I’ve read a lot of great essays about how fandom is female-majority and creates a female gaze and a safe space for women and etc. But spend five minutes in fandom and you’ll have an unsettling question.
Why does a female-majority, feminist culture hate female characters so much?
It’s not a question of if it happens. You know it does. You can go into any fandom and see it. Some fandoms are worse than others, but it’s always there. Scroll down the Tumblr tag for any show, movie, book, comic, whatever, and you’ll see nothing but love for the men, and a lot of unjustified hate for the women, maybe with a few defenders here and there insisting on their love for the women in the face of all that hate.
To be clear, we’re not talking about female villains. Male villains get just as much hate. It’s fine if you hate Bellatrix Lestrange or Dolores Umbridge, you’re supposed to. (I personally stan for Bella, but I realize that wasn’t the authorial intent.) This is about people hating Hermione, Ginny and Luna, but loving Harry, Ron and Neville. This is about how ambiguous male antiheroes, like Snape, Zuko, or pretty much any male vampire protagonist can get away with walking that fine line between good and evil and not only remain sympathetic, but be even more beloved for how ~tortured~ he is, but when a female character is morally gray that bitch has to die.
So you can’t tell me it’s okay that you hate Sansa because you also hate Joffrey and he’s a dude. They’re not comparable. It isn’t even comparable if you pick a female antihero. Let’s do this apples to apples, here.
We all know that fandom does this. We all know that it’s fucked up and symptomatic of internalized sexism. What’s really fucking weird about it, though, is that the women doing this hating often aren’t ignorant. These are feminists. These are women who can go on meta-analyses of the writing. Some will hide behind pseudo-feminist reasons for their hate—oh, it’s the writing, we just aren’t given strong female characters! (I saw this used for the women of AtLA: Katara, Toph, Azula, et al. This was about when I just backed away slowly because I know a lost cause when I see it.) I’ve seen women who denied being sexist, but couldn’t name a single female character they liked. And it’s always that the female characters aren’t good enough, even when they obviously have a double standard, and they’re measuring women on an impossible scale full of contradictions and no-win binds, while the men are just embraced and loved pretty much for existing.
The reaction nearly every time one of these women is called out is not to say, “Huh, you may have a point, I should examine the way I judge and process women’s actions more closely,” but an insistence of their feminism, followed by a more detailed description of why that particular woman is terrible and she hates her, as if the whole point were not that fandom is already oversaturated with that kind of hate, and as if the person doing the calling out were not already 110% done with that bullshit.
Particularly telling is that male-dominated corners of fandom do not have this problem. They fetishize, they objectify, they ignore. They don’t hate like this.
We know it happens. What I want to know is WHY.
Theories follow below the cut.
Please, hit read more, and read this. And then, if you want, I’m totally up for discussion on this, because it hits a lot of important points, but I wonder if there are some missing, too. Like, what if I am disappointed because a female character I want to love is being written only to showcase her relationship with a male character? Is discussing my disappointment considered hate? If screentime is being used to push this relationship, without actually allowing for character development and resulting in a lack of screentime for other awesome characters (female or otherwise), is discussing my disappointment there also hate? Can if be frustrated with the showrunner’s attitude towards said female character, without it being hate on the character herself? Or bemused at her treatment by the writers?
And, lastly, because the thing I’m really taking out of this here is that there should be more love pumped into fandom, no matter what, would anyone be interested in my rambling about why I love these characters? With no analysis about how I think they should be utilized, or how they’re being written wrong. Just love letters, to my girls (and maybe boys), with all the detail and background I can put into them, like the one I wrote for Danny.
This is the first time I’ve ever seen an archer in a film run out of arrows or collect used arrows to reuse later.
Accuracy: You’re doing it right.
rick grimes: a summary
in the 1940s the word “boner” used to mean “huge mistake” and it still pretty much means that
how the fuck would you know that
because i know things
i read these to my dad and he literally fell off his chair laughing and is now purple in the face
That moment when you realize that the Doctor quoted Toy Story.
you learnt the word “miscellaneous” from the sims and don’t even lie
No, I learned how to spell it from the same place I learned how to spell learned;
GET OFF YOUR HIGH FUCKING EMBOLDENED AND ITALICIZED HORSE LEARNT IS FUCKING BRITISH ENGLISH
the best arguments start with “GET OFF YOUR HIGH FUCKING EMBOLDENED AND ITALICIZED HORSE”
god bless the brits
Some days I feel like Beyonce and some days I feel like Rihanna…