ON HIATUS angry queer girl alexa n her fave thngs
so many characters on Grimm are so much more than you would ever think of them, but ESPECIALLY the women.
the women of Grimm are triumphs. they’re lovers and fighters. they are unrepentantly themselves, and never wholly evil or wholly good. they are selfish and they are selfless and they have their own storylines and their own motivations and their own LIVES.
Rosalee and ADALIND and Kelly and Trubel and Juliette
like I can’t decide I can’t- they’re—- I don’t have the time to write about how much GRATITUDE I have for the writers of Grimm giving each of those women listed above the story and the reality that they deserve.
I could write an essay about each of them.
Do you want to see a show where your women are treated right by the narrative? Where the female characters are more than props for the male character’s development, where they are powerful and complex women with jobs and lives, with issues and hearts; where they are antiheroes and they are lovers and they are professionals, where they are violent and they are villains and they tear cities and people apart, where they are young and they are old and they are whole people regardless?
Then you need to be fucking watching Grimm.
blazestuck said: So I hear you say that nearly every muscular man in media is a male power fantasy so I have been meaning to ask what is a woman power fantasy. I mean what criteria have to be met for a power fantasy for women since for a man the criteria is to be fit and attractive to look as said from your post here that Dolph Lundgren Ax here and Conan. I mean can't a woman who is attractive and so skilled she can kill enemies without armor be a fantasy for women as well.
Wow, that’s some fundamentally loaded question…
The premise of asking for ultimate criteria of gendered power fantasy is kinda flawed… First, there are VERY different facets of indulging in the male fantasy. Let’s make it clear: strong, overly-muscular men aren’t the only representation of male power fantasy, they’re just the most obvious one, cause they’re extending the stereotype of maleness to ridiculous degrees. They appeal to the deep-rooted societal notion that male = stronger, that’s why to make the character seem powerful the designers exaggerate the “manly” aspects of the him.
But when it comes to female characters, it gets complicated.
The thing is, our culture tends to view things almost exclusively from the (straight) male point of view. Men try to extrapolate their own experiences onto us and assume that how they feel is how we feel. That’s why conventional female “power fantasy” either emulates the male one (butch warrior woman) or (more often) assumes that female power comes from controlling sexual availability to men. That’s where the sexy femme fatale warrior stereotype comes from. Men imagine that the only area where women can be in total control is sex.
Going back to the male power fantasy, it’s important to realize how Buff Warrior Dude type basically comes down to eliminating the fear of ever being threatened by other men. Notice how Sexy Warrior Babe type, instead of eliminating the fear women have (of being overpowered, assaulted etc.), feeds onto the fear men have (of being rejected and/or sexually controlled by women). That’s why villainesses are very likely to be portrayed in most sexual characters.
This disingenuous female power archetype is the result of filtering everything through male perspective.
To create a genuine power fantasy, female point of view must be applied and male one must be deconstructed. We can’t latch onto the simplistic and hurtful notion that associates maleness with strength and femaleness with weakness.
I touched upon this recently, but the genre of magical girl narrative is one of the basic deconstructions of that: the powers, weapons and outfits of the heroines are usually designed to be as girly as possible, so that monsters are defeated not with the male-coded brute strength, but with sparkly magic beams from pink, heart-shaped rods and jewelry. Things associated with the “weak” part of femaleness stereotype become the source of their power.
That said, it does not mean that no female character ever can find their strength in being butch or sexual. Just that those female power stereotypes (especially the sexual one) have so far been framed in how men see them and thus, problematic.
Also, Sexy Warrior Babe type of character is vastly overused, so it’s really hard to to make it work without looking like you’re playing it straight. That’s one of the reasons this blog exists.
Big thanks to our dear friend ami-angelwings for helping me to put our collective female perspective on the subject to words.
(Disclaimer: wincenworks is a cishet male so can only give information from observation and received from women who have spoken about the issue)
Firstly, the story of a character who is so badass that they can run into fights with no protection and be assured of a victory without injury is a pretty boring story. There’s no tension or drama if the outcome is pre-ordained - even less so if it’s only pre-ordained to justify a costuming decision.
Secondly, the buff barbarian look isn’t about selling men a fantasy of being fit and attractive (Conan is traditionally not a pretty man, he often gets injured and he’s not above wearing armor) - it’s about recognized as physically powerful and coded as a great warrior and one who is above caring what regular think of them. Howard wrote about the appeal of this aspect at length in letters and at least one artist has already explored what Red Sonja might look like if she was given the same visual coding Conan is.
Bikini armor on fictional women doesn’t project this, because after decades of it’s being used for senseless titilation, for Ms Male Characters and damsels who are to be rescued by manly men. They’re not designed with the intention of anything done, or having other primary traits other than “sexy” by Male Gaze standards.
This leads to (in case you missed it, at the top of the post you’re replying to):
See female power fantasy characters are meant to reflect female fantasies and it turns out women are people. So their fantasies tend to be more complicated than “look sexy to the assumed straight male audience and be do something badass to justify my position as ‘strong’ character”.
Thus a female character is more likely to read as a female power fantasy characters if she looks more like:
- Chief Judge Hershey
- Tank Girl
- X-Men’s Storm, with mohawk
- Lady Sif, as she’s been featured on BABD
- nihilnovisubsole ‘s Saints Row boss, Rosie
That said, many characters who are wearing outfits that are not particularly power fantasy inducing have become female power fantasies to certain groups of women via particular traits, their personalities and their stories.
None of these function on the half-arsed justification of “I mean can’t a woman who is attractive and so skilled she can kill enemies without armor be a fantasy for women as well." They tend to be things more like "I’d like to treated with respect regardless of my body or how I dress, be feared by tough guys and able to smack them down if they threaten me."
Most women, in my experience, are not really that adverse to the idea of having or wearing awesome armor which is why our “positive examples" posts tend to get lots of love and we get awesome asks like this one from yondamoegi :
So in summary, the primary flaw with your argument is that women shouldn’t be expected to be for men’s benefit. The secondary flaw is that women actually aren’t expected to wear armor more than they are bikinis so have no reason to wish they could be free of armor.
I don’t think nearly enough people on this sight watch Grimm. It’s like a way less depressing version of Supernatural.
+ way less misogynistic than supernatural
i’m sorry what’s that did u say u wanted female characters who survived seasons and had individual relevancy and motivations beyond providing man pain?
hello welcome 2 grimm
aslkfmdslkmlsgkm the notion that “friendship is undervalued by fans and underrepresented in media” is bullshit because, in general, the ONLY time they choose to focus on a relationship as a friendship over a potential romance is if the romance in some way would be unconventional
see: everyone bitching about how making two male characters in a queer relationship would be “ruining their friendship” but if these same characters were male and female, the media in question itself would have likely begun to frame them as romantic and no one would be complaining (see: the entirety of Sherlock holy shit).
i’m thinking this while I’m watching CM, so of course my trigger in this case is Morgan and Garcia, who are of course the creme de la creme of chemistry- beautiful, natural, sweet, sexy, romantic, immediate, whole, unhesitant, and yes there are loads of people who value their friendship. but don’t you wonder, when couples are so easily made in tv shows, why they never let Garcia and Morgan become a serious romantic possibility, and instead Morgan’s romantic interests are always super hotties and usually black women, and Garcia’s sole romantic interest is literally a male clone of herself, chubby and white and geeky and socially awkward?
Like i mean I’m not saying that there isn’t value to their platonic friendship but as a trend, “platonic friendship has value!!!!” is usually shouted loudest when the potential romantic coupling would be unconventional. When the platonic friendship in question is between two white cis conventionally attractive opposite-sex characters (IE Booth and Bones, Kate and Sawyer, Kate and Jack, everything else), the narrative a lot of the time tends to tilt it in a romantic direction without audience input.
Criminal Minds [and TWD too actually, since that’s the other thing I usually babble about, but I think in TWD’s case the dominant platonic friendship (Carol and Daryl) is platonic because of Daryl’s queerness] has done a pretty good job about not doing that: see the platonic friendships between Prentiss and the other male members of the team, and JJ and Reid; but I have some general distrust of Kevin as a male clone of Garcia being a more acceptable love interest for her than Morgan, who has ten years of romantic compatibility with her.
Babblelelebebelelele he l l o darkness my old friend
I really love Adalind as a character because she’s such a terrible person and she’s pretty much blatantly evil at points and she’s a female baddie without a tragic backstory to make her that way- she’s just, wow, an actual terrible person and also a woman- but also complex with different motivations and her own storyline and development and I adore her and I want her to raze Portland to the ground and I think she’s one of my favorite characters
but wow that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of acknowledging that she is a rapist who has sexually assaulted multiple characters and is a terrible person so
yeah nobody downplay that okay you can still love Adalind’s character but don’t excuse her actions by any means
but wow what a fantastic character
"What I didn’t realize, back when I was this twenty-five-year-old pinup for geeks in that me myself and iconic metal bikini, was that I had signed an invisible contract to stay looking the exact same way for the next thirty to forty years. Well, clearly I’ve broken that contract. Partly because, in an effort to keep up my disguise as a human being, I had a child at some point. And then, in an effort to stay sane for said child, I took pounds and pounds of medications that have the dual effect of causing water retention (think ocean, not lake) while also creating a craving for salad— chocolate salad. So yes, in answer to your unexpressed question, sanity does turn out to come at a heavy price.”
on a textual level, a female character can dress however she wants and shouldn’t be slut-shamed and hated for what she prefers to wear.
on a metatextual level, she might still have been designed with an intention to provide fanservice.
this means that criticising a design, as opposed to a character, is neither misogyny nor slut-shaming. being displeased about the way a character has been designed is not synonymous with hating her.
have i made myself clear?
I think ‘designed for the male gaze’ might be better than ‘designed with an intention to provide fanservice’, because there isn’t anything wrong with fanservice, there’s something wrong with prioritizing that over everything else.
But otherwise - thisX1000. When I criticize the ways female characters are treated in media, I’m not criticizing them as people. I’m criticizing the creators, for the choices they made.
Usagi is a great character. We watch her grow from a clumsy, lazy, self-centered teenager into a fearless goddess of justice who takes down the force of chaos itself. But the great thing is? She doesn’t stop being the girl we met back in chapter one. Sure, she’s indomitably powerful and her teardrops turn into the universe’s most potent energy source, but she also likes video games and donuts and napping and she gets crappy grades on tests because instead of studying, she was playing video games and eating donuts and napping. She whines about having to study for high school entrance exams, then stops a Texas-sized asteroid from slamming into Tokyo. Also, she was totally having sex with her star-crossed-reincarnated-prince of a boyfriend.
J.K. Rowling once made a really interesting point about the Narnia books (which I have not read): “There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She’s become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that.” Takeuchi avoided this in Sailor Moon with such deftness and grace that I’m only fully realizing it now, at 22. Usagi and Mamoru were totally boning—there are all kinds of dreamy, gauzy artbook pictures of them together in bed or discreetly covered in feathers, not to mention the penultimate scene of the manga, where they wake up in a (seriously awesome) bed together all naked and cuddly. Moreover, check out the illustrations of Usagi in lingerie and just straight up topless that Takeuchi busted out for her self-published artbook. Usagi is pure-hearted, but she isn’t “pure” in the archaic sense. She’s sexual. And I love that she can be both. She’s the amaranthine avatar of goodness and love and serenity in the universe—she is every cherished ideal we hold of what it means to be a “magical girl.” She stands for truth and freedom and hope. She wears floaty pastel clothes and enormous pigtails and her weapons are covered in hearts and stylized angel wings. She’s often drawn with angel wings herself! And she has sex. It doesn’t make her dirty, or suddenly inappropriate as entertainment for young girls. She doesn’t lose her power or her magic. She is a multifaceted young woman who loves sweets and comics and vanquishes the forces of evil and also has sex.
And the thing is, this kind of attitude in entertainment helps everyone. It’s not just very sexually active girls who need characters like Usagi, or even just girls in general. I was a prudish kid who didn’t have her first kiss until the age of 18 and this particular aspect of the manga has always stuck with me and informed my attitudes about sex. Whoever you are, however you handle your sexuality—it never makes you dirty. You can be queen of the mahou shoujo and have sex and wake up the next day to slaughter the wicked hordes with your bunny-bedecked Magic Rainbow Sparkle Sword. You can do both. You can be both. One does not invalidate the other.