On Strong Women

On Strong Women

March 5, 2019 0 By Elaine Arias

I really dislike the phrase “strong women” simply because the left keeps parroting it, and are completely obsessed with the concept.

Yet, I’ve been watching and reading about “strong women” my whole life. And they’re acting like “strong women” is a very recent phenomenon. I’ve already covered this, in part, in my post on the Captain Marvel movie.

This morning, I just watched a really, really badly done OVA anime from the mid-80s. It’s called (try not to laugh), Twinkle Nora Rock Me! Yeah, that’s the title. It’s obviously from Japan, so just roll with it. This was a half-hour film about a blonde-haired bounty hunter named Nora Scholar. You can watch it at YouTube (embed below), and try not to pay attention to the horrible, practically non-existent animation.

So, if you haven’t watched it, I’ll explain why I’m bringing this up. Nora is basically invincible. At no point in this story does she actually struggle or stumble or fail. Her magical abilities just come out at random and she always defeats whatever foe she’s facing. I doubt the manga this is based on was as bad…in fact, the OVA that came before it wasn’t this bad. But this one…very bad. Bad animation, weird, random, pointless dance sequence, and an invincible main character.

Kind of like Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In fact, I had the same feelings when I watched this as I did when I first saw those two Star Wars movies.

Nora Scholar is the perfect feminist character. She is invincible, she always wins, and does no wrong. Well, maybe not perfect because she smiles a lot (another one of her many superpowers…she’s like Cartman/Balrog from that one episode of South Park, having the power to have all the powers she wants), but otherwise…perfect.

That’s why people complained about Rey. She was an invincible goddess who didn’t have to learn anything, didn’t have to struggle, and had never known failure.

It seems that Captain Marvel may be the same. Invincible, no real struggle, never fails, never has any doubts, etc.

“Strong women” have basically become a trope, or a stereotype, or a stock character. Notice how they:

  • Aren’t mothers and don’t have children
  • Are always kept down by the “patriarchy” (the only time they struggle)
  • Always defeat every single male they come across
  • Have no love interest, or is the dominant one of the relationship if she does
  • Show no skin
  • Have no sex appeal
  • Sleep around
  • Contradict anything and everything a man says

Those last two might be contradictions, but it’s something I’ve noticed in a lot of these stock feminist “strong women” characters. They have no sex appeal whatsoever, but somehow managed to get laid on a regular basis.

I like strong characters – male or female. I’ve grown up watching strong female characters – Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon, the three sisters from Cat’s Eye (an anime from the early 80s), Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Lina Inverse from Slayers (another anime – this one is really good), Utena from Revolutionary Girl Utena, Bulma from the Dragonball series, the three girls from Magic Knight Rayearth…and all the characters I mentioned in my previous post.

What’s so great about these characters is that they’re flawed and complex. Usagi is a crybaby. She cries really easily, isn’t good at school, plays video games too much, reads manga too much, and can be pretty immature at times. However, Usagi is fiercely loyal to her friends. She will be the first to sacrifice herself for her friends, and does quite a bit throughout the series.

Or take Lina Inverse from Slayers – she’s got a quick temper, often doesn’t care too much about the destruction she makes whenever fighting enemies – not to mention her super small boobs – but she’s funny and loyal, just like Usagi. And the girl is really powerful (Slayers is a comedic fantasy anime).

All of these characters have had to deal with setbacks, and have always grown over the course of a season or story.

Alita is also a good example. I reviewed the movie on my Minds profile, and I plan on seeing it a second time today. Alita has amnesia, and by the end of the film, still doesn’t remember a whole lot. Her new body is largely cosmetic. She is pretty stubborn and headstrong. She is determined to continue fighting because fighting is the only way she can remember her past, even though her mentor, Dr. Dyson Ido, tells her not to. Her first body is eventually destroyed in a fight, and she relies on Dr. Ido to install her into the beserker body (this body is lost technology; it is the cyborg body of a warrior).

I actually plan on seeing Captain Marvel, possibly with friends this weekend, or sometime next week if I end up going alone. I really don’t want to support the likes of Brie Larson with my money, but on the other hand, after all this, I’d like to see it and offer a review.