Liliaeth (liliaeth) wrote,
Liliaeth
liliaeth

Why do fans focus on male characters over the female ones.

What is it about fandom, that even in a show with a strong female lead character that people still seem to prefer focusing on the male characters over the female lead?



I've gotten into reading Hunger Games fanfic lately and it's noticeable that aside of the part where most of its fanfic (at least the bit that gets posted on ff.net) seems to suck, and not in the good way, (I honestly can't read a single oc-centric mess anymore, they all suck that much), that the rest of it almost always seem to focus more on the male perspective than on the female one. (there's exceptions of course, thankfully, but still...)

Are we so trained to see stories from the male perspective that when a story is set from the female perspective that it ... bothers us, that fandom can't handle it and quickly changes things so they can go back to the male perspective?

Don't get me wrong, I love Peeta and Gale and Finnick and Haymitch and Cinna and...

But I love Katniss more. I love that she's not just your typical girly or action girl character. She's a full fledged flawed but kind, heroic but damaged character with more than three dimensions to her personality.

So when I was reading 'Mark Reads' reviews of the Hunger Games, it bothered me that he kept saying that Katniss had no depth of personality. It felt like he basically dismissed half the story that gave her that depth. (of course he also way too often acts as if any chapter that focused on character development rather than on fighting, was boring. (his overly focus on a love triangle (even if only in the negative way) that's only a minor part of the story didn't help either. Because well... it's once again all about the male characters. When Peeta and Gale show up, all he and the commenters on his journal seem to focus on, is either the love interest angle or what effect Katniss' actions have on the male. Rather than on the actual focus of those scenes, aka what they say about Katniss, who she is, what she feels, ...They don't seem to notice that it's not about whether or not Katniss is in love with Peeta or Gale, but about what it's like to have to play act a romance to an audience. What it's like to be stuck in this game where she has to kill people and then using or hiding her emotions so that she might survive. And yet these same complainers claim that Collins isn't subtle enough while at the same time they keep missing half the actual story that's there.

And I think a big part of that is because they just don't know what to do with the female perspective outside of a love story. To them, Katniss should be all about Peeta and/or Gale, making them the focus of the story, from her perspective. And Collins just isn't giving them that story, so they say the love triangle is badly done, while not realizing what she's actually doing, aka putting the focus back where it belongs, on Katniss.

Hell I like Cinna, I think he's a fascinating char, but where's all the stories about Effie, who's even more fascinating? Cinna in the end is just a heroic guy stuck in a bad situation, trying to save children by creating beauty so that they might find sponsors while secretly working for the rebels.

Effie on the other hand is just... why does she do the work she does. Is she just stupid, does she care, does she even realize what she's a part of? She's not simple, cause it's clear, she's not a bad person. Yet she's just so interestingly self centered in a way that makes me wonder what she has to do to keep herself so ignorant.

I love Finnick, damaged beauty and all, but I'm even more fascinated with Johanna, who it seems was given the same offer that Finnick was and didn't give in to it. Losing everyone she loved because of it.

I like Haymitch, but what about Mags, who knew she couldn't possibly survive the games, yet sacrificed herself to save Annie? Or what about Annie herself, so broken, so damaged...

Gale's fun enough, but I find Madge so much more interesting, with her lost aunt and her attempt to be friendly to Katniss.

Or hell, President Snow is diabolical, but what about President Coin. And her utter pragmatism. On the side of good, or just in it for her own sake to be the one in power?

Hell where's the stories about Octavia, about Prim, about Katniss and Prim's mother, ...

There's just so many strong female characters in the books that it hurts to see so many of them most often ignored or only focused on in a love interest capacity.

It's like with Buffy, I loved Spike, but it's weird how much fanfic removes Buffy from the main character role and makes her no more than a supporting character in the males story, even when she's part of the main pairing of the fic.

I love Andrea and Lori from the Walking Dead, yet so much more of the fic seems to focus on Rick and Glenn (not that I mind Glenn fic, he's my fave too, but honestly, much as I like Daryl, I really wish we got more Glenn fic that is about more than pairing him with Daryl), and Shane and Daryl.

It's like no matter how strong the female chars in a story are, fandom always much more instantly seems to focus in on the males.

And before people start saying something, I always felt Ruby was a more interesting char than Castiel, even if I do love both. And I wish we had more fics that focused on Ellen, and that didn't just pair her with any of the Winchesters or Bobby, but that just focus on Ellen as Ellen, or as Jo's mother. And I know it's hard, we have so much more of a connection to Sam and Dean, so it's hard to reach outside of that, but is it really that hard to write female characters as characters first and as love interest second? I honestly feel that much of the hate against Jo isn't against her as a character, but as a potential love interest. Cause she really is interesting as a character. So what if she doesn't start out as this great hunter? She's not supposed to be, that's part of her character arc. (I see the same of this with Andrea from TWD, people complaining that she isn't bad ass right off... she's not supposed to be, she grows stronger as the story moves on, that's what being a full fledged character rather than a one note action girl is about)

Hell, it's the biggest issue with ASM these days. Female characters are no longer allowed to be characters, they're either bitches, screws or love interests. Someone like Carlie Cooper doesn't seem to exist outside of being Peter's love interest. All her abilities are informed rather than shown. (or you know, given at the expense of making Peter look stupid, rather than just letting Carlie do something right)

Compare this to a Joy Mercado, Betty Brant, hell even Felicia and I don't like Felicia...

Because the problem with BND is that it's the 'fans' who are in charge, aka the male silver age fans, the ones who are writing bad fanfic because they couldn't stand to see these female characters that were more than just background filler or prizes to be obtained.

Somehow though, it pisses me off even more when it's the female fans doing it, than the male ones, because 'we' should know better. Unfortunately we seem to be programmed not to, and that's a damn shame.
Tags: buffy, fandom, hunger games, rant, supernatural, the walking dead
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