So I've decided to start writing "Trend" articles about popular trends in fiction or movies or whatever. Most of them are probably going to be about stuff that annoys me, but some might be stuff I rather like. This one today is one that annoys me. It's the trend of putting a female character into a male's place.
I'm talking mostly about when they re-do a classic or something of that nature and change the male protagonist into a female character. I'm sure everyone here can name a book or movie that you have seen that does this. For some reason it is a really popular ploy. Why? I have no blasted clue. Another popular thing is changing around the hero and heroine's roles in a story. I.E. Sleeping Beauty actually wakes up Prince Charming. This isn't quite so annoying, but it just breeds overly strong female characters and gives the lads nothing to do, thus making them look stupid and incapable of anything.
Yes, I am a woman, but I am really mad at how everything in this century seems to revolve around women and men are just getting demeaned all the time. So many movies out now, especially kids' ones, have the men be the stupid side-kick type characters while the only one who gets anything done is the heroine. I hate this. In fact, I'm almost to the point where I do not read books with female protagonists. Seriously, especially ones written within the last ten years or so. And if I do, even if I enjoy them, I have to have a backup of a good military adventure story or something else with all guy characters in it.
My friend, Mara (over at 667B Baker Street) and I have been talking about that new show that is coming out this fall, Elementary. What is this? First of all, I'm going to tell you that we are both true Sherlockians, we've been reading Doyle's original stories for years, so you can't tell us our opinion on this doesn't count for anything. This show does not only portray Holmes wrong (yes, we can tell this even from the previews. I mean, come on. Holmes does not have tattoos. He would never have had tattoos) but it does the cardinal sin and that is turn our dear Dr. John H. Watson into--yes everyone--Joan Watson. Yep, Watson is a woman.
And you know exactly where this is going. She's going to have to be all high-and-mighty over him just because she is a woman because this is the way all heroines are portrayed in TV shows lately. And that's something Watson never did. It was all he could do to get Holmes to eat and sleep after a case, but this was taking care of a friend--he and Holmes were like brothers--never in a nagging way. And he never tried to put his nose into Holmes' investigations because he knew Holmes could and would do it the way he wanted to and when Holmes asked him to do something, no matter how crazy it was, he did it because he trusted him. Do you think this is the way it's going to be turning Watson into a girl? I highly doubt it! And it would be even worse if (and they probably will) they put a romantic interest in between Sherlock and Joan. It would be wrong on so many levels I'm not even going there.
There's also this book I came across--I haven't read it yet, but I get the idea, obviously--called "Scarlet". It's a Robin Hood novel--and don't get me wrong, I love Robin Hood novels--I love ones with different twists in them, but turning Will Scarlet into a girl is not the kind of twist I'm going for! I always loved Will and it always makes me mad when authors take a good character and turn them into a girl. I'm not saying this book is bad, if that's the kind of thing you like, but I don't like it. I think guy stories should have the chance to stay guy stories and Maid Marion should stay on being the only female character in the Robin Hood stories. Read Robin McKinley's "Outlaws of Sherwood" if you want to see Marion as a strong heroine. She was strong in this book but didn't have a blasted attitude! You can read Mara's review of "Scarlet" here.
So to my point: this all reminds me of the Suffragettes. And do you know what they did? They starved themselves, they threw themselves under horses and for what? So they could vote? Ladies, did you really think you could show men that you're smart enough to vote by doing this? Come on. Real women stand by their men, they don't hate them. They do what they need to do because it needs to be done, not because they want to prove some stupid point. So keep your heroines strong enough so they are not airheads, but don't give them an almighty attitude either. I'm not going to call them "strong heroines" anymore. I'm going to call them "Real Heroines" Like Joan of Arc. (They never re-created a story about John or Arc did they? See, women never get turned into men, it's always the other way around.)
Support Smart Heroines! Or support the original guy novel where there are damsels in distress. One of my favorite ploys is what Louis L'Amour does. Before the hero goes off to fight the baddie, he says he loves the girl and when he comes back the book usually ends with a kiss or a marriage proposal. Love it!
I'll be back soon to talk more about my upcoming novel "On a Foreign Field"!
(If anyone has any trends they have seen running around the literary world let me know what they are and what you think of them!)