peers but handled respectfully by the author as capable individuals rather than stereotypical "Strong Female Character". By this, I mean the strength of the women is not treated as unique, nor does it require some of the over-the-top bringing down of men sometimes used to show that a female character is "strong". Instead, you've got an ideal where women are just as capable as their male peers, respected for their abilities rather than looks, and no one thinks it's odd if a girl is strong. But it also has many nuances in terms of the female characters, and the plot centers strongly on several of them through their choices and actions, rather than them being damsels or objects to be won. We also have women everywhere in the background, in all roles and walks of life.

  • Claymore is almost entirely a female cast, all strong and capable warriors that are noted to be better suited to their task than the failed Male generation. It has a strong focus on the friendships, rivalries, and driving goals of the women.

  • Angelic Layer: Went back to fresh my memory, and while it aims at a male audience with the standard Shonen Fighting Tournament....I don't think that automatically means it doesn't fit here. It focuses on a female protagonist's journey, and placing her into a role typically played by a male protagonist (I'm gonna be the strongest! I'm gonna be the champion!) while focusing on her growth and the bonds she develops.

  • Final Fantasy X: Yuna is the true protagonist of the story, with Tidus merely as the audience surrogate viewing her journey from girl intending to martyr herself to a strong, capable woman that chooses her own path.

  • Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning is considered the first outright Female protagonist of the Final Fantasy series (as opposed to having a male decoy), and the plot is primarily driven by the women in the story. The expanded universe of the trilogy focuses on a Goddess, and the women connected to her in their roles as saviors, seers, and champions.
Vasha
11:50:43 PM Nov 10th 2013
Your detailed contributions are very informative. I agree, given what you say, you should add Final Fantasy X back again.
harostar
12:00:08 AM Nov 14th 2013
Thanks, I noticed a lot of entries didn't have much in terms of information. So I'm trying to brush things up, as I notice them.

I'm debating whether the second installment in Final Fantasy X could count as well. It has a lot of fanservice, but is also focuses on female protagonists forging their own path and saving the world. Not only do we have Yuna trying to have adventures and enjoy the life she once intended to give up, but also the underlying quest to find/save her Love Interest along the way.
harostar
02:24:39 AM Nov 17th 2013
Hmmm. Opinions on this one thing I am torn about?

For the Final Fantasy XII entry, I am debating if it is worth it to add mention of the Viera. They are a matriarchal Hidden Elf Village with ties to the primal mystical force of the world, and are either Wood Warders (warriors) or Salve Makers (Healers and Seers).

The one issue that makes me unsure if their physical design, which is exotic Feral Rabbit Women that don't tend to wear much clothes. (Possibly justified in that they seem to live primarily in a jungle?)

http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Viera

Thoughts?
Vasha
09:14:17 AM Nov 17th 2013
Having looked at that, I say nah. Pretty much fanservice directed at male players, "matriarchy" or no.
hcobb
topic
01:33:45 PM Sep 20th 2011
Girl is the measure of all things.

If you want to show off your brave new world, toss an ordinary girl in.

No?

Then how about Oz, Wonderland, Neverland, Twilight, Gauken Alice, etc.

If the setting is a more ordinary world then grab a boy from Huck Finn to Kyon to Potter.

Girls explore the world, boys explore themselves. ;-)
MercuryInRetrograde
topic
08:20:51 PM Apr 21st 2011
"Something like eighty percent of media aimed at children have male main characters."

Is there anything that actually supports this statistic?

When I watch media aimed at children I see endless cartoons with female main characters or male and female main characters in which the female characters are far more competent in almost every way.
Sikon
topic
12:58:14 PM Jan 26th 2011
I... think... this is overly broad as a trope. It lumps obvious Author Tracts about how men are eeeevul and women would be better off without them (Herland etc) with more or less regular works that just happen to feature a female protagonist. And seriously... Evangelion? Do we really need to shoehorn it into everything?
Vasha
04:01:28 PM Jan 26th 2011
edited by Vasha
Yeah, I'm really not sure what the person who created this trope wanted. I for one am interested in speculative fiction that explicitly examines gender issues (which is not equivalent to "men are eeevul"), but that's really too broad to be a trope. Perhaps it would be better as an index.

And there are a lot of female protagonists, that's for sure; there are even "strong" ones in stories that are decidedly sexist if you think about them. What's the point of listing them?

We could make a Sugar Wiki page for "strong female protagonists that This Troper admires or identifies with."
holydoubleidentity
06:36:45 AM Jan 5th 2012
This entry definitely needs work- how "feminist" a work is can certainly be debated, therefore there seems to be something decidedly subjective about this.
RebelFleetTroper
12:24:30 AM Mar 22nd 2013
edited by RebelFleetTroper
I know I'm late to this discussion, but does anyone object to re-adding the Honor Harrington series?

1) It features societies with essentially complete gender equality, and a future in which such societies are very much the norm.

2) An entire novel is dedicated to one of said societies (the Star Kingdom of Manticore) establishing diplomatic relations with a very gender-unequal society (Grayson) and the complications this produces, written from a point of view that obviously supports Manticore's gender equality as the right approach.

3) The development of Grayson society into a more gender-equal form is a recurrent theme in the rest of the series.

4) Many, if not most, of the central protagonists (including the title character of the main series) are female (admittedly, as discussed above, not a qualifying trait in and of itself, but given all of the above, worth mentioning).

5) I admit I've never read the series with The Bechdel Test in mind, but from memory I'm pretty sure most works in the series (quite probably all of the full-length novels) pass it easily.

Considering all of the above, I think the series is a very solid example compared to some of the ones which were not removed... If not the series as a whole, The Honor of the Queen definitely qualifies.
Fireblood
03:30:06 PM Jul 13th 2013
I think it would be a great addition.
harostar
01:41:25 PM Jan 14th 2014
edited by 184.5.240.239
(Whut, how did this get there?)

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