Apr. 28th, 2017

dmilewski: (Default)
I've been listening to some feminist critique lately, and I've encountered an annoying trend in that critique. "Woman/woman's fate exists to further the story of the lead male character."


I fully accept that women characters should be as fleshed out and real as possible. That's good. That helps the story. However, if there's one star to a story, then there's one star of the story. If I am telling the story of Joe, then every other character, scene, and plot point of that story will revolve around the lead character by a degree or two. That's how it has to happen. Women, men, dogs, robots, and occasional armies are all secondary to the main character. Given that most movies, books, shows, and comics are about lead male character, statistically everything else follows.

The sentence would better read as thus: Every secondary character exists to further the story of the lead character. Most characters will not be fully fleshed out solely due to time and pacing constraints.

That's it. That's the limitation of story physics.

To tell a different story is to use a different structure, but the feelings and emotions that you get from that story will feel very different. When telling a story from a single character's point of view, the secondary characters will almost always come away as far shallower than the protagonist, whether the protagonists is a beefcake hero or a romantic interest. Where they do feel fully fleshed out, the writer likely did a good job of creating the illusion of a fully fleshed out character.

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