John C. Wright continues his series on saving science fiction from the barbaric scourge of Strong Female Characters:
What has the attempt to produce strong female characters produced?
On the one hand, I would be the first to say that the Miyasaki characters Nausicaa and Kushinada, the heroine and the villainess respectively of VALLEY OF THE WIND are the exemplar of perfectly strong and perfectly feminine women. Being in leadership roles does not strike me as unfeminine, not when we are dealing with princesses and war leaders. Nonetheless, the particular masculine characteristic of touchy pride, the desire to slit throats, machismo, vulgarity, roguishness, and the other one-dimensional stereotype writers who don’t know any real men use when trying to make their females more masculine are utterly absent.
Again, throughout the film (and manga) Nausicaa shows more concern for
the suffering of enemies, including horrid insect monsters and
radioactive biotech god-soldiers, than a man would. Her attitude toward
war is hardly the same as that of a Lancelot or Achilles….
I am calling such behavior feminine because I hold that femininity is more concerned with the doer than with the deed. Masculine approach is to be businesslike and curt, and not concerned with your emotions, only with our performance. This approach is useful both on the battlefield and in the marketplace. It is results oriented. It is concerned with duty, outward actions, not with inner motives.
Typical masculine thinking: I do not care why you salute just as long as you do salute. You are not saluting the man, you are saluting the uniform. It is impersonal.
The feminine approach, since females are biologically more suited to bearing and nursing children than males, and since females are given the infinitely important task of domesticating the male barbarian of her husband as well as taming and training the children, must be more concerned with the doer than the deed, because the women must train the children to volunteer to do the right thing, so that as adults, when she is gone, they do the right thing. It is character oriented. This is the more useful approach in peacetime and in cooperative rather than competitive situations. It is not concerned with duty, but with inner motives.
Does anyone serious, honestly think that a goals-oriented approach is always superior to the personality-oriented approach? Does anyone seriously think that we can treat squadmates like children or children like squadmates?
This part is considerably less coherent than the previous one, and I think the tangent into Catholic family-planning was ill-considered, but in addition to underlining the important distinction between the masculine and feminine approaches, Wright manages to successfully demonstrate that the more things have changed with regards to Strong Female Characters in the media, the more they have stayed the same.