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Real life women who take the dominant role in a relationship, opinions on the trope?

Sam Wamm

I'm a goat plushie
You know it's true there's no shortage of female characters that have a dominant role in a romantic relationship in media and I mean user created content as well as popular fiction, but the way they are depicted has me raising an eyebrow because it's either they need a man to 180 their personality or they are in some way evil or cruel and malicious.

Why can't women just be allowed to be a strong role model?

I know I'm a man myself but I'm not simping here. I just find it rather 1 sided that the only examples we have of any strong female lead tend to sexualized like crazy.

I mean this time of year especially there's movies and stuff that's full of this kind of character being tropic and needing someone to show them "the true value of christmas" or something when that "value" seems to be finding a man rather than what really counts like working for your happiness or something. they try to tie it up with sentiments like "you have to believe in christmas" but i see less believing in the magic of the holiday and a lot more "stop being successful as a woman, accept a male figure as head of the household" kind of garbage.

I mean being a man seems wonderful from this perspective but i feel we should all feel guilty for pushing this narative in the season of good will.

Honestly this makes my skin crawl.


Daedric Prince of Secrets
I don't really think it's entirely as you depict personally.

While I tend to avoid these sorts of movies on the basis of them being just kinda not very good, I think the general idea isn't that a dominant woman is bad, it's that an excessively unpleasant person isn't a happy person. When some strict bossy overbearing and dominant person undergoes a character arch to be a polar opposite of who they used to be, they're pretty much always happier for it and life starts to be better because of it.

It's not necessarily the trait that's seen as negative, but the underlying behaviours associated with it.


I'm not a furry if I have feathers.
Well one of my friends is very dominant with her relationship and always tries to keep me away from her Chad. So women definitely have the potential to be romantic role models.


Worshiper of Monster
Not exactly relationship related, but..
*coughs in Samus Aran from Metroid and Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager*

As for role models, it's up to the individual. I don't really see the point of fussing over this non-issue.


"I say we forget this business and run."
To answer OP: A lot of these series' are written by men with minimal input from women outside basic editorial work or the like. And, whether consciously or not, they tend to be a mix of wishlists, axe grinding, et al. Likewise people tend to throw all their "Try something new" ideas in one basket. Ideas that, on their own / individually? Are entirely fine. That put together - accidentally or purposefully - tend to have context.

Example of the second, not X-Mas specific but enough to get the point: Let's look at a lot of the Aliens extended universe stuff. Specifically video games. Generally, most of these games are some derivative of shooter-based action games that involve mowing down aliens by the truckload. Also by generality, they tend to star Generic Action Movie Marine #20572 because it's what sells (Space Marines killing Aliens is pretty much an entire genre in and of itself). So, then comes Alien Isolation, which decides "We're going to make an Aliens game based off the original movie, where things have a horror theme. Also, we're going to harken back to original material." So far double-plus good: The horror tones of the Alien franchise tends to be where it works best (outside people filling galleries with spiritual successors to Giger's barely contained horny). Not only that, narrative continuity is an easy way to draw people in and work with some pre-established material / background and thus avoid some heavy lifting.

Problem being, it also - coincidentally - is a game distinctly marking a genre shift from "Action Hoo-Rah Shoot 'Em Up" to "Frantic Survival and Escape Simulator"... while starring a female protagonist. Who will probably be the only main female protagonist for an Aliens franchise game in a while.

Again: On its own / in a vacuum? None of this is a problem! It all works. It all works really well. The game, itself, works really well, and is one of the better Survival Horror games of this decade. Unfortunately, it's... got some implications. And also unfortunately, it's not the only series to do this design choice ("We're going to shift from action to [non-violence / running / escape simulator / whatever]." "Great!" "Also we're going to be making the first entry in the franchise with a female protagonist!" "Awesome!" "Also we're going back to the male protagonist idea after this." "... Okay, I guess?" "Also the action genre again.").

You get the same basic principle with a lot of holiday movies, when they jump from a male-centric lead to a female-centric. The design choices tend not to be conscious / purposeful, and in some cases are just a case of not thinking things through until it's all come together, but when you look back on them you go "Huh... maybe this could have done with some tweaks."

Not exactly relationship related, but..
*coughs in Samus Aran from Metroid and Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager*
I mean, one could probably note that Samus went from "6'3" Bounty Hunter tree" to "Other M" and that Janeway is notoriously the most hated Star Trek fleet captain when Jonathan "Walking Warcrime and Crimes Against Humanity" Archer is right over there. Though I guess this could also be a compliment to Janeway as it could also be that everyone's collectively blotted out Archer and Enterprise from their memory, and the fact they haven't done likewise for Janeway being a mark in her / her series' favor.


Slippery When Wet
It's not X-Mas related but.... *Points to Ripley from Alien*
Ripley was one of my heroes as a kid.

The trope that irritates me is the "successful career woman has always chosen her work over dating or marriage or having kids, until she meets the right man and she changes her mind and lives happily ever after."

It's so over-done. It pushes the idea that a woman's true purpose and happiness will come from marriage and making babies, and that she will always change her mind when she meets the "right man."

One of the biggest disappointments to me was in The Big Bang Theory. Two of the female characters, Bernadette and Penny, expressed that they didn't want kids. Bernadette was especially vocal about not really wanting to have kids, not really liking them - which her husband Howard never seemed to respect, and she eventually changed her mind.

There was one episode where Penny said she didn't want kids, and EVERYONE was making her feel terrible about it.

Spoiler - by the end of the series, she announced she was pregnant and was happy about it.


I'd like to see more female characters in movies and tv who are childfree by choice, and who are not stuffy, mean, selfish, or physically unattractive "crazy old cat ladies."


FAF's Favorite Problematic Chud
It comes off as unnatural and deeply unnerving to me when I see such a relationship dynamic IRL. I'm also not a fan of it in fiction whatsoever.


toe bean enthusiast
Am female. Will try to address my feels. :x

My biggest gripe when it comes to "strong women" is the "hot skinny level-headed wife with overweight goofy husband that gets into shenanigans" trope. See Family Guy, King of Queens, and The Simpsons for examples (and I'm a HUGE Simpsons fan!). I hate this trope because not only do I find that the female figure is often seen as nothing more than a "hot nag," the male figure is always shown as a complete doofus! They're almost always terrible father figures or husbands and often fall short in places where they need to really show up. I hate the lack of portrayal of healthy family units in media. This doesn't mean a nuclear family by any stretch of the imagination, but I would like to see parents/a couple that love and care for their family throughout the shenanigans of a sitcom plot.

As for sexualizing the "strong" female character, I think it needs to be a matter of the character taking control of their own sexuality. A great example of this is The Queen's Gambit. We got a wonderful female protagonist with sexual scenes, but they were relevant to her owning who she was. This is just my opinion however. This can be a finicky subject and not every woman will feel the same. I think you might also find some variance in opinion depending on sexuality as well. I feel like Sapphic women and asexuals will most likely tell you they'd rather not see characters be sexualized at all lol! You can't please everyone, but jeez man it'd be nice to see a wonderful woman portrayed in the media whose badassery isn't reliant on sex or misandry.

Connor J. Coyote

¥otie ¥oteTastic
Eh..... to each his own, I'd say. If a dominant female figure is what turns someone on, then.... hey - so be it. I do know - that there are many men out there, (who prefer traditional relationships) who not only "don't mind" having this type of relationship figure, but.... even prefer it - and often times seek it out.

As a dominant female figure can be a highly desireable partner for them; (both in, and out of bed).