We are a small group of authors who write various genre books.
We like to "hang out" together, helping each another other by promoting each other's books, blogs, events, and doing whatever we can to support one another.
Our Guest Author Today is EV Emmons #OurAuthorGang
Welcome, EV Emmons! We're glad you could join us today!
Society’s Intolerance of
the Empowered Female Antihero
Women have long been held to a higher
standard than men and nowhere is this more obvious than in literature, film, and entertainment.
Complicated male antiheroes are often
met with admiration and respect while their female counterparts are scorned and
Take Marvel’s Loki—a complex character
who waffles between villain and anti-hero and sows chaos wherever he goes. He’s
vainglorious, conniving, violent and jealous. He has a strong desire to
subjugate lesser mortals, dominate Midgard, and he’s also Marvel’s most popular
character. Comic fans hang on his every
word at conventions and the thousands of fan sites dedicated to him tell us he
is loved by millions.
his sister Hella has similar goals of world domination and destruction and
though she has more reasons than Loki to resent Odin, she is despised by fans
the world over.
Ambition, hypersexuality, and a
predilection for violence are typical
qualities found in male antiheroes, but in a female character, the reaction is far different from the adoration the
Female antiheroes with grit and strength
of character are often reviled and hated. In the television series, Breaking Bad, Skylar White has earned
the distinction of being one of the most hated characters on television—quite
an achievement considering her husband Walter White was a murderous,
meth-cooking thug. Viewers cheer for Walter and curse Skylar.
Sexual morality and promiscuity are also
criteria on which male and female
characters are judged differently. Ian Fleming’s, James Bond is lauded and
admired for bedding several partners over the course of an adventure. He is the
paragon of manliness—the poster boy for masculinity.
Jason Mathew’s character, Dominika
Egorova, also known as Red Sparrow
from the novel and film of the same name fairs far less favorably with
audiences than Bond as evidenced by reviews and Rotten Tomatoes scores.
Laurell K. Hamilton’s, Anita Blake is
another controversial female character because the character engages in
frequent sexual encounters throughout the book series owing to her ardeur,
a power given to her by a master vampire. In Hamilton’s case, both she and her
character were disparaged because of the number
of erotic encounters the character engages in.
An active sex life is just one of many mores readers and viewers alike use to judge a female
Like Hamilton, I received similar
judgments regarding a character in my fanfiction series (a hobby I continued
after publishing my novel, Eternity
Awaits). Readers suggested that four relationships in eighteen months were
far too many for a female character and derided her as being immoral and highly
promiscuous despite the fact all of the relationships lasted several months.
Given the character’s traditionally masculine values which included a tendency
toward violence, combat prowess, and her authoritarian
mien, she was also labeled ‘unlikable.’
no one batted an eye when my male characters behaved in the same fashion.I never expected such contempt toward the
female antihero in this day and age.
Scarlett O’Hara is another example of a
complex female antihero who is considered unlikeable. She’s single-minded,
intelligent, selfish and shrewd, all typically male qualities—and though the
male lead, Rhett Butler shares these qualities with her, it is Scarlett who is
For a female character to be deemed ‘likable’, she must under no circumstances
display any typically masculine personality attributes. We have been taught
that qualities such as ambition, a penchant for violence, emotional detachment,
jealousy, sexuality, and treachery are not welcome in the female character.
The double standard is alive and
well—the dark male character is deemed a complex, layered antihero, while his
female counterpart is sternly questioned and judged for not trying harder to be
accepted and liked.
A male anti-hero requires no
justification for his actions and negative traits tend to be overlooked or
romanticized. Even if a female antihero has admirable qualities, they are
negated by any darker actions and she is not afforded the same forgiveness as
the male character.
Over time, films and literature have
taught society that women are only likable
if they adhere to a certain code of behavior
that stems from the Madonna/whore stereotypes that decree that women can only
be good or bad with little complexity in between.
Writers must persistently resist
creating the likable one-dimensional female
if women are to achieve equality in film and literature.Female characters must be portrayed in the
full spectrum of the human condition and accepted as the emotionally intricate
beings they are.It is not important to
be likable but to be real.