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Inspired by the conversation in "Unpopular Opinion" thread on /ot/.
I agree with most anons (and most people's view, period) of how most female characters are written poorly and usually executed as a plot point, a love interest, waifu bait, or with just one defining characteristic. While there are plenty badly-written male characters, it is like male characters are written with more ease and given thought outside of their gender/sex which makes them usually more unique or realistic. In contrast, female characters normally don't even feel human.
We can discuss how female characters can be written good for once and solve most of the issues that plague fandoms because of it.
Here are my opinions:
>Write them so they act differently in different situations. The problem with a lot of female characters is that they're not allowed to show but a few range of emotions in their whole existence. If she feels self-doubting, then so be it. If she feels vulnerable and pathetic, then so be it. If she feels mischievous, then so be it. If she feels extremely indignant, then so be it. However, this should all be within reason and range of her own temperament, although we all know many human beings don't even stay consistent in their lives anyways.
>Have her have different goals outside a love interest or a man. I don't know why but a lot of female characters tend to not have developed relationships with other females. Showing female-female friendships can be a rare experience and also a way of showcasing moments of your character the other characters might not see.
>Don't be afraid to give her a wide range of personalities and character types, try not to limit her to the constrictions of gender roles but don't go at a point where her character feels outright unrealistic as well.
>Don't be afraid to make her side-track for her goal for once. When a female character has one "goal" she literally keeps it for her entire existence for some reason, especially if its romance. She can forget about her romance/love interest side plot blah blah when she's doing something else. Also don't be afraid to put her in funny or outrageous situations since it's far too often only male characters get to be in that.
>lastly MAKE HER LIKE A REAL PERSON. Just study real people or base off your female relatives/girlfriends/wives/other women. Most female characters are written as if the creator doesn't know any women at all!
Looking forward to see what the rest of /m/ thinks.
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I feel bad (sometimes) for liking moe SOL because it's where I get my comfy female friendship fantasy with no romance bullshit but I know they're often coded to be yuribait for voyeuristic scrotes…
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I'm open to any kind of personality as long as it's multi-faceted, but I definitely prefer
>Stands up for herself and will argue back when someone makes a stupid argument.>Does not focus on a relationship too much but is emotionally available to her loved ones. So not a robot.>Not waspish hourglass shaped, not stick figure. Just more natural.>Hair isn't red (western media) or brown (asian media, esp korean webtoons). I mean it, this shit is so overrepresented.>Does not show cleavage in her day-to-day outfit.>Does not shy away from things that are traditionally "feminine" but also has a more "masculine" side, like most human beings.>Either a professional/master at what she does or is learning to one day become competent. I don't want her to lag behind her teammates the entire time.>Not a healer. Please.>Has strong friendships that take precedent over her romantic interest.>Does not get raped so that she can have a girl boss arc because like… rape made her badass…. sansa….. ugh>Has a silly side to her if she is normally stoic OR is not a fucking idiot if she is a more playful character.>Not clumsy for moe points.
I quite liked Catra in the new Shera.
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I'm gonna bump this thread. I usually try to write my female characters as far from the idea of a "woman" that I can get. If she seems like she's leaning too hard into a certain stereotype, I scrap her and come up with something else. If I think I'm pigeon-holing her, I'll write a guy, and just change all the pronouns.
Above all though I try to give them agency, that's a big one. Agency and some major flaw that doesn't at all tie back to men or "femininity" (worried about not being "pretty" enough, wanting to bitch and put down other women to establish herself as a "queen bee", etc.).
By 'agency' I mean…the typical thing I suppose, if the character needs to rely on outside sources to generate plot then she isn't enough of a character.
>>287484> If she seems like she's leaning too hard into a certain stereotype, I scrap her and come up with something else.
I try the opposite tactic sometimes, of imagining some shallow female trope, and trying to think about what her life is really like. Like the “mean girl cheerleader” - instead of making her someone who hates other women, giving her some other humanizing or unexpected traits. She likes picking flowers and making daisy chains, and listens to 80s heavy metal on her iPod nano. She wants to be a serious athlete and she loves that cheerleading let’s her be near women. Maybe she pushes her standards of success into other people because she’s too earnest, which makes people perceive her mean. This is a rando example I just came up with, but I try to make sure that when I write women, I can imagine their whole lives, and to remember that people can surprise you.
I also try to make their motives not have to do with men. There’s too much stuff about trying to please a father, male mentor, boyfriend, or just thinking about men in general. Having each female character have a real philosophy and way of seeing the world makes it so her interactions with other characters feel like they come from real beliefs and not a dumb script. She should also be allowed to change, have flaws, reflect on her life, and get better (or worse).
Good post nona. >I also try to make their motives not have to do with men. There’s too much stuff about trying to please a father, male mentor, boyfriend, or just thinking about men in general.
I do this as well, even with my male characters. But for women especially I'll not even write men into their backstory; not even the slightest hint of a father or a boyfriend or whatever. If I do then they've usually been killed off in some way, to foster her own development.
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Great thread! I am currently working on a project with a huge female cast (main source of inspiration are witches through history and feminism), I am reading Claymore and getting lots of inspiration.
I want to make all the women in my story different, I am taking notes from you anons. Some of you made really interesting points.
I’ll add that I hate when the excuse for the warriors/monsters/whatever for being female is because of fertility bullshit. Another thing that I dislike is when they aren’t shown during female experiences such as having a realistic period, the scare of getting pregnant (it is always crying about being unable of getting pregnant). I want to see sexual women that are not the “femme fatale”, it’s a trope I got tired of.
I also want to see male being reliant on the female figures, I want to see m/f friendships that don’t boil down to romantic interest (like Sugimoto and Asirpa from Golden Kamuy). I want to see women that are happy to be alone even in old age. I also want to see competent women that are not necessarily bullied or the brooding strong stoic type, but also goofy and genuinely nerdy.
Not her fault if other writers who read her stuff are dumb coomers who took that shit seriously. Maybe I say this because I only watched Ranma 1/2 and Maison Ikoku long ago and not Urusei Yatsura and Inuyasha yet
, but in Ranma 1/2 Akane being a violent tsundere was on the same level of violence as shit like Tom and Jerry. It's too cartoony and the gags are too absurd to be taken seriously. It's not like in Love Hina were Naru is often violent in a way that's way too disproportionate and the gags and situations not being that absurd until you reach the second half of the manga.
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I loved watching Amelie. The movie hypes you up for the level of detail they've written with her, how she gets excited with little things, how considerate but awkward she is with other people, her childhood traumas, her complicated relationship with her father after her mother's death, but despite her past she's still in touch with her own feelings and so on. And then, when she meets that guy, no closure, at all. The movie just hints they got together and that's the end. So that's what the movie is about? Amelie just wanted a man and now all her problems are fixed? What about to all of her traumas and issues with social anxiety? Is a man a cure for that?
It also made me wonder what would happen if Amelie wasn't that attractive, because she's gorgeous. Would people find her quirks and oddities still adorable?
I know it's supposed to be a feel-good movie but it still made me think much of how women are portrayed in media, even in such a tame and low-key portrayal, such as this movie,.
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I liked how the women were written in this movie, didn't surprise me to see that Greta Gerwig was on the script
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Kim Wexler is one of the few decently-written women in the latest media (despite me not agreeing with last season). Are there any other movies/shows with well-written women out there (from the recent ones)?
I enjoyed Hulu's DOLLFACE, as it's a tv show written by women and for women (same staff worked on birds of prey afaik), but the latest season was such a letdown that I dropped it altogether. Should have known it was bound to happen when Hulu ditched them and they put some #relatable Youtuber as one of the new main characters.
Outside of tropes I hate (femme fatales, damsels in distress, and maniac pixie dream girls b teinghe top three), it's really context dependent. If it's a shitty gag series, what types of jokes is she written into. Is it all sex comedy? Is she the (only) straight man? Does it involve romance?
If it's a high-octane thriller, does she fight? If she doesn't fight, does she still have a role that actively shifts the plot due to her own
Restating what I wrote in my OG post but a good character has agency. She can't just sit on her hands and wait for some big strong dude to save her. Her motivation shouldn't revolve around men. Just give her an actual brain and some depth of personality, and we're golden.
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Make a male shounen/seinen character. Genderswap him and don't sexualize it.
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any tips for writing a femme fatale character without making her too coomery or cliché?
the idea is that she suffered sexual trauma when she was younger. it fucked her up really badly and gave her a distorted self-image and view on sex. she the turned to seducing and using men as pawns to get by in life, which is a lifestyle that wears away at both her psyche and body. she’s not meant to be the main character but i really want to write her well. or is the entire idea flawed from the start?
thank you so much nona! great advice, i really appreciate it. i’m very particular and detailed when it comes to the psychology of my characters so i’ll continue to explore and delve deeper into her psyche.
i hadn’t even thought about the audience aspect of it so i think you really saved me by mentioning that. i’ll keep my vision and try to steer the story in the direction of women who will appreciate it more and not lynch me for daring to not romanticize her. again, thank you.
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biased opinion here as i really, really, really
hate this fucking trope, so definitely ignore my post if you don't want to read whinging but: my thing with femme fatales is that this whole thing of 'using men as pawns' is fake
if a man is still allowed access to your body, sexually, then YOU'RE the thing that's being used. general (you) here btw.
if you're actively trying to turn him on or otherwise fall into his favor, then he's
winning, you are servicing him, you are willingly turning yourself into a product for him to consume.
and i honestly dislike it even if the guy is being killed by the femme fatale. men cry all the time about women ""using"" them as wallets and whatever else, as if having to actually spend money and time on a woman before she wants to sleep with you is such a crime and detriment to their health. why validate their fear even in a fictional context?
MAYBE it could work if she was in fact the main character, or at least not portrayed as a (side) villain. i dunno. but i really think such characters are tired, just write something else that doesn't ultimately center around men
this probably sounds insane and rambly
I agree with you. The idea is flawed from the start. >>289271
What if you remove the whole sexual trauma part and just make her a wildly sexual woman? You could always have a character arch that shows that her overly sexual nature which she found empowering is really just her staying in a position of serving men. Or you can have her justify her choices, she doesn't necessarily have to appeal to the masses as long as she's interesting.
What I dislike overall about using sexual trauma as a base for a female character's personality is that most women who experience sexual trauma in their youth don't behave like this for the most part, and it's not a huge part of who they are. Instead they just keep on living their lives, going to work, hanging out with friends, starting families and doing their hobbies despite there barely being a day where they aren't thinking of what happened to them. They might have anger issues, depression, anxiety and the lot. They might even be hypersexual and don't know what healthy boundaries are, but they rarely become "femme fatales" who "use men".
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would you say it’s possible to write a traditionally hyper-feminine, meek and submissive female character and still make her a “good” female character?
my idea for her is that she’s socially stunted and traumatized, and initially appears to be a complete doormat with no agency of her own, or even a desire to pursue agency or take charge of her own life. but as you get to know her deeper into the story, she slowly but surely reveals herself to be deeply empathetic and to have a rich inner life, being emotionally intelligent and wise and capable of turning her own vulnerability into an asset. she becomes a valuable core member of the main cast, not by developing into a girlboss but by using her own “quiet” talents to aid the focal characters in a way that is unique to her and that makes her a unique asset. her main struggle throughout the work would be her lack of faith in herself and her talents, and her character development would lead her to develop a stronger resolve and to find faith in her own ability and realize she has value, and also that her trauma and social troubles do not have to define her.
would this make for an interesting female character or does it just play into a moid’s submissive waifu fantasy?
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there are more than one focal character she aids and there are both men and women in that group>>315673
thank you nonna! i’ll go for it then.
her character is deeply traumatized but i don’t want her trauma to define her, so that will be a strong theme surrounding her character. in a way, perhaps it’s a good theme that recovering from/learning to live with a trauma doesn’t have to mean completely changing your personality to the common image of what a “strong” woman should look like. “quiet” strength is strength too, and this girl was meek and quiet even before her trauma so changing up her core personality doesn’t make too much sense either.ig these are things i’m trying to come to terms with myself so creating and developing this character has been comforting
Very solid character, also relatable i'm literally her
, which shows that there's a real human element within her characterization. Good job
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thank you so much nonna! i’m so glad you like her, it means a lot and also same
this gives off fluttershy vibes kek. i think a character with that kind of personality would appeal to scrotes regardless, but don't base your work off of scrote reactions.
>her character is deeply traumatized but i don’t want her trauma to define her, so that will be a strong theme surrounding her character.
this annoys me and reminds me of the "survivor vs. victim
" mentality that plagues discussion of sexual violence, because the term victim
seems more tied to the idea of developing a victim
complex than seeing it as a neutral term to describe someone who has been perpetrated against. what stereotypes of victims
do you believe you are working against? i think an interesting thing to consider would be her considering how her personality might have played into being targeted, because perpetrators look for people who seem easy to harass and manipulate.
> what stereotypes of victims do you believe you are working against?
i don’t believe i’m working against anything in particular, she’s a rape victim
written by a rape victim
. her feelings and struggles reflect her and her writer
and no one else.
> i think an interesting thing to consider would be her considering how her personality might have played into being targeted, because perpetrators look for people who seem easy to harass and manipulate.
she blames herself for what happened to her because of her own naïveté and inability to pick up on her attacker’s intentions before it was too late, and her ‘not letting her trauma define her’ involves letting go of the blame she holds for herself. she also realizes that those naive and meek qualities may have contributed to him seeing her as a good target and blames herself for that as well.
I wish they could pull off something like Sailor Moon again. That was also girly bantering and it was pretty sanitized all things considered, but it never felt lifeless like most cgdct do, to me at least.
I think that otaku targeted shows rely too much on the cuteness to the point at which the series feels more like an advertisement, like when you see those ads where everybody is super happy and smiling and holding the product they want to sell that improved their life. In that case the "product" is just replaced by the respective hobby/school club the series is about and the ad runs for 20 minutes instead of 20 seconds.