is everything a trope?

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Twizelby
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is everything a trope?

Post by Twizelby » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:17 am

I have been keeping up with feminist vlogers and their opposition. I was watching one of the Anita videos and she was talking about tropes. Thing is I can't think of one thing that isn't a trope.

I guess what I am asking is, is anything not a trope? Why do some feminists think tropes are bad? I get why it's bad that almost every movie or show stars a white male and I am all for adding diversity to a cast, but how do you avoid making a trope when each genre essentially requires a trope? People don't watch an action movie to see someone cower in a corner and squeal every time they fire a gun, they go to see some tough guy or girl kick some bad guy a**. We don't watch a romance movie to see two people meet on Okcupid and and hookup and then start dating because it's convenient, no we want some whirlwind trope romance with loss, romantic gestures, and redemption.

The other thing that I don't get is why is saving someone that you care about a bad thing? How does that objectify women? Again, I understand that the reverse of the guy saves girl (girl saves guy) thing is not proportional, I agree with that, but we are supposed to empathize with the emotional loss from the connection between the characters. It is playing on a recognition that people build emotional ties, not that the other person is property. I mean if someone steals property most of the time it's just "shit I got to buy a new one" not "I gotta go bust up this crime ring to get back my collection of commemorative presidential plates" but If someone kidnapped someone I would probably become a loose cannon renegade cop with nothing to lose.

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Soycrates
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Post by Soycrates » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:18 pm

I guess what I am asking is, is anything not a trope?

It depends on how you look at it. If you watch something so original you've never seen anything like it - that's obviously not a trope. Calling something a trope is a lot like calling something a fallacy - we only really do it when we think that the thing is bad. So sometimes the only real tropes are the harmful and negative ones.

Why do some feminists think tropes are bad?

Feminists? It doesn't take a feminist to be against overused, negative tropes. Personally my least favourite trope is "the good guy wears white, the bad guy wears black" or "the good guy is blond, and the bad guy has dark hair".

but how do you avoid making a trope when each genre essentially requires a trope?

Use less shitty tropes.

The other thing that I don't get is why is saving someone that you care about a bad thing?

It's less about the saving and more about how or why the protagonist does it, why they are the protagonist in the first place and why that person needs saving in the first place.

How does that objectify women?

When women "constantly need saving" it slowly turns women less into a subject to care about and want to save and more of an object that one obtains at the end of their quest. It makes it possible to give the woman as little dialogue as possible while still being an object of desire.

It is playing on a recognition that people build emotional ties, not that the other person is property.

And in many movies/games, those emotional ties are built on seeing women as objects - protagonists regularly fall in love with women solely because of their beauty, without even beginning to know them as a person. Even outside of the most sexist examples of "saving the girl" I still think that too many stories are motivated by the desire to protect another "weaker" character, and I would love to see games where the protagonist is motivated by a less personal sense of justice. When I played The Last of Us I understood that they wanted me to develop parental, fatherly feelings alongside the protagonist to motivate me/the protagonist to go on our journey - I think it made the game a little obnoxious. I want to see some zombie action where I'm not forced to empathize with someone who just wants to protect ONE person.

I mean if someone steals property most of the time it's just "shit I got to buy a new one" not "I gotta go bust up this crime ring to get back my collection of commemorative presidential plates"

I don't know. If someone stole Excalibur from you, you'd fight to get it back without believing it was a subject rather than an object.

Twizelby
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Post by Twizelby » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:13 pm

I get the volume argument that makes perfect sense to me, I guess I just have a blind spot in the gender department. I never had to think about it and there is a lot of crap to wade through. I'm constantly worried that I'm not being objective because of how entrenched I might be. Veganism was easy, you can see it, the gender stuff is subtle and I don't always know if I am being manipulated. I guess I sometimes see examples of things used that I don't see how much you could change. Like when someone brings up a game and talks about the damsels dynamic in an 8 bit game. How do you flesh out every character in 8 bits?

"When I played The Last of Us I understood that they wanted me to develop parental, fatherly feelings alongside the protagonist to motivate me/the protagonist to go on our journey - I think it made the game a little obnoxious. I want to see some zombie action where I'm not forced to empathize with someone who just wants to protect ONE person."

That's kind of what I am getting at. Things are used for convenience of the plot. When you watch action you don't want an hour build up of romance to make you feel the emotional connection. I agree that some movies build this connection better than others but Hollywood craps out movies. No one wants to see princess peach spray a fountain of tears, that's blatantly sexist sh**, but would it make it better or more acceptable if playable and savable characters were chosen? I mean would it still be objectification if the genders were optional or would it still be a problem? If movies had a proportional number of heroines and heroes with un-fleshed out character love interest would that be the same problem? or is the view that the culture of sexism is so entrenched that it would only be a problem on the male hero female damsel.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:57 am

Well, tropes are not bad

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... sAreNotBad

It's how you use them (or subvert them).

Sometimes people read too much into things. And sometimes people over-promise on crowd funding campaigns and have to really stretch to deliver on a goal that turns out to be harder than they thought because the industry isn't as overtly sexist as they imagined.

Some discussion on the Academic merits of Anita's work here:
http://theveganatheist.com/forum/viewto ... 1&start=20

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