The warrior woman used to be a thing of beauty. Able to wield sword and spell, sexy as hell and able to hold her own against man or beast, she used to be every young mans dream. Now, that dream has turned into a nightmare, with this same meme popping up EVERYWHERE. This, my friends, is why the warrior woman is failing.
Back in the day there was a cool little game on the Nintendo Entertainment System called Metroid. In fact, it was a few quick shots of this game in the first NES commercials that piqued my interest in gaming. It looked cool, and it was! Dark, and creepy, it pitted the bounty hunter, Samus Aran, against the vile Mother Brain, space pirates and the dreaded metroids. Now, when I say the name Samus Aran in the year 2016 everyone knows I am referring to the tall, sexy, blonde bombshell in the power suit. What everyone may not know (without a proper internet search), is that it was not initially known that Samus was a woman! If you took too long to beat the game you would be awarded with a pretty tame ending screen that featured Samus, fully suited, standing on the surface of the planet Zebes. Beat the game in under three hours though and….
Wait, what!? Samus is a….a….a girl! Back in the day it was nearly unheard of! While Samus was jumping and blasting through the tunnels of Zebes Mario and Link were rescuing princesses! Samus didn’t need any rescuing! It was a mind-bender for a young kid, that was for sure! Since the internet and stuff wasn’t really around back then its tough to gauge the overall effect this discovery had on the masses, but my own reaction was any indication, it was a pretty big thing!
Skip to today. It seems like every. Game. In. Existence. Has to have a badass female character. If you don’t have the token warrior princess, expect some backlash. Oh, and don’t make them sexy, because that’s sexist. And don’t make them IN ANY WAY DEPENDANT ON A MAN or you are misogynistic! And if she isn’t a stone cold killer then shame on you for not making her truly equal to a man! You might think I am joking, but just look at the same Metroid franchise, but in the not too distant past: Metroid Other M, on the Wii. The game developers dared to show Samus as a woman by giving her inner struggle, fears and concerns (also known as ‘being human’). The backlash was pretty big, with plenty of people complaining that, as a warrior, Samus shouldn’t be expressing the types of emotions she does during the game. WELL WHY NOT? I guarantee you can talk to any female lawyer, doctor or judge and ask her if she still struggles with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt the answer would be a resounding YES! Why? Because that is the nature of women! You can’t turn women into men. By their very nature women are more attached to their emotions than men, with a few exceptions here and there, of course.
Society, over the past few decades, has done its best to convince us that women and men are completely interchangeable with one another with the exception of bearing children. Man and Woman are mere constructs of environment and are, in no way, tied to things like genetics or psychology . This is a lie that has been proven over and over again.
The issue at hand here is that the warrior princess meme has begun to play itself out. It used to be a niche, an oddity and something rarely seen. This made warrior princesses an object of desire. But, much like any other commodity that becomes worth less the more it becomes available, the warrior princess is not new anymore. Heck, it’s not even something rare, as you can find instances in everything from games to TV shows to books. What was once a warrior princess cut diamond is now a common ore, and no longer of interest to young men out there, who make up the majority of the gaming, scifi and fantasy market.
Wonder Woman will soon be making her way into theaters, and I have no doubt that she will bring in a hefty sum of money to both DC and Warner brothers, despite the epic failure of Batman vs Superman, but if she fails to live up to the hype the blame will most assuredly rest upon ‘sexist and misogynist men’ not willing to spend their money to watch a ‘strong, self-saving princess’ beat down the bad guys. That could be true, or it could just be that no one wants to watch ANOTHER version of an overdone character type.
Some might argue that the success of Jessica Jones is proof that people want the self-saving, warrior princess archetype, but I would argue that Jessica, despite all her strength and ‘moxy’ is very much NOT the self-saving princess. She may be foul mouthed. She may be strong, and she may willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, but in the end she needed help from several people, both men and women, to save her.
Sorry, princess, but your feminist empowerment is in another castle.