Reylo and Female Empowerment

Page 1 of 7 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

Go down

Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by AnneNeville on Sun 27 Mar - 7:50

Without a doubt, one of the most evocative and unconventional aspects of The Force Awakens has to do with gender dynamics. We are given a heroine in Rey who is independent, strong, tinged with more than a little anger, hyper-competent and able to beat down her opposition. She is not made a sex object. She is shown as real, not made up, even grimy and dirty. She is a prime mover, acting not reacting. Rey is a survivor, and she is the marked by her Act III saber catch as the new "hero" of this trilogy.

On the other side, we have Kylo Ren, whose emotionality and vulnerability are emphasized at every turn. He is, as some have noted, the princess in the tower, imprisoned by the Snoke from childhood. The one who must be rescued from the Dark Side and brought home to the bosom of his famiily. He is actually a prince. And he is presented, in the shocking unmasking scene that got so many tongues wagging, as the Sex Object of this film, painstakingly beautified, coiffed, and presented for Rey's viewing pleasure.

We, as viewers, see a strong and independent woman get stronger and more powerful. She comes into her own, she matures. And at the same time, we see a character--Kylo Ren--who has been presented as incredibly powerful himself, respond to her coming of age. And he responds not with disgust, not with horror towards a powerful, non-sexualized woman. He responds with fascination, awe, amazement. He responds not to her beauty, but to her ever increasing strength, to her ability to match him, to overcome him at every turn.

I think that there is something incredibly erotic about this dynamic. So often, the sexual dynamics that girls are brought up with are ones where women attach themselves as an adjunct to a powerful man. In that dynamic, the man still has all the power, and the women are seduced by it and enjoy what benefits being attached to the powerful man can provide. They may influence and inspire, and thus get some of what they want, but they are not powerful in and of themselves. Their importance is predicated on being an object of desire, not an object of power . . . and the roots of the hero's desire is rarely shown to be primarily rooted in her own power and agency.

I think for some women, being the powerful one, the one who inspires awe in a male character who is portrayed as powerful and capable in and of himself, is very exciting. It's a chance to be the seducer (see: Kylo seduced to the light), the main actor in their relationship (rather than the "re-actor"). Women are so often taught that they are the vulnerable ones, both physically and emotionally. Rey and Kylo's dynamic is the reverse.

I really like this dynamic, and I see it rarely outside of some fanfiction. I hope and expect that the films will follow through with this theme.

I don't know of any mainstream entertainment that embraces a similar kind of romance. Force Awakens is a new kind of film for the mainstream media, one that make female strength irresistibly seductive, and presents a hero who desires not a prize, but an equal.
avatar
AnneNeville
Jedi Master
Jedi Master

Messages : 898
Likes : 5661
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by vaderito on Sun 27 Mar - 7:59

deleted


Last edited by vaderito on Fri 1 Apr - 19:15; edited 1 time in total
avatar
vaderito
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 9769
Likes : 47183
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by AnneNeville on Sun 27 Mar - 8:02

This is a highly relevant snippet from a past discussion, credit to @Darth Dingleberry (I believe):

If anything Very Happy TFA emphasises the way Ren towers over Rey, the film makes Daisy seem physically smaller than she actually is in comparison with Adam, and yet it also emphasises that this seemingly tiny woman is the one holding the metaphorical whip (or whatever), from the interrogation onwards. (I would say even during the interrogation, which is interesting, as this is the very scene that some see as abusive.)

It goes all the way to the visual cues, with Ren crouching in front of her and looking up to her "looming" figure when she wakes up, and Rey approaching Ren with the body language of a hulking villain when she's giving him the beat-down in the SB forest, while the real hulking man stumbles and struggles. To me, TFA does a good job of establishing that Ren could be dangerous to Rey, who looks like a mere slip of a girl next to him, but for some mysterious reason he isn't, and it's Rey who dominates him on every level. This is just so unusual and exciting to me. And it wouldn't be so exciting if there were no power struggle involved at all, if Ren just rolled over and let her walk all over him. The power struggle is probably where the divergent views come from. Some see the very existence of a power struggle as an unhealthy dynamic. I see a man trying to assert his dominance, failing, and then looking at the victorious woman in awe like Ren does when the lightsabre goes to Rey. Like I said: feminine power fantasy, pure and simple. I understand it probably isn't everybody's cup of tea, and it probably isn't everybody's reason for shipping Reylo either, but it is mine.

And credit @Moonjump05

For me, Rey/Kylo hits those Byronic hero archetypes, the bad boy who basically ends up 'submitting' to the female lead- it's a total feminist power fantasy. Which is why it has been around for so long and so popular with the female demographic.

And it happens in mainstream media sooo rarely(and almost never well), and when it does it gets undue ridicule from every corner. How often has the audience laughed at a female character reading a romance novel? Or mocked 'fangirls' for daring to think a villian is sexy? It doesn't fit into the male experience so it must be wrong, and the poor women must be corrected in their thinking.

No, I would rather read about a badass chick who takes no crap and makes the murderous villianous ******* so in love with her he can't do anything but change since she won't have him otherwise, because it makes her powerful in her womaness.

I hope you don't mind me quoting you here, but your posts were gold and really relevant to this discussion.
avatar
AnneNeville
Jedi Master
Jedi Master

Messages : 898
Likes : 5661
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by vaderito on Sun 27 Mar - 8:14

deleted


Last edited by vaderito on Fri 1 Apr - 19:15; edited 1 time in total
avatar
vaderito
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 9769
Likes : 47183
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by AnneNeville on Sun 27 Mar - 8:18

@vaderito I am excavating. You wrote this about how love triangles work:

One suitor represents link to childhood so that relationship lacks sexual tension and is more akin to children on the playground. It's safe and familiar because it's girl's refusal to make a step towards adulthood/womanhood which means sexuality. I don't know [Phantom of the Opera] in depth but I know [Gone with the Wind,] which relies on the same model, so Ashley is Raoul. The safe, acceptable choice for patriarchal society that denies sexuality to women. And the other suitor represents link to womanhood which is why this relationship is full of sexual tension and high emotions. The suitor is often dangerous and dark because sexuality was viewed as something dark and dangerous (for women). In GWTW terms, Rhett is Phantom/Eric.

Now, lucky us that we live in 21st century so this franchise has no obligation to force Rey into making "the only choice society makes available to her - the safe and sane choice". Even though there are fans who think that's the only acceptable choice as if this is Victorian England. So anything is possible. Christine's choice reflected times when the novel was written. But now, twitter outcries cannot possibly be comparable to how old societies would react to something out of ordinary. So they won't go full POTO and they only used bridal carry trope from there but many other things in Reylo don't fit POTO.
avatar
AnneNeville
Jedi Master
Jedi Master

Messages : 898
Likes : 5661
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by vaderito on Sun 27 Mar - 8:19

deleted


Last edited by vaderito on Fri 1 Apr - 19:16; edited 1 time in total
avatar
vaderito
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 9769
Likes : 47183
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by AnneNeville on Sun 27 Mar - 8:24

There was also a very nice quote from Movie Mistakes about the Phantom vs. Raoul which is mirrored by Kylo vs. Finn.

Question: Why does Christine choose Raoul instead of the Phantom?

Answer: This is a very short, but very complex question about which dissertations are written. Here is my best attempt at a brief summary. Christine lives as a sheltered child-like woman in a highly patriarchal Victorian society. She is torn between two loves. There is Raoul, who represents safety, light, and a sort of romantic, adolescent view of what true love should mean. Then there is Erik, the Phantom, with whom Christine has had a long time bond. He has been to her like a guardian angel. He gave her music. He comforted her when her father died. And yet, as his role turns from that of protector and teacher to one of lustful suitor, he comes to represent darkness, passion, lust, obsession, and danger. He is unstable, driven to madness by a world of light he can never know. He is also, let's not forget, homicidal. Christine ultimately makes the only choice society makes available to her - the safe and sane choice. From the ending of the film, we learn that Christine remained wife to Raoul, but it is unclear how happily her life turned out. She probably always shared a connection to Erik, who possessed for her a depth of love she could never know from any other man.


Last edited by AnneNeville on Sun 27 Mar - 8:32; edited 1 time in total
avatar
AnneNeville
Jedi Master
Jedi Master

Messages : 898
Likes : 5661
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by vaderito on Sun 27 Mar - 8:26

deleted


Last edited by vaderito on Fri 1 Apr - 19:16; edited 1 time in total
avatar
vaderito
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 9769
Likes : 47183
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by guardienne on Sun 27 Mar - 9:56

i didn't really appreciate the power dynamics between the two of them because i was kinda bored with kickass heroines.

however, i like how you're expressing it all and i think it is true that the roles have been reversed to a degree. what i'd be interested in is how this will continue.
avatar
guardienne
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 3339
Likes : 6740
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by ashesforfoxes on Sun 27 Mar - 18:52

@AnneNeville wrote:I think for some women, being the powerful one, the one who inspires awe in a male character who is portrayed as powerful and capable in and of himself, is very exciting. It's a chance to be the seducer (see: Kylo seduced to the light), the main actor in their relationship (rather than the "re-actor"). Women are so often taught that they are the vulnerable ones, both physically and emotionally. Rey and Kylo's dynamic is the reverse.

I really like this dynamic, and I see it rarely outside of some fanfiction. I hope and expect that the films will follow through with this theme.

I really like it too--although I don't see it as a feminist power fantasy because I think it should absolutely be accepted that in a good love story, both parties play this role at some point. It's just that we rarely see this dynamic in modern media because we are so constantly faced with the double-standard that women shouldn't accept love from a strong/powerful character who isn't a shining paragon of morality and/or expect that character to change in order to be deserving of her. Men can seduce the sexy villain and turn her around but if the woman does there's always someone around who will flag it as potential abuse and weakness on her part.

This policing of romantic interests is wrong whether its presented in fiction or real life. Along with age-old examples like Raoul vs. Erik we're still dealing with the enforcement of presumed standards for women's sexuality and choices in partners, i.e. "nice guy" syndrome, friend-zoning, etc. Making women a romantic object for the "good" male character to fight for and save from the "bad" one presumes that we're influenced by petty notions of who is the better match. I find love triangle setups generally tiresome because so many of them are constructs of men's fantasies that with enough effort and resources they can influence a woman's decision in a partner rather than accepting that she will choose who she wants to be with based on how she feels/what she wants.

I understand fully that it will take a great deal of characterization and effort for there to ever be a returned romantic interest on Rey's part, but it really comes down to her experience--not his. I see this happening in a few ways. First, she is confronted with the truth of Ben Solo's childhood/taking by Snoke/what really happened to the Jedi and develops feelings of pity and/or empathy for him. Secondly, she is confronted with the truth that he has feelings for her which do not demand her to return them (think the one-sided love interest of Letter Never Sent) and is given the time and space to make the decision to do so if she wants. This will probably happen as a result of him intervening selflessly/sacrificing himself for her at some point. It's already canon that she's attracted to him/intrigued by him--but he'll have to undo all the damage done by maiming Finn/killing Han. Kylo has a long, thankless climb towards atonement or any acknowledgement on her part but I think successfully implementing this will be so rewarding for the audience. I'm still a sucker for Pride & Prejudice after a million re-reads and re-watches of the miniseries and film versions because there is nothing more satisfying than two people learning both how wrong they were in their first impressions and the awkward but exhilarating acceptance that they have feelings for one another.
avatar
ashesforfoxes
Jedi Youngling
Jedi Youngling

Messages : 18
Likes : 101
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-27
Localisation : Portland, OR

http://ashesforfoxes.tumblr.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by AnneNeville on Sun 27 Mar - 19:03

@ashesforfoxes Wonderful post!
avatar
AnneNeville
Jedi Master
Jedi Master

Messages : 898
Likes : 5661
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Armadeus on Mon 28 Mar - 4:19

avatar
Armadeus
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 1234
Likes : 3855
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-28
Localisation : Seychelles

https://www.fictionpress.com/u/564105/

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by AnneNeville on Mon 28 Mar - 5:01


Reading it now. Excellent stuff. I particularly appreciate this point:

If you’re a super healthy person, you can read almost anything and grow from the positive elements as well as explore the negative elements without being affected by them in any bad way. If you’re an unhealthy person, you can read anything – the Bible, Emily Dickinson poetry, The Cat in the Hat – and come away from it inspired to ruin your life and/or the lives of other people.
avatar
AnneNeville
Jedi Master
Jedi Master

Messages : 898
Likes : 5661
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Mana on Mon 28 Mar - 5:28

avatar
Mana
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 1405
Likes : 12027
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-26
Age : 26
Localisation : Australia

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Mana on Mon 28 Mar - 5:40

avatar
Mana
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 1405
Likes : 12027
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-26
Age : 26
Localisation : Australia

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Darth Dingbat on Mon 28 Mar - 6:16

@ashesforfoxes wrote:
@AnneNeville wrote:I think for some women, being the powerful one, the one who inspires awe in a male character who is portrayed as powerful and capable in and of himself, is very exciting. It's a chance to be the seducer (see: Kylo seduced to the light), the main actor in their relationship (rather than the "re-actor"). Women are so often taught that they are the vulnerable ones, both physically and emotionally. Rey and Kylo's dynamic is the reverse.

I really like this dynamic, and I see it rarely outside of some fanfiction. I hope and expect that the films will follow through with this theme.

I really like it too--although I don't see it as a feminist power fantasy because I think it should absolutely be accepted that in a good love story, both parties play this role at some point. It's just that we rarely see this dynamic in modern media because we are so constantly faced with the double-standard that women shouldn't accept love from a strong/powerful character who isn't a shining paragon of morality and/or expect that character to change in order to be deserving of her. Men can seduce the sexy villain and turn her around but if the woman does there's always someone around who will flag it as potential abuse and weakness on her part.

This policing of romantic interests is wrong whether its presented in fiction or real life. Along with age-old examples like Raoul vs. Erik we're still dealing with the enforcement of presumed standards for women's sexuality and choices in partners, i.e. "nice guy" syndrome, friend-zoning, etc. Making women a romantic object for the "good" male character to fight for and save from the "bad" one presumes that we're influenced by petty notions of who is the better match. I find love triangle setups generally tiresome because so many of them are constructs of men's fantasies that with enough effort and resources they can influence a woman's decision in a partner rather than accepting that she will choose who she wants to be with based on how she feels/what she wants.

Yes, all of this. And if you think about it, the "nice guy syndrome" and "strong woman syndrome" have become rather uncomfortable bedfellows of late. It's not only about good and bad, Raoul vs. Erik, but there also seems to be a strange tendency to calculate everything according to some invisible and ever changing "strong woman" chart. A hyper-awareness about who's stronger and more capable, at any given moment, with little awareness of the fact that, between true equals, this balance of power fluctuates. There are moments when one is stronger, and in another moment, the other one is. In a really powerful love story, both parties help each other become better and stronger.

One good example is the matter of rescuing: who gets to rescue whom? Reylo brings out such strange and contradictory reactions in some quarters. If he proves his worth by rescuing her, it's bad, and reduces her to a damsel in distress. If she rescues him (from Snoke, from the Dark Side, whatever), it's bad, because it's not a woman's job to turn a man's life around. And so on. If they rescue each other... well, it's bad, it's all equally bad, because it just is. Helping each other, working together, it's bad, because a female hero shouldn't need any help - at least not without emphasising that the helping man is actually weaker and less competent than she is...

It's like you can't tell any story, or at least not any genuinely interesting and dramatic story, because stories need conflict and conflict is bad. All conflict is bad. Moments of weakness, moral grey areas and dramatic reversals of any kind are especially bad.

As was pointed out several times in the old thread, the powerful thing about Reylo is that it isn't just a simple role reversal that keeps the common "feminine object" vs. "masculine subject" dynamic and flips it around so that the male takes on the more boring "feminine" role. Instead, it is something much more exciting than that. The male here not only has an incredible amount of raw power, his physical maleness is emphasised at every turn (almost to a comical degree, with that huge lightsaber). His active, traditionally male desire is also made apparent, as is his role as the pursuer, from the bridal carry to the "you need a teacher" proposal. So here we have this big, strong, masculine - and yes, also threatening - male, who is at the same time a very unusual male, a strange mixture of traditionally feminine qualities and sheer fiery power... a dominating, animalistic presence that nonetheless kneels down to submit... a very peculiar beast all in all. And then this strange creature turns that look of awe to a woman whose power and talent turns him on like it's the most beautiful thing in the world.

Like @AnneNeville says, this is such an exciting dynamic, and such a rare one. There's nothing safe about it. There's nothing neat about it. It isn't just male meets female, yin meets yang - it's also like meets like, power meets power, fire meets fire, and it's bound to be explosive.

Lastly, there's a lot to be said for being allowed human moments of weakness. As someone who has struggled with depression, it's a powerful moment when you admit to yourself that you need help, you need love and affection; you need reassurance that you don't always have to look out for yourself, completely alone. It's a strange irony that in pursuit of "strong female characters", there's a tendency nowadays to put female characters in a golden cage where they're denied their humanity. Just like Victorian women on display as paragons of femininity, only this time as paragons of strength, restricted by the "role model" label that can be used to criticise any development that seems too human.
avatar
Darth Dingbat
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 4459
Likes : 29664
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Ohtze on Mon 28 Mar - 8:22

Everything in this thread is just so amazing. Like everything, and I have been desperately, desperately searching for this sort of thing for the past few months and now that I see this sort of in-depth discussion (not being derailed) I am honestly a bit overwhelmed with gratitude. I love everything going on here, but this quote in particular by @Darth Dingleberry needs to be emphasized:

Darth Dingleberry wrote:And if you think about it, the "nice guy syndrome" and "strong woman syndrome" have become rather uncomfortable bedfellows of late. It's not only about good and bad, Raoul vs. Erik, but there also seems to be a strange tendency to calculate everything according to some invisible and ever changing "strong woman" chart. A hyper-awareness about who's stronger and more capable, at any given moment, with little awareness of the fact that, between true equals, this balance of power fluctuates. There are moments when one is stronger, and in another moment, the other one is.

(emphasis mine) This is where the miscommunication on Kylo Ren and Rey's dynamic is coming from, in a nutshell. This fundamental misunderstanding on equality and power dynamics, and I'm so pleased to see someone nail it so succinctly.
avatar
Ohtze
Jedi Youngling
Jedi Youngling

Messages : 62
Likes : 587
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Rimfaxe96 on Mon 28 Mar - 13:33

Despite being female irl I'm really not big into feminism. However, if anything TFA clearly made the effort to present Rey as an equal to Kylo, which I actually LOVED. Not because 'Omg representation of violence against women!", but because it allows Rey's story to take the turn of a worthy opponent instead of another fearful refugee from the FO (like Finn in the scene in Maz's castle - goddammnit boy, keep it together!).

I just hope Luke keeps an eye on her, it wouldn't do if she became too feisty - which was also clearly depicted to be her nature - 'cause arrogance will bring any fighter down (see: Kylo in the end battle).
avatar
Rimfaxe96
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 1088
Likes : 6111
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-27
Age : 21
Localisation : Germany

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Guest on Mon 28 Mar - 16:55

@Darth Dingleberry - your post is perfection! What you've said is what I feel and how I despise most of the "nice guy syndrome" and "strong woman syndrome" in fiction today. cheers

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by vaderito on Mon 28 Mar - 19:26

deleted


Last edited by vaderito on Fri 1 Apr - 19:16; edited 1 time in total
avatar
vaderito
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 9769
Likes : 47183
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by ashesforfoxes on Mon 28 Mar - 19:32

Darth Dingleberry wrote: It's a strange irony that in pursuit of "strong female characters", there's a tendency nowadays to put female characters in a golden cage where they're denied their humanity. Just like Victorian women on display as paragons of femininity, only this time as paragons of strength, restricted by the "role model" label that can be used to criticise any development that seems too human.

This is a perfect summation @darth dingleberry (your name makes me giggle uncontrollably, thank you). I think of the "strong women" trope apparent in today's media as something akin to the snap back of a rubber band pulled too far in one direction. It appears as overcompensation for a long history of damsels in distress with one-dimensional characterizations. You can see this most ridiculously in things like action/thriller movies with female leads (typically written by men) where the love interest role is either killed off tragically as motivation or worse, was secretly the villain the whole time.

I didn't realize until I was older why this reoccurring theme in media unsettled me so deeply as both a kid and a teenager--it's because it denies the female character any positive, equilateral relationship with a love interest. In the worst cases of this trope, sex is just a tool to be used by the heroine to get what she wants/enjoy in the moment so that when she is (inevitably) betrayed she can shrug it off because she never really cared to begin with. It would be funny if it didn't presume that both men and women who are forced to fight/be strong must abstain from romantic attachments because they make them vulnerable. Vulnerability is the essence of intimacy and it is not something we should dissuade or neglect to portray in healthy adult relationships, or punish characters for.
avatar
ashesforfoxes
Jedi Youngling
Jedi Youngling

Messages : 18
Likes : 101
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-27
Localisation : Portland, OR

http://ashesforfoxes.tumblr.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Mana on Mon 28 Mar - 19:55

I don't understand why some people want Rey to end up alone. Yes, she's found her family in Leia, Luke etc.. but eventually she's going to want a companion, a life partner, an equal by her side. she'll just end up a 'lonely' female in the guise of an 'Independent' female because deep down Rey craves intimacy, and it doesn't mean she's weak, it just means she's human.
avatar
Mana
Force Ghost
Force Ghost

Messages : 1405
Likes : 12027
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-26
Age : 26
Localisation : Australia

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Moonjump05 on Mon 28 Mar - 20:10

Darth Dingleberry wrote:
@ashesforfoxes wrote:
@AnneNeville wrote:I think for some women, being the powerful one, the one who inspires awe in a male character who is portrayed as powerful and capable in and of himself, is very exciting. It's a chance to be the seducer (see: Kylo seduced to the light), the main actor in their relationship (rather than the "re-actor"). Women are so often taught that they are the vulnerable ones, both physically and emotionally. Rey and Kylo's dynamic is the reverse.

I really like this dynamic, and I see it rarely outside of some fanfiction. I hope and expect that the films will follow through with this theme.

I really like it too--although I don't see it as a feminist power fantasy because I think it should absolutely be accepted that in a good love story, both parties play this role at some point. It's just that we rarely see this dynamic in modern media because we are so constantly faced with the double-standard that women shouldn't accept love from a strong/powerful character who isn't a shining paragon of morality and/or expect that character to change in order to be deserving of her. Men can seduce the sexy villain and turn her around but if the woman does there's always someone around who will flag it as potential abuse and weakness on her part.

This policing of romantic interests is wrong whether its presented in fiction or real life. Along with age-old examples like Raoul vs. Erik we're still dealing with the enforcement of presumed standards for women's sexuality and choices in partners, i.e. "nice guy" syndrome, friend-zoning, etc. Making women a romantic object for the "good" male character to fight for and save from the "bad" one presumes that we're influenced by petty notions of who is the better match. I find love triangle setups generally tiresome because so many of them are constructs of men's fantasies that with enough effort and resources they can influence a woman's decision in a partner rather than accepting that she will choose who she wants to be with based on how she feels/what she wants.

Yes, all of this. And if you think about it, the "nice guy syndrome" and "strong woman syndrome" have become rather uncomfortable bedfellows of late. It's not only about good and bad, Raoul vs. Erik, but there also seems to be a strange tendency to calculate everything according to some invisible and ever changing "strong woman" chart. A hyper-awareness about who's stronger and more capable, at any given moment, with little awareness of the fact that, between true equals, this balance of power fluctuates. There are moments when one is stronger, and in another moment, the other one is. In a really powerful love story, both parties help each other become better and stronger.

One good example is the matter of rescuing: who gets to rescue whom? Reylo brings out such strange and contradictory reactions in some quarters. If he proves his worth by rescuing her, it's bad, and reduces her to a damsel in distress. If she rescues him (from Snoke, from the Dark Side, whatever), it's bad, because it's not a woman's job to turn a man's life around. And so on. If they rescue each other... well, it's bad, it's all equally bad, because it just is. Helping each other, working together, it's bad, because a female hero shouldn't need any help - at least not without emphasising that the helping man is actually weaker and less competent than she is...

It's like you can't tell any story, or at least not any genuinely interesting and dramatic story, because stories need conflict and conflict is bad. All conflict is bad. Moments of weakness, moral grey areas and dramatic reversals of any kind are especially bad.

As was pointed out several times in the old thread, the powerful thing about Reylo is that it isn't just a simple role reversal that keeps the common "feminine object" vs. "masculine subject" dynamic and flips it around so that the male takes on the more boring "feminine" role. Instead, it is something much more exciting than that. The male here not only has an incredible amount of raw power, his physical maleness is emphasised at every turn (almost to a comical degree, with that huge lightsaber). His active, traditionally male desire is also made apparent, as is his role as the pursuer, from the bridal carry to the "you need a teacher" proposal. So here we have this big, strong, masculine - and yes, also threatening - male, who is at the same time a very unusual male, a strange mixture of traditionally feminine qualities and sheer fiery power... a dominating, animalistic presence that nonetheless kneels down to submit... a very peculiar beast all in all. And then this strange creature turns that look of awe to a woman whose power and talent turns him on like it's the most beautiful thing in the world.

Like @AnneNeville says, this is such an exciting dynamic, and such a rare one. There's nothing safe about it. There's nothing neat about it. It isn't just male meets female, yin meets yang - it's also like meets like, power meets power, fire meets fire, and it's bound to be explosive.

Lastly, there's a lot to be said for being allowed human moments of weakness. As someone who has struggled with depression, it's a powerful moment when you admit to yourself that you need help, you need love and affection; you need reassurance that you don't always have to look out for yourself, completely alone. It's a strange irony that in pursuit of "strong female characters", there's a tendency nowadays to put female characters in a golden cage where they're denied their humanity. Just like Victorian women on display as paragons of femininity, only this time as paragons of strength, restricted by the "role model" label that can be used to criticise any development that seems too human.

Yes. Thank you.

A female character cannot be a human character- she has to be a role model, otherwise little girls are gonna get confused...

At bolded, this this this! I love this situation and it is so hard to find. SanSan comes close (huge powerful warrior Sandor completely undone and beaten by lady like Sansa with a song and a touch- her compassion leaving him at turns angry and in awe and on the road to be the true knight she deserves and he wants to be for her)
avatar
Moonjump05
Jedi Knight
Jedi Knight

Messages : 462
Likes : 3506
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-27
Age : 33

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by AnneNeville on Mon 28 Mar - 20:12

@Moonjump05 Cause it would be silly to let little girls think they can grow up into humans instead of just wimmin, amiright? Mad
avatar
AnneNeville
Jedi Master
Jedi Master

Messages : 898
Likes : 5661
Date d'inscription : 2016-03-25

Back to top Go down

Re: Reylo and Female Empowerment

Post by Guest on Mon 28 Mar - 20:44

@Moonjump05 wrote:Yes. Thank you.

A female character cannot be a human character- she has to be a role model, otherwise little girls are gonna get confused...

At bolded, this this this!  I love this situation and it is so hard to find.  SanSan comes close (huge powerful warrior Sandor completely undone and beaten by lady like Sansa with a song and a touch- her compassion leaving him at turns angry and in awe and on the road to be the true knight she deserves and he wants to be for her)

That's not the only problem female characters face. They now have to be sexless, non-feminine "bad-asses" who have to fight physically in order to prove that they're "good, strong role models". I said this on JFC and I'll say it again: If there's any hint of femininity such as them liking or wearing feminine things like dresses and make-up, and showing romantic interest in boys they're immediately labelled as weak. It doesn't matter that they're mentally strong or subtly manipulate events using their brain and/or feminine charms, they're not considered worthy enough to be role models for women. Look at Sansa! She's my favourite Game of Thrones character and in my opinion, one of the strongest characters in the whole series, because despite all of the trauma she's suffered at the hands of the Lannisters and losing almost her entire family, she's still surviving and has gone through some of the best character development ever by being mentally strong and relying on her femininity. Yet somehow, many people in the fandom despise her - over absolutely despicable characters such as The Mountain, Ramsay and Joffrey - because she doesn't fight with a weapon or wear trousers like Arya. Yet somehow Sansa has still remained strong and held on to her sanity, while Arya has gone completely crazy - in my opinion Sansa is both a role model AND a real female character (most female characters in GOT are imo).

It doesn't help that most female characters nowadays are the same - trouser-wearing, kick-a** women who fight. None of them are allowed to be feminine because it's "weak". Look at Ripley from Alien, Katniss from Hunger Games, that chick from Divergent, even Eowyn from Lord of the Rings and Hermione from Harry Potter to some extent, and yes even Rey. Daisy Ridley herself said "Young girls can look at Rey and know that they can wear trousers if they want to." That's completely fine and all, but my one problem is it's been done before! Even when they do wear feminine stuff, they hate it and think it's stupid e.g. Katniss and Eowyn. That's why I love Princess Leia and the women from the original EU such as Mara Jade - They're flawed human beings who wear natural looking make-up, wear nice dresses and other feminine clothing and use both their brains and a weapon to defeat their enemies and they rely on Luke and Han just as they rely on them.

Also this will never happen, but I would adore a scene where Leia shows Rey one of her old dresses and Rey gushes over it because she's never seen one and never had a chance to dress up and show off her femininity before. Maybe in a book?

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 7 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum