Saturday, November 23, 2013

Down with Strong Female Characters, revisited

Sci-fi author John C. Wright on the most abused trope:
I submit that this is not inequality, and more than Fred leading and Ginger following during a stirring waltz is inequality. It is complimentary. Those who object that men should not lead in the dance, whatever they say, are not friends of women; they just want to stop the joy of the dance.
...The sexes are opposite, and culture should exaggerate the complimentary opposition by artifice in order to increase our joy in them, including artifices of dress and speech: when women dress and speak and act like men, some joy is erased from both sexes.
...A woman perhaps will be offended at being portrayed as a prize; but none should be offended at being prized.
Scripture tells us that when God created human beings, "male and female He created them." This truth is so obvious that it becomes easy to overlook. Men and women are equal before the eyes of God but they are not the same. We're not supposed to notice this, but everyone feels disquieted by hard charging, take-no-nonsense ball busting women. We're vaguely disgusted by the man who is quick to tear up or engage in catty gossip. In contrast, we may not personally like the ruthless man who puts his career before all else, or the backbiting woman whose nose is in everyone's business. But we recognize them as extremes of the male and female character.

Feminists are outraged by the notion that the two sexes have traits which are particularly theirs. They hate the idea that there are "masculine virtues" and "feminine virtues." They associate the traditionally feminine virtues with weakness and passivity. And this is where we get the Strong Female Character. You start with a woman, and then make her an obnoxious, foul mouthed, hard drinking ass kicker. Voila! Take that patriarchy. At its most extreme *coughjosswhedoncough* we see 5'3" 100 pound waifs tossing around men who weigh twice as much with ease.

This is not to say that it's impossible for women to be results-oriented or for men to be more emotional nurturing types. But those are not our natural ways of thinking. It requires much counter-intuitive decision making on our respective parts. We have to be trained out of our default and into the alien mode. And you'll like it you evil, evil white man or we'll get you fired and sent to the sensitivity training gulag!

Wright is an astute critic of our diseased culture, but he also walks the walk by being a professional writer. He's not going to single-handedly change the entire culture, but he's doing his part one novel at a time. If you're eager for more RealTalk to make it through the Cathedral's filters, support your favorite writers, film makers, artists, and musicians. If you've got the aptitude for any of those fields, get to it. Don't get hung up on being original. Tell the truth in your work and everything else will be added unto it.

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