Exactly one year ago I was making my very first post for this blog. And I am proud to say: The only month in which I didn’t deliver the promised three posts was during the World Cup, which, I think, is excusable. It’s not every year that your country wins, and even rarer that it wins so deservedly that even the English media considers the end result fair. I am much more used to wins which are more grudgingly given.
Either way, I hope that my readers enjoyed the past year, and thanks to everyone who gave me encouragement…especially thanks to The Animation Commendation, who nearly never failed to leave a comment. It really helped me especially in the beginning, when I was wondering if there was even anyone out there who read my blog.
I think the most difficult part of the last year was finding the right words to describe the characters I picked. The biggest trouble I have with the word “strong”. I really get and mostly agree that the phrase “strong female character” is somewhat problematic, because it is often interpreted wrongly as “having no flaws” or “being able to fight”. But there is also no better adjective to describe most of the characters I picked. They are strong because the prevail, no matter what life throws at them. Because they hold it together in difficult circumstances. Because they are particularly smart in one way or another. And yes, sometimes they are also strong because they are able to physically strike down their opponents. But that is only part of the reasons why I picked those characters. I usually pick them because they are interesting in one way or another. There are ton of detective shows out there featuring female characters (in secondary roles…there are fewer which feature them as main characters), but most of them will never be featured here because they don’t really stick out to me.
I recently read a remark that to many writers pick the easiest way to make female characters interesting by simply making them super smart or fighters. That’s a good point. But what is the easiest way to create a male main character? Well, making him super smart or the fighter of the show. Or at the very least give him some sort of special abilities. That’s how most shows and movies work, they are always either about exceptional people, or about normal people who are getting involved in an exceptional situation. The purpose is to make the audience want to be this kind of character or want to experience a similar situation. Consequently the female characters which stick out fall in a similar mould than the males do.
It is sometimes interesting how the same kind character traits are judged differently based on the gender. The male is eccentric, but the female a diz, the male is assertive, the female aggressive, the male is a womanizer, the female a slut aso. And that’s where the problem start in my book. Not in the question if giving a female character a special ability is a short cut. It kind of is, but it is for me not the deciding factor if a character is well-written or not. It is just one element. And I hope, this became clear in the post I made so far.
Thus said, from the get go posts concerning Disney, especially Disney princesses were much more popular than anything else I wrote. I guess you’ll all be excited to hear that I’ll do yet another Fairy Tale month this Christmas.
Until then, though, I’ll take a small break. While I am fairly proud of keeping to schedule for so long, it had the effect that other projects were neglected. Therefore I plan to do a change of pace for the next year. I intend to move away from the usual structure in favour of a specials series about comic book based heroines which will take a couple of months to complete. Instead of three or four post every month, I’ll post every second week until the series is done. After that I’ll go most likely back to my current format.
In any case, expect a lot of new heroines for my little gallery in the upcoming year, hopefully on a regular schedule. Wish me luck.