Also, I have stolen two shiny things from hieronymousb:
1. We as fans tend to be soft against authors that we respect, even admire. Yet almost all examples of modern media contain themes that don't exactly mesh with most self-described feminists' concept of the modern woman. Isn't one of the most common defenses for popular books, TV shows, movies, etc. with unfortunate implications on fandomsecrets "Hey, I'm a feminist and I LOVE Gurren Lagann! Therefore, it's not sexist!"?
I have a very vague idea for an experiment, perhaps in the form of a meme. Basically, participants would each pick any five of their favorite series or one-shots (not necessarily fandoms) and find at least one example of undeniable, indefensible sexism. Preferably, a work that gets your hackles raised whenever someone badmouths it and ESPECIALLY if you would otherwise consider the gender dynamics to be perfect. If my hypothesis is correct, most participants would have at least some difficulty looking at their favorite series with a jaundiced eye.
This is going to be fun~.
Okay, so Bleach is hardly a series I would be willing to defend against criticism and KT is hardly someone I respect as an author anyway, but I wanted to do one of my main fandoms so it was either that or Naruto. And at least I respect KT more than I respect Kishi.
Rukia: In the very, very early parts of the series, Rukia seems like a lot more powerful of a character than she ends up being, and I miss her original characterization. In the beginning, I felt like she comes across as this mysterious, otherworldly sort of being, but as time goes on she loses that and just becomes 'girl #1 that Ichigo needs to rescue.' She goes from looking like a strong character to being emo because OH NOES ICHIGO'S GOING TO TRY TO RESCUE HER AND SHE DOESN'T WANT HIM TO GET HURT. She just seems to become less and less important.
It doesn't exactly help either that Ichigo becomes so much more powerful than her so quickly. At the beginning of the series, you can see her developing into a mentor sort of character, but Ichigo quickly develops powers so far beyond her experience that she ends up being sort of useless. (And then his actual mentor turns out to be Urahara. And I normally wouldn't nitpick at this, but since this calls for nitpicking: Yoruichi ends up training the side characters. Ichigo's mentor has to be a man, because he's the hero.)
Orihime: She's one of my favorite characters, but my god. I don't even know where to start. I guess with the fact that her appearance and her personality work together to make her be very much a stereotype. I find it odd that KT mentions early on that she's actually quite smart, and yet she never really ends up living up to that statement. (Okay, admittedly hardly anyone in Bleach actually comes across as clever, Aizen being the exception. But I like the idea of Orihime actually being very smart, so I wish that came across more.)
And of course, she's another female character who needs rescuing because she can't take care of herself. (Even though Aizen's reason for abducting her was that she supposedly has some epically great power, right? You'd think that while she was stuck in Hueco Mundo with nothing to do but stare at the wall all day she might have tried learning to harness that power so that she could escape on her own.) And her powers themselves are also stereotyped: they reside in flower-shaped hairpins that turn into fairies, and 2/3 of her powers are defensive (the healing and the shielding)-- not that there's anything wrong with defensive-type powers, but the whole thing together is such a 'this is the type of magic power that's appropriate for a woman to have' trope.
Momo: ...Is another one of the 'I'm pathetic and cling to a man helplessly and don't know what I'll do without him' type. I sort of don't know what else to say about her, except that I really hope that she and Hitsugaya don't end up together, because then it's going to be all, 'I was wrong before, and Aizen was a bad, evil man. But now I'm going to follow you around like a puppy instead of him, and the fact that it's you and not him means it's a good choice. Yay!'
And then I'll throw up.
Matsumoto: I actually quite like her, so I'll keep it short and say that, aside from her looks, which speak for themselves (and which apparently automatically make her a party girl), I wish she weren't so attached to Gin. She's just like Momo in the respect, albeit admittedly less noticeably so.
Girl arrancars: Will all wear the most revealing clothing they can find. Because Hueco Mundo apparently has an extremely bizarre dress code. Or, more likely, because they're part of a 'bad girl' sort of motif. Seriously, you guys, that's kinda been done before. You don't need to include that character type in every single series ever.
Now, Death Note on the other hand I do actually think is a genuinely good series. But now that I think about it in this light haha, Light I don't really like its attitude towards women much.
I think the biggest thing for me is that of the four characters who are both very intelligent and have boatloads of power (Light, L, Mello, and Near), no one is female. Well, as most of know by now, Near and Mello's character designs were switched at the last moment by mistake, so their looks were originally meant to be reversed. So Near was supposed to look like Mello, and the comment about this was that his character design called for him to be "cool and feminine." ...So why couldn't he just have been female? Or why not Mello? All of the female characters in Death Note act strictly as helpers, and they have neither the power nor, the series implies, the intellect of any of the main characters.
And Misa. Don't even get me started on Misa. Seriously, I'm not going there. But I will talk about some of the other DN girls.
Takada: I wish she had more of a personality of her own. Aside from the fact that she's devoted to Kira instead of having her own plans in life, she feels like she's sort of a foil for Misa-- it's like she covers all the stereotypical aspects of femininity that Misa doesn't. She's sort of "what a woman should be" in that she's very polite, etc... The "refined" Takada.
Wedy: She's sort of a sexy girl thief type caricature, but I liked her. I wish the series would have done more with her, because she seemed a lot more in control than most of the other women. She just seemed like someone who had the potential to be interesting.
Sayu: Seriously, wtf. I feel like she only really exists in order to be inferior to her brother in every. Single. Way. Imaginable. And then get kidnapped. So basically, she's a character who doesn't seem to benefit anyone, only be a liability. Certainly not everyone can be as smart as Light, but she comes off as being both stupid and lazy, and the author doesn't give her anything to make up for it. She just ends up as the stupid teenage girl character, and aside from the fact that being kidnapped was obviously traumatizing, it doesn't look like she ends up growing or becoming more mature or stronger by the end of the series.
Naomi: She's one of the strongest and most resourceful women in the series, but she also falls into the 'acting for the sake of a man' category, in her case, Raye. I wish that she got a bit more characterization outside of what involves him. Well, I've never read the novella (the one about her and Beyond Birthday), but I hope that it gives her some more depth and that she's able to stand on her own there. Also, am I the only one that finds the interactions between her and Raye really creepy? Like the part where he's all, "Yeah, I know you were an awesome agent and stuff. But now you're just going to be my wife, so you shouldn't trouble your little head with Kira. Haha!"
Rem: I think Rem is pretty original in that although she's female, she's definitely not beautiful, and also is not capable of having sex. Also, while the human females in this series are mostly sort of... scatter-brained, I guess?... Rem comes across as much smarter and more level-headed than, say, Ryuuk. (And according to How to Read, stronger as well.) So my only real gripe about her is that, even though the person she dies for isn't a man, she still sacrifices herself for love. (Which seems to be fairly common for women in this series, but aside from Jealous... do any men do anything similar? Because I can't think of any examples.)
It also occurs to me that the male characters in this series seem to pretty much untouched by love-- which makes sense because, despite what most of the fangirls seem to think, romance has absolutely nothing to do with DN's plot. I just wish then that the same thing held true for the female characters.
Whew. Anyway. On to:
2. Okay, flist, time to get constructive and critical... but nicely, please.
Pick one piece of fanfiction I've written. I'll tell you one thing I didn't like about it, one thing I did and one thing I wish I would have done differently. Then, you give me one thing you didn't like, one thing you liked and one comment about it. The comment can be a question or in general remark or whatever you want. Post this in your journal so I can do the same.
And can I ask a favor with this? I'd love to hear critique on my newer stuff, of course, but if anyone remembers any of my earlier stuff at all, I'd also be interested in hearing about that.... Most of that stuff I haven't looked at in ages, so I've become sort of curious about it. (Like, what things in those early ones were actually good? What things were completely moronic? I think my writing has changed a lot since then.)