One thought on “Why do we resist rough heroines?

  1. I think it’s interesting that the subtle premise of the writeup is that it sucks that “rough heroines” don’t stick to the marketing wall like “rough heroes” do. The article spends much less time thinking about the psychological dynamics behind the worship of murderers than is appropriate, and then brings up what to me are a set of points that amount to asking “what’s wrong with a society that doesn’t want to watch female murderers and assholes nearly as much as they like to watch male murderers and assholes? What’s a woman got to do to get as many people to watch them with an equivalent evil quotient to men?”

    I’m reminded of how important it is when setting up research that one starts with the right hypothesis, or framing. Among other things, one might turn the question on its head by asking what it is about males that makes these unhealthy characters so popular. Here’s guesses on the sociology involved.

    Because entertainment tends to correlate gender performing with gender of audience, I suspect a large part of the issue is that males who are interested in assholes tend to be more interested in male assholes. One would have to see the demographic of the audience, the gender proportionalities of the audiences, to see if that might be true, which is not addressed in the writeup. If the audience is skewed by gender,

    In addition, on average, males are much more murderous and have much higher asshole quotients than females. People have a tendency to forget that key fact on the way to a lot of the talk about parity and equality. Though the viewership fallout from that fact is unclear, it’s perfectly reasonable to me to assume that that fact impacts the popularity of a given gender when doing evil acting, whether it be that males identify more readily, or people identify more readily.

    Such activity is so rare with women that it may simply be unbelievable to swaths of the audience that women would do such things.

    It could be an effect of the overall gross lack of parity in lead characters by gender that Geena Davis has been making progress on for 20 years. It might have little or nothing to do with the “rough” aspect of the analysis.

    It may be that people’s consciences are shocked when they see women do evil things, and they find it more uncomfortable, or they don’t want to face the possibility that “the fairer sex” could do such things. If that can be thought of as an unhealthy prejudice against women, I suppose I must question the notion of prejudice, since, again, men are the problem, not the opportunity, in the asshole category.

    I think it is a very good thing that at least one gender is less popular to see in entertainment as murderers and assholes, the same way it’s cool that fewer females were slaughtered in Rome’s circuses. I may not be right, but I think it sucks that people admire and find worthy of attention people who I would assiduously ignore and avoid at all costs in real life. If I’m right, at least part of the popularity differential is a very good thing, because it means we’re not weirdly training advanced asshole quotients via female characters, i.e., we’re continuing the endless examples of societal superiority and relatively exemplary behavior of women.

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