Follow TV Tropes

Following

Male Roles Vs. Female Roles in Fiction: Discussion/Analysis/Troperwank

Go To

Besserwisser from Planet of Hats
Feb 10th 2013 at 3:45:07 PM

[up] I'd love to see that. It works very well against the Women Are Delicate trope when they not only are perfectly capable but also not restricted by conventional morality.

drunkscriblerian Street Writing Man from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
Feb 10th 2013 at 3:49:39 PM

Men Act, Women Are intersects with Villains Act, Heroes React. Female villains are usually motivated by some strongly female-coded drive such as envy toward the (prettier) heroine, revenge for being jilted by a man, overzealous defense of her children, etc. Most of the exceptions, especially in older works, carry with them the implicit understanding that she is evil because she is usurping a male role.(emphasis mine)

That's an interesting point. However, one does wonder if that is in how we choose to interpret the work or how the creator intended it (yes, I recognize that's a very debatable matter but in terms of gender roles in fiction it remains an important one).

I would love to see more female Corrupt Corporate Executives, General Rippers, and gangsters. The trick is to avoid giving the impression that she falls under the "exception" category described above.

So, how do you think such characters could be portrayed without falling prey to "she's evil because she's trying to be a man" or "look, an exception! Aren't we awesome"? (I'm asking because I'm curious, not because I think its impossible.)

If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed. ~Cora M. Strayer~
ohsointocats from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Feb 10th 2013 at 3:53:44 PM

I'm curious as to what everyone thinks of the gender divide in literature.

Feb 10th 2013 at 4:28:22 PM

look, an exception! Aren't we awesome

You just can't worry about that.

Karalora Manliest Person on Skype from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Feb 10th 2013 at 5:12:58 PM

So, how do you think such characters could be portrayed without falling prey to "she's evil because she's trying to be a man" or "look, an exception! Aren't we awesome"? (I'm asking because I'm curious, not because I think its impossible.)

Give her a heroic foil. Contrast your female General Ripper with a female character who is A Mother To Her Men (And Women). And don't lampshade that they're women every five minutes. Or at all.

Also, Hollywood writers? Please stop having every Badass female character use sex as a weapon. Please.

I'm curious as to what everyone thinks of the gender divide in literature.

Can you be more specific?

edited 10th Feb '13 5:13:45 PM by Karalora

Stuff what I do.
ronin504 Dick Tater Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Dick Tater
Feb 10th 2013 at 9:06:47 PM

I want to say that a good example of a man in a womens role kind of film is Mr Mom. It's been a while since I've seen it but I'm pretty sure that was the premise, mostly I just remember that Michael Keaton is awesome.smile

Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand!
GAP Formerly G.G. from Who Knows? Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Formerly G.G.
Feb 10th 2013 at 9:39:59 PM

Me Too. Wasn't Arnold in that movie?

"Known for preying upon ships at sea, which they surround and subdue with powerful paralysis spells."
Lascoden ... from Missouri, USA
...
Feb 10th 2013 at 9:42:40 PM

[up]You may be thinking of Junior.

edited 10th Feb '13 9:44:00 PM by Lascoden

boop
GAP Formerly G.G. from Who Knows? Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Formerly G.G.
Feb 10th 2013 at 9:45:08 PM

Oh ok

"Known for preying upon ships at sea, which they surround and subdue with powerful paralysis spells."
drunkscriblerian Street Writing Man from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
Feb 10th 2013 at 11:12:46 PM

Also, Hollywood writers? Please stop having every Badass female character use sex as a weapon. Please.

[awesome]This.

If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed. ~Cora M. Strayer~
Gabrael from My musings Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Feb 10th 2013 at 11:57:13 PM

One of my favorite movies that gender swapping would destroy would be Children of Men.

I love how Theo is truly the ordinary guy who is caught up in an amazing situation and stays true to himself while rising to the occasion! I love him for that! I also love how it showed how a father can truly be shattered by the death of his son.

I also loved Julian's character. I see her as the same as Theo in the sense that she also maintained her integrity and sense of self while also showing how women can grieve through action, a right that is normally left for men. (I call it the Punisher effect.)

But these character's genders are important. Theo is both weak and strong. He is the badass hero because he is ordinary, which I think more men deserve to see.

Which brings me to my fave video game that was butchered in movie form because they flipped the genders.

I fucking love Silent Hill. I am a fan girl, so bear with me. But I love it because Harry Mason, an everyman and a writer, is willing to go to hell to find his adopted daughter. I love he's a writer as well because let's be honest, writers aren't really seen as a manly-man profession as compaired to say a firefighter or construction worker.

They also have Cybil who is everything a female character can be done well. She is allowed to be maternal, but shows how one can express a maternal instict with power and discipline normally reserved for only male characters.

Harry and Cybil both were examples of how one can have traditional ideals normally ascribed to their gender but they don't have to be restricted by how these are expressed. I love them for it! They also show how we as a society need these qualities in order to better function as a team. Cybil and Harry balance each other well.

Now we go to the disaster of the movie. The director said in multiple interviews how he could only see this as a mother movie. Which I think only proves he's a fucktard because the whole point of Silent Hill is that a man can love his adopted child so much.

And Radha Mitchell has played so many strong maternal figures from Pitch Black to Man on Fire. But again, that misses the point. Harry was quiet and reserved. Harry wasn't some firey zealot, he just loved his daughter.

So I don't think gender flipping is the best way to see if a work is sexist or not because there are multitudes of works designed to offer some commentary on specific expressions of genders.

"Psssh. Even if you could catch a miracle on a picture any person would probably delete it to make space for more porn." - Aszur
ohsointocats from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Feb 11th 2013 at 12:06:35 AM

I know that on TV Trops we don't usually discuss these sorts of books, but there are definite entire genres that only target women, the idea being, of course, that women read more than men. Especially with children's books, boys won't read books about girls but girls will read books about boys (this is very slowly changing, but it's still considered popular wisdom). YA is currently thoroughly dominated by books intended for girls right now. So. What's up with that?

ronin504 Dick Tater Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Dick Tater
Feb 11th 2013 at 3:20:16 AM

Aren't most YA fiction writers women? If so and most writers like to write what they know then it's no wonder they're aimed at girls.

Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand!
ohsointocats from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Feb 11th 2013 at 3:33:12 AM

That is not how it works.

Also among writers is the whole thing where women can write both men and women while men are for whatever reason discouraged from writing women.

Feb 11th 2013 at 4:31:19 AM

I would love to have more female villains but then the double standards rear their ugly head. How about a complete monster female villain whose Evil is on par with Xykon, Richard or Black Mage?

I liked the scene in Arkham City where Harley ambushes and captures Batman. In both the beatdown she delivers in the ambush, and the one he delivers when he he gets free the writers refuse to use the kids gloves and the scenes are just as brutal as they'd have been with a male villain. Almost makes up for the fact that of the hundreds of anonymous prisoners batman beats up there isn't a woman to be found. And there are named female villains so we know the facility wasn't gender segregated.

Iaculus Pronounced YAK-you-luss from England
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Feb 11th 2013 at 5:19:35 AM

[up]Though given that all the female characters we see are hypersexualised whilst the men aren't, that could have got very weird. See also, the 'sexy corpse' issue in crime fiction.

Yes, I know Batman doesn't kill, but I'd still say there's an issue with a game where you're beating legions of scantily-clad, hypersexualised women to within an inch of their lives unless you're also doing it to legions of scantily-clad, hypersexualised men (in which case the eroticisation of violence is still a bit weird, but not really offensive in the same way).

edited 11th Feb '13 5:25:16 AM by Iaculus

What's precedent ever done for us?
Feb 11th 2013 at 5:27:39 AM

A game with very sexualized female main characters wouldn't necessarily have the same for female back ground characters. See for example the Sacred games where the female P Cs look like underwear models but the female mooks are usually dressed normally. If it did though that would be problematic.

Besserwisser from Planet of Hats
Feb 11th 2013 at 5:35:51 AM

But I love it because Harry Mason, an everyman and a writer, is willing to go to hell to find his adopted daughter.
Awww, it's only his adopted daugther? A shame. I don't think adoption should be displayed negatively but there are so few biological fathers that are portrayed positively in fiction compared to adopted fathers. That's my impression at least and we have talked about it in the men's issues thread a bit.

Iaculus Pronounced YAK-you-luss from England
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Feb 11th 2013 at 5:41:17 AM

[up]You think? I see quite a lot of biological examples on our Papa Wolf page, at least.

What's precedent ever done for us?
Gabrael from My musings Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Feb 11th 2013 at 5:57:11 AM

Only his adopted daughter?!

Besser, totally missing the point! The whole point by having a very quiet and mild mannered man go for his adopted daughter is to rub in the face of all the "Commando" style situations!

A man can see an adopted child as his own and love her unconditionally with a strength and devotion equal or greater to any mother.

That's the point.

Even at the end of the game, he takes in Heather, another adopted child, and loves her with the same unconditonal joy. (That love is what gives Heather the strength to make it through Silent Hill 3.)

"Psssh. Even if you could catch a miracle on a picture any person would probably delete it to make space for more porn." - Aszur
Feb 11th 2013 at 6:22:16 AM

That's my impression at least and we have talked about it in the men's issues thread a bit.

The director of the film adaptation allegedly said that the reason he changed the protagonist to a woman is because he couldn't see any man ever going through that much bullshit for his daughter.

Karalora Manliest Person on Skype from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Feb 11th 2013 at 6:39:08 AM

So I don't think gender flipping is the best way to see if a work is sexist or not because there are multitudes of works designed to offer some commentary on specific expressions of genders.

I did say it was a rule of thumb, not an ironclad guideline. In any case, if a work is openly commenting on gender, any sexism should be fairly obvious and you won't need to use a thought experiment to detect it.

As for the gender divide in literature, I think reading itself is coded female, to an extent. It starts in childhood. If a girl wants to spend her leisure time sitting quietly on a sofa with a book, most parents are okay with that, whereas they would want their son to have more athletic, outdoorsy hobbies. Kids grow up and suddenly the pop-sci articles in news magazines are talking about how scientists have "proven" that women are more verbal and men are more visual, so dudes, it's okay if you want to watch porn and avoid arguing with your wife about it!

Stuff what I do.
Feb 11th 2013 at 6:42:41 AM

I dunno about that one, Kara.

History has largely flip-flopped between reading being a "girly" thing and a "manly" thing.

I suppose, like all hobbies, it can be called "Totally manly until girls start doing it".

Karalora Manliest Person on Skype from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Feb 11th 2013 at 6:53:16 AM

I'm talking about the present day. I know full well that, for instance, the Victorians thought reading novels would upset the delicate balance of women's minds and restrict blood flow to their uteri or something.

edited 11th Feb '13 6:54:29 AM by Karalora

Stuff what I do.
Feb 11th 2013 at 7:04:23 AM

I would reply to that, but I don't want your uterus to hemorrhage from too much reading.


Total posts: 14,262
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report