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

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Besserwisser from Planet of Hats
Feb 11th 2013 at 7:35:18 AM

You think? I see quite a lot of biological examples on our Papa Wolf page, at least.
Maybe I'm overreacting. I don't know. But the idea that only mothers can love their children because only they can be certain they are their own does exist, especially in Hollywood. And I think the major reason because we see so many good step-fathers is not to promote adoption (or else we would see more good step-mothers) but to make men be less depressed about this fact because they could give all that love to a child not their own. Which doesn't seem as bad an idea but it also marginalized victims of paternity fraud to some degree. Although knowing about your relation or the absence of it to a child is clearly different from being tricked into believing a lie.

I don't have anything against Silent Hill btw. I never played the first game and only started to play the second. What I heard of the story isn't offensive in and of itself but it does have some negative implications in a wider social context. And what I really want to see more is paternity fraud or not telling the father about a child being displayed as wrong.

Feb 11th 2013 at 7:41:55 AM

Maybe I'm overreacting. I don't know. But the idea that only mothers can love their children because only they can be certain they are their own does exist, especially in Hollywood.

That's because the Hollywood model of father = protector, not competent parent or role model.

For example, take John McClane. He's tough, sarcastic, cynical, and has ample amounts of common sense. He's shown to be a very lousy domesticated father and, if his daughter is any indication, barely tolerable as a father. However, his "man points" get validated by his ability to protect his wife and children by being a Badass.

You see it all the time in fiction: a father is lousy in everyday life, but he's Papa Wolf when they're in danger, so that supposedly makes up for it. Bryan Mills of Taken is portrayed this way at the start as well.

EDIT: Also, I would like to point out that John Matrix in Commando is an exception. The opening credits clearly show him being a fantastic father, and his daughter spends weeks prying herself out of her prison by the time Matrix shows up to save her. Sure, he rescues her, but she actually saves herself before he shows up.

edited 11th Feb '13 7:45:43 AM by KingZeal

Besserwisser from Planet of Hats
Feb 11th 2013 at 8:04:58 AM

[up] I would argue that that is a different point entirely. Men saving children isn't exclusive to fathers and says little about Hollwoods view on fathers.

Feb 11th 2013 at 8:09:35 AM

It's exclusive to fathers if it's the only form of parenting you see.

For example: The Bride, Ripley, the woman in Silent Hill, and the vast majority of other Action Moms you see are all portrayed as being very good mothers when actually with their children or adopted children. The men are portrayed as incompetent parents until it's time to shoot/stab/punch things.

GAP Formerly G.G. from Who Knows? Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Formerly G.G.
Feb 11th 2013 at 8:17:17 AM

[up] There is a bit of a double standard there, men are allowed to be lousy fathers except when they go Papa Wolf while mothers can be good moms except if they are villains. What would happen if a heroine took the same role, a lousy mother who is bad with her son yet she goes Mama Bear when her son gets kidnapped? The male gets props while the female gets demonized.

"This magical slime teaches us that friendship is the real magic."
Besserwisser from Planet of Hats
Feb 11th 2013 at 8:20:42 AM

[up][up] It's not that extreme actually. I Am Sam, while being a shitty movie, shows a father trying to get sole custody for his daughter. And he has to do so not because he goes throug divorce but because he is mentally retarded while the mother ran away the day the daughter was born. He clearly isn't a Badass in any way but he is still a father. Men being so often in those roles is a seperate problem from how fathers specifically are treated.

Hodor Cleric of Banjo from Westeros
Cleric of Banjo
Feb 11th 2013 at 8:28:57 AM

[up][up] "a lousy mother who is bad with her son yet she goes Mama Bear when her son gets kidnapped?"

I haven't seen it sad to say, but isn't that the case with the original Terminator movie?

edited 11th Feb '13 8:32:22 AM by Hodor

Edit, edit, edit, edit the wiki
Feb 11th 2013 at 8:31:29 AM

Yeah, but I Am Sam being a shitty movie kind of undermines it. Since the entire point I'm bringing up is how to illustrate competent fatherhood.

Also, the genre of movie is important. It's easier to point at Oscar Bait movies with good portrayals of various roles (good portrayals of homosexuals like Philadelphia, for example), but as I've mentioned before, you learn more about a culture from its lowbrow entertainment than its highbrow.

In the summer blockbuster/popcorn flick genre, filmmakers go for the broad strokes cliches and stereotypes that people are most likely to want.

I haven't seen it sad to say, but isn't that the case with the original {Terminator}} movie?

Ooo! Me! Pick me! I'm a big Terminator fanboy!

In the original Terminator, Sarah wasn't a mother yet, so that doesn't really count.

In the second movie, your assessment is closer. However, it's implied by John early in the movie that he actually loved his mother very much at first, but she was driven insane by the knowledge that the end of the world was coming and it was her responsibility to raise a tough military leader. She "shacked up with" any man who could provide training and resources to John, learned to toughen herself up (to the point of mentally breaking) and was eventually caught trying to blow up a computer factory in an attempt to Set Right What Once Went Wrong and prevent the creation of Sky-Net.

Later on, when John and Sarah are reunited, it's made clear that she's still mentally disturbed and treats him coldly and more like a military officer than a son. Her callous disregard actually makes John cry at one point.

In short, Sarah Conner is a very, very good example, and a great character.

edited 11th Feb '13 8:36:49 AM by KingZeal

Besserwisser from Planet of Hats
Feb 11th 2013 at 8:37:46 AM

[up][up] You mean the second one. And yes, Sara Connor wasn't really the best mother. She cared more about her son being able to survive and leading the humans against the machines than anything else. Oh, and Zeal describes that better than me here.

[up] But the majority of men, as in all men not only fathers, in those movies go around guns blazing. It's not reasonable to make it an issue about fathers when men in general are portrayed that way in those media.

Hodor Cleric of Banjo from Westeros
Cleric of Banjo
Feb 11th 2013 at 8:41:08 AM

Sorry- yes, meant the second Terminator one- thanks for the detail.

Edit, edit, edit, edit the wiki
Feb 11th 2013 at 8:48:49 AM

But the majority of men, as in all men not only fathers, in those movies go around guns blazing. It's not reasonable to make it an issue about fathers when men in general are portrayed that way in those media.

Yes it is. It's symptomatic of the entire problem.

joeyjojo Happy New Year! from South Sydney: go the bunnies!
Happy New Year!
Feb 11th 2013 at 4:12:20 PM

Cheryl was adopted?

hashtagsarestupid
Lascoden ... from Missouri, USA
...
Feb 11th 2013 at 4:18:34 PM

What was so bad about the dad in Taken? It's been awhile since I saw the movie, but I don't really remember anything that bad. He didn't want his daughter to go on that trip, but I'd say that turned out to be pretty damn justified.

boop
Gabrael from My musings Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Feb 11th 2013 at 4:34:46 PM

@ Joey, yeppers! :)

[up] yeah, I thought he was cool.

Honestly I think there are more variety in father figures in media than people think.

Some are great, some are badass, some aren't. But to consider the entire spectrum of movies and books out there, you have the gambit.

Even "bad guys" can be great fathers. Road to Perdition was a great example of that.

And if you count in other male influences like grandfathers and brothers, it is even more diverse. You get options like Secondhand Lions and that sort.

Consider the myriad of male relationships and understandings in something like Forrest Gump alone.

You don't have to go to the Indy-side to get diversity.

"Psssh. Even if you could catch a miracle on a picture any person would probably delete it to make space for more porn." - Aszur
drunkscriblerian Street Writing Man from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
Feb 11th 2013 at 5:24:31 PM

[up]Secondhand Lions is possibly one of the best movies that's been made about male bonding in the last few years, if ever. Sure its a little silly in places but when it tries to be serious it succeeds.

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 11th 2013 at 5:30:25 PM

I adore it. I have also used it to try and teach my son some lessons about what makes a real man because it shows so many different situations with men, both good and bad.

"Psssh. Even if you could catch a miracle on a picture any person would probably delete it to make space for more porn." - Aszur
drunkscriblerian Street Writing Man from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
Feb 11th 2013 at 5:40:16 PM

@Gabrael: Good idea. That film does an excellent job of presenting the spectrum of masculinity, not to mention the foibles present in every type.

If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed. ~Cora M. Strayer~
Feb 11th 2013 at 9:20:55 PM

[up][up] On the Papa Wolf trope. We've seen this before.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-vjbuodBEU

Good times. Good times.

edited 11th Feb '13 9:21:39 PM by Aprilla

Barkey War Profiteer from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Feb 12th 2013 at 2:36:54 AM

I'm a Papa Wolf of sorts to someone, and the most valuable help I provide is advice, resources, and someone to bounce ideas and questions off of. She's in combat arms, she sure doesn't need my help to protect her.

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
GAP Formerly G.G. from Who Knows? Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Formerly G.G.
Feb 12th 2013 at 8:46:39 AM

Have you seen my daughter?! - Every Harrison ford action movie ever!!! tongue

"This magical slime teaches us that friendship is the real magic."
joeyjojo Happy New Year! from South Sydney: go the bunnies!
Happy New Year!
Feb 12th 2013 at 12:50:53 PM

*Reads Silent Hill wikipedia Synopsis.*

Wow that game makes even less sense then I remembered it.

Would Subject delta be considered a good father figure? Sure you only care for Eleanor because of psycho conditioning, but the love is there.

@Barkey: You don't really see her as a daughter but, don't you?

hashtagsarestupid
Gabrael from My musings Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Feb 12th 2013 at 1:43:28 PM

He yelled about his family in Air Force One, not just his daughter.

Joey, oh it's worth it! I am really tempted to make that my next big research project. (The whole series not just the first one.)

1, 3, Origins, and Homecoming are just ripe for commentary on all sorts of family roles especially. 2 has some very intriguing presentations on gender roles and what that can mean for romantic reationships.

"Psssh. Even if you could catch a miracle on a picture any person would probably delete it to make space for more porn." - Aszur
Barkey War Profiteer from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Feb 12th 2013 at 3:02:23 PM

@Barkey: You don't really see her as a daughter but, don't you?

I actually do, she's a friend of the family and I've known her since she was a pre-teen. She was assigned to my team when she joined the unit, and she's still in my team.

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
Euodiachloris Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Feb 12th 2013 at 3:18:55 PM

[up][up]4 is also a doozy... smile It's alternate title should be Silent Hill: Abandonment and Mother Issues. [lol] Not least as Dahlia crops up as a stirrer of things best left unagitated... again. tongue

edited 12th Feb '13 3:21:30 PM by Euodiachloris


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