Thursday, July 5, 2012

Diagnosing Loki Fangirls

Well, I've been away from blogging for a while, and there's no excuse but that I somehow lost the mojo, which is easy to do since this is a hobby and not the job I intend to have. It's why I can be so lazy to begin with. So, let's get to it.

I saw Thor a while ago, and it was a fun movie--to me, it read like a better version of The Lion King, with a more compelling arc for the lead, a consistently threatening villain, and a more palatable take on all that fantasy racism. I also saw The Avengers before that, feeling I knew enough of the continuity to get by, and I was right. Both films have the kind of spirit I hope my work to have someday: ultimately gimmicky fun, yet also capable of some heartfelt emotion and never losing a sense of humour.

Something I want to talk about, though, is how many fangirls Loki has, and the fan boy "theorizing" as to why it happened.

I want, and try, to make room in my worldview for multiple interpretations of fictional characters, but at a certain point the notion that a character who commits evil deeds isn't a villain becomes something I can't get on board with. Regardless of the reasons these characters have for turning to evil, no amount of sympathetic backstory or understandable motivation can wipe their records clean. Writers should still try to give their villains these two things in order to create a richer world, but usually the roles of hero and villain are usually still clear enough.

The weird thing is not that female viewers have a crush on Loki, but that some of them insist he's not a villain. All of this has been attributed to some kind of hardwired female masochism. Women are inclined to throw themselves at dangerous guys in reality or fiction, trying to change them, trying to interpret them as Not Such a Bad Guy. This is the nasty gender stereotype explanation most often floated for villain fangirls, and it's not supposed to end with fiction.

It suggests women suffer from a fundamental lack of perception as to what a character is "really" like, i.e. a bad person, and that they always desire to "change" a man, an enterprise that would be useless and ultimately hurtful were the character real, but dammit, those silly little women would just keep trying. It's all implied to mirror a drama carried out in real life, a dramatic role that has nothing to do with societal expectations of women, but just the way women are. Women like to hurt themselves by being attached to assholes, whether in reality and fiction.

It's pretty disgusting to see over and over again, and because of this it's tempting to view the stereotypical "villain fangirl" as a straw(wo)man, designed to prop up these myths of female masochism. Yet evidence for this type of nerd exists all around us, so to a point it's real, but the explanations may not be.

No comments:

Post a Comment