3 Criticised Female Characters That I Love 💕

Happy International Women’s Day, friends!

I have a little bit of a confession to make. Most of my favourite characters actually tend to be boys. But, when I have a favourite who is a girl, she’s either a pretty divisive character or in some extreme cases, one that gets a lot of hate thrown her way. And most of the time I end up thinking that it’s pretty unfair.

The three (yes, three. my brain stopped working and this was as many as i could think of) ladies that I’m going to talk about do range from having large fanbases, so being divisive with readers, to even being downright hated by male fanbases. And I want to stand up for them because I don’t think they’re anywhere near as bad as people say.

dimple shah – when dimple met rishi 

It actually surprised me that Dimple is a bit of a divisive character. To me, Dimple feels like such a real person because she gets upset, has ambitions, and naturally gets upset whenever a wrench is thrown into the works. I mean, wouldn’t anybody?

Something tells me (and this something might be wrong) that some people are critical of Dimple because of how young she is. She’s barely out of high school and at that age, teenagers are still expected to follow every single thing that their parents tell them to do. Even if that thing is an arranged marriage.

I’ve seen people refer to Dimple as being “cold” or “mean” and even a “big ass bitch”, as one reviewer on Goodreads said,  but I kind of disagree on that. Maybe she doesn’t act in the way that women are expected to, but that doesn’t mean that she deserved to be judged so harshly. Oh, and the iced coffee thing? I would totally react the same way if some random dude I’d never met snuck up on me in public and greeted me with “hello future wife”. That’s just creepy. What were you thinking, Rishi?

There’s nothing wrong with girls being feisty and standing up for themselves. There are times when we need to because if we don’t, we’ll get walked over and silenced. While Dimple isn’t a character that I can relate to because I haven’t shared any of her experiences due to my WASP upbringing, that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate her as a character. Also, a bunch of white people telling Desi girls that a character they personally relate to is awful just doesn’t sit right with me. Please don’t do that.

lois lane – dc

If you’ve been to my blog before, you’re probably already aware of my love for Lois Lane. But if you’re new here, hello! I’m Louise and Lois Lane is my hero.

Lois is often unfairly criticised as being nothing more than a damsel in distress, but looking at any piece of Superman media that was made before 1950 and after 1970 (except the Christopher Reeve movies) proves that completely wrong.

Lois was always supposed to be a tough-as-nails reporter who never lets her gender be a weakness or something that she has to overcome. Being a woman isn’t a burden to her because she’s worked hard to become just as respected as the men in her field, and in some cases, she’s even better than them. This was even true when she was first created in the 1930s.

Unfortunately, the 1950s came around and more conservative views towards women and families were clamped down on the US (and probably the rest of the Western world), and that really took a toll on Lois as a character. Instead of being an ace investigative reporter who was interested in revealing Superman’s identity for a story, she became “Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane” and was a complete nuisance who wanted nothing but to trap Superman into being married to her and was a lovesick fool. She would literally throw herself into danger just to get Supes to rescue her, and at one point, if my memory is right, ended up being spanked by him like a misbehaving child. It’s because of this extremely conservative era that I think Lois’ reputation has been so badly damaged.

Once the 1970s came around and second-wave feminism was still going strong, Lois was returned to her roots as a tough investigative reporter, and was seen doing actual investigative journalism instead of just sitting around the Daily Planet office pining over Superman.

This return to form is what I love about Lois. She knows she can get the job done by herself and doesn’t need men to help her, and she doesn’t request to be treated as an equal, she demands it. But even though Lois can be headstrong and stubborn, she is kind-hearted and the reason why she became a journalist was to uncover truths that had been hidden and be some good in the world. Journalism isn’t about herself, it’s about other people.

chi-chi – dragon ball 

Are you ready for a rant, friends? Because I am so ready.

If you’re not familiar with the Dragon Ball franchise you’re probably wondering who Chi-Chi is. Chi-Chi is Goku’s (the hero) wife and Gohan’s mother. She is also the most hated character in the Western/US fandom. Why? Pure misogyny if you ask me.

Chi-Chi’s character development is pretty strange, I will admit. She went from being a crybaby little girl to what some people would call an extreme version of the stereotypical Asian mother (i’m not asian so i can’t really comment on that). She’s incredibly education minded and wants Gohan to do well in his studies, but, if you ask me, she has a good reason for that. Both she and Goku grew up without proper educations because they both grew up in the middle of nowhere – Goku especially, since he couldn’t read, write, or count properly until he was 12.

I don’t think that this is something that is exclusive to Asian mothers because I think most mothers from all cultures and backgrounds want their children to do well. But because DB has a lot of comedy in it, the stereotype is parodied. Apart from wanting Gohan to do well in his studies, Chi-Chi does not under any circumstances want him to go fight all these weird monsters that Goku faces. Because she doesn’t want her little boy to be killed. And before I sound like I’m taking sides with her, both Goku and Chi-Chi are right when it comes to Gohan: the kid can’t study every second of every day because he’s a kid and kids need to have fun, but at the same time bringing a child into fatal fist fights with aliens and monster robots is dangerous. He’s only 11 when he has his final battle with Cell.

But back to Western fandom’s opinion of her. I personally never get involved with the DB fandom because it can get so dudebroish. And with dudebroism comes misogyny. Now, when it comes to the misogyny that gets hurtles towards Chi-Chi, it’s particularly unfair, IMO.

Western fans tend to see her as this annoying, obnoxious mother, and some go as far as to label her as “borderline abusive” and even call her a bitch (including Goku’s official English VA, which really stings). A lot of Western fans have now got the idea that Goku doesn’t love Chi-Chi because he married her to keep a promise that he’d forgotten. Somehow this gets twisted into him being forced into marriage when that is so not the case. Chi-Chi was disappointed and upset that Goku forgot his promise (that he didn’t even understand, he thought a bride was food) but understood that he couldn’t possibly keep a promise that he didn’t understand. Goku proposed to Chi-Chi and married her because he wanted to, not because he was forced to.

On Tumblr, there is a wonderful group of people who also ship Goku and  Chi-Chi (or Gochi if you’re into cute ship names), and a lot of them argue that their relationship is kind of like what people in arranged marriages go through. Goku might not have been in love with Chi-Chi at first and wasn’t used to romantic affection at all, but as the series goes on, he becomes more and more comfortable with hugging her in front of other people, although it’s likely that they’re more intimate than that in private (this is a Japanese series, after all).

My last argument that I want to bring up about Chi-Chi is the idea that once she gives up martial arts to become a housewife and mother, she loses all of her worth. That is probably the most sexist thing I’ve ever heard.

There are two main female characters in this series: Bulma and Chi-Chi. Bulma is an inventor and helps out the fighters with her machines and even flying spaceships. Chi-Chi is a devoted mother and will do anything to protect her family, even if it means getting turned into an egg by a djinn and then stomped on. Which of these two women is better than the other? Neither because they’re both strong in their own ways. A lot of people in the fandom would side with Bulma because she apparently doesn’t yell at Goku all the time. And you know what? I call BS on that because if you go back and read/watch the original Dragon Ball series, you’ll see that Bulma yells at everyone and she even hits them too. Name a male character from this series and there is a chance that Bulma has yelled at him or hit him. Or both.

I feel like I’ve ranted enough, but that’s just how passionate I am in defending Chi-Chi from sexist DB fans. I don’t call myself the Chi-Chi Defense Squad for nothing. She’s awesome and I love her. and i also refuse to believe that she and goku have never kissed

Which female characters do you think get judged unfairly? Who’s your favourite female character from any piece of fiction?

Louise ☆

Louise is a bookworm, writer, and aspiring librarian from the North East of England. When she’s not reading or procrastinating writing, she can be found dreaming up story ideas, watching anime, movies, or trashy reality TV, and annoying her pets.

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3 Comments

  1. 08/03/2018 / 10:17 AM

    As someone who doesn’t know any of these character ( i mean, i know of them, but haven’t read/watched them) I think they all sound pretty cool actually! 🙂

  2. 17/03/2018 / 3:35 PM

    This is such a nuanced and brilliant explanation of why Lois Lane is awesome?! You’ve actually… completely changed my opinion of her! Okay it’s not that I didn’t like her before but I’ve often felt she’s a little under served (like lots of superhero ‘girlfriends’). I do really like Amy Adam’s version of her in Man of Steel.

    I’ve never seen Dragonball so can’t comment there. Not read When Dimple Met Rishi but your explanation of her sounds totally reasonable? If someone said to me ‘hey future wife’ I’d be like wtf wtf wtf creep.

    (Also I just have to say that I’m also 20 something and live in the North East so PROPS!!)

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