In each concern that you have addressed, I noticed one recurring theme: generalizations.
For your first point, I agree. I’m sure most of the world is no stranger to seeing that. You see it. I see it. We all see it, whether in the movies, on TV and of course, on Episode, and even in real life. It comes from a common stereotype that most women are generally ‘weaker’ than most men are, and their attacks won’t do as much damage than in reverse; so it’s deemed ‘okay’; a common generalization.
However, it isn’t about the damage. It isn’t about who’s stronger or weaker.
It’s about the morals and decency on a respectable human level.
I think it is rather unfortunate that a lot of people have grown too comfortable with this portrayal as you have described. Violence, in general, is unacceptable no matter what gender you are. If included in a story over a something so small, then it should at least not be glorified or normalized and should be presented as a character flaw, or a negative characteristic of that specific character.
No matter how strong or weak you are. Violence is and shouldn’t be justified. Some will say men shouldn’t hit women, but that rule shouldn’t be exclusive to one gender. Some people I have come across find it okay for women to hit others with no repercussions. With these people, I almost never find them say that women shouldn’t hit men either, especially for petty things.
So what is the premise? Truth is, you should keep your hands to yourself; no matter who or what you are, no one should be hitting anyone.
Now, there is a difference between violence and self-defense and that’s where it depends on the situation such as abuse. Self-defense is perfectly fine in similar regards, but with other things, meaningless violence is not. Self-defense is about avoiding violence and reducing risks. You can walk away from a someone who’s
a ‘heated volcano about to erupt’ and it can be self-defense. Assess the situation and select your options wisely, because there’s no turning back. These are often confused by many, again, because of the generalizations.
So, your second point… as people have said, relationships, in general, are portrayed badly as a whole on Episode for pretty much anyone. But one thing that I notice is a certain notion and motivation to write a ‘strong female character’. I don’t even like the term ‘strong female character’. I prefer the description ‘well written, unique, developing characters’, because that’s what we should be striving for anyway. Anyone can be ‘strong’. Anyone can be ‘weak’.
But above all, everyone is human.
For example, You can be nice and strong, at the same time. Strength isn’t one way, and in the way some authors write ‘strong female characters’, it’s supposed to be good.
But it isn’t.
You see, let me explain something: the mistake I notice often of some authors writing ‘strong female characters’ is that their end result is usually a mean, rude, controversial, one (or two) dimensional generalized ‘strong’ female character for the sake of being ‘strong’; a bully, you can even consider. I suppose that notion comes across this way and the way you described. I suppose this is what you mean, but correct me if I am wrong. Even so, the character should develop and grow but again, do you see how generalizations play a role, once again contributing to these problems from the last point to the second? Guess what… yes, even the third point.
True strength comes from within, and it shall be expressed in multiple (good, positive, motivational) forms…
And now my thoughts on your final point.
As you probably have noticed by now, I think generalizations are a huge factor and component to the core of the problem itself. In my first year of college when I took English 1101, my first professor always corrected me in my essays - to be aware of generalizations and to never use them.
Now I understand why.
It’s because it can lead to things like these. For example, that’s why they are often negative because the characters are almost never unique individuals but a representation of a vision that a lot of people have been taught by many things. We are all unique ourselves; why not our characters and most importantly why not our writing? Even if you use a generalization, it again, shouldn’t be glorified or praised.
There is a lot that can be done about generalization and generalising statements… sure, it’s trendy but that doesn’t mean we can’t help with the problem. It all starts with the learning process, from what we teach from generation to generation, and how we teach it, etc. A good place to start would be to stop using generalizations and to teach and educate that all people are unique, and not everyone is the same. I don’t think generalizations should be practiced either; I agree. We must set the example; that’s the least that can be done.
We are humans, and we make mistakes.
But we should also learn from them.