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25 March 2012 @ 06:10 pm
eltea and I were commiserating/despairing yesterday about how Katniss in The Hunger Games takes a turn for the Bella Swan-ish in Catching Fire – apparently having forgotten that she spent the duration of the first book being awesome. Evidently a whole book of female empowerment was exhausting, so it was high time for some boyfriend-related wangst.

Uh, what the hell, culture? Can we please find a way of expressing femininity that involves neither (a) Katy Perry destroying my childhood by turning Candyland into a brothel; nor (b) insecure young women being ordered to prostrate themselves on the altar of man-worship? Related: Fuck you, Katy Perry; learn to spell.

Well, I quit. FUCK THAT NOISE, as Dana from Reasoning with Vampires would say (and often does). I'm going to be an FMA girl. Henceforth will I kick all of the asses and look good. Note: I'm not as concerned about the looking good part; I'd rather have an opponent's blood on my face than makeup.

So here are my FMA ladies and the reasons that they make me proud to bear a second X chromosome.


Why she's awesome:

Winry is a sensitive character, and she's been known to shed a tear or seven million, but she still kicks ass, because she doesn't take shit from anyone – including the guy that she's in love with, who happens to be a genius and a great kicker of ass himself (but this post is reserved for the ladies).

In the hands of a less-talented creator, Winry could very easily have become that ~*~moral compass~*~ Mary Sue who weeps and waves a handkerchief every time the heroes trot off into danger. But Winry gets tired of waiting after a few episodes and instead applies her not-inconsiderable mechanical brilliance to making a name for herself in the most competitive region in her industry. I love "The Princess Bride" as much as the next human being with a sense of humor, but can you imagine Buttercup telling Westley, "Well, fine, run off and have your little kamikaze party; I'll be over here holding down my dream job and ingeniously imagining new ways to be a better mechanic for when you make it back alive… or else."

I can. And it'd make her way more awesome.

Considering that Winry is an orphan with abandonment issues, the fact that she's mature enough to let go of the people she's afraid for and to establish herself alone is, in and of itself, pretty kickass. But the other reason Winry would obliterate all of the Bella Swans out there in a cagematch any day of the week is that when Winry's love interest is being a freaking idiot, she tells him so. And/or beats the shit out of him with a wrench (see above).


Why she's awesome:

May Chang is nine years old. She crossed a nigh-on-impassable desert, alone, to make it to a completely foreign country, alone, in the hopes of finding something that will save her native clan (which is apparently full of asshole adults who just sit around bemoaning the fact that May kicks more ass than all of them put together). She also throws knives with pinpoint accuracy, does powerful magic, and has been known to shred ravenous chimeras without getting a drop of tainted blood on her adorable pink outfit.

I'm pretty sure that when I was nine, my brother and I were building theme parks and castles for our Star Wars toys out of any materials we could get our hands on. That's cool, I guess. But it's not as cool as kicking zombies in the face (see above).


Why she's awesome:

I have to be a bit ambiguous here to avoid any major spoilers, because Lan Fan simply gets more epic every time you see her.

Basically, my girl Lan Fan is a ninja. She hangs out with her ninja grandfather and the not-really-so-much-of-an-idiot prince that they're duty-bound to protect (also, they adore him; and you will, too, but today is for the ladies). If you're like me, you'll be a little leery of the quick-thinking, ass-busting ~*~girl!ninja~*~. "Oh, that's original," right? "I'm sure she's ~*~über-intense~*~."

Except that she is. Every time you knock Lan Fan down, she comes back stronger, smarter, and readier to bulldoze anything that gets in her way. She's deeply loyal and wholly committed, and she doesn't give up. There isn't time for a whole lot of self-pity in Lan Fan's life, because she's just got too many asses to kick. And she's going to look damn good doing it (see above).


Why she's awesome:

It's not really a spoiler that Izumi vomits blood at intervals.

It's not a spoiler at all that she still kicks about as much ass as is humanly possible with only two legs.

For bonus points, Izumi is one of the most powerful alchemists in the show, but, occupationally, as she will be happy to roar into your face, she is A HOUSEWIFE. Happily-married, no less, and working in a butcher's shop. Because that's what she wants, and nobody who tells Izumi that she should want something different lives to finish their next sentence. (For bonus-bonus points, she's a pretty dab hand at throwing meat cleavers.)

Izumi is the kind of character who requires great care to write about, because there is pretty much nobody's ass that she can't hand to them on a silver platter, garnished with their eyeballs, in well under ten seconds. How do you beat that?

Answer: You don't (see above). You just run.


Why she's awesome:

Ross, as a character, isn't an attention grabber. She is, nonetheless, an emblematic badass.

Ross is heroic in the line of duty. She's compassionate. She's the voice of reason when the protagonists most need to hear it and are least willing to listen. She's generous, undramatic, and intelligent, and she flat-out refuses to be a victim. (Barry and I are both are both harboring a serious crush on her accordingly.)

It's pretty much established fact that she and Denny Brosh are BFFs/hetero-life-partners. I would be delighted if they went on to have adorable, ass-kicking children. I would be equally delighted if they just kept cruising around Central, saving the day when necessary. The question of whether their relationship is romantic never really comes up, because it doesn't matter. Maria Ross is going to be Maria Ross either way. Is Brosh her man? Is he her wingman? I don't care, and neither does she (see above).


Why she's awesome:

I could wax poetic about how fast I would flee from Olivier Armstrong, because she is goddamn terrifying in her sheer majesty. But I have a wisp of fanfiction that I couldn't find a home for, and I'm just going to let that speak instead.

There's a very particular kind of bravery that's roiled at Ed's core for as long as he can remember. He's always sensed it pulsing just under Al's politer resolve, and now that he's seen Hohenheim in action, he has to admit that it's pretty clearly genetic.

Some people would probably call it recklessness—the simmering heat that runs through the veins of the gold-eyed and gold-hearted. Ed prefers to think of it as possessing extremely manly
balls of steel.

Unfortunately, Olivier Armstrong has more testicular fortitude than his entire family put together.


Why she's awesome:

It says a lot about Hawkeye that she is fierce popularity contest competition for FMA's impossibly endearing pair of brothers and for its womanizing pryo. What makes Hawkeye so cool that she can beat out the boys even in the eyes of slavering fangirls who finally got to squeal over Roy's abs?

It could be the fact that she mercilessly – and unerringly politely – calls people on their shit. It could be the fact that she is never seen with less than two firearms on her person. It could be the fact that she's unflappable, laser-focused, diligent, dedicated, and really kind of sweet. It could be the fact that she's the Quiet One, except that she'll hold you accountable for your actions to the last, and she could take you out with a headshot from half a mile's distance. It could be the fact that she is the single most reliable character in the entire series, inconspicuously one of the warmest, and without a doubt one of the wisest.

She's also sexy as hell. And did I mention the guns? Because… guns. (See above.)

Some people – and I will be the first to admit that I'm often among them – have trouble developing female characters who kick ass. "But what do I do?" we howl at the heavens. "If I have her be snarky, she's that obnoxious spitfire; that's overdone and, frankly, annoying. And if she's just an ass-kicking machine, how do I make sure that she's not basically a male character with boobs?"

Well, like I said, I haven't perfected the art. But this fandom has proved to me, once and for all, that BAMFs definitively do not have to be male. They also don't have to act male – all of these chicks are still chicks. They don't kick ass despite it. They kick ass because of it. Hell, they just kick ass. It's who they are, and it's what they do, and it's why they inspire me.

If I ever get the chance to meet Hiromu Arakawa, I'm probably never going to stop shaking her hand. Thank you, FMA, for the role models. Thank you for the antidote. Thank you for the hope.

Sometime I might say more about the way male-female relationships manifest in FMA, and why those, too, make me weep for JOY rather than for BOY. In the meantime, if I've missed any ladies from FMA, or if you'd like to add a tribute to your own personal favorite female badass in the comments, please sing her praises below. ♥

Feeling: impressedimpressed
chococoffeekiss: murphchococoffeekiss on March 26th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
*adores this post*

I love how amazing the women of FMA are! They're all so unrepentantly badass and awesome and secure in their femininity. But what I love most is how the female characters are treated as equals by their male counterparts. It's inspiring.

Vitamin C: Hawkeye - Hayate gives +5 to BAMFerytierfal on March 29th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)

RIGHT? eltea and I were squeeing about that, especially in regards to Hawkeye and Ross – there aren't too many women represented in the military, but the ones that are there are just… there. IT AIN'T NO THANG. And that, to me, says more than it would if they made a point of it.

We were also squeeing over the fact that Olivier could have been such a man-eating ball-breaker "feminist" character, but instead she's just like, "Actually, I don't give a damn what's in your pants as long as you're a good officer. Except for you, Roy; go the fuck home." XD

[ ] [ ] - tierfal on March 30th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - chococoffeekiss on April 4th, 2012 03:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on April 5th, 2012 01:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
JDlady_bracknell on March 26th, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC)

FUCK YOU KATY PERRY, LEARN TO SPELL is the best thing I've read in ages.

I keep trying to write a novel with a kick ass heroine in it, but (weirdly?) I've found the only way to do it is narrate it from a bloke's PoV. So basically I've made him Bella, going, 'you're so awesome. How can you stand to even LOOK at my ordinariness?!?' Fail.
Vitamin C: Asuka - So Much to Provetierfal on March 29th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, delighted to oblige! XD Seriously though it was bad enough when she said "us girls, we are so magical" in "I Kissed a Girl", which always bothered me…

omg, I totally have one of those, too! I think that's… progressive in its way, though, at least inasmuch as it's shedding light on the whole phenomenon by way of the reversal. It's one of those things where if you flip the genders of people in two positions, and everything about the dynamic changes, I think it's really important that we get to the heart of what the difference is. XD
(Deleted comment)
Vitamin C: Roy & Hawkeye - Weapons of Choicetierfal on March 29th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)

Totally adding that to my list. :D
The Little Zombie Who Could: TWD - Andrea1_rhiannon_1 on March 26th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
I'd rather have an opponent's blood on my face than makeup.

I <3 you. That is all.

No, hell no, it isn't all - I <3 kick-ass ladies in fandom too! :D

Edited at 2012-03-26 07:42 pm (UTC)
Vitamin C: Haruhi - Damn rich people.tierfal on March 29th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
I ♥ YOU, TOO. :3

It's such a delight to be hoping for more of the girls for once, rather than waiting for them to get off-screen and let the boys actually accomplish things. o_o
[ ] [ ] - 1_rhiannon_1 on March 30th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on March 31st, 2012 01:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - 1_rhiannon_1 on March 31st, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on April 1st, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - 1_rhiannon_1 on April 1st, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on April 2nd, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - 1_rhiannon_1 on April 3rd, 2012 12:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on April 5th, 2012 01:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - 1_rhiannon_1 on April 5th, 2012 01:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on April 5th, 2012 02:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - 1_rhiannon_1 on April 5th, 2012 04:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
richelle2972richelle2972 on March 27th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
I can't wait to meet all these lovely ladies! *grrrr, school....*
Eltea: Winry - Excited!eltea on March 27th, 2012 06:08 am (UTC)
You're going to be back for a break soon, right? Because WE SHOULD TOTALLY HANG OUT. :D
[ ] [ ] - richelle2972 on March 27th, 2012 05:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - eltea on March 27th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - richelle2972 on March 27th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on March 29th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on March 29th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
mslinguisticsmslinguistics on March 27th, 2012 08:10 am (UTC)
So, I know this isn't FMA, but the lack of strong female characters is a lamentable one. On that note, Ellen Harvelle seems right up your alley. She's an honest, kick-ass woman who runs a Bar that hunters have occasionally been known to pass through. (Roadhouse) She raised her daughter on her own, after her husband died (accidentally?) in hunting incident with John Winchester. Has no problem standing up to Demons, (Or hellhounds) and is frequently (over-) Protective. She takes to children like they're strays, and becomes, ... Not sure how to phrase that fully, but I think she's awesome. (Supernatural).
Vitamin C: Ianto - The Walltierfal on March 29th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Hey
OH, YEAH, eltea and I totally got to meet her for a couple episodes! I remember liking her a lot. :D I kind of love anyone who calls Sam and Dean on their occasional shit, lol.
Re: Hey - mslinguistics on March 29th, 2012 09:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Hey - tierfal on March 29th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Hey - mslinguistics on March 29th, 2012 10:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Hey - tierfal on March 31st, 2012 01:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
mslinguisticsmslinguistics on March 31st, 2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
Srsly? What? Did you post this? Did I miss this post? Is probably going to go through all of your fic again. um, I watch Supernatural out of order, a lot. One of the first episodes I ever seen was With Sam and... um. SHIT, that would be spoilers. But it was definately during the Apocolypse... (Which I think everyone knows about, but I'm not totally sure) And there was all this shit, in which he was like, No, really, my issues are totally resolved okay? Totally resolved. It's cool.
I'm inside your Grapefruit Sammy. I know how you think and what you feel... And I was sorta... Really hooked.
Vitamin C: Ed - Is an artisttierfal on March 31st, 2012 01:33 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha, it's Arthur the Explorer. And it's one long line of cocaine even by my standards, which are fairly rigorous. XD

I think it was always sort of a given that SPN would have an Apocalypse, and I heard about it, although I don't think I saw that set of episodes. idek, my knowledge is CRAZY-sporadic. XDDDD
mslinguisticsmslinguistics on March 31st, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
To that end, I suggest you watch the SPN's Changing Channels. Gabriel is someone you would GREATLY enjoy. I love him to pieces, and your fic reminded me of him. (Srsly. He traps the boys in an episode of "Doctor Sexy, M.D." --Just to make a point. :) Because he's is the Trickster (Who does not like Pretty-Boy Angels, and consequently snaps them away after duct-taping them and has the most fantastic Eye-brow waggling thing to date, in the history of LIFE.
Vitamin C: Elrics - Über-dangerous alchemy is fun!tierfal on April 2nd, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, I've met Gabriel! :D In… at least two episodes, I think. XD Again with the sporadic watching being both a blessing and a curse… I heard about the "Doctor Sexy, M.D." episode and almost died, I believe. XD

The problem is… well, the problems are mostly that I don't have time to watch a show with a bunch of seasons to its name, let alone time to get into a new fandom, let alone the energy to do either, haha. XD At the moment I'm mostly just inhaling FMA to stay sane while I still have the chance; when I hit the States again in June I'm going to have to get a job again, and it'll be Sadface Time. XD
[ ] [ ] - mslinguistics on April 4th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on April 5th, 2012 01:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - mslinguistics on April 5th, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[ ] [ ] - tierfal on April 5th, 2012 02:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Stanley's Intended: FMA Ed and Winryalice_pike on April 25th, 2012 08:11 pm (UTC)

There's also the fact that Maria, rather than let her faked death, separation from everyone she knows and loves, and exile to Xing get the better of her, actually went off to Xing and improved foreign relations in her spare time, nbd.

Arakawa gave me hope again for female characters. Even her minor(ish) female characters--Paninya, Madame Christmas, Sheska--are awesome and human. They are all unrepentantly badass, and all in such different ways. I love how they are just there, doing their thing, and it's not a big deal and it's not ~having the token badass female~ and it's accepted by male and other female characters alike that they kick ass. It's just so refreshing; because, like, while this fandom has its issues and its wank, it has absolutely no problems whatsoever with its ladies. (Firmly ignoring the Winry hate here, because that's the shadowy spot of fandom I avoid like the plague, and I want to bask in the love that is this post a little while longer).
Vitamin C: Roy & Hawkeye - Weapons of Choicetierfal on April 26th, 2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
*rings church bells* *releases doves* *throws rice* 8D

NBD indeed! I loved that whole arc so much that I didn't want to mention it specifically for fear of spoiling someone who might enjoy it as much as I did, haha. XD This far down in the comments we're probably safe. ^^

I crush on Sheska pretty hard, lol. One of my favorite things about FMA is that no one makes a big deal of the fact that Olivier pwns everyone – it's not like, "HOLY CRAP, THAT WOMAN GENERAL IS AMAZING"; it's "Oh, Olivier is being Olivier… RUN FOR YOUR LIFE." Also, Rebecca. Rebecca is hot.

I could tell while I was watching that the fandom was going to be rife with Winry haters. …but then, every single fandom I've ever been in has either started with needless character hate or devolved to that point, so I've gotten really good at hiding near the fringes in order to dodge the negativity. TO THE LEFT, HATERS. TO THE LEFT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT CLIFF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.