Kingsman: The Slash Service???

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If you’re like me, you’re getting pumped for the upcoming sequel to the incredible Kingsmen: The Secret Service. I will watch most anything if it has Colin Firth in it, but thanks to Kingsmen, I have added a new British hottie to my ever-growing list: Taron Egerton.

Like any fandom, the Kingsmen franchise has its community on Tumblr. When I dared to venture outside my cozy world of Star Trek, Supernatural, Hannibal, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, all of which have big time OTPs for me (Kirk/Spock, Dean/Castiel, Hannibal/Will, and Buffy/Angel, respectively), I was surprised (although I probably shouldn’t have been) to find out that Kingsmen also had a dominant pairing.

I personally hadn’t found Kingsmen to be a pairing oriented movie. Yeah, there’s the last scene where Eggsy has anal sex with the princess, but that was pretty much the extent of any “romantic” content in the movie. There is a girl in the movie, a fellow trainee for the Kingsmen who befriends Eggsy, but there’s no hint of romance to their relationship.

But the main relationship of the movie is between Eggsy Unwin and his Kingsmen mentor, Harry Hart, aka Galahad. Eggsy, as a baby, lost his father early in the movie (his father was also training to be a Kingsman and was also being mentored by Harry, but he sacrificed himself by throwing himself on a live grenade to save his fellow agents), so when I watched the movie, I was under the impression that Harry was supposed be a surrogate paternal figure for Eggsy. But some people saw their relationship from another perspective.

Hartwin: the portmanteau name for the romantic or/and sexual relationship between Eggsy Unwin and Harry Hart

While I don’t ship Harry and Eggsy in the slash sense, I’m not against people supporting this pairing. It’s a little squick-ish for me, since I see this as an adopted father-son relationship, but there’s nothing abusive or unhealthy about it. Harry and Eggsy do genuinely love and care about each other. Some people who have an issue with age gaps in their pairings will probably not ship Hartwin (at the time of this publication, Colin Firth is 56 and Taron Egerton is 27 – that’s almost three decades between them, and I’m pretty sure Eggsy is actually 19 in the film). I say that pairings with wide age gaps always have other factors to be taken into consideration.

The phrase “age is but a number” should always come with a grain of salt. For example, an adult with a child or young adolescent is never okay. But notice above that I listed Buffy/Angel as one of my OTPs. This is a ship between a 16-18 year old high school girl and a 250 year old vampire – if this is ringing familiar of Twilight, well, I don’t blame you.

But there’s significant distinctions between Buffy Summers and Angel, and Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. First of all…Buffy and Angel aren’t complete idiots. Second of all, there’s no creepy, pathetic codependency between them. Buffy is strong with or without a boyfriend, and Angel doesn’t insist on keeping tabs on her 24/7 or try to control her life. And third, and most pertinent to this discussion, Buffy is a mature young woman who can handle an adult relationship. Bella is a frivolous airhead whom Edward constantly infantilizes.

So even though there’s a wide age gap between Harry and Eggsy, and I still stand by my opinion that it’s a pseudo father-son relationship, it’s still a relationship between two adults. Yes, Eggsy can act like a dumb kid sometimes, but underneath that rough, chav exterior, Eggsy shows intelligence and maturity. Harry facilitates him in achieving his destiny as a kickass secret agent. It’s not so much of a “coming of age” story. It’s more like a “you’re an adult, time to start acting like it” story.

Eggsy and Harry kind of remind me of Buffy and Giles. I always believed that Buffy never really needed a Watcher, but she did need Giles. Buffy’s dad didn’t die, but he was an absentee father, so Buffy needed a fill-in for that role in her life, and Giles was the person to do it. It’s the same way with Eggsy and Harry.

So Hartwin isn’t really my cup of tea. I only ship it in the friend or familial sense, but, I wouldn’t condemn anyone for shipping them romantically. With two such attractive men with great chemistry as Colin and Taron, it’s only natural that people might see potential there. I always say, as long as it’s not advocating abuse, incest, pedophilia, or total codependency, ship and let ship.

Kingsmen: The Golden Circle premieres in theaters in the U.S. on September 22, 2017! ~TRL

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New Beginnings

Today was my first day at my new university…and man, was I trepidacious.

Uprooting yourself from what you’re acclimatized to is always a traumatic experience. I had to leave my school, my teachers, my apartment, and my friends all back in Waco. A new start. And this time, I didn’t really want one.

However…it hasn’t been the awful experience I was dreading.

My apartment is nice. Bigger bedroom, bigger closet, my own bathroom! Bliss, thy name is privacy. Also, no more crummy bitch monsters as roommates. The three girls I’m living with now are nice, considerate, and friendly. They actually invite me to do things with them! The other day we all went to a comedy show at our school together, and yesterday we went to one of those Paint-A-Plate places and got froyo afterward, then went for a late night swim. This is what the college experience is supposed to be, not hiding in your bedroom watching Netflix because your roommates hate you.

So, the first day. First of all, my new campus is sprawling compared to my old one. As I mapped out my schedule, I realized with some despondency that I had quite the daily trudge ahead of me.

My first class was Writing For Mass Media. I…don’t really have an impression of it yet. The teacher just introduced herself, told us which book to buy, that was pretty much it. I guess we’ll see.

After that, I had History of Costume, and on my way there I made two interesting discoveries: tomorrow night, there’s a “lavender mixer” for LGBT+ students. Shoot, you know I’m going to that! Where my people at? But what am I going to wear?

The other discovery was…Brian! An old friend of mine from high school. Brian was one of the few theatre kids who wasn’t a total asshat. (His name isn’t actually Brian, but I changed it to protect his identity.) Seeing Brian, to me, was a good omen that maybe, everything here would be okay.

When I signed up for History of Costume, I thought I was signing up for an easy A – boy, was I ever wrong. The teacher walked in and immediately referred to herself as Satan. Never a good sign. I also found out that I have to write a 10 page term paper on costumes from a historic movie. Oh well. I do like a challenge. And after writing a goddamn 26 page paper on trans bathroom rights issues for US Government this past spring, this is gonna be no sweat.

My last class today was Intro To Visual Arts (it’s just for a credit). This one was on the completely opposite corner of campus. I only had five minutes to get there. Needless to say, I was a little late. But the teacher is cool, and I explained my situation, and she said it was fine if I came in a few minutes after class started, that lots of students had that problem. God, college professors are such angels.

So the verdict for this day?…surprisingly okay. I’m definitely gonna have to get myself in shape for all this hiking I have to do (and maybe invest in a good pair of walking shoes), but overall, I had a pretty damn good first day.

They say girls go to college to get more knowledge. Well I’ve been in college long enough to know that the first day is always the easiest – it’s all uphill from here.

Oh well. At least my last class is next to a Taco Bell. Ol√©. ~TRL ūüĆģ

Review: “Elena Undone”

I am a queer person, and I use the word queer as an umbrella term for for non-heterosexual/non-cisgender people. If you dislike the term "queer", you may not want to read this post.

Finding movies with LGBT+ characters is difficult. Finding movies that focus on LGBT+ people is even harder. Finding movies on LGBT+ people that isn't about AIDS or social condemnation or being rejected by family or any of the other depressing tropes that seem to come with queer narratives is damn near impossible. Most queer stories end unhappily, like Blue Is The Warmest Color, and most of the time in horrible tragedy, like Brokeback Mountain.

But as I was perusing the gay side of Netflix one day, I chanced upon a movie called Elena Undone, a lesbian romance between a pastor's wife and a free-spirited writer. It sounded like a cookie cutter lesbian romance (shy, innocent straight woman falls for mysterious, seductive lesbian and cheats on her neglectful husband with her), but I was bored, so I thought "what the hell" and hit play…and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, as I predicted, it pretty much follows the standard formula for lesbian romance films, but I still enjoyed the movie. In this instance, the plot felt less like a tired old tread and more like a cozy blanket to wrap myself up in. Warm, soft, and familiar.

It's an indie film, and its format is unusual. Tyler, a mutual friend of Elena (the pastor's wife) and Peyton (the writer) narrates the film through his sparse cut scenes. Tyler is a "love guru" and believes in the idea of soulmates. Elena and Peyton's actual story is interwoven with clips from Tyler's informative video about finding one's soulmate, and therefore serves as a narrator of sorts for the evolving romance between the two women. It's an interesting idea, and works surprisingly well.

And then of course there's the electric chemistry between the two female leads. Both actresses exude affection, intimacy, and desire when they're onscreen together. Their making out/love-making scenes are luxurious and pulsing with heat. I haven't seen two lead characters with such a magnetic attraction since…well, since I watched the third season of Hannibal.

But the best part is, the women get a happy ending. They have their issues, as real people in real relationships do, but in the end, they find each other again and realize that they were meant to be together. It's a poignant yet simple ending.

The movie isn't perfect (the pastor character and the homophobic church member are a little flat), but it's a movie I'd gladly watch again. I'm a romantic at heart, and I've always loved the idea of soulmates, so I was glad to have found a real movie about two women were perfectly made for each other. If you can get past the dumb title, I recommend this film as an effective feel good story for when you're blue.

Oh, and for all you Supernatural fans out there, Peyton is played by Traci Dinwiddie, who was Pamela Barnes, the psychic who had her eyes burned out from trying to see Castiel. ~TRL

Why Does Everyone Hate Smallville?

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We all know the origin of the Man of Steel: infant refugee from the planet Krypton, sent by his parents in a spaceship to our world. Endowed with superhuman abilities, raised by simple farmers,¬†and eventually became humanity’s champion, fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.

BUT DID YOU EVER STOP TO CONSIDER SUPERMAN GOING THROUGH PUBERTY?????

Smallville is the story of a teenage Clark Kent growing up¬†in rural Kansas, learning to deal with the normal pains of adolescence, along with being a superpowered alien. It’s a new perspective on an old story. You get to see Clark’s journey from young man finding his own identity, to the paragon of goodness we all know.

Not only that, there’s other characters from the mythos you get to meet and watch develop too. In this narrative, Lex Luthor is Clark’s best friend who gradually turns to the dark side and grows into his role as Superman’s greatest enemy. Lois Lane starts out as Clark’s comic foil, but their love and respect for each other grows throughout the story in a very natural and endearing way. There’s even appearances by other famous DC superheroes, like Green Arrow, the Flash, Aquaman, and Zatanna.

Are there obvious reasons why someone wouldn’t like this show? Yes. For one thing: TOO MUCH LANA LANG DRAMA. And I will admit, the first season…and some of the second…are pretty cheesy. Like for instance,¬†(minor spoiler) the first time Clark uses¬†his heat vision is when it’s¬†accidently triggered by some lusty teenage hormones he’s feeling over an attractive substitute teacher. Or the girl who eats kryptonite-laced vegetables while dieting and¬†her metabolism starts going super fast, so she has to suck the fat¬†out of people.¬†Or this one episode in the fifth season when Lana Lang joins a sorority of vampires. OR this one episode when Lana, Chloe, and Lois get possessed by 17th century witches and hexes everyone at a¬†get together¬†Clark was throwing to strip down to their underwear and act like party animals-

What, it was funny, okay?!

And you’d be surprised how many famous people played minor parts in the show. The fat-sucking girl I mentioned above? Amy Adams. Yes, the woman¬†who¬†now plays Lois Lane, ironically.¬†Jonathan Taylor Thomas plays a guy who can clone himself. Lizzy Caplan plays a girl who can morph into whoever she wants, and at first is obsessed with¬†Lana and wants to kill her so she can become her, but then comes back and tries to pass herself off as Lana’s ex-boyfriend Whitney so she can be with Lana (yeah, it’s a gay thing).

Overall, Smallville is an awesome show. Even if you’re not a fan of Superman or comics in general, it’s worth watching. No matter what happens,¬†Smallville will always hold a special place in my heart. ~TRL

Book Review: “Killing Time”

Whaaat? Now I’m doing book¬†reviews? Well, this is a special case. You see, this is a Star Trek¬†novel, and if you’re a Spirk shipper, an absolute must read.

(**Spoilers ahead.**)

Killing Time¬†is a short novel by Della Van Hise, originally published in 1985. When Pocket Books first put it out, apparently it was so gay that Paramount Pictures requested that the slashier parts be taken out. That didn’t end up happening due to a screw-up in editing, and the book was published as is. At least, until Gene Roddenberry read it and made the publisher recall it. PB had to put out a new, less gay version of the story.

I’m pretty sure the version I read was the censored edition, but even then, it’s still¬†really¬†gay. Let me show you what I mean.

To summarize, KT is about Kirk having strange dreams about being an ensign on a starship in an alternate universe, serving under Captain Spock. It turns out that Spock and several other members of the Enterprise, including one Jerry Richardson, are having similar dreams.

However, the dream soon becomes reality, and the Enterprise¬†has been replaced with the starship Shi’Khar. No one remembers the other reality. In the new reality, the Federation was created not by mankind, but by the Vulcans. Kirk was wrongly accused of murder and offered a station on the starship as an alternative to prison. In addition, he’s also got PTSD connected with some disciplinary mental torture device they used on him in order to get a confession out of him, and his cabinmate keeps beating the shit out of him. This universe is not nice to our Jimmy. ūüėĘ

It’s soon established that the Romulans have a device they’ve used to pervert history so that humanity never formed the Federation. The leader of the Romulans, who happens to be a character we’ve met before – Thea, from “The Enterprise Incident”¬†– is behind it all, wanting revenge on Spock for spurning and humiliating her. A big part of her plot is separating him from Kirk, since she knows they’re totally t’hy’la, so she can claim Spock as her consort.

Luckily, it doesn’t work, and Kirk, Spock, and Richardson finally realize the Romulans have changed history. They all work together to fix it, knowing that they and their reality will disappear if they set time right again. The three sacrifice their lives to undo the history-change, and Kirk wakes up in the right reality, once again Captain of the Enterprise, with Spock as his right hand man, with the other reality remembered vaguely as a bad dream.

This book is a Kirk/Spock goldmine. For one thing, it is established very clearly that Kirk and Spock are t’hy’la (duh), and they have a mental bond! (In Vulcan culture, mental bonds are developed between married couple. Hmmm…)

The first few chapters talk a lot about the close, personal “friendship” between Spock and Kirk, and they are very tender with each other. There’s even a part where Spock lays his hand on Kirk’s shoulder and Kirk covers it with his own (gee, good thing Vulcans don’t kiss with their hands or anything…oh, wait). Also, Spock muses several times on Kirk’s looks: “firm features, tanned flesh, expressive hazel eyes, and a compelling human grin. Single lock of gold-bronze hair falling to the middle of a high forehead.” Geez, Spock, we all know Kirk is a dreamboat, but come on.

Even when time is changed and they don’t know each other, Spock and Kirk yearn for each other’s company. Kirk wakes up from a bad dream and immediately calls out for Spock; Spock has a vision of Kirk and wonders possibly if this is his t’hy’la. You know…the Vulcan equivalent of soulmate.

Not to mention, due to the time corruption, Spock goes into pon farr¬†(because no Spirk fic is complete without the ritual Vulcan mating frenzy!), and he dreams longingly about Kirk! (Unfortunately he ends up banging the Romulan chick out of desperation. She kind of takes advantage of his needy state. It’s a little on the squickish side.)

But the homoerotic subtext doesn’t end with the space husbands! There’s also some flirting between Kirk and Richardson, who calls Kirk “Juliet”. When Richardson dies, Kirk sadly calls him “Romeo”. I am not making this up. Also, there’s a romance between Richardson and this alien chick who works on the Enterprise/Shi’Khar¬†named S’Parva, and they perfectly parallel Kirk and Spock!!!!

Toward the end after they’ve saved the universe, Spock is dying from a poison bullet wound, and the second reality is collapsing. And Kirk and Spock decide to die holding each other????? While melding their minds one last time????????? What kind of old-couple-cuddling-each-other-as-the-Titantic-is-sinking romantic tripe is this?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Here are some lines that made me fangirl squee with joy:

Surely, he told himself, there would be someone with whom the Vulcan could bond, someone who could walk the path with him, balance him, love him. For a long time, Kirk considered that. (just platonically pondering whether or not your bro will have a life partner)

…when he opened his eyes again, it was to see Spock still standing, looking down at him questioningly. There was concern–and possibly Vulcan worry–written in the black eyes. Kirk held the penetrating gaze for a moment, then managed a smile when he saw the Vulcan soften.¬†(And then he drags Spock off to the ship’s garden for a date I MEAN manly stroll.)

Absently, he reached out to touch the human’s cheek for confirmation, but stopped when Kirk’s eyes widened fearfully.¬†(So Captain Spock notices a bruise on Kirk’s cheek and just casually reaches out to caress his face. #JustBroThings)

For an illogical moment, he found himself thinking of the future–with Kirk at his side. . . (THIS SPOCK BARELY KNOWS THIS KIRK AND HE WANTS TO SPEND THE REST OF HIS LIFE WITH HIM WHAT THE HELL)

The images whisper-walked through his mind. Blue and gold. Warmth and companionship. Stolen moments when the firm Vulcan mask did not have to fit so tightly. (I’M ABOUT TO EXPLODE I SWEAR TO SURAK)

He glanced up, meeting the Vulcan’s eyes. Somehow, shirtless, and with hair slightly dishelved, the Shi’Kahr’s legendary captain seemed almost vulnerable in the dim lighting… almost reachable. (Kirk checkin’ out Spock’s hot Vulcan bod, hell yeah.)

“Kidnap James Kirk, keep him from the Vulcan long enough … and Spock will do anything in his power to get him back safely, Sarela.”¬†(Damn, Thea knows EXACTLY¬†what Spock’s weak spot is.)

…what is dearest to him in all the combined universes…¬†(This is what Kirk is to Spock, according to Thea. I MEAN)

Spock knew he must be there when his companion awakened…¬†(So Kirk and this other crew member were in danger and Spock only had time to save one of them, and of course he picked his darling Kirky! Now Kirk is knocked out in sick bay, and Spock is longing to be at his bedside, calling Kirk his companion. Again, HE BARELY KNOWS KIRK.)

In seven years as command of the Shi’Kahr, he had never met a human who could arouse such forbidden feelings, who could wrestle emotion from him as easily as turning on the light. (*me, screaming* Also, they’re sexy anger-wrestling right now.)

“I need you. The Empire needs you. . . . What more can there be?” “James Kirk,” the Vulcan murmured without hesitation. (Lady, you just got REJECTED.)

“Can he be worth what you are doing, Spock? Can any one man be worth an entire universe?” The Vulcan’s response was direct and without hesitation. “Yes.”¬†(JIM IS WORTH THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE TO SPOCK I CAN’T)

Kirk smiled wistfully, then reached out to touch the Vulcan’s arm reassuringly as he remembered the mind-fever he’d felt himself. Without explanation, it had vanished … and as he glanced at Thea, the reason became clearer. “As long as you’re alive,” he said quietly, absently projecting a warmth into his companion’s mind.¬†(Kirk is “wistful” that Spock had sex with Thea. That’s not something I made up. Also, Kirk felt Spock’s pon farr????? Vulcan marital mental¬†bond much?????)

He is even deeper in your blood than Vulcan. It was, he realized, a very simple truth. (*more screaming*)

“Perhaps it would be wise to discuss the matter in more detail later this evening,” he suggested. “Since we are both due on the bridge …” He let the sentence trail off, unfinished.¬†(DID SPOCK JUST INVITE KIRK TO HAVE SEXY TIME LATER??????)

In the Vulcan’s quarters, Kirk sat slowly on the ornate meditation pillows¬†(OH YEAH THEY DEFINITELY DID THE NASTY)

Remembering an ancient human proverb, he found some small comfort in the knowledge that Kirk was obviously laughing to keep from crying.¬†(Again, they’re talking about Spock hooking up with Thea and Jim has laugh to keep from crying???????)

This novel is so perfect. ~TRL

In Defense of Star Trek V

The original Star Trek series spawned six movies. A lot of Trekkies will tell you, “the¬†evens are good, the odds are bad”. I’m sorry, but you will never take away my love for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, aka, the redheaded stepchild of the Star Trek movie sextet. (Spoilers ahead.)

The plot is basically the crew of the Enterprise is roped into¬†helping Spock’s surprise half-brother¬†find the garden of Eden.¬†That’s it, that’s¬†the story. It doesn’t sound¬†promising, I know.

People argue that¬†the problem with the religious overtones of the movie don’t mesh with the overall philosophy of the pantheon. But I say why not. Star Trek has touched on topics of racism, gender, politics – why not touch on religion? To me, Star Trek has always been about hope, and the ideal that humanity will grow and improve. Sybok is tricked by the fake God figure. He’s searched for “Sha Ka Ree”, paradise, his entire¬†life, only to¬†finally¬†reach it and find out it’s all a joke.¬†But Sybok isn’t disheartened by his defeat.¬†He shows incredible courage by sacrificing himself to¬†save the others and the rest of the universe. It’s a story¬†about faith, and the idea that we can become¬†strong in times of misfortune, and I think that very much fits in with Star Trek.

Then people complain that FF doesn’t work within the Trek universe because it presents a society of criminals and amoral individuals:¬†the denizen planet of Nimbus III. I, on the¬†other hand, find it a very ambitious path to take. Before, Star Trek has only shown us shiny worlds like those within the Federation, like Earth or¬†Vulcan, or planets that become fixed by being influenced by Federation ideals. But I think it’s necessary to show cesspools such as Nimbus III, to show that Starfleet hasn’t fixed everything, because they can’t. The point of being¬†existence is to¬†develop. As James T.¬†Kirk once said, “Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is.” The universe will never be a utopia, but we will always work to make it so.

But if you’re still not convinced, let me just show you some moments you’re missing out on:

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Kirk, Spock, and Bones go camping together. Kirk climbs a mountain and almost falls to his death but Spock saves him, while Bones watches and worries from afar.¬†They sing “Row Row Your Boat” around the campfire and Spock roasts “marshmelons”. (Also Sulu and Chekov get lost hiking in the woods and pretend that there’s a blizzard so Uhura will save them.)

Go Climb A Rock

Also, Kirk wears this shirt.

Uhotty

Canon Uhura/Scotty!!!!!! And they’re so adorable!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spocket Boots

Did I mention Spock has rocket boots? (He’s carrying Kirk and Bones up an elevator shaft.)

In Front Of The Klingons

THIS. F**KING. SCENE. Kirk almost dies but Spock saves him AGAIN and Kirk almost kisses him, but unfortunately, Spock stops him. (“Please, Captain. Not in front of the Klingons.”)

And there’s a lot more moments that I probably missed. But in conclusion, Star Trek V doesn’t deserve the bad rep it gets. If you disagree, go climb a rock. ~TRL

The Art Of Writing Female OCs

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Television and film¬†writers, I get it. You wanna have more awesome girls to even up the playing field and level out these awesome guys you’ve got to work with – and that’s great! But there is a way to go about it, and there is a way to NOT go about it. As a woman, and a writer, will you please…just listen to me? Because I’m about to give you all the secrets to creating strong original¬†female characters.

*Note, this is an article¬†focusing on¬†creating female OCs for media based on pre-existing material. Not that it can’t help with purely original works either.

Comics have been dominated by men since forever (even though their female audience is larger than they realize), so naturally, there are a lot of strong male superheroes. Yeah, we’ve got our Wonder Womans and our Black Widows, but let’s be real: when you think of¬† “superhero”, you probably think of Superman, or Batman (because money is totally a superpower, right?), or Spiderman. I mean, how many of you have actually heard of Ms. Marvel? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

With shows like Arrow and The Flash, stories about boys saving the world, there’s a crying need for a female counterpart. A Bonnie for every Clyde, a Scully for every Mulder. Oliver Queen has Felicity Smoak. Barry Allen has Caitlyn Snow and Iris West. Even Kara Danvers on Supergirl has her sister Alex. All badass secondaries in their¬†own right. But the grandmother of all¬†these awesome OFCs is the intrepid¬†right hand of Smallville‘s Clark Kent – Chloe Sullivan.

Chloe was my idol growing up. She was whip smart, witty, brave, and indomitable. She wasn’t just a love interest or just a sidekick. She was a person, with an identity and a personal life and a mind of her own. Yes, she did have a crush on Clark for a while, but it didn’t define her.¬†Helping Clark and the Justice League was important to her life, but it wasn’t the only¬†aspect of¬†her character. She wasn’t stuck as a prop¬†in the narrative. Chloe was so freaking awesome, she actually was put in DC Comics as a real canon character. That is the way you write new¬†female characters.

So let’s just make a little list of dos and don’ts when writing strong, three dimensional women:

  1. DON’T make a woman just a love interest or helper for the main protagonist.
  2. DO give your female characters a backbone (or have them develop one over the course of the narrative – because character development is always a great tool for a writer to use!).
  3. DON’T presume that a “strong”¬†female character¬†just means a woman who punches people a lot (because let’s be real, without the ass-kicking, Black Widow would just be Ms. Fanservice).
  4. DO give your female characters a storyline of their own! If they don’t have a life of their own, they’re not really a character, they’re just a¬†object in the narrative. There’s an easy test you can use called the Mako Mori test. There’s only three requirements: 1) have a female character, 2) who gets her own story arc, and 3) her story¬†arc doesn’t support that of a man. That’s it, that’s all there is to it. Believe me – it’s not as hard as you think.
  5. DON’T make a woman a damsel in distress. It’s fine if she gets saved sometimes, but it’s great to turn the tables occasionally! Lois Lane saved Superman¬†a few times, you know.
  6. DON’T¬†define a woman by traditional gender roles (romantic interests, mothers, etc.) – be original!
  7. DON’T have “strong” women be romantically¬†interested in jerks or weak guys – because that doesn’t happen in real life. I know men don’t really want to have to try when it comes to getting women and they think they just deserve us because that’s what our society has taught them, but in reality, truly strong women don’t love men who obviously aren’t good enough for them. Instead, have a man truly earn her love – that does not mean automatically receive it just because. Or¬†have the man and the woman be on equal footing from the beginning. When a woman says she’ll never love a man because he’s a jerk, DON’T have her do a 180 by the end of the episode and throw herself at said jerk (lookin’ at you, Supergirl).

This is turning into a rant, I’m gonna stop myself now.

To provide a cautionary tale of what NOT to do, I’ll bring up the infamous BBC Sherlock. The original Holmes canon doesn’t lend itself very well to strong ladies. It’s essentially the excellent adventures of two “heterosexual” male life partners. The only long running female characters are Mrs. Hudson (sometimes Turner), the voiceless housekeeper, and Watson’s beard wife, who except for the one story where she’s a client, pretty much has no dialogue either. So naturally, there’s a crying need for girl power.

Enter…Molly Hooper. Oh, Molly.

In the very first¬†scene she’s in, it’s made apparent to everyone that she has a gigantic crush on the eponymous detective. Okay, that’s fine. But that’s literally where her characterization begins and ends. Throughout the entirety of the series, Sherlock either ignores her, makes outrageously rude remarks to her, or uses her feelings for him to get her to do things for him. There was a brief respite in the beginning of series 3 where it seemed like there was some growth for Molly’s character in being able to move on from Sherlock, but in the last episode of the show, Molly has hit rock bottom in the pit of patheticness, getting weepy over Sherlock and demanding that he tell her he loves her, even though she knows it’s not true,¬†instead of just realizing that Sherlock is kind of a dick to her and moving on¬†with her life.

I pity any woman who thinks they should have been together. If that’s your idea of romance, don’t be surprised when none of your boyfriends respect you.

So, TLDR, don’t make a Molly Hooper. Make a Chloe Sullivan. ~TRL