Lizet Elaine (simplyn2deep) wrote in 1_million_words,
Lizet Elaine

Thursday Tropes: Week 14

no title

This time around...A. FULL. YEAR. OF. TROPES!

Some Thursdays will have 2 tropes, some will have 3, but I think the majority will have 1 that's really popular.

Descriptions will be pulled from TV Tropes and a link provided if you want more information.

The rules? They're simple. Write at least 250 words or create 2 icons/1 banner. Anything from suggestive to outright porn is allowed.

This week, there 2 tropes! And they're all about girl power?

Faux Action Girl definitely read more at the link: In the modern era, appraisals of gender roles have advanced considerably. Feminist movements, changing ideas of the ideal or attractive woman, and the overwhelming popularity of female characters who kick ass and take names has led to the formation of the Action Girl: the now near-universal idea in action-oriented fiction that being a woman doesn't affect a character's ability to be an effective fighter. Naturally, not every female character in those works is or even must be an action hero, but it's common enough that pretty much any story where people are expected to fight regularly will at least take a crack at it.

However, some writers, whether due to somewhat sexist worldviews, demographic-related pressure, or reliance on outdated tropes, just don't quite manage it. They want the natural popularity of the character type or the praise for defiance of gender norms and therefore appropriate its framing, but they end up falling into the same old pitfalls as the good old Damsel in Distress or Satellite Love Interest. Thus, the Faux Action Girl is born: an Action Girl whose "action" aspect is more of an Informed Attribute than anything else.

She's supposed to be The Hero (or one of the heroes) but never gets to actually do anything heroic. She has a well-grounded reputation as a strong fighter in her field but always fails miserably in the line of battle. Her talents and skills are well-known to fellow characters but for some strange reason, they're never seen by the viewers outside of perhaps A Day in the Limelight episode. Her status only exists as an established reputation and depends heavily on Genre Blindness; she never acts the way she's supposed to. Sometimes, the only way she qualifies as anything more than the Damsel in Distress is if you Take Our Word for It. If the writers are feeling merciful, however, the Faux Action Girl can be relied on to actually defeat her share of Mooks — or, in rarer cases, a female enemy.

The key to identifying a Faux Action Girl is the disproportionate hype — whether she's overrated or under-performing. Also, note that context does play a role; for example, in a show full of incompetents who think they're tough fighters, it doesn't matter if a female character behaves the same way. It is also possible to have a female character who doesn't fight or isn't as capable as some others for perfectly justified reasons whereas a Faux Action Girl is much less powerful or competent than other characters and true Action Girls for no logical reason. Strangely, villainesses are rarely Faux Action Girls, because we expect them to be threats.

Matriarchy definitely read more at the link: Some societies are thought to exist as matriarchies, where women hold power and rule over society, both in modern-day and historically. However, in fiction, the first known fictional matriarchies to be described in any detail were called "gynæcocracy", and was hypothesized by Aristotle and Plutarch, but Amazons go back even further, to Homer. They usually vary widely from supposed real-life matriarchies, and can be considered separate.

The treatment of matriarchies varies from author to author and by time period, but they tend to follow a few major patterns.

Patriarchy Flip: Identical to patriarchy, but with the genders flipped. Men are treated as lower-class citizens, often used for free labor, and subjected to Arranged Marriages. Commonly used to illuminate human patriarchies and make a point about gender inequality by asking, "what if it were the other way around?"
Straw Matriarchy: A Dead Horse Trope, this is how early philosophers portrayed matriarchies, as a warning against allowing women in power. Women were depicted as fundamentally incapable of governing or utterly evil and castrating in their power-wielding.
Enlightened Matriarchy: A more benevolent or enlightened rule than patriarchy. A form of non-sexual Author Appeal for certain feminist writers, especially second-wave feminists in the 1970s. On its way to being a Dead Horse Trope, at least in its more extreme versions, after the advent of third-wave feminism, which introduced the question of what happens to trans and nonbinary people under a system that favors a single-gender.
Sexy Matriarchy: A fantasy where the women in power are attractive and often scantily clad, with strong overtones of domination (often of the Romanticized Abuse kind), hypersexualized lesbianism, or both. A form of Fanservice Author Appeal for certain writers, and common in BDSM Speculative Fiction.
Original Matriarchy: Sometimes an author creates an entirely new system of government which is ruled by women, and yet neither the same as any existing patriarchy nor shown to be inherently better or worse (or sexier).
Matriarchy in Name Only: Where the society is purported to be a matriarchy, but, for all intents and purposes, functions very similarly to a patriarchy or an egalitarian society.
Tags: challenge: thursday tropes

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