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Old November 26 2013, 03:17 AM   #1
Shaka Zulu
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Girls rule, boys drool

An interesting commentary about the lack of male heroes in today's media...

While Sporty and Scary’s value as icons may have declined, that XX-positive ethos is still upheld by many successors, chief among them Katniss Everdeen, the bow-wielding, squirrel-hunting heroine of the Hunger Games saga.
This weekend sees the release of the film adaptation of the second instalment of Suzanne Collins’s Y/A series about a near-future America where the opiate of the masses is a televised gender-inclusive battle royale. As played with stoicism by Jennifer Lawrence, Katniss has become a ready emblem of fortitude, integrity, and shrewdness. In that respect, she stands proudly alongside K-Stew’s armoured warrior in Snow White and the Huntsman and Brave’s Merida, Pixar’s first bona-fide heroine. It’s tempting to see these fictional examples as reflections of scrappy young role models in today’s world, from the savvy singer-songwriter Lorde to Nobel Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai.

When you’re getting smoked like that, it’d be helpful to have some movie characters to look up to. With his Katniss-like determination and other values (i.e., self-discipline, fierce loyalty to his friends, not rushing things with Ginny), Harry Potter was a stellar role model, but pickings have been slim since he retired his wand. Teenage-boy heroes may be present in certain franchises, but they’re scarcer than older superhero types. That’d be fine if not for the genre’s propensity for valourizing neurotics (Peter Parker), narcissists (Tony Stark), and men so damaged as to seem dangerously sociopathic (Bruce Wayne). Even poor Superman comes across as a tormented dude with daddy issues in Man of Steel. Elsewhere, young men are upstaged by infinitely cooler giant robots (Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky in the Transformers movies) or stroppier girl companions invariably played by Chloë Grace Moretz (see: Hugo, Kick-Ass).
Girls rule, boys drool

Personally, I think that the writer's full of it, and that the male heroes we have now are (and have been) the most interesting in decades. But, I might be wrong-any thoughts?
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Old November 26 2013, 03:26 AM   #2
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

Something interesting to me is that the male protagonists in Western video games are just as steroidly masculine as the action heroes from the 80s. It's only in movies we get these male protagonists who are kind of damaged and broody, and I think a big part of that is that video game designers don't care about appealing to women, wheres action movie writers do want their male characters to appeal to women. They design their male characters around being badass enough for the men while making women think: "I can SAVE him!"

Whereas female characters today try to add traditionally masculine character traits while still keeping them sexy and feminine. It's become this sort of weird hybrid of female empowerment and male gaze. And I think a part of that is because sexuality has become so open in our culture that overly submissive women don't interest men anymore, and men are more attracted to women who stand up for themselves and have to be won over before finally becoming submissive.

Something else interesting is that things like soap operas and Lifetime dramas that make no attempt to appeal to men design their female characters around being victims.
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Old November 26 2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

Yeah, it's been guys as heroes for decades and decades. Now the pendulum is just starting to swing in the other direction. I don't have a problem wiht it at all.
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Old November 27 2013, 01:45 AM   #4
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

But shouldn't we becareful that the pendulum as you put it swings too far in the other direction.
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Old November 27 2013, 01:45 AM   #5
stj
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

The excerpt seem to be confusing the issue. Is the supposed problem the preference for antiheroes, and since male protagonists dominate, most male heroes currently are not very appetizing for mature audiences?

Or is the problem that so many positive values are now so disdained that they can only be attributed to lowly females?

Or is the problem that females can't be antiheroes, due to social double standards?

Or is the problem just the females, period?

My answers are yes, yes, yes and no.
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Old November 27 2013, 01:15 PM   #6
Gov Kodos
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

Just what's posted here, the writer seems to want the world of George Reeves's Superman, and Loyd Bridges's Sea Hunt. The movies' superheroes are not the basket cases of psychiatry the writer makes unsupported accusation to be, they just were not produced in an era of comics code superheroes. Prior to that code the heroes were far more edgy than this writer might be comfortable with. As to the men being somehow shortchanged or put into a small set of stereotypical negative roles compared to women- No.
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Old November 27 2013, 02:27 PM   #7
Tiberius
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

Kirk, Batman, Thor, Ironman.

Tell me more about how we don't have any decent male hereos.
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Old November 27 2013, 04:09 PM   #8
stj
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

MacLeod wrote: View Post
But shouldn't we becareful that the pendulum as you put it swings too far in the other direction.
Missed this. But, the laws of conservation of energy and momentum mean the pendulum can't swing any further in the opposite direction. And the second law of thermodynamics means it can't even swing that far. The only way the pendulum can swing "too far" is if you choose to take a stand to block the advance.

Metaphors are powerful tools for explaining what you mean.
Choose them wisely.
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Old November 27 2013, 04:10 PM   #9
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

It's an interesting observation that female heroes are now being attributed the idealism we used to see in male heroes, trying at all costs to protect life. Shows like 24 have made us see virtue as a luxury in the face of real threat, so it's almost like we've created this link between cynicism and rationality, so only women are allowed to have the 'Irrational' trait of idealism.
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Old November 27 2013, 04:12 PM   #10
Robert Maxwell
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

The original article sounds like a bunch of whining that male heroes aren't perfectly-functioning paladin archetypes. Because manly men don't ever show emotions!
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Old November 27 2013, 04:45 PM   #11
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

Thor's not manly enough?

OP article wrote:
The decline in young male characters worth emulating may be most starkly illustrated by the difference between the first and second Star Wars trilogies. Instead of Luke and Han Solo, we were presented with the wussy, whiny, and ultimately monstrous Anakin Skywalker.
If Han Solo was considered young, then what about McGregor's Obi-Wan?

Never mind that Anakin was conceived as necessarily ultimately monstrous at some point during the development of the OT, given that he had to become Darth Fucking Vader, and that therefore Anakin's conception is not a result of same change undergone in media over the past generation.

OP article is bogus bullshit.
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Last edited by CorporalCaptain; November 28 2013 at 12:48 AM. Reason: oops wrong word
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Old November 28 2013, 12:46 AM   #12
Shaka Zulu
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
The original article sounds like a bunch of whining that male heroes aren't perfectly-functioning paladin archetypes. Because manly men don't ever show emotions!
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Thor's not manly enough?

OP article wrote:
The decline in young male characters worth emulating may be most starkly illustrated by the difference between the first and second Star Wars trilogies. Instead of Luke and Han Solo, we were presented with the wussy, whiny, and ultimately monstrous Anakin Skywalker.
If Han Solo was concerned young, then what about McGregor's Obi-Wan?

Never mind that Anakin was conceived as necessarily ultimately monstrous at some point during the development of the OT, given that he had to become Darth Fucking Vader, and that therefore Anakin's conception is not a result of same change undergone in media over the past generation.

OP article is bogus bullshit.
Tell me about it.
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Old November 28 2013, 01:26 AM   #13
MacLeod
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

stj wrote: View Post
MacLeod wrote: View Post
But shouldn't we becareful that the pendulum as you put it swings too far in the other direction.
Missed this. But, the laws of conservation of energy and momentum mean the pendulum can't swing any further in the opposite direction. And the second law of thermodynamics means it can't even swing that far. The only way the pendulum can swing "too far" is if you choose to take a stand to block the advance.

Metaphors are powerful tools for explaining what you mean.
Choose them wisely.
The metaphor was perfectly apt and most people would understand what was meant (without bring physics into it), there is nothing wrong with addressing an imbalance, but one has to be careful not to over compensate and create an imbalance in the other direction.

Or have you not heard of the saying "The Pendulum may have swung too far in the opposite direction"?

http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_b...sages/882.html


There is absolutly nothing wrong with having female hero types, just as there is nothing wrong with having male hero types. As a male I can happily sit down and watch a film/TV show with either a male or female heroic lead. I tend to be more worried about such things as characterisaton/plot etc...
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Old November 28 2013, 01:38 PM   #14
stj
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

The pendulum metaphor is a cliche whose literal meaning absolutely contradicts the customary "meaning." People who use this are making a noise, not an argument. What they want to do is stop the pendulum. In this particular case, it's a way to insinuate that female heroes are somehow excessive.

Presumably, in the dusty corners of history, the pendulum metaphor was used to explain that a situation would reverse itself naturally, just as a pendulum would. In other words, that undue excitement is unwarranted, because the problem is self-correcting.

A misused cliche is a sure symptom of muddy thinking or deceptive rhetoric.
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Old November 28 2013, 02:18 PM   #15
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Re: Girls rule, boys drool

As long as they run around in nice catsuits, there can be female heroes as long they want.
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