What's Happening

Troperville

Tools

collapse/expand topics ykttw archive back to Main/SlidingScaleofGenderInEquality

DaBuddah453
topic
09:27:35 PM Jul 24th 2014
Level 3 (Know Your Place, Woman!) is harshly named if only because TropesAreTools and it has a rather brutal view of stories that depict damsels in distress.

As it states currently: Women are useless and most of the time don't contribute anything. If they are in trouble, they can only wait to be rescued. Also, they are never in control of anything - males are always patriarchal leaders and their actions can be questioned only by other males. Most of the purest and straightest (which means those that will never change) examples of The Load and/or Damsel in Distress are here.

It seems, well, a little harsh of an explanation. Most of these stories takes place/were created at a time where this wasn't viewed negatively by men OR women. I suggest a more neutral wording as follows:

Women Are Delicate: Women are not starring roles. If they are they serve as a love interest to the protagonist. Men will treat women as a flower at their best, or as an annoyance at worst. Women are competent at things society deemed "feminine" at the time of creating the work.

Or just add it as a new category altogether. I just see a lot of anti-male descriptions in the trope pages as to how these scales are described. If we're going on sexist based offenses, why not give the women ones as harsh describing factors as men's?
SeptimusHeap
moderator
01:51:03 AM Jul 25th 2014
Well, that section of the page describes strongly sexist works. Now I can see a rewrite, but I would leave Women Are Delicate out of it - it's not the only applicable qualifier.
Laevatein
topic
05:28:48 AM Jun 1st 2014
Gundam: The page lists Zeta and Wing at level 5 (almost perfect equality) which is too high considering the female characters' importance in the story. With the possible exception of Turn A (and Ecole du Ciel if we're counting manga), IMO no Gundam work earns above 4 here.
ServerusSnope
topic
10:57:15 PM Apr 13th 2014
Would Pokemon still be in Level 4 after Generation VI? It introduced Diantha, the third female champion (after B 2 W 2 promoted Iris to the position) who brings the male-female ratio of champions up to 5-3... (in contrast to 4-1 back in early 5th Gen.)

...and two female rivals (assuming the player character is male:) Serena, who plays the same role in the story as Calem in being the most battle-oriented rival of the group, and Shauna, the Genki Girl who turns out to be more helpful than she looks (and badass. She has a Goodra in your final battle with her.)
DACB
topic
10:20:31 AM Dec 16th 2013
I'm not sure One Piece warrants being at Level 5—it seems to me like it's much more Level 4. Amongst the protagonists, men outnumber women 7 to 2; of those two women, one is, generally speaking, useless in combat (Nami), and while the other does have some very respectable abilities of her own, she is still inferior to the two main combat types, being Luffy and Zoro. Furthermore, both female protagonists have entire arcs (or, in Robin's case, two arcs) dedicated to them being captured and needing to be saved, always by their male counterparts. Nami even breaks down and begs her captain for assistance whilst sobbing. The counterbalance that was offered by the author of the post on the current version of the page refers to the capture, rescue, and subsequent death of Ace; however, I don't feel this is an adequate reason for justifying "Almost Perfect Equality," seeing as a), Ace was rescued by another male character, which speaks to the abilities of men, rather than women, in the world of One Piece, and b)there are still plenty of instances of male characters possessing agency of their own and never needing to be bailed out by female characters.

Furthermore, among non-main character protagonists and antagonists, women are even less represented. The leaders of the World Government are all known to be men, the Shichibukai include only one woman out of seven, the Supernovas have eleven members, only one of whom is female, and so on; as a general rule of thumb, any organization with named members (or members whose identities are distinct from one another), will include only one woman, with the exception of the Straw Hat Pirates as discussed above.

Women in the One Piece universe are also portrayed in a very stereotypical light. The most obvious example of this is the fact that the vast majority of female characters are designed with fanservice in mind, but extends to personalities and even entire character concepts, as well. The character of Kalifa, for instance, has the catchphrase, "That's sexual harassment," which she utters in response to such instances as being referred to by name by her boss. Of particular note is the character of Boa Hancock, presented as possessing extraordinary power; however, all of her power literally comes from her sexuality. The Devil Fruit which gave her her power is referred to as the "Mero Mero no Mi" or "Love Love Fruit." Of equal note is the fact that shortly after her first appearance, she falls hopelessly in love with the main character and continues to fantasize and even (literally) swoon after him in subsequent portrayals.

In summation, One Piece should be moved from Level 5 to Level 4, because its portrayal of female characters consistently lowers them to fanservice, damsels in distress, tokens, or clingy in-universe fangirls.
Sikon
topic
12:06:25 AM Dec 29th 2011
There is logically one more level: a society that has none of our genders. Say, a truly gender-neutral society with no men or women. Can't think of examples, though, except a non-notable novel I'm writing.
MercuryInRetrograde
11:07:20 AM Dec 29th 2011
Slap it up on the web somewhere and cite it. :)
Dauq
topic
04:44:45 PM Oct 11th 2011
Whole scale seems imbalanced because level 1 doesn't seem to match the rest as an "extreme" (or correspond in any way to level level 9). It should refer to in-story, in-universe inequality rather than just having male major characters.

I mean come on the Hobbit is at the extreme end of the inequality scale past things like Gor ?

wmarti185
topic
01:35:16 PM Jun 16th 2011
edited by wmarti185
I'm a little surprised that the all-female Asari from Mass Effect have not been brought up here as an example of a level 9 culture - perhaps slightly closer to the center, if one takes the individuals with a more masculine demeanor as being the 'males' within that culture, but even then only in the perception of other species. While it's true that they don't see a meaning in terms like "male" and "female," most every other species perceives them as being female, and even their terminology becomes translated as using feminine pronouns and identifiers (matriarch, etc.). As demonstrated in the female Sheperd/Liara romantic subplot - and the nature of Liara's own parentage - the Asari don't even need the other creature to be a male for reproduction to work, and they exhibit extraordinary combat and political acumen even when taken out of their cultural element (Mariarch Benezia and her Asari Commandos, the Asari member of the Citadel Council, etc.).
Sikon
12:04:40 AM Dec 29th 2011
Why does everyone write the names of Mass Effect species with a capital letter? :/
MercuryInRetrograde
topic
05:42:57 PM Apr 1st 2011
edited by MercuryInRetrograde
I'm going to edit this to reflect some refinement on this scale. Also get rid of some of the hysteria and make things more symmetrical. I also think there are too many gradations.

For each number I'm thinking of putting a neutral and a sexist interpretation.

For example:

Level One: There are No Women.

Neutral: Women aren't in the story because the setting precludes having female characters. It's assumed that there are women in the world outside of the limited setting of the story and no statement on the worth or abilities of women is made by the story.

Not Neutral: Women aren't in the story and it's shown that the absence of women results in a utopia, thus strongly implying that women have a serverely negative effect on men and society.

Level Two: Limited women.

Neutral: The setting precludes having many female characters and limits the roles they can play in the story. Ex. Historical settings, military settings, other cultures etc.

Not Neutral: The author chose to have few female characters and those female characters are limited to certain roles either due to author appeal or to make a statement about the worth and abilities of women as less then men. Women are seen to have a positive function in society, but that positive function is noticeably inferior to men's.

Level Three: Men are more Dimensional.

Neutral: The numbers of male and female characters are not equal and favor male characters. However there is a plausible or legitimate reason for this disbalance.

Not Neutral: The numbers of male and female characters either favor male characters or are equal. However female characters are more constrained in their characterization and their function in the plot then male characters. This statement can be negative or positive about women. Ex. A fantasy culture in which women could, theoretically, be equal but instead usually function in more limited roles versus a children's show in which there are more male characters but the female characters are vastly superior in intelligence and common sense. In both positive and negative characterizations female characters are still relegated to being one dimensional.

Level Four: Equality

Male and female characters are roughly equal in number. Their characterization is also equally complex and in-depth. Neither male nor female characters are used as plot devices to illuminate the author's opinions on gender (unless the author's opinion is that male and female characters are equal.)

There is no non-neutral version of level four.

Level Five: Women are more Dimensional.

Neutral: The numbers of male and female characters are not equal and favor female characters. However there is a plausible or legitimate reason for this disbalance.

Not Neutral: The numbers of male and female characters either favor male characters or are equal. However male characters are more constrained in their characterization and their function in the plot then male characters. This statement can be negative or positive about men. Ex. Movies in which all the male characters are abusive versus a children's show in which there are more female characters but the male characters are vastly superior in intelligence and common sense. In both positive and negative characterizations male characters are still relegated to being one dimensional.

Level Six: Limited Men.

Neutral: The setting precludes having many male characters and limits the roles they can play in the story. Ex. Convents, harems, all-female military units, etc.

Not Neutral: The author chose to have few male characters and those male characters are limited to certain roles either due to author appeal or to make a statement about the worth and abilities of men as less then women. Men are still seen to have a positive function in society, but that positive function is noticeably inferior to women's.

Level Seven: There Are No Men.

Neutral: Men aren't in the story because the setting precludes having male characters. It's assumed that there are men in the world outside of the limited setting of the story and no statement on the worth or abilities of men is made by the story.

Not Neutral: Men aren't in the story and it's shown that the absence of men results in a utopia, thus strongly implying that men have a severely negative effect on women and society.
Squall
10:12:38 PM Apr 13th 2011
edited by Squall
This is an unbalanced list. Women Rule, Men Obey? What about Men Rule, Women Obey? "Men Are More Equal" automatically mentally connects it to Orwell's Animal Farm, and such unfairness; and right in the writing, implies that women wouldn't get "cool jobs" in such a world. How many worlds might have women being trained as, say, assassins ("cool" job, maybe?), while they still answer to usually-male superiors?

Plenty of political bias potential here, nevermind what's already there.
MercuryInRetrograde
11:13:53 PM Apr 13th 2011
Are you responding to my comment? Because I'm not making the connection between what you've written and what I'm suggesting.
81.86.247.194
topic
07:24:08 AM Aug 16th 2010
I've observed something that's similar to level 6 in an awful lot of kids' TV, but doesn't quite fit. The key points seem to be: - male characters often outnumber female characters - a male character is vastly more likely to be given the Idiot Ball - it's then usually a female character who takes the lead in sorting the resulting mess out...
pinkdalek
04:53:43 AM Jan 1st 2011
You're thinking of The Smurfette Principle combined with Closer to Earth.
wilje1
topic
01:05:41 AM Aug 7th 2010
The point of Buffy was not that women were more powerful than the men. It was that her being female is what makes her a hero—not a girl as a hero in spite of her gender, but a warrior who is good because of her gender. It's definitely a very valid feminist topic. With all the reams of fiction and media portraying males as the lead/hero, is it so hard to give a girl the lead role and have her be a hero?
darkclaw
09:19:38 AM Oct 12th 2011
There's no problem with a woman being a hero, but it goes into Unfortunate Implications when one says "You are a warrior because you're 'male' or 'female'". It excludes one gender and in Real Life, you are not simply born with fighting skills to be a warrior, you have to learn them.
AHEM13133
topic
12:38:54 PM Jul 30th 2010
Should there be another level between type 5 and 6? There seems to be a pretty big jump between "almost perfect equality" and "women are automatically superior." On the other side of the line, we have level 4, "men are more equal" between "male superiority" and "almost perfect equality." However, there seems to be no such equivalent for series halfway between levels 5 and 6, which have "feminine bias" but the women don't outright dominate everything, like The Wheel of Time.
MercuryInRetrograde
09:29:40 PM Aug 14th 2010
edited by MercuryInRetrograde
This could be solved by including two additional levels. One for works in which the world is seen as better off without women and one for works in which women are seen as "more equal".

Thus we get an eleven point scale. Why eleven? Because we like to go one step beyond.
DonaldthePotholer
11:32:46 PM Apr 22nd 2012
edited by DonaldthePotholer
Agree with MiR. There is currently no Female-Preferred equivalent for Level 4 (Men are "more equal"), nor is there a Male-Preferred equivalent for Level 7. Though, in hindsight, the lack of a latter is justified as it's essentially "Women are the cause of all of the problems of the world". Well, justified in the modern era... there may be some stories Older Than Radio with that Family-Unfriendly Aesop.

The "Women are more equal" may be seen in modern DomComs where Parenting the Husband is in play.

As for an 11 point scale, well I've had practice with tables recently and:

OldNewSummary
10No Women in the Work
21"Whores, Whores, Whores"
-2This one is for "Women are a pox"
33Heroism is a Man's Job
44Men are more Equal
55True Equality
-6Women are more Equal
67Heroism is a Woman's Job
78"Can't Live with them, Can't continue the species without them"
89"Women Rule, Men Obey"
90No Men in the Story

So, instead of 1-11, we get 0-10. EDIT: Which, when multiplied by 10%, is an essence for the amount of feminine "influence" in the work.

Yeah, Artistic License - Statistics/Mathaematics, whatever...

AHEM13133
topic
12:27:10 PM Jul 30th 2010
edited by AHEM13133
Is Charmed really a level 6? Aside from the main cast being female, the world portrayed in it is actually closer to a level 5: While the majority of witches we see are female, there are also male witches, who appeared as early as Season 1, and warlocks/whitelighters/ elders/demons can all be either male or female. There are also a lot of recurring male characters who are major players or take active roles, not just supporters, such as Leo, Wyatt, Chris, and Cole Turner. Some of them, like Wyatt, are just as significant to the setting as the Charmed Ones themselves, or more so. Men don't have any restraining bolts placed on them because of their gender, and aren't inherently disadvantaged in any noticeable way, as far as I noticed.

When Wyatt was born, the sisters and Leo all seemed perfectly fine with the idea of the first of the next super-charmed generation being a male, as if there was nothing wrong with it. The only person who seemed to think that men weren't worthy of the important positions was Grams, and she was explicitly proven wrong and relented in that policy in the episode, Necromancing the Stone.

Unless we can see some real reasons why Charmed would be considered to be a level 6, other than the three primary characters being female, I think it should be a level 5 or "between levels 5 and 6."
PaintByNumbers
topic
04:39:00 PM Apr 24th 2010
Level 1 says that "there may be nothing sexist about it - there can be a legitimate reason for the lack of women", but can't it also be possible to simply not include women (or men) and not be sexist about it? I'm thinking of Tintin here. The only women characters are Bianca Castafiore and her maid, and neither of them are portrayed as being entirely perfect, but I don't see why that would make the entire work sexist, as the description seems to imply.
AHEM13133
06:01:02 PM Sep 15th 2010
In theory, there should be two ways in which one gender is completely absent. The first is that they are simply not seen and not mentioned but do exist in the world (which isn't necessarily sexist), and the other is in which the world is in-universe dominated completely by one gender.

Unfortunately, this scale seems to only acknowledge the former definition for settings without women, and only the latter definition for settings without men. This ignores the possibility of settings in which women really do not exist, and settings in which men exist but the only characters seen are female.
MercuryInRetrograde
topic
03:13:24 PM Mar 6th 2010
There doesn't seem to be a correlate to Level Nine for men. So no media exists in which women have been killed off and the world is seen as better for it?
MercuryInRetrograde
08:06:17 PM Mar 29th 2010
Um... okay. So there isn't. I think it's important to point that out because this makes it an asymmetric scale.
LeighSabio
05:43:55 PM Jun 29th 2010
But on the other hand, when a work features level 8 or 9 inequality, it's usualy in an in-universe Lady Land, whereas level 1 or 2 inequality is often an authorial oversight. (Because men are the default gender and women just aren't worth including.)
butterflygrrl
02:53:40 PM Jul 19th 2010
Well, there *is* if you count Gayniggers from Outer Space, but...

There are scifi settings where the females of a species are nonsentient and exist only as lumps to breed from. And some settings have officially no gender, but treat everyone as male anyway.
MercuryInRetrograde
09:17:37 PM Aug 14th 2010
edited by MercuryInRetrograde
Gayniggers is completely incoherent. But I guess There Is No Such Thing as Notability.

So women are overlooked vs. men are actively seen as [[Anvilicious undesirable]]?
AHEM13133
05:57:09 PM Sep 15th 2010
Theoretically, Level One, "There are no women," could be a setting in which women are gone and the world is seen as better off for it. However, it's just that there aren't really any works of fiction that fit that description, so the description given for Level One makes it look like an oversight.

The problem could be solved simply be editing the definition of the level, changing from, "Women are not included for some reason," to "There are no women in the work, for whatever reason." Under that definition, a work in which the world is in-universe completely without women would fall under Level One.

At the same time, shouldn't Level 9 also emcompass works in which male characters are simply not mentioned or absent, in addition to Straw Feminist states with only women?
ykttw archive back to Main/SlidingScaleofGenderInEquality

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy