Monday, April 20, 2009
Still one of Beatrix's favorite shows, and definitely my favorite for watchability, I'm posting from Phineas and Ferb again. Part of the stuff I've been writing, but not posting yet is tied up in the question of "love" as a motivator for heroes and heroines.
This song totally broke my heart a bit, and it is always nice to see the down to earth Evil Scientist and his functional amour rather than the crazy lady who so often falls for the evil guy. So often these are very capable women who fall in love but their love is unrequited and causes them to break down to the point of suicidal insanity. An example is Alcyone in Magic Knight Rayearth.Alcyone apprentices the antagonist, a powerful sorcerer, and learns to become almost as powerful as he is, but, because of her blindingly obsessive love for him, despite the fact he treats her terribly, she does his bidding and licks his boots rather than having any life outside her obsession. By all rights, she has the power to take over a piece of the universe herself, but even after he's made it abundantly clear that he is repulsed by her, she still follows his lead, rather than look outside her situation, maybe take a break.
From the West, you can see how most princesses (and lets be honest, most of our western heroines are princesses) entire life-goal is to find a man and they exert all their power, daring and skills to find a husband, then their story ends.
Successful franchises like say, Shrek, tend to try and throw that stereotype into a different light, but how that plays out outside the films tend to be downplays to cater exclusively to a young male audience, not bothering to make a play for a young female audience. This can be seen when you look at the Shrek franchise extensions and count the number of Princess Fionas you see. The answer is almost none, Donkey, Shrek and Puss in Boots are the ones who are exemplars of the brands, despite Fiona's importance to the movies. The point is once again that the female character isn't the focal point, and here, that she is only important as long as the male hero is in the shot.
The case of Alcyone also carries plenty of stereotyping of evil guys too, why do they fall for the ingenues when perfectly sexy and appealing ladies who seem more compatible are at hand? And certainly one can see examples from past girls franchises of men who seem equally dependant on powerful women. Isn't it interesting to have a partner who can call themselves just that?
As a lady, and one who is in love and has done crazy things for love, etc... I can comfortably say that love is a major part of the human condition, and certainly, love is also a motivator for male heroes and protagonists. Why then, do female characters tend towards obsessive or debilitated by their strong passions towards romance, while male counterparts are often spurred towards greater competence and focus?
Or is that just a perception and stereotype that one (in the case me) is putting on the story that they are seeing?