While I do appreciate the intent behind posts that say, “There are valid and invalid reasons to hate Female Character A and if you’re stating the invalid ones then you’re a misogynistic asshole. Dislike her for valid reasons, please”…
I think they miss a HUGE part of the point when it comes to misogynistic hate of female characters.
The question IS NOT, “Are you hating on this female character for valid reasons?”
The question IS, “Would you hate on a WHITE MALE character to the same degree, and in the same way, for the same reasons?”
There’s a difference, you know? And it’s a pretty damn important one. In fact I think focusing overmuch on hating female characters for “valid” vs. “invalid” reasons can lull you into a false sense of security that you’re Doing Great And Not Being Gross because hey! Your reasons for hating this girl are Totally Valid! While you could be indulging in all sorts of double standards for her vs. many of the guys in the same canon, and not even know it.
And I get that this might not be obvious because for the longest time, I didn’t understand this either, I used to be one of those people thinking, “But I have rational reasons for disliking this female character! It’s nonsense to say you can’t hate a character just because she’s a woman, etc.”
It took me a while to see that the important thing is to compare how you judge male vs. female characters (all the female characters. It’s so easy to slip into the trap of judging some of the women differently from the rest.) Which you criticize first as soon as you’re unhappy with something that’s happened in canon. How much time/space you spend ranting about one compared to the other. To what extent you hold one accountable for the writing compared to the other. How quick you are to forgive one compared to the other. Whether you give one the benefit of the doubt more than the other.
And also, the nature and quality of the hate that you feel, in your gut. Is it the same for male vs. female characters? Or is the negativity towards the women more violent, vicious, unyielding, a screaming, “I HATE HER SO FUCKING MUCH. I don’t even want to like her anymore,” while the negativity towards the men is calmer, more objective?
The answers to these questions can often be uncomfortable—but they’re worth asking. I think I’m better for having asked them of myself. And you know…I’m not even saying that we have to overcome all this internalized misogyny RIGHT NOW and COMPLETELY otherwise we are the WORST—a lifetime’s indoctrination by everything around us is hella hard to even recognize and admit to in ourselves, let alone conquer—but I think it’s worth at least trying to be aware that these tendencies probably exist in us, more than we’re often willing to acknowledge?