A Straw Man Argument I Am Tired Of
'Generally, the straw man is a highly exaggeratedor over-simplified version of the opponent's original statement, which has been distorted to the point of absurdity.'
I say: wow, a list of fictional female characters being called pathetic! Ewwwwwwww. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/08/pathetic-female-film-characters
The response I get: You can’t tell people not to criticise female characters, criticising female characters is important!
ONE OF THE OLDEST STORIES WE HAVE: Well, gosh, he would’ve never eaten that apple if the lousy GIRL hadn’t infected him with her GIRL COOTIES and tempted him to do it…
Calling girls names, a popular pastime in the Victorian era, in Puritan times, in medieval times… not a SUPER ENLIGHTENED practice, is my point. If calling girls names and holding girls to impossible standards was going to give us tons of awesome female characters, IT WOULD’VE HAPPENED ALREADY.
This is not a SUPER NEW AND DARING APPROACH.
Any more than the above is the very latest in toilet technology…
For one thing, when I say ‘Ew, stop criticising the ladies’ everyone will not—stop and obey me faithfully. Even if half the people criticising ladies did for some reason decide that I am the dread She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed and stopped, we’d still have ten times more criticising ladies about than we do criticising dudes.
Don’t worry, everybody! Your criticising-ladies needs will be met! Criticising ladies is not going anywhere! I promise you.
I’m not saying that all lady characters (or all lady writers, or all ladies) are awesome. No. Clearly not. I’m not saying that lady characters aren’t a product of a society that is… gross about the ladies sometimes… Because they clearly are. Examine the evidence of superhero movies: oh good, that’s what we need, eight Superman and Spiderman remakes! How many Wonder Woman movies do we have? Oh… that many? Totally none? I see.
I myself am often tempted to be like ‘Oh no, lady, don’t do that—don’t be like that, it’s gross.’ Once I coined a phrase for a kind of heroine I was tired of seeing… and then a few weeks later, I saw that phrase used for one of my favourite heroines of all time.
Boy, did I feel good about that. I had literally put a weapon into people’s hands. Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that if you give people an excuse to bash on a girl… someone will.
Criticise girl characters all you like. But maybe… give a thought to if you’ve already seen the criticism 1322954345 million times before (isn’t it all getting a little tiresome by now?), and if you’ve ever seen equivalent criticism of any dude. And when you’re literally making lists of the many unworthy wenches around, well, forgive me if my expression looks like this…