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Wonder Woman vs. Fem!Thor: Heroine's journey

Pyropyro

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#1
I was inspired to write this post after the discussions about tropes on one of the posts here:

I think the heroine's journey is poorly written in current media. As a nerd, that simply won't stand. I like good stories regardless of gender. Anyways, I'll discuss two different comic superheroines and how they portray their journeys.

Let's start with Wonder Woman. I think her last movie did great justice in portraying her as both strong and vulnerable at the same time. Her might comes from both her inner strength and her heritage while remaining incredibly feminine. I don't really know how to properly describe but think of her as a lioness, she's badass while carrying female grace.

Another thing that struck me the most is that how they portray her with her mortal male friends. Yes, she's a lightning bruiser but she's one that takes care of her group while letting them shine by doing their own thing. Steve Trevor might be weak but he's not a damsel in disguise and Diana treats him as an equal comrade and lover. Now that's a woman I'm willing to fight for and fight under.

Now let's look at Fem!Thor. Her power doesn't come from her inner strength but rather from the male, or if we're going mythical about it, a male organ. She's neither man nor woman, just a mask wielding a magic electric dong. Also suddenly, after stealing/getting her hammer everyone is magically misogynistic. I know Odin is a jerk but this comic run just made him a woman-hating caricature. She also has this annoying victim complex that the author poorly crafted as an excuse for a flaw. You got the best magitek around and a doctor that can literally warp reality but no, you're gonna wallow in cancer. I don't think that's a good female role model at all.

Ironically, the best part of this story arc was Castrated er I mean Unworthy Thor. It shows the effects of being robbed of his magic dong, developing a new sense of worth (with Beta Ray Bill being a bro), and then finally letting go of an alternate dimension dong because he won't stoop so low as to steal someone's power to gain an identity.
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
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7,691
#2
Gender affects characters but gender isn’t a character, if I was going to write a Wonder Woman story I would have her be frustrated by the men in her life because they’re either intimidated by her or there’s some reason why they’re not, for example being narcissistic or they have ulterior motives. That’s nothing to do with her rather that’s just how the world around her reacts to her and how she in turn responds to that says a lot about who she is as a character.

Does she hide her power with a mundane alter ego (like Superman/Batman) and try to find someone who will love her for who she is regardless of what she’s capable of? The irony being that her capabilities are an inherent part of who she is so anyone that falls in love with her alter ego hasn’t really fallen in love with her. Imagine Wonder Woman trying to play housewife, living a lie, happy with what she’s got but at the same time unfulfilled by it, or maybe she does find it fulfilling, what if wonder woman doesn’t need to be a strong independent woman to be happy?

What if she persists with dating mundane guys as herself, powers and all, this may result in a string of relationships with guys that feel emasculated by her and/or succumb to their own self-consciousness. I hear this is a problem a lot of particularly attractive women have, guys friend zone them or pursue them only to shy away when they reciprocate, like a dog chasing a car that doesn’t know what to do when it stops. Heck I’ve done this myself, there was a 6ft something beautiful redhead at my previous workplace and when I asked her out I wasn’t really expecting her to say yes but I guess despite (or rather because) of how desirable she was most guys would admire her from afar but dismiss her as “out of their league”. I took her out to see a movie, it all went well, the whole thing was painfully awkward and I didn’t persist with it, I later apologised to her at a party and by her reaction I wasn’t the first guy to have done this.

Self-consciousness can also manifest as jealousy, I’ve seen guys tie themselves up in allegorical knots because they think their girlfriend’s cheating on them or going to cheat on them, there’s possessive jealously and then there’s this kind of imposter-syndrome jealously where the guy in question appears to be more afraid of being betrayed by his girlfriend than actually losing her, needless to say these relationships tend not to last long.

Finally what if she decides the only way to have a “normal” relationship is to date fellow superheros, there’s not many of them to choose from and no guarantee that the ones she likes are single or interested in her. The Superman and Wonder Woman ship gets a lot of attention because they seem compatible from a powers standpoint but that’s completely disregarding who they are, Superman may not care whether the woman he’s with has powers or not. Imagine how pissed off Wonder Woman would be if she’s dating Superman and he’s like “nah screw this you’re too demanding, I’m going back to Lois Lane” because he has that option. Or despite them both having powers he keeps trying to protect her, at first it’s charming but she doesn’t need him to do it and he’s getting in her way, it’s a known character flaw of his that he isn’t a team player in combat.

TL;DR My point is writing strong female characters isn’t difficult because they’re realistic, it’s difficult because when you put them into a realistic setting that creates problems for the character. Those problems make strong female characters a wonderful opportunity for writers to create new interesting and meaningful stories, it’s basically philosophy in action. But it seems writers are shying away from telling those stories because it’s not politically correct to point out the elephant in the room. That the propensity for men to be emasculated by strong women suggest that they (or rather society as a whole) still expects men to impress women and women to be submissive to men, and even more controversially that if Wonder Woman doesn’t need her powers to live a fulfilling life, that there’s no reason why she couldn’t just settle down with a normal man, then maybe being a strong independent woman isn’t necessary either.
 

Pyropyro

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#3
About the whole submission thing, there's a spectrum when it comes to gender roles. Basically, the harsher the environment the more gender roles must be enforced. So it makes sense for Ancient Near East couple for the muscular man to earn living and the less physically imposing woman to do lighter stuff. On the other hand, a couple living in a modern city can switch from working and housework. The problem with society is that they make it a hard and fast rule rather than a flexible guideline.

Anyways, the whole emasculating gender war is stupid and probably one of the reasons why toxic communities like incels are spawned. I think Fem!Thor and the quest for the control of the electric magical dong that she wages against Castrated Thor sum that war nicely. (UPDATE: Fem!Thor destroyed the magic dong because yeah, that's the message that we need<sarcasm>. If you empower women, they'll end destroying source of said power.)

I'm pretty sure women can be women by their own agency rather than taking from the man. On the other hand, men can be men without the validation or castration by the woman.

As for the intimidating strong woman perspective, just do one thing: be damned good and confident with what you do. I work with highly intelligent and intimidating women all the time but they calmly look for guidance from me because I'm good at what I do and they need me to succeed as much as I need them to suceed myself.
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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#4
To be clear I'm not saying women shouldn't be strong/independent/etc I'm saying it's not necessary.

The necessity is the problem, making it necessary for women to be more man-like isn't solving the problem, the problem isn't with women not being manly enough, the real problem is the supposed necessity of men having to be The Man of the relationship.
 

Pyropyro

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#5
Cog, can you define "man of the relationship" if you don't mind?
 

Cognisant

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#6
It's a very nebulous concept, I think it's anything that sways the balance of power in the man's favour. Basically society treats it as a necessity that a woman has some reason for being with a man, whereas a man can be with any woman. So for example if a man is rich he can have a relationship with a poor woman no problem, but if a woman is rich the guy is expected to be as rich or famous or beautiful or something, anything that puts the power dynamic on at least equal terms.

Of course there are some guys with rich women who have seen through society's bullshit values, but it's still easier to be a rich man than a rich woman.
 

Pyropyro

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#7
I get you, that's why Japan has declining population (and soon, without proper immigration, the West as well). People are more prosperous but men have to be more prosperous than women (which is kinda stupid since that only make sense if job opportunities are only available for men).

Anyways, I think this problem would be solved if both sexes must have something on the table outside the ability to breed. During ye olden times, "a man is rich he can have a relationship with a poor woman no problem" was "equal" because the woman brings her baby maker on board. Again, that makes sense in ye olden times but now, women should be held in equal standards to men when it comes to getting in a relationship like appearance/fitness, money, status, etc.
 

Cognisant

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#8
Yeah I think this is why a lot of relationships in recent decades have been power struggles, traditionally the husband was always the dominant role but now women are being told to be more assertive which is being interpreted as being more husband-like.

Really it doesn't matter, everyone's different and it follows that every relationship will be different, society should mind its own business.

If a man feels emasculated by his partner's success he should talk to his partner about it, maybe he needs to step up his game or maybe his partner's success was possible because of his support.
 

Hadoblado

The choicest fuckboi
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#9
I didn't really see the vulnerable side tbh.

It didn't really feel like she had much character development. She started off strong and naive and then stayed that way and it got her all the way through. I think that's an issue with lady protagonists atm, they're often depicted as badass, but they rarely get much development. You rarely see a woman *become* a badass.

WW was good for a recent DC film. I'm hoping black widow does it better.

I dunno about all this phallic symbolism Pyro, seems like nonsense that muddies the discussion to me. If your penis is shaped like a hammer... well congratulations I guess, but you should consider seeing a doctor XD
 

Pyropyro

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#10
I didn't really see the vulnerable side tbh.

It didn't really feel like she had much character development. She started off strong and naive and then stayed that way and it got her all the way through. I think that's an issue with lady protagonists atm, they're often depicted as badass, but they rarely get much development. You rarely see a woman *become* a badass.

WW was good for a recent DC film. I'm hoping black widow does it better.

I dunno about all this phallic symbolism Pyro, seems like nonsense that muddies the discussion to me. If your penis is shaped like a hammer... well congratulations I guess, but you should consider seeing a doctor XD
Diana got some serious training to be badass so i dont really see where you're coming from. Fem!Thor is instant badass because she took something from the male, i dont think that's a good role model right there.

As for the phallus thing. It's the mythical symbol of the Hammer Hado and a fun one at that.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Þrymskviða

Even India has the phallic lingam and i see nothing wrong about it. Anyways, if youre feeling a bit conservative then lets call it mythical masculine energy rather than dong (it is more accurate but hey dong sounds more fun). Basically Fem!Thor borrows from the male rather than her own feminine energy.
 

Hadoblado

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#11
Yeah she trained, but from the moment she starts the adventure component of the story she just blitzes everything. It didn't feel like she picked up much along the way. The main challenges she faces are learning to appear normal, and the final boss at the end.

Training is a good point to what I said though, I just communicated poorly what I meant.
 
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