Date: 2012-06-05 01:31 am (UTC)
rassaku: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rassaku
Yessssss, a thousand times this. I've been trying to pinpoint recently why "strong female character" is something that I require in the stories I read, but at the same time a phrase that I'm starting to develop an aversion to. It's because of this -- how "strong" has become a shorthand for "sexy like a lady, kick butt like a man." To the point where "sexy BAMF" has been allowed to replace any other sort of character development. (Mountain of shitty urban fantasy fiction, I am LOOKING AT YOU.)

Not to mention that for so many of the Action Grrrls in movies and TV, I just don't buy it. Lady, your pants are so tight you can barely walk, much less do a roundhouse without splitting the seam down your crotch, and your long and silky hair needs to get TIED THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR FACE if you intend to fight. If we ever, ever got a female BAMF who wasn't engineered for the male gaze, people would be utterly bewildered. They'd be like, Durr, why does she seem different from all the other action ladies, I don't understand.

Guy Gavriel Kay [is pretty much the author I will bring up in these discussions EVERY TIME] writes historical fantasy, and his female characters knock the socks off every other male writer I've ever read. Not because his Byzantine ladies hitch their stolas up to do some kung fu punchin', but because they have enormous amounts of agency no matter how circumscribed their lives seem to be. It's like, they know the ropes -- they don't spend their time trying to be men, or trying to access male channels to power, or whining about how oppressed they are; they take for granted what society's allowed them, and they fucking run with it.

There's been a wave of recent authors that I've taken to calling Writers That Straight White Guys Think Are Awesome -- that's my only explanation, because they get universally rave reviews even though their handling of anything other than Straight White Guy things is a fucking embarrassment. (Jim Butcher, Brent Weeks, Joe Abercrombie, who else, I must be blocking them out.) And female agency is one thing that they simply do not get. Women can be femme fatales who use their sexybits to manipulate men, they can be BAMFs, or they can be damsels in distress. No other options.

And all I can think is, Christ, and you're married? Does your wife realize that you have absolutely no idea who she is, because you're incapable of seeing women as anything other than stereotypes?

The end.
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