Gender flipping disposable male characters


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By Not Faber451

The 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters has officially failed at the box office and the planned sequels have been cancelled. Even after this commercial failure, it probably won’t be the last time feminists and social justice warriors demand that popular male characters get gender flipped for equality. However, their approach to women in the workforce can be seen here as well. They only want female versions of heroes that enjoy certain levels of glamour, similar to how they demand more female CEOs but are okay with the lack of female garbage collectors. As such, they focus their attention on iconic characters like the Ghostbusters, Link, The Doctor from Dr Who, Thor and James Bond. This has been illustrated with the Guybrush/Galbrush dichotomy, in which a hypothetical female character bumbling her way through her adventure like Guybrush Threepwood would be considered misogyny even though it was okay to depict Guybrush like that. Let’s take this thought experiment a step further by gender flipping two male action heroes for whom disposability is part of their origin stories.

RoboCop
Police officer Alex Murphy is used for target practice by sadistic criminals or blown to bits by a car bomb, depending on which version you’re watching. What’s left of him is then used in a cyborg experiment without his consent and sent back on patrol as RoboCop. As he reclaims his humanity, the corporation that built him considers him a faulty product that needs to be either eliminated or controlled better.

Put a female character in the same story and feminists would proclaim it to be about sexism and objectification, as well as declare the cyborg experiment to be a rape metaphor. These matters never crossed their minds when they looked at a male RoboCop. Feminists, social justice warriors and other regressive leftists would probably not realize or care that they have more empathy for this female RoboCop when she suffers than they had or would have for the male RoboCops of the original trilogy and the 2014 reboot.

To illustrate this, try to imagine how they would respond to this scene from the original RoboCop movie if Alex Murphy and Anne Lewis had switched places. Bonus round: what would they think of Murphy if he were to respond the same way Lewis does?

Round 2: imagine their response if Clara Murphy were in her husband’s position in this scene from the 2014 reboot.

It would depend on the costume designer what this female RoboCop would look like, but I think the established robotic look would have to be retained. It’s RoboCop, not Ghost in the Shell. However, the costume would be a marketing nightmare because each decision would attract a different kind of complaint from the regressive left. Make the costume look feminine and they’ll complain about sexualization. Make the costume look masculine or gender neutral and they’ll complain about her not looking feminine enough.

Captain Scarlet
Note: Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons first aired as a puppet series in the 1960s and was rebooted with CGI as Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlet in 2005. As marketing both series to children did not result in the expected success, I think the concept would be more suitable for a live-action series marketed to a more mature demographic.

Earth is at war with the extraterrestrial Mysterons and humanity’s first line of defense is the global military organization Spectrum. The Mysterons’ main tactic is to duplicate objects or people they just destroyed or killed to do their bidding. One of the first people killed and duplicated is Spectrum agent Paul Metcalfe, mostly known as Captain Scarlet, as part of a plan to infiltrate Spectrum. This duplicate breaks free from their control and rejoins Spectrum to fight the Mysterons, retaining the original Captain Scarlet’s personality and memories as well as the Mysteron power of retro-metabolism. The result of this power is that he is virtually indestructible; any injuries he sustains heal quicker and getting killed means he’ll come back to life in a matter of hours.

It should be noted that Captain Scarlet’s duplicate still feels the pain of every injury and death he sustains and is still treated like any other Spectrum employee. He could leave Spectrum if he wanted too, but he considers it his duty to keep protecting humanity from the Mysterons.

Now let’s see which characteristics of the show suddenly become problematic if Captain Scarlet were a woman. She gets killed in the first episode and a virtually indestructible duplicate takes her place to become reusable cannon fodder. This duplicate’s many violent and/or self-sacrificial deaths are often presented to the audience as a running gag and she keeps coming back for more, no matter how much each death hurts. On top of that, her colleagues stop caring that she is a duplicate after the second episode and don’t seem to mourn the original Captain Scarlet’s death at all. Last but not least, being virtually indestructible does not make her infallible. The Mysterons can still succeed in their episode-specific goals or score partial victories. Would the special snowflakes be able to handle a female action hero who does not always win, has to see the impact her failures have on the world and has to live with the consequences of those failures?

One thing they certainly wouldn’t be able to handle would be the credits sequence of the original show with a female Captain Scarlet in the images and in the theme song.

Why gender flipping will continue to fail
Considering how the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot failed miserably, I think it will be unlikely that any possible future reboots of RoboCop or Captain Scarlet would feature female leads. I’m okay with that, because I only wrote this as a thought experiment to showcase the selective pattern of gender flipping. Disposability is a characteristic that feminists don’t want to see applied to women, even if those women are fictional.

The only way to make fictional female heroes as iconic as a number of male ones is to create original characters, give them original stories instead of rebooted concepts and hold them to the same standards of agency and accountability as male characters. It’s been done like that for decades and writers who are not associated with the regressive left are either rediscovering that or never forgot it. The regressive left rejects this approach to storytelling, so they will be stuck with annoying Mary Sues, rewritten icons who alienate their fans and gender flipped rehashes that are doomed to fail. Or maybe that was their plan all along?

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  • Not Faber451

    A few days before this was posted, I saw the latest trailer to the upcoming Hollywood version of Ghost in the Shell. Looks like they threw in some RoboCop elements.

    • Graham Strouse

      I confess I’m sort of intrigued by GitS. Johnanssen is a good actress with action movie and indie movie chops and she’s never been one to ask much in the way of favors. Hell, in her first big movie as a kid she played a girl who lost her leg in a horse-riding accident. And she gets a fair amount is shit from the establishment as it is, including for this movie. Might be interesting.

      • Not Faber451

        I’m a Ghost in the Shell fan, I’m looking forward to this movie and I think they were right to cast Scarlett Johansson as Major Kusanagi. I know the casting has resulted in accusations of whitewashing. I haven’t seen all of Ghost in the Shell: Arise yet, so I don’t know every contribution that show and movie made to this movie, but lines such as “They did not save your life, they stole it”, “She was supposed to have a clean brain” and “They created me, but they cannot control me” suggest a RoboCop influence as well.

        • Graham Strouse

          My feeling is that if the actor can nail the role, let ’em. I dislike PC nonsense in general when it comes to gender/sex swapping. Butsometimes you just find an actor who nails the part. Far as I’m concerned, Samuel L. Jackson IS Nick Fury. And I really liked Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange. Johansson really is gifted at weird/indie roles, and seems to have a lack for old school anime & cyberpunk, too. I say give her a shot.

          P.S. On a sideways note I liked how Marvel went old school with the new, nerdy teenage Peter Parker…and switched things up with his “surprisingly hot” Aunt May. These kinds of moves are always risky, and they fail more often than they succeed, but when they work, they tend to work spectacularly. I’d kind of be curious about the possibility of casting Richard Ayode as the 13th doctor, btw. And I’d be totally cool with Idris Elba as the new Bond. I do still favor Judy Dench as M, of course. If you’re gonna try and take a classic role, you gotta own it, baby!

          • Not Faber451

            The reason these swaps tend to fail is that in many cases, the writers/directors/producers are afraid they might offend anyone, don’t give whoever they cast anything interesting to work with and restrict improvisation. The character’s gender/race/sexuality becomes all that the character is, and the end result is usually boring or annoying.

            I’m a few Marvel movies behind, so I haven’t seen Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One yet, but I agree that Samuel L. Jackson kicks ass as Nick Fury. I think every performance depends on the quality of the script and what the actors do with the characters they are playing. A good actor can compensate for a badly written character to a degree, but PC-motivated decisions wreck the script and the performance.

          • Graham Strouse

            No argument from me. :-)