Can someone give me an actual example of a female hero who is portrayed as a “tomboy”?
Literally every female hero is hyper feminine.
This is such a common thread and it really drives me up the wall… Like this post is literally describing most of sailor moon and totally spies, they use beauty products to fight. And as far as adult superheroes/fighters go, all the female characters are highly sexy and feminine. The ONLY thing I can think of that has actual, non sexualized tomboy fighter characters is game of thrones, and they’re not even heroes or anything, or maybe the girl in kickass, who isn’t even a tomboy she just has massive amounts of internalized misogyny. Where does this imaginary invisibility complex come from in regards to feminine heroes in media? Every female hero on big screens is feminine!!! Maybe I can see something like “I wish feminine heroes in media made for adults didn’t have to be so sexualized for the male gaze”? That would be a totally valid complaint. Asking for “less tomboys” when there is basically NO representation for tomboys/butch/gender nonconforming women is so… So selfish and hurtful.
This argument drives me up walls, because people on both sides of it have deep and rightly held anger at the way things are for women in media representation, and each side is looking at different parts of the picture and ignoring the whole. In American media, (sorry Sailor Moon fans, it was created in an entirely different cultural context with a very different flavor of patriarchy) excepting shows where the premise is played in large part as a joke, such as Totally Spies, female heroes must be both hyperfeminine and tomboys. What do I mean by this? Female heroes must both have no feminine hobbies, be absolutely undomestic, must never show “weak” emotions, must be “tomboys” with no interest in feminine things. But, and it’s a big but, they must look like glamor queens. They must look like they spent hours in the morning getting themselves to look just perfect, but never be shown putting in any kind of effort to look that way. I can’t even begin to tell you how many shows I’ve seen where a female character wakes up onscreen with her makeup magically already on her face! This is especially jarring in shows where a character’s appearance does not fit their ostensible job. How many lady cops have you seen in real life who run around with long flowing locks and perfectly tailored pantsuits? How many on TV?
Western patriarchal culture disdains both the female and the feminine. Femininity is both despised in and required of women in this model, which means female characters must be placed in a paradoxical position if they are to be a hero. They must look feminine, and act masculine, but of course only the right kind of masculine, the kind that makes her seem cool and interesting, but not threatening to the red blooded American male who is supposed to want to bang her. She must be fun, and fuckable. There is no room in this model for true tomboys, for butch women, or any true gender nonconformity, as that character wouln’t be fuckable. The same way, there is no room in this model for hyperfeminine characters with feminine interests, as they are “boring” or “high maintenance”. These characters, even when portrayed on female targeted shows aren’t for us. They give us a model of female perfection unattainable by real women or female bodied people of any gender, because we have facets of ourselves that aren’t carefully designed to appeal to men.