WoW is not allowed to have strong females

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I've always thought Lorna Crowley was pretty cool. Wish we could see more of her.
Ah, yes. The 'We Need More Strong Female Characters, Trademark" thread. I was waiting for another one of these to pop up.
Here's the thing, though. These threads just keep happening and happening, and I've only ever seen them end in 4328938923-page+ celebrations of the fine art of not really knowing what you're talking about at all. I mean, I'm personally all for discussing gender representation in media! And I think there actually are some women in WoW who have the potential to be great characters, even if they might be very minor and somewhat problematic in certain areas. That said, these boards never really seem to accomplish that. I could go into detail why: confusion over what 'strong female character' actually means, confusion over good person vs good character, the 'sexism is over' mindset, pure self-indulgence, etc. But I'm a bitter, sarcastic shell of a woman, so instead I'd like to present you with...
For those of us who aren't Alcohol Imbiblers...I'd much rather hear the other stuff.
1. Sylvanas:
So far she is the only (mildly) strong female character, and she does it by becoming ruthless and lol evil.
She stood up to Garrosh. How much stronger does she have to get?
Why so feminazi?
12/07/2012 11:55 PMPosted by Ignoble
Why so feminazi?
Dude, you should take a Literature class. That's all they talk about. Feminist issues, race issues, nothing like taking already touchy topics and shoving it in your face talking about how awful it is for you to think differently about it. tbh if they didn't point it out obviously at you you wouldn't even care. Nothing like seeing an interesting painting that you thought to be nice and then talking about the unique designs of every detail in it for over 45 minutes.
12/07/2012 07:45 PMPosted by Seyna
I've always thought Lorna Crowley was pretty cool. Wish we could see more of her.


Instead, she was used as a bargaining chip.
I see people mentioning Rogers. There is one problem with her, in fact, a VERY BIG one~~

She is very, very one-dimensionally handled, which is not appropriate since women generally have more complex minds than men.
Instead, she was used as a bargaining chip.
I see people mentioning Rogers. There is one problem with her, in fact, a VERY BIG one~~

She is very, very one-dimensionally handled, which is not appropriate since women generally have more complex minds than men.


We only ever see her when she's preparing to fight a battle, actually fighting a battle, or representing military interests at an Alliance meeting. There are very few characters who wouldn't come across as one-dimensional under those conditions.

Assuming she lives through the events of the Siege of Orgrimmar, I could see her eventually growing to become a major character in Warcraft lore. But don't expect to understand the full dynamics of a character when they are still so new to the lore. This goes for both male and female characters, portraying a male character as having a one-track mind over the long term isn't really any better then portraying a female character as having one.
12/07/2012 11:12 PMPosted by Shimaala
For those of us who aren't Alcohol Imbiblers...I'd much rather hear the other stuff.

(long post ahoy. i like text.)

Well, basically, the main problem is that people- people on this thread, people who analyze and consume media, people who create media, etc.- seem to think that 'Strong Female Character' (which I'm capitalizing entirely out of sarcasm. After awhile you start to think it's a product.) means 'a character who is strong and female,' rather than 'a strong character who is female.'

The big difference is that the first describes a woman who can Fight Good and sling snark around, but is not necessarily a strong character- she could be one-dimensional, stereotypical, unable to carry her own arc as her relevance depends entirely on her relationship to a more important male character, outright offensive, obviously written as a Feminist Figure rather than a person, written up on a pedestal, hypersexualized, or just plain old terribly written. The second describes a character who is genuinely interesting because of her flaws, her faceted personality, the decisions and mistakes she makes and how she deals with mistakes, her sense of morality (and what causes her to violate her own standards), etc., and just so happens to be female. Most of the time, when feminists claim they want more 'strong female characters,' they mean the second type. We know women can Fight As Good as men, already. We've seen the Buffy.

The other biggest problem, which seems to be pretty big here, is the idea that a good character absolutely must be a good person. I don't just mean this as 'there are no well-written villains,' although there's some of that (oddly), I'm also talking about the idea that if a character is flawed or makes stupid or selfish decisions or does things without the 100% foresight players have or are generally not Shining Paragons of Factional Righteousness, they're weak. To be fair, though, I see a lot of this attitude towards male characters too. (The self-indulgence thing I mentioned is pretty much an extension of this- it seems like a lot of posters dont actually want good characters, they want powerful characters who they personally agree with.)

And then there's the 'Sexism is Over' mindset, which can be described as a certain kind of myopia where-

Why so feminazi?
Dude, you should take a Literature class. That's all they talk about. Feminist issues, race issues, nothing like taking already touchy topics and shoving it in your face talking about how awful it is for you to think differently about it. tbh if they didn't point it out obviously at you you wouldn't even care. Nothing like seeing an interesting painting that you thought to be nice and then talking about the unique designs of every detail in it for over 45 minutes.


Is this your fedora? I think you dropped it.
12/08/2012 06:07 AMPosted by Lucithy
The other biggest problem, which seems to be pretty big here, is the idea that a good character absolutely must be a good person.


I didn't say this. I'm saying if ruthless characters such as Sylvanas is that strong in Warcraft, then there should be someone else on the "paragon" side and be just as influential.

My personal interpretation of Blizzard products (present and past) is that for any girl to be awesome, she needs to be evil/bloodthirsty/warlike, which seem to hint at a certain perspective I don't find appropriate.

And yes, the sort of strong female I'm talking about is:

a character who is genuinely interesting because of her flaws, her faceted personality, the decisions and mistakes she makes and how she deals with mistakes, her sense of morality (and what causes her to violate her own standards), etc., and just so happens to be female.
The 'Strong Female Character' Thread Drinking Game (with apologies for length)

- To begin, take a nice healthy swig. If you've spent enough time on the internet (i.e., any at all), then the very term 'Strong Female Character' can be enough to send your mental faculties running in terror. It's good to have a nice foundation of slight drunkenness to go off of.
- Write your will. Your loved ones will thank you later.
- Take a shot if the original post is just a short list of characters the OP has problems with, rather than containing any salient points or discussion openers on character representation.
- Toss down another if Tyrande, Aggra, and/or Jaina are on this list. (One shot for each, if you're feeling daring.)
- Take a shot every time women are referred to solely as 'females.'
- Two shots if male characters are referred to as 'men' in the same breath.
- Take a shot for every person who equates 'strong female character' to 'hot babe who Fight Good'.
- Take a shot for every person who equates 'strong female character' to 'hot babe who Fight Good and only exists to support the faction/single issue I'm entirely obsessed with and never makes any mistakes and is perfectly justified and morally sound in every single thing she does and did I mention hot babe??"
- Take a shot for obvious hyperbole/strawman, as always.
- Take a shot for every person who equates 'good character' with 'good person' or 'person I agree with'.
- Take a shot for every person who's obviously roleplaying.
- Take a shot if nobody can decide what Jaina's characterization actually is.
- Take a shot every time the term 'Arm Candy' comes up.
- Another if they're talking about Aggra.
- If someone complains about aforesaid 'Arm Candy' characters and yet has no problems whatsoever with women in the story who are pretty satellite-y in non-romantic ways, take another.
- Yet another shot if they actually capitalize 'Arm Candy' without any irony whatsoever.
- Call the emergency services while you still can.
- Take a shot every time someone equates finding a single aspect of a character problematic to hating the entire character, the character's family, and anything within a 20 mile radius of the character with a fiery passion.
- Take several shots for every time the word 'feminazi' is used. Punch a baby to make yourself feel better.
- Take a shot whenever somebody tries to refute the OP by listing bit characters they thought were Kinda Cool.
-Take another if anyone mentioThisalee Crow Thisalee Crow Thisalee Crow Thisalee Crow Thisalee Crow Thisalee Crow Thisalee Crow Thisalee Crow Thisalee Crow Thisalee Crow
- Down the bottle if you see the word 'b*tch' being bandied around like New Year's confetti.


You had me up until riiiiiiight about here.

Problem is with these threads, no one really gives bulletpoints of what 'strong female character' is, and simply use it as catharsis to bemoan 'muh sexism'.

As I've said in another thread I have done, Jaina is perhaps one of the most genuinely strong characters in game, male or female.
12/08/2012 05:20 AMPosted by Xerberus
Instead, she was used as a bargaining chip.


What sucks is that people think that one time suddenly makes her a weak female character, disregarding everything else she's done during her short time in the game's story. Nevermind that also took the player character and three NPCs to take her down, and she stated that would have rather died. It was her father who chose to back off, not her.
12/08/2012 07:12 AMPosted by Sydonis
And yes, the sort of strong female I'm talking about is:


Then you have Jaina and Sylvanas. Tyrande hasn't gotten enough spotlight and development for that, and the other female characters are minor. To be fair, male characters don't often take center stage either. Seen much of Genn? Mekkatorque? How about Muradin? The only 3 male characters that are given the most prominence in the story is Varian, Anduin, and Garrosh. And Garrosh has been described as a weak character.

12/08/2012 06:07 AMPosted by Lucithy
Most of the time, when feminists claim they want more 'strong female characters,' they mean the second type. We know women can Fight As Good as men, already. We've seen the Buffy.


Depends on if you mean second or third wave.

Third wave doesn't know what it actually wants.
12/08/2012 08:30 AMPosted by Seyna
What sucks is that people think that one time suddenly makes her a weak female character, disregarding everything else she's done during her short time in the game's story. Nevermind that also took the player character and three NPCs to take her down, and she stated that would have rather died. It was her father who chose to back off, not her.


Bingo.

Depends on if you mean second or third wave.

Third wave doesn't know what it actually wants.


I was referring more to the general ideology of feminism, i.e. 'all women are people' and whatnot. I don't personally identify with the feminist movement itself as it's pretty much riddled with intersectionality problems and whatnot.
12/08/2012 09:38 AMPosted by Lucithy
I was referring more to the general ideology of feminism, i.e. 'all women are people' and whatnot. I don't personally identify with the feminist movement itself as it's pretty much riddled with intersectionality problems and whatnot.


Well, I agree with that, but I think that's a widely held belief nowadays, it's a lot of minor things that need fine tuning but I think the parts are there. I just really, really do not like 3rd wave feminists because to me they've forever poisoned the well 1st and 2nd wave feminism set up.

Really, I don't like the MRA movement for much the same reason, either. They make valid points but then you have these guys trying to say that women were actually oppressing men all along and yatta yatta. Third wave feminists with a different name and different bits.

I really just prefer to think there are biological and social stigmas associated with being both a man, and a woman.

But I digress, and this discussion really doesn't have a place here, though it might be relevant.
As far as a strong character goes, and this goes for male and female, they are people who are willing to do what they think they have to, despite the obstacles. They have strengths, which they are willing to use. They also have flaws, personalities, histories, and goals. They are interesting to watch. Whether they are good or evil is irrelevant to me as far as strength goes.

-Being a housewife does not make a woman a weak character.
-Having children does not make her a weak character.
-Having a love interest, or being around men, and sometimes needing the help of them does not make her a weak character.
-Not being as "tough" as a man does not make her a weak character.

Being a "weaker" female character does not always mean she is a bad character either.

If you want to write a character asking yourself, "What makes a strong female character?" is the wrong way to go, in my opinion. Just write her as you would any other character. The gender of the character should not be what ultimately defines him or her.
12/08/2012 06:07 AMPosted by Lucithy
Is this your fedora? I think you dropped it.
I don't get your joke.
I generally avoid threads like this one for reasons that have been already established. But I will say this: the problem is that Blizzard doesn't write good characters at all at this point. Their best writing I think was in Starcraft, as well as the Warcraft RTS games, but after that we got hammered with world characters that we're supposed to universally like, hamfisted conflict resolution, and threats so huge that they don't even seem threatening (show of hands, who actually though that the Twilight cult was going to destroy Azeroth? How about the hybrid in Starcraft II, do you think they're going to be successful?).

The fact that characters like Jaina, Tyrande, and Aggra became what they became isn't the result of sexism - it's the result of a poor vision for each of these characters, and poor vision for the characters that they're supposed to support. The problem is far more systemic than this.

I'll throw in an edit here: Bear in mind, this is fixable. Stories in 5.0 were on the whole, very good, and I think that's because Blizzard didn't go out of their way to make one particular character look "awesome". People got to be people, instead of acting as a foil to the one person we're supposed to actually care about, and I hope that Blizzard gravitates to something like that in the future.

I'm looking to the Horde right now, and liking what I'm seeing with the development of characters besides Garrosh. We're not supposed to like him and other leaders are getting their dues, as well as other characters. The absence of a clear protagonist I think will do good things for the Horde, and I think that it can do good things for everyone else as well.
Define good characters. What one finds interesting someone may not give a damn about.
12/08/2012 01:04 PMPosted by Vynathlon
I don't get your joke.

The fedora is the fashion staple of dudebros who get pissy when anyone thinks critically about anything they like, and generally think that men are oppressed 'because women are evil friendzoning 'feminazis' and there's scientific evidence for that I swear I heard it from reddit'.

12/08/2012 01:21 PMPosted by Kyalin
The fact that characters like Jaina, Tyrande, and Aggra became what they became isn't the result of sexism - it's the result of a poor vision for each of these characters, and poor vision for the characters that they're supposed to support. The problem is far more systemic than this.


I agree, but I feel that there is a gendered element to it still? I mean, even though characters like Thrall, Varian and Garrosh are being handled just as badly, they're still given weight in the plot. They're important, and it directly impacts the story. The women you mention, on the other hand, get paraded onstage to do their song and dance, but when the curtain closes it means nothing. Blizz went overboard building up how Jaina would So Totally Snap and Get Involved, but her rage in TOW was... curbed. She got mad, and then was given a man and a title to calm her down. (Although hopefully her actions re: Sunreavers will actually mean something.) Tyrande gets hauled out after gathering dust so long to... make a mistake that leaves no effect on anything, ever. She wasn't given any agency. Her actions, and their consequences, were completely negated by Varian's Big Hero Man Presence.
Jaina's anger got curbed because Kalecgos was preventing her from going a line Jaina in rationality wouldn't ever cross. That doesn't make her weak.

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