1. Anniexo
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    Anniexo Member

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    Is this anti-feminist?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Anniexo, Jul 20, 2012.

    I've been thinking about one of my characters, but with how I've written her so far, I feel like I've made a anti-feminist character so to speak.

    Okay so, I have written her as a character who can take care of herself, when faced with danger, but she like the whole idea of being saved by a 'knight in shining armour' and throws herself at one of my male characters because he helped out when some thugs tried to attack her (Even though he has no interest in her, he was just being nice).

    So does it sound like I've written an anti-feminist character, even if she can look after herself?
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    ...Who actually cares besides feminists? And I'm a girl.
    If that's apart of her personality then go with it. As long as she's written well then...no problem.
     
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  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you make it romantic enough, most of the girls would fall for such a plot I think - chick lits are filled with women running after jerks lol.

    It's in how you write it - if you give her some self-respect, dignity, then it wouldn't matter if she's heart-broken over this guy who doesn't return her feelings.
     
  4. Hettyblue
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    Hettyblue Member

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    As Mckk and Youniquee have stated it depends how well drawn the character is, if she is a gutsy well rounded individual then there is no real issue in her being attracted to a strong Male (that is where all the fetishes about men in Uniform, Fire Fighters etc. comes from). 'Anti-feminist' would be more to do with the way their relationship (if they had one) played out if she became less in control of her life because her needs were secondary to his. For example a story I read recently had what I thought was a very strong female MC as she was assertive had a job she enjoyed, could 'kick ass', was financially independent etc. she meets the dominant male MC they have a fiery relationship then at the very end once they admit to loving each other, she has suddenly given up her job and house and basically her independence for their relationship - no concessions on his part.
     
  5. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    People are multi-faceted, they have weaknesses, and sometimes it's for men- nothing wrong with that :)

    If she's capable of handling things herself but instantly becomes a giggling eejit when this bloke is around I would personally get a bit irritated, but if that's what your character needs to be like then so be it, written well it's a nice internal conflict for her to struggle with.
     
  6. andyscribe
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    andyscribe Member

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    She's just a character and doesn't have to represent any -isms unless it's important to the plot. I don't think it helps to have restrictions. Just let the character develop naturally. Well, that's what I think.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm not really a feminist but I do have some feminist sensibilities - and I actually like it when the guy comes in to help save the day - so long as the woman
    doesn't look like an incompetent fool.
    One of my favorite movies is Romancing the Stone & it's sequel Jewel of the Nile in which
    romance writer Joan Wilder holds her own in the wilds of Columbia but when things get really tough -
    she calls for her hunk Jack to help out - and we ( the viewers love her for it! )
     
  8. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't worry about whether it's pro or anti feminist. Just write it. :)
     
  9. introspect
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    introspect Member

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    no!

    Every person is an individual! I Believe the way you have done so far, is the best way to go forward. :)
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a feminist. That doesn't mean that every character needs to be a feminist. If you were presenting your character as, "Of course she's incompetent and needy - she's a girl!" I'd be annoyed. But a competent, but nevertheless needy, female character sounds interesting.
     
  11. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    That's not "anti-feminist", that's just lame. Anti-feminist means to have appreciation for what chivalry can do. Honestly. It's bizarre, but most feminists never realize that chivalry exist primarily for the sake of a male's strength of character, not for the sake of women.

    So, in short, your character is emotionally unstable, and someone like me an anti-feminist. Remember, "anti-" implies against, not merely the opposite of. And that is today's rant from the word nerd.
     
  12. simina
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    simina Senior Member

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    Yeah, I agree with ChickenFreak.

    However it is a bit discouraging how few well-developed, capable female characters there are in most popular literature. There was a test developed a while ago to determine whether movies meet the minimum requirements to provide an environment for fair and interesting development of female characters; however, I think the test is applicable to literature too. It's called the Bechdel Test. For a movie or book to pass the test, it has to have the following:
    1) It has to have at least two (named) women
    2) Who talk to each other
    3) About something besides a man

    Seems simple enough but you'd be surprised how many movies and books fail this test. So I don't think you should rewrite the character or anything, but I'd keep the test in mind.
     
  13. adampjr
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    adampjr Member

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    There are incompetent women in existence, so they are perfectly legitimate as characters.

    No, I don't think your character is anti-feminist - but like others said, so what if she is?
     
  14. jane elliot
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    jane elliot Member

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    Yeah, I find that really fascinating, even though I don't really care so much about what is feminist and what is not. Just because a character has weaknesses doesn't make her a silly girl who needs a man to assert herself. If I was attacked by thugs and some amazing dude came and saved me, I'd feel pretty indebted to him in some way. You don't have to ignore men or chivalry to be a strong, independent woman.

    It's like how some people feel that Belle from Beauty and the Beast is anti-feminist just because she sacrifices herself to (and then falls in love with) a harsh, domineering guy. People forget that 1.) it's her courage and independence that makes her stand out against all the other characters--including male characters--bent low by the Beast's rule in the castle, and 2.) she only gave up her privledges in exchange for her father's life, and that's not pathetic, that's an ultimate sacrifice. Being selfless doesn't make you dependent, it makes you a decent human being.

    If she falls for the guy, she falls for the guy. Lots of girls fall for lots of guys.
     
  15. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    what is it with people and ism's?
    not every characther is a political statement
     
  16. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    The minute writers actually start to worry if something is feminist or not, we've gone too far into this political correctness. If we were talking about a male character, would someone(even the feminists, who claim to be all about equality) care whether he represents a positive model for men? If the character is black, everyone is careful not to paint him negatively, but white guys can be assholes. I'm not saying we should make minorities look bad on purpose, just highlighting liberal double-standards. Just write convincing and interesting characters, don't care whether they serve whatever political agenda you have in mind.
     
  17. adampjr
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    adampjr Member

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    Right. The only agenda you should care about serving is yours, not anyone else's.
     
  18. simina
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    simina Senior Member

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    It's not about "serving a political agenda." It's about writing from a perspective that is free of cultural stereotypes. There is no reason why men should almost always play the most interesting roles in a work of fiction: why is it that they can have intellectual, insightful conversations with other men about a subject unrelated to women, but women aren't usually given the opportunity to do the same thing while conversing with other women? It's similar to how minority characters are portrayed. It's not about putting them in a perfect light, it's about not having your writing polluted by bigoted and unjustified cultural stereotypes. So it's fine if any sort of minority character or female character is "bad," so long as they're not "bad" as a result of an exaggerated stereotype; e.g., the black man who deals drugs and goes home and beats his wife, or the materialistic woman who needs rescuing by a Prince Charming, even if he's a jerk, etc. It'd be cool if the woman was "bad" because she was a selfish, ruthless businesswoman or something.

    It's more important than many people seem to think because, believe it or not, fiction plays a huge role in developing societal attitudes toward certain subjects... and people. For example, the reason most of you have expressed disgust with the word "feminist" and have begun most of your comments with "I'm not a feminist...." is because of the negative portrayal of feminists in works of fiction and in the media. They're portrayed to be uptight, man-hating extremists. Sure, there are a number of people in the movement that display such characteristics, but by and large, feminism is nothing like what many people perceive it to be.

    Just my two cents.
     
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  19. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Unless you are writing for feminists. I doubt any single trait would be deeming a character on whole to one faction or another. Now if you have a character who preaches this and that, then the character can be identified in such a way. The knight in shining armor thing is more romantic and medieval in root, unless this is modern times and feminists are actually a concern. I particularly dislike crossing time periods with ideology. King Arthur wasn't an astronaut, didn't know complex calculus or modern medicine, I doubt he'd care about feminist ideology because the culture would label that woman as a loon. Besides, take a look at the middle east nations, where women cannot even go out without a man. This is present day as well, culture, time period and events are all key in making a good character. Don't transplant cultural values across time and space without reason.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes - I think that we're blurring lines here, between an anti-feminist character and an anti-feminist book. I'm not suggesting that either should be boycotted or anything, but there is a difference.

    Avoiding non-feminist _characters_ would mean depicting an awfully unrealistic world. That would suggest that, for example, it would be wrong to depict my mother as a character. And it would eliminate a fair portion of the women in her generation as characters, though my mother's case is extreme.

    My mother believes that it's a woman's job to hide her intelligence, ideally to the point of submerging that intelligence and ensuring complete and showy incompetence in every aspect of everyday life. (She makes a show of having trouble getting her car keys into the ignition, but has no trouble getting her house keys into the door lock. A car is man's territory, you see, and therefore it's important to demonstrate that she's incompetent in that realm.) She will do anything and suffer almost anything as long as she can avoid taking any personal responsibility for the details of her life. She can't bear to have a man help in the kitchen, and will stop the man even if he really wants to help and is irritated at being stopped. She expects men to guess her needs and is offended and icy when they fail. My mother uses her femininity as a shield from responsibility and adult life in general - she uses it as a way to remain a child.

    While this all drives me completely out of my mind in real life, I think that she could make a fascinating character in a novel, and a more non-feminist character is unimaginable. (Entertainingly, she calls herself a feminist.)

    Now, if the novel depicted her life as the One And Only Right Way for a woman to act and live and preached that the female readers should emulate that life, well, I wouldn't have much in common with the novel writer and I probably wouldn't read their next novel. I'd consider it an anti-feminist novel, yes. But it's not as if I'd be out there with picket signs - people can write what they choose to write, and if a writer who truly dislikes or fears feminism tries to pretend that they don't, their novel will lose much of its integrity and probably won't be worth reading.
     
  21. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    @ Chicken Freak i think i dates a younger version of your mother.

    who was a horrible cook
     
  22. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    That reminds me of another thing I find annoying. Why must badass women always fall for badass men? The reverse isn't true, there are many examples, well or poorly written, of very powerful men falling for weak helpless women (written from either perspective). I want to see more awesomely powerful women in love with non-powered or wussily powered men. The only real example I can think of is Buffy & Riley in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Riley was a jerk who couldn't handle the fact that his girlfriend had superpowers and he didn't.
     
  23. Anniexo
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    Anniexo Member

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    Thank you for your feed back.

    Yeah that is annoying, I think the only time I have seen the powerful woman go with the weak man is in 'My super ex-girlfriend', not sure if you would class that as a good example.
     
  24. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    maybe firefly whith zoey the 2nd mate and walsh the pilot
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep, definitely. Also Hermione and Ron.

    Edited to add: And while it's not a romantic relationship, Buffy was definitely the one with the upper hand in her relationship with Giles and in fact the whole patriarchal Watcher organization.

    Editing again: And Buffy and Pike, in the original movie. I realize that the movie wasn't what Whedon wanted, but I thought that that part of it - that relationship - worked.
     

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