Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guys get away with everything...

I'm sorry to say that I haven't really done any work on organizing the chat party (and the 50th post anniversary is already coming up! Gahh!) School is overwhelming. It takes up my time and eats my brains D:...

Today's post is about the injustice of female character bashing!

The other day I saw on twitter Cassandra Clare was asking why so many people are quick to call lesser-liked girl characters derogatory names. Looking back at the books I've read, I can see several reasons for this (for example, if an author doesn't execute her headstrong female well then she may come across as bitchy) but I still find it unfair.

It's rare that I ever find people bashing on male characters. I've seen male characters perform equally as horrifying acts as female characters but they still get a sympathetic pat on the back. Whereas females, if they take one step out of line, readers cry out "you wretched skank!" I also find that people are more likely to point fingers at Mary Sue's than Gary Stu's.

Why is it that male characters get away with this stuff ._. ?

Part of it, I think, is because most readers are female (especially in the YA genre, which is where I flock.) Girls are less likely to judge Hot Male Lead B than Neurotic Hormonal Female Lead C. Songs about females crying over unrequited love makes them appear weak and needy. When a male sings one, they're labeled as sensitive, cute, and poetic.

Admittedly, I did it the other day.

I was reading Avalon High by Meg Cabot and I kept thinking how annoying it was to read a book about a girl just pining over a guy. Before I had even gotten really into the plot, that's all I could think of. "This is another whiny girl story." But it wasn't. When I settled into the story, I actually really liked the protagonist.

The guy, on the other hand, was a pretty static character. If I were to describe Will, it would be "the nice pretty boy." He didn't develop or change, at least, not significantly enough that I saw a huge difference between Will at the beginning and Will at the end. (Then again, this is a MG book so I might be critiquing a bit harshly - but this was the first example that popped into my head.)

...and yet, he got away with a lot of things. Which, I think a lot of male characters do. As long as they have a pretty face, people don't realize how they utterly lack any other characteristics. A lot of male characters get away with lack of personality by having a lot of angst or having a traumatic past. Not that this is bad, I myself like me a bit of angst, but again - it's all in the execution. How watching his mother get killed before his very eyes makes him jaded and unable to trust others, not just extremely moody.

But more so than all of the above, I think readers shouldn't be so quick to judge. Characters do what they do for a reason, and if they took a chance to look at why and not just what - we would find characters to be much more human and relatable than we originally thought them to be.

edit: Because I'm lame and read everyone's posts after I wrote this, I didn't realize someone had an awesome theme suggested! I'm sorry!

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