Tag Archives: gargoyles

Female characters: The Enigma of the Writing World

Time to take a break from Disney bashing and take the opportunity to discuss female characters.

While slaving away at SPSS (a stats software), during my breaks where I’m allowed to experience what sunlight feels like I’ve abandoned that privilege for something better: I’ve been catching up reading A Song of Ice And Fire book 4, A feast for crows. Recent chapter-character perspectives and my Disney Princess bashing posts, I got to thinking about female characters.

The sole purpose of my existence: To read all the books!

The sole purpose of my existence: To read all the books!

In Game of Thrones, we are presented with several female characters. From the typical all girlie and all “princess-y” Sansa Stark to Asha Greyjoy “Man with breasts”.

images (1)

asha-greyjoy-game-of-thrones-30919471-600-902

The problem with most media is that female characters are often on two extremes of a spectrum. We got the Sansa side (Disney Princesses, Welcome) and on the other side Asha Greyjoy (one of my favorite characters). A while ago I mentioned there are very few female characters I’ve seen that have managed to be strong and yet retain their femininity without forgoing their individual strength.

Growing up, the media taught me women’s strength (no matter the character development) were the following:

  • Beauty: Duh. 
  • Sex: Cersei Lannister is currently teaching this lesson.
  • The Love interest: What? He’s a badass dude who has loads of superpowers? You don’t need a silly thing called inner strength dear. You got a MAN!
  • Innocence: Yes, this is a weapon. Allow me to explain, throughout certain types of media and even in real life, women have known the value of acting (or not) innocent. The writer will protect her and in the real world, the dudes fall for this tactic.
  • Intelligence: More recently, the ‘nerdy’ girl has been showing up. Cunning and all that jazz is creeping up too but still underplayed.

No wonder there’s no ‘real’ character role model for young girls. As a child, I always preferred the male characters (which made my parents question why wasn’t I like other little girls) because they were more developed, independent and dealt with their faults. Female characters, on the other hand…

Meh, Tiger.

Meh, Tiger.

Don’t get me started with inner conflict issues. Donald Maass wrote inner conflict for a character is important to set them apart and such. Most female characters’ inner conflict deals mainly, on a general level, with the ‘romance’ issues or body/confidence issues. Yet, there’s a variety of literature and other media outlets probably showing every type of inner conflict imaginable.

Yet, every now and then someone wrote a real female character without polarizing the spectrum.

360px-Elisa_Maza Samantha-Carter-samantha-carter-2511923-518-76813307445717974931683.jpeg___1_500_1_500_cb94de6a_

The problem with female characters is its a sort of Pandora’s box of extreme characterizations (Sansa Vs Asha). The other won’t be caught dead dressing or acting like the other. Occasionally  we get the fem fatale type character but that’s used more of the whole sexy but dangerous angle (and again reinforces certain issues about female sexuality). The problem with staying in the middle is that writers’ often write a great female character until Mr. Love Interest shows up.

This has often been the case in society if we think about it.

I’ve seen many young women have all sorts of dreams and goals, but everything gets tossed in the wind when “Mr. Right” shows up and relationships need their dues (compromises) paid.

There was even a research article I came across stating how female scientists’ goals and ambitions change when romance strolls into the lab.

With this in mind, its obvious that the media still wants to cling onto its ‘construct’ of what women want and what will make them happy. Then people watch, get influenced by the media, and the cycle continues.

Rinse. Repeat.

My washing machine has more originality than this. It has lots of buttons for so many options (and breaks down to keep things interesting). Wait a sec…I don’t think that metaphor is right….

Why do we do this? Because its safe, its known, its-

R-E-A-L-I-S-T-I-C!

R-E-A-L-I-S-T-I-C!

Happiness, goals, and ambitions cannot be generalized. According to the media and ‘construct’, as a little girl I would’ve wanted to be a princess and have a handsome prince to come to tea or something.

Instead, my parents got a kid who wanted to be a Beast Wars Transformer (I wanted a Fox for my beast mode) or be part of the SG1 team and kick some serious ass. Funny enough, I did own a few Barbies but my sister and I made them part of this magical kingdom (with our other toys) that was always under threat from evil monsters. Their adventures required tactical espionage, using decoys (what the Ken doll was for), breaking defensive positions and I think we even cut off the bad guys’ supply lines at one point.

To make your characters more memorable and realistic in their world and life, you have to find out what will make them happy not what a template says.

The good thing is we’re seeing an emergence of strong female characters based on their individuality, history, family background and circumstances (a quick thank you to GRR Martin and several other writers out there). However, there’s still a long way to go before the playing field is equal.

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Accurate Story Titles: The case with Disney’s Princesses Part 2

In the game of creating-accurate-story-titles-for-your-audience-to-read, you either

meme

Make them laugh or be lame!

The latter is pretty much death on the internet. Just much slower and more painful than loosing your head.

Let’s see, we’ve cover Mulan, Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderalla…

Who’s next?

Wait…You. So we meet again.

My mortal Enemy

My mortal Enemy

From the dawn of my existence, your theme song played in the background of my home whenever you saw the opportunity, like your cousins the sirens when they saw new ships with young sailors, to tempt the women in my family to have a ‘girls’ movie night’. I was forced to watch treacherous ill gotten stories which neglected the very fabric of healthy relationships.

It nearly drove me mad. But I survived, persevered even because I knew one day, I shall have my vengeance upon you.

Then, you decided these taunts were not enough to thrill you in our game of TV remotes. You recruited countless radio stations and music stores to promote, sell and replay what only your most loyal of banner-men  or..um women, to sing your theme song over and over again. Along with that Titanic song I still believe you were one of its main architects.

I thought patience was the best way to go about my plans, but then you did the unthinkable.

You infiltrated my ‘real book’ of saxophone sheet music.

Tonight, I shall unveil to the world your true tale.

Prepare yourself!

This is our final battle!

Alright, Beauty and the Beast is one of those classics that will probably haunt humanity until we’re extinct or be a treasured artifact in  a post-apocalyptic zombie world where alien archaeologists are trying to figure out what happened.

A tale of Stockholm syndrome, forced redemption and re-enforcement of certain stereotypes

A tale of Stockholm syndrome, forced redemption, re-enforcement of certain stereotypes and how you can change your man with your love!

At the beginning of the film, the narrator tells us of a spoiled and selfish prince who was unkind. Hey, he turned away an old woman during a storm! That’s just extra points on the ‘typical-bad-guy-meter’.

Hmm, selfish, unkind to the poor, appreciates beauty, only apologized when there’s a bigger more powerful fish in the kingdom, you know he’s just an incestuous lineage and headless main character away from being-

Joffrey

Joffrey.

But Joffrey being a powerful beast would not be good. Tyrion Lannister won’t be able to protect us.

Anyways, Belle sings how boring her life is and she doesn’t want to marry the village quarterback. Funny thing, in the end she just ends up marrying the ‘changed’ prince and lives happily ever after. What’s the difference between that choice and marrying the quarterback? Both of them had their failings and issues. The only difference is one is rich and a prince!

At least Arya Stark knew she wanted something different and she wasn’t afraid to say what it was. And that’s a princess who knew what she wanted and what to sing about if she broke out into a musical number.

So let’s cut the plotline and get straight to it, she plays hostage trade with the beast. Then, begins a love story of stockholm syndrome.

Firstly, the beast gets pissy and actually orders the servants to let her starve (this sounds like something Joffrey would do). It seems like the time spent not being a human prince with everything didn’t teach him any humility.

If anything, just enraged him.

The enchantress that cursed him is obviously not an accredited psychologist. We need to alert the Enchantress Psychologists Board about malpractice and proper certification of a certain someone. Seriously, if I was an enchantress and wanted to teach him about inner beauty and humility well, there’s a whole bunch of recycled plotlines I could use that would fit better! Make him ugly and a peasant, then he learns his lesson, etc etc etc.

Okay, so the beast starts becoming nice and all lovey dovey with Belle because love changes you! This of course is one the major assumptions about relationships in today’s society. Kiddies, you can’t make people change. You can help them but the whole causality is wrong.

Also, it takes steps. A long process to get a person to change. I’m not saying people can’t change but….

Have any of you watched Gargoyles?

One Disney character (I'm still in shock) that tells you the hard truth

One Disney character (I’m still in shock) that tells you the hard truth

 Do you remember what Goliath told Angela, his daughter, about her mother’s actions in season 3 (Generations)? Well, I can’t post a direct link to the speech, but it sums up everything I want to say about changing a person:

“To truly change or redeem oneself is terribly difficult. Some work their entire lives and never manage it. “

-Goliath

I read that in Goliath’s voice….Anyways, Demona didn’t really change even in the face of her own beloved daughter’s pleas.

How can you expect the Prince to change?

This only re-enforces two stereotypes or tropes in romance media, (1) Stockholm = love and (2) your love can change him!

Here’s another issue, the woman is always beautiful. The man can be ugly. If its ever reversed, the woman is actually a flower waiting to bloom and turns out…wait for it…she’s actually beautiful!


Lies to breakdown before writing about Adult characters

Dear Ma,

Over the past few years, I discovered you lied to me about many things but certain LIES stood out from the rest.

Those lies are much worse than the Santa Claus incident and Tooth Fairy stunt you pulled off years ago. I have organized these terrible, horrendous lies into a short list:

1. Adults are mature: Ma, you gave me an impression that all adults (regardless of sex) acted like these people:
Goliath      Carter_StargateSG1

When I stop hearing young women arguing how people’s lack of fashion sense is a bigger issue than the current financial crisis and when I stop hearing young men boasting how they ‘own’ companies in different countries or exaggerating any of their accomplishments, I might re-consider my position.

They’re young you say? Not fully mature? Wait, this isn’t a level up gauge bar like my Final Fantasy games!

It is?

Okay! Then how about when they become parents? Ma, when was the last time you heard another parent showing off their spawn? Hell, when was the last time another adult boasted about their accomplishments to everyone?

Yeah thought so.

2. Adults don’t get jealous:

Seriously? Ma, I have a database of issues I’d like to go through. They are also alphabetical for your convenience!

We can start we B, from Beauty to Bonuses? Or maybe you’d prefer E, start off with Education to extra-curricular activities (the one you immediately thought of and the more ‘sporty’ one…wait that can be misinterpreted). Or S? From…*wink wink nudge nudge* to Spouses or how about Success? C, Children. Who has smarter/better spawn? Oh, already mentioned that.

3. Work hard and you’ll get what you want: I work very hard in procrastinating while doing papers but I still end up doing them! Yet, when I don’t procrastinate and work to write epic stories to dazzle my audiences, I end up writing nothing.

4. As you grow older, you’ll become more humble:

Have you ever seen how masters’ students act after they graduate? Hell, have you ever seen someone act when they get their first ‘official’ job?

Not old enough?

Ma, do you remember the last family reunion?! It was like watching a bunch of high schoolers who somehow became the product of a deadly concoction of teen fangirls gossiping about anyone in sight and jersey shore boys flexing their financial muscles sprinkled with cultural pressures and expectations.

Okay, okay, yes Ma that was mean. I take it back. I’m sorry.

Well, the last family reunion was more like-

Gladiator

This.

How could you, Ma? How could you?

As an amateur writer I have a sworn duty to accurately portray human nature! No matter what!


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