7 Female Roles that were Written for Men Apr28

7 Female Roles that were Written for Men...

Men might be the harbingers of action and combat in many sci-fi movies, action shows, and video games, but some writers are stepping up to challenge these notions. Taking over a role that was originally intended for a man is one way to break the mold, and make us wonder why we need molds in the first place, since so many are lying about in pieces at these women’s feet. Here are seven roles originally written for men, but portrayed by women instead. 1. Samus Aran, Metroid The plot twist at the end of the first Metroid game reveals that the person in the armour (who you’ve been kicking ass with so far) is, in fact, a woman. But a lesser known fact is that the game developers hadn’t planned this surprise from the start and decided to add it in halfway through development, creating one of the most iconic women characters in video games today. “It is true that in developing the original Metroid, we were partway through the development processes when one of the staff members said, “Hey, wouldn’t that be kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman?” So that’s how we decided on that. We’ve tried to express her femininity a little more without trying to turn her into a sex object.” —Yoshio Sakamoto 2. Toph Beifong, Avatar, the Last Airbender Known as the tiny blind girl who can throw boulders around with her earthbending prowess, this Avatar: The Last Airbender star was originally intended to be a large, muscled jerk. They even elude to this in the episode “The Ember Island Players,” where Team Avatar attend a play about their journey so far, and Toph is portrayed as a buff man. She was...

Earthbending stereotypes Jan04

Earthbending stereotypes...

“My daughter is blind! She is blind and tiny and helpless and fragile. She cannot help you!” Toph Beifong’s father describes the convention of portraying disabilities in television. Typically, mainstream television shows depicts characters with disabilities through one-off episodes. These characters are admired for their courage, but pitied for the disadvantages they face on a daily basis. The stories almost always focus on the character’s disability and how this teaches the main character something about life, and rarely on the disabled person’s abilities, personality, or accomplishments. Few shows, if any, challenge that stereotype better than Avatar: The Last Airbender. When Aang and his friends are searching for an earthbender powerful enough to teach the Avatar everything he will need to know, they attend Earth Rumble VI, an earthbending tournament held underground in a giant arena. They watch huge men pummeling each other with rocks until the final round, where the reigning champion known as the Blind Bandit shows up. “I am the greatest earthbender in the world! Don’t you two dunderheads ever forget it.” The Blind Bandit turns out to be a tiny girl who is literally blind. She uses her abilities to sense vibrations through the earth in order to tell where her enemies are. And of course, she beats the hulking champ, “The Boulder” to a pulp in the final round. After she disappears when the tournament concludes, Aang uses clues from a vision to find her, and discovers she is the only child of a wealthy couple who treat her with kid gloves; they allow her to learn earthbending, but only at beginner levels, hire servants to blow on her soup when it’s too hot, and make sure her walks (within the confines of their property, of course) are supervised. When her help...

Azula: villainous femme fatale Oct26

Azula: villainous femme fatale...

Few things highlight great heroes like great villains. Villains bring conflict. They force the heroes to fight, challenge their beliefs, and often leave them physically and emotionally scarred. Some villains were once heroes, and tragically fell when they could no longer bear the burdens of this life. Others, so it seems, were born evil the same as I was born with brown eyes. These villains in particular take on universal characteristics, giving them a larger than life stature in the stories they haunt with their dog-kicking and fridge-stuffing. One villainous femme fatale worthy of special mention is Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Princess Azula. Every time the teenaged Azula makes her debut in Book 2: Earth, I can’t help muttering: “Ugh. She’s the worst.” Princess Azula, voiced by the talented Gray Delisle, is the daughter of Firelord Ozai and Princess Ursa and the younger sister of Prince Zuko, Avatar’s antihero. After Zuko fails to capture Aang in the first season of the show, the Firelord dispatches Azula to hunt down him and his friends once and for all. Azula threatens the heroes of Avatar on several fronts. As a prodigious firebender possessing the full financial and military backing of the Fire Nation, she is a constant physical threat. At the battle outside the walls of Ba Sing Se, Azula betrays friends and enemies alike.Azula manages to get her claws on Avatar Aang. While many stories use such instances to give the villain a monologue or have them throw the hero into some pit they’ll inevitably bust out of, Azula, with a smirk, goes straight for the kill. Aang is luckily saved by some falling rocks, not by Azula’s ineptitude. Azula is a genius sociopath who firmly believes in Avatar’s versions of Divine Right and Manifest...

Slaying Zuko Sep04

Slaying Zuko

He had a scarred face and was always wearing a sour look. He was angry most of the time in his fanatical zeal to hunt down the Avatar. He risked his crew, ignored his kindly uncle’s advice, and showed disregard for his own life. I thought Zuko was just a standard bad guy. I was wrong. As Avatar: The Last Airbender (the animated TV show, not the movie) progressed, I began to root for Zuko in a way I could not have foreseen. It became clear to me that his story isn’t about what he thinks it is. It’s not about reconciliation with his father, or reclaiming his birthright to the throne, or his honour, or even catching the Avatar. Zuko isn’t searching for Aang; he’s searching for himself. Who he is and his place in this world is the cog that spins the wheels of his story. I watched Zuko struggle to figure out who he is, and I understood the confusion he was going through as his back story was revealed. It isn’t until he loses himself that he truly regains his honour. Even at a young age, Zuko had a certain tenderness about him. It caused him to be compassionate, even to animals that his younger sister would terrorize. He cried when his mother disappeared. Yet that tenderness was mocked and ridiculed as weakness by those who meant the most to a tender young boy: his sister and father. It was not only because of this perceived weakness that he fell short in their eyes, but also his lack of natural talent in firebending caused ridicule. “Prodigy” was to be expected from the Fire Lord’s son, and prodigy Zuko was not. It is in this hard environment that a young Zuko had...