Apr. 5th, 2017

meganbmoore: (7 seeds: hana/natsu)
January 28 - Heroines with unusual, unfashionable personalities in general. ([tumblr.com profile] snowdropsandtigers )

Speaking for myself, bring them on! Variety is great, as is being creative and original with your characters. As much as I will use my very last breath to continue insisting that there are plenty of interesting and compelling female characters out there if you bother looking, there’s no denying that, across the board and regardless of what country, there’s far more attention given to male characters, and that includes a greater diversity of character types, and a greater willingness to try out characters that would normally be considered unusual or would normally be expected to be unpopular. And, of course, this greater diversity and focus results in both canons and fandoms typically focusing far more on-and making excuses for-male characters instead of female characters. (Including the more common run-of-the-mill male characters, but that’s another matter.)

When we do get unusual and unfashionable heroines, however, they seem to fall into two narrative categories. The first is that they’re “weird,” with their unconventional qualities used to make them stand out and not be accepted by other characters. At best, they often become a running joke used to make the other characters (and possibly the audience) feel uncomfortable, or they’re just strange and quirky girls. At worst they’re torn down for those qualities, and possibly villifed. They don’t “fit,” and so there’s something “wrong” with them. This wrongness either has to be “fixed,” or the characters is Othered and the core group must try to free themselves of her.

The second category is the unusual or unconventional heroine who is held up as superior to the more conventional female character. She isn’t like those NORMAL girls, she’s DIFFERENT, she’s SPECIAL. She’s, you guessed it, NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS. “Normal” girls are ok if they wholeheartedly embrace this girl, but any ho don’t are, of course, villains. This one sounds problematic but better than the first, and it is, but it’s usually used to pit girls against each other, and to say that one way of being female is better than another way. And, of course, half the time, this girl becomes “normalized” and just a bit quirky isn’t of actually being allowed to remain unusual.

It should also be noted that unusual characters, both male and female, are usually coded-sometimes outright diagnosed-with a milder form of one kind of mental disability or another, most often reading as “mildly autistic,” with those traits emphasized as being abnormal.

So, pretty much, I want them, but what I REALLY want is to have them without being surrounded by sexist narratives or Othering.


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