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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

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#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

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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

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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.
 

scorpiomover

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#12
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.
Wonder Woman is from the DC Universe. DC characters started in the 1920s and 1930s. They were all Conservatives. Basically, the DC superheroes were written as if they all voted Republican.

Thor is from the Marvel Universe. Marvel characters started in the 1960s. They're all Liberals. Marvel superheroes are written as if they all voted Democrat.

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.
WW's struggles were typical of female DC characters during WW2. They held Republican values. So although they wanted to accomplish great things in their own right, they also didn't want to completely overturn traditional gender roles and wanted to show admiration for their men. This gave them an inner conflict that resembles the conflicts that many women have today. But in the case of DC women, they wanted to RESOLVE the conflict, to satisfy both sides.

When you have 2 opposing factors in a system, and you want to satisfy both sides, you are forced to end up with a complex, multi-faceted solution that can handle all the variations of every situation. So you end up with a solution that indicates intelligence, maturity, sensitivity, strength, and one that can deal with every man's problems and every woman's problems.
 

scorpiomover

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#13
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.
That's a waste of a great opportunity for men to date really beautiful women.

But then, I've heard that the same happens in lots of situations where people don't expect to get a really great opportunity. They don't bother to plan out what they'd do, because they don't expect it to happen. So when it does, they waste the opportunity.

The male response is likely caused by so many men being conditioned to think that they should feel lucky that any woman dates them, let alone a woman they are attracted to, and that consequently, they should think that a really attractive women would never deign to date someone with so little to offer as they have, not when she could date guys who could do so much more for her. They prepare for the things that they think are not out of the realm of possibility, but are completely shocked into silence by something that they believed would never happen.

But the woman could have taken the situation in hand, and handled the guy. So the woman also doesn't react in positive ways. She's a deer stuck in headlights as much as the guy, and for the same reason.

However, women do the same thing as well. I've heard from several women that they dumped great guys after only a few weeks of dating, because they thought that he would never take them seriously.

The female response is caused by so many women being conditioned to think the same things as men, that men should feel lucky that any woman dates them, let alone a woman they are attracted to, and that consequently, they should think that a really attractive women would never deign to date someone with so little to offer as they have, not when she could date guys who could do so much more for her. So a very attractive woman expects that only a guy who has a lot to offer, such as an extremely rich guy, would ever think that she would consider him. So they expect that even if she asked him out, he would think that she's just playing with his affections, and so would either turn her down, or dump her before she dumped him and consequently only use her for casual sex.

So the reality is that these reactions come from the same expectations, that in relationships, women are a prize to be won over, and that the main value of dating a beautiful woman is in her beauty, and consequently, the more beautiful the woman, the more they should cost, and so only the very rich men should be given the chance of dating a beautiful woman.

This isn't even an issue of feminism versus traditional gender roles, as even feminists believe that women aren't valued enough.

But in traditional gender roles, although the woman brings value in her femininity, such as her feminine beauty, the man brings equal value in his masculinity, and the things that come with it. There's an acceptance of equivalence. Men and women aren't considered equal. But each gender brings their own gifts that are overall equally valuable.

In feminist values, men only ever got the chance to date and marry women so often because of an oppressive patriarchy. Take away the patriarchy that unfairly advantages men, and you're left with women offering a lot more than men do, and most men are not good enough for most women. That leaves only a minority of men who are worth dating most women, and only a minority of women who are not too good for most men.

That means that most women expect that they won't find a match with most men. Consequently, they expect that they can only date a minority of men. So those men are highly in demand and low in supply. So they can charge a very high price for a relationship, and consequently can get to "test drive" thousands of women for free, before settling on someone to stay with long-term.

It also means that only a minority of women can be expected to date most men, and only the ones with the least to offer. Those women thus get regarded as being the least attractive of women, and yet, the ones most likely to date any men, i.e. "sluts".

We need to accept that women want relationships as much as men do. Women want sex as much as men do. Women take the same attitudes as PEOPLE. They want sex. They want a relationship with someone they get on with. They're not looking at dating and relationships as a commodity. If a woman is beautiful, it doesn't change her desire for a relationship. If she sees someone she likes, she sees someone she likes. It normally means that she likes the guy, no matter how much society says that she shouldn't.

We should embrace people and ignore these silly rules that society likes. You go, girl. You get the guy you like. If he's poor and not that attractive, but you like him because he likes the stuff that you do that no-one else likes, then you shouldn't be held back by an oppressive patriarchy, and he shouldn't be held back by an oppressive patriarchy either. He should just accept that you're a woman and he's a man, and if you like him, then he IS good enough for you, because you think he is and women's opinions should be respected, valued and taken seriously.


cannot handle not being in control, and so much so, that for a woman to date a guy, she HAS to wait for him to make the moves. So when she encounters guys who a little slow to act, and are clearly willing to let her take the lead a bit, she's not expecting it either, and is unprepared. So she just keeps waiting for the guy to take the lead. If she does act, she's never rehearsed taking the lead, and so she does it as clumsily as a 10-year-old boy asking out a girl on his very first date, and so it frequently goes badly and is misinterpreted.
 
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