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How Winry’s Heroism Helped Inspire Ed to Choose Humanity Over Alchemy

When you actually look at Ed’s character development throughout the series, the stuff in Rush Valley with Winry was a huge important turning point for him. Moreover, his respect for the simple heroism of human beings as opposed to the power of alchemy is really very inspired by how he views Winry as a hero who does work more valuable than what he does as an alchemist. He looks up to her and realizes she has skills that alchemy can’t compare to and that’s why she’s a big factor in his final decision.

First off, we have to look at the aftermath of the Nina thing. This was the first time Ed had to accept that he can’t solve everything with alchemy.

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Here he blames being an “insignificant human” as the reason he couldn’t save Nina. He still believes he should be able to solve everything with alchemy and sees his humanity as his weakness here. He feels like a failure because he believes as an alchemist, his skills should apply to any situation.

He has a similar crisis when he’s unable to use alchemy to get to the doctor when the woman in Rush Valley is giving birth. He tries to build a bridge, but it collapses under it’s own weight.

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Ed has a similar line at a different point in the Brotherhood episode that adapts it, and I remember that it someone at Mark Spoils commented it came off as kinda manpain-y, like he’s suddenly making this situation about his issues. I’m always one to criticize that sort of thing and I understand with the condensed-ness of the Brotherhood episode it can come off that way, but reading the full chapter the line was there for a very specific reason- despite having all the fantastic superpowers at his disposal, Ed is helpless in this situation.He has no power to save anyone.

Which makes it a powerful statement when Winry isn’t. Winry takes the reigns and saves the day not with superpowers, but with courage and basic medical knowledge. Ed may know alchemy and fighting, but when the situation is an everyday crisis of normal human proportions like giving birth, it’s Winry who can get things done and save lives. Winry doesn’t rely on alchemy, so she has important skills that Ed doesn’t, so she can save the day where alchemy can’t.

And that’s when Ed changes his attitude. Through Winry, he sees that “insignificant humans” are amazing and capable of things alchemy cannot possibly do. He would not have had the revelation if not for Winry’s heroism.

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elle-lavender asked: I thought your post on mainpain was great! I was thinking about the quote you used at the end, and one example that came to mind where the widow isn't tragic is Lindy Harlaown from MGLN. The Movie A's showed that she's a badass admiral who helps save the world, and a great adoptive mother to an abused child. Even though she helplessly watched her husband die in front of her, she is far from a tragic character.

Thanks! Yeah, I agree,and  it’s definitely not that widowed female characters are never done well! There are quite a few examples of great ones and Lindy is one of them.

Nor do I think I necessarily want female characters who lose their husbands to have to become the Punisher or anything. I just want them to have central stories and there’s just a general trend- with lots of great exceptions!

There’s just very specific and approved ways for men to express pain vs how women generally express pain in fiction. Not only is it heavily gendered (men are violent and active v women being passive and defeated) but the way it’s gendered often relegates male to central and female to background. 

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"manpain should only be used when a female character suffers for a man’s pain, not to reinforce gender roles"

This would be great if I didn’t know it was said in response to someone using the term manpain when describing how a female character’s death and suffering is framed in a way a male character can feel maximum pain, conflict and guilt over it. 

i have really honestly always seen manpain used in this way. Criticism of the way female pain in framed vs male pain- given more emphasis, exploration and often having female characters suffer only to highlight a man’s pain or serve his narrative- it’s worth exploring and the term is useful for it. When a female character is held hostage solely to further a man’s suffering? When a female character’s grief is ultimately used to highlight the tragic nobility of a male character? Sorry, that’s the definition.

Female suffering is framed often as something that breaks female characters, something the narrative rarely allows them to confront or express real anger over. Male suffering is framed as a motivation, a strength and often expressed through anger, drive and stoicness in narratives. That is something worth criticizing. Being in pain brings a male character to the front and center. Female characters are shoved to the side.

Even my favorite narratives engage in these tropes! Trisha died to cause Hoho and her sons pain. This is a straight example of manpain. Female character sacrificed, pain as motivation. Just because I like the narrative adore these male characters and sympathize with them and think it’s not written terribly doesn’t mean it isn’t. Nina would probably qualify too, even though I think the aftermath and the impact her loss had on their narrative was written incredibly well.

Talking about how male and female pain is presented differently in fiction and feeling a general disgust for the greater focus on and glorification of male pain is not reinforcing gender roles. It’s picking apart how they are present in fiction.

A person I follow said something recently: when husbands die in fiction, women are more likely to become tragic widows who just can’t handle it all. When wives die, men are more likely to become the Punisher. 

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JET WOLF DON’T GO UNDER THE CUT IF YOU SEE THIS STARS AND MANGA SPOILERS!!!

Man Jet talking about usagi and mamoru in stars is so painful for me because she’s right about how Mamoru just pushes Usagi away because he doesn’t want her to deal with his shit because he feels he shouldn’t be ~a burden~ but this really hurts her (AND HIM. BECAUSE WHEN HE TRIES TO DEAL WITH SHIT ON HIS OWN THERE’S NOBODY TO STOP HIM FROM BEING BRAINWASHED AND KIDNAPPPED. COME ON MAMORU  YOU ARE NOT GOOD AT FIGHTING OFF MENTAL ATTACKS. ACCEPT YOUR LIMITS AS A PERSON)

and they have all this shit left over from the R break out where they have trust issues because Mamoru broke their trust back then

Usagi is more likely to believe Mamoru just hates her than supernatural forces affecting him despite precedent, not because she’s stupid, but because Mamoru made a SERIOUS EFFORT to make her believe he’d totally abandon her of his own volition and that lingers, and her own sometimes shaky self-esteem makes that always seem likelier

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waitformethistime asked: Apparently there's a new LoK book 3 commercial that aired in Norway. What are you hoping will happen?

ohhhhh boy. There are a lot of things. I’m hoping Lin will actually get character development outside her relationship with Tenzin. I’m hoping Lin and Korra’s realationship will actually develop. I’m hoping Asami will actually get focus and development and important scenes that have nothing to do with love triangles and drama with mako. I’m hoping SHE WILL ACTUALLY CATCH A FUCKING BREAK TOO and experience some degree of happiness. I’m hoping her relationship with Korra will develop and they can get through all their baggage and become supportive friends.

I hope how utterly shitty Mako was to Asami and Korra, ESPECIALLY Asami will be acknowledged (and Korra will realize how much she contributed to that in the first season and feel bad), but I’m hoping Mako’s actual presence will be really fucking minimal. I want Asami to be allowed to deal with the pain of all the loss she’s suffered.

I want complex and supportive female relationships everywhere.

No more Nice Guy tm plots for Bolin. No more sexual assault played for laughs or abuse played for laughs. No more “irrational terrifying girlfriend” stereotypes characters.

Actual presence of Moms. Can we learn more about Asami’s mom? Can the show actually give Pema and Korra’s mom a character arc/backstrory.

Can we actually see the Fire Lord? Can the Earth Queen really play an important role like Bryke indicated? Can female leaders get some spotlight?

No more focus on power struggles between men. No more Korra being jerked around by powerful male authorities and learning she shouldn’t have gone with her instincts and trusted the one that gave her freedom. No more brothers, no more fathers, no more evil waterbending dudes.

A plot that makes sense and doesn’t rely on unexplained deus ex machina.

Let Korra continue to develop as a character and let the majority of the season actually focus on this.

LET BRYKE KEEP THEIR FREAKIN’ PROMISE OF NO MORE ROMANCE. BECAUSE THEY ARE FUCKIN’ TERRIBLE AT IT.

Basically, I have a lot of wants. i highly doubt even a third of them will be fulfilled.

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wafflelovingbatgirl asked: Have you watched and analyzed the characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

i do have a tag for buffy! It’s either btvs or buffy or buffy the vampire slayer, im very inconsistent. But yes, I am very much a fan of Buffy.

The most serious meta i’ve ever done on tumblr about it (which got a decent amount of notes) is actually complaining about how Joss Whedon kills off female characters in general as opposed to how he plays the deaths of male characters (which happen less frequently), so I guess that would qualify as analysis, just not the positive kind.

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While we’re in the middle of RizaGate 2014 or whatever, I think this page deserves analysis
It’s kind of ambiguous, but considering the choice of line to flashback to, I see this as Riza regretting on some level that she threatened suicide (even though it worked), saying she’d give up on their dream if she had to kill Roy (bc her guilt and she believes flame alchemy would destroy everything etc etc). 
Here, Roy has been blinded, and Riza knows this means he will not be allowed to serve in the military and rise to the top. That means their dream as they envisioned it would be dead. She knows this. Roy knows this. But here they are, still fighting for a better country. Now  the situation is actually hopeless (well not really) but Riza sees that somehow, they still have hope. Roy isn’t giving up, neither is she. They’re still fighting. 
Riza remembers a time when she essentially said “if it’s hopeless, I’ll give up” and then says “you know what, actually I can’t. No matter what happens, I can’t give up.” It causes her to redouble her resolve. Because now she realizes she can hope to keep fighting to change the country even if it looks like there will be no way. Roy isn’t giving up on his life because of this, and she won’t give up on hers. 
Every time Riza has given up on life because Roy is lost and therefore they can’t acheive their dream, she has been shown to regret that in some way- simply because she knows she shouldn’t give up. At least, that’s how I interpreted this page. Other interpretations are fine too.

While we’re in the middle of RizaGate 2014 or whatever, I think this page deserves analysis

It’s kind of ambiguous, but considering the choice of line to flashback to, I see this as Riza regretting on some level that she threatened suicide (even though it worked), saying she’d give up on their dream if she had to kill Roy (bc her guilt and she believes flame alchemy would destroy everything etc etc). 

Here, Roy has been blinded, and Riza knows this means he will not be allowed to serve in the military and rise to the top. That means their dream as they envisioned it would be dead. She knows this. Roy knows this. But here they are, still fighting for a better country. Now  the situation is actually hopeless (well not really) but Riza sees that somehow, they still have hope. Roy isn’t giving up, neither is she. They’re still fighting. 

Riza remembers a time when she essentially said “if it’s hopeless, I’ll give up” and then says “you know what, actually I can’t. No matter what happens, I can’t give up.” It causes her to redouble her resolve. Because now she realizes she can hope to keep fighting to change the country even if it looks like there will be no way. Roy isn’t giving up on his life because of this, and she won’t give up on hers. 

Every time Riza has given up on life because Roy is lost and therefore they can’t acheive their dream, she has been shown to regret that in some way- simply because she knows she shouldn’t give up. At least, that’s how I interpreted this page. Other interpretations are fine too.

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vehrec asked: I think it's been said that Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman are american in different ways, with Supes being a second-gen immigrant, WW having come of her own will as an adult, and Batman being about as WASP as you can get. Do you think the various levels of immigration help them to achieve some of their identity? Seeing Diana react to Ice Cream made me think of this-Yes, she sees the problems in our world-but she also sees what makes it great and enjoyable, because she's an outsider.

Yeah, I definitely do think that shapes some of their identities. Batman comes from a place where he has no idea what it’s like to be an outsider, where he’s always been accepted and privileged. He’s used to the idea of control and suspicious of people he can’t control- his animosity towards superpowerful people and other “outsiders” and the millions of backup plans he has because they’re “dangerous”- he’s terrified of Superman etc. because he can’t control him, and he’s used to being in such a position of privilege and power socially that well, he’s a control freak and he always thinks he’s right and pushes his views on others.

Superman meanwhile- he’s very much American, but comes from a working class background and also has the knowledge he is a bit of an outsider and might be regarded with suspicion when people find out his ancestry. Early versions of Superman had him taking down war profiteers and stuff, he was a bit of a social rebel, but DC’s toned that down. Superman isn’t really interested in control- he wants people to accept him and feel comfortable and safe. He’s not actively trying to change the world, he wants to save it.

Which reminds me be of a conversation Wonder Woman has with Lois that kind of touches on the issue in one comic. Superman is afforded a lot of privelige because he’s a dude and just looks like another white guy- he’s not visibly alien, and nobody knows he’s not from this planet as Clark. He was raised here, he can blend in. So he is also very privileged, about as privileged as he could be in this situation. That’s why he rarely sees the need for change.

Out of all of them, Wonder Woman is the one who’s actively interested in social problems, gets socially involved and tries to change the system. She is an outsider to this culture, period, and she’s treated as one. However, she’s made friends and found people she loves here, so it’s like her second home. Wonder Woman can see the problems pretty starkly because she comes from a culture where she was NOT treated as a second-class citizen on the basis of her gender to one where she is. She knows what it’s like to be treated as a whole person, and she wants every woman and oppressed group to know that feeling. It’s very much like someone coming from a country where they are considered the norm or possibly even considered privileged, only to be treated far differently in another country and find themselves afforded far less priveliges. They are by nature, a bit more aware of the prejudices because they can see the contrast. 

So of course, Wonder Woman is the one who’s interested in social change. She doesn’t want to save the world, she wants to change it, because she sees that this system is wrong. At the same time, she can also gets to experience things she never got to experience before by moving to this new culture- stuff like ice cream. And because she is looking at these things with fresh eyes, she finds such joy in them, more joy than someone who grew up taking these things for granted would.

So yeah, it is really fascinating when you look at the three of them, and really, these are ways I I find both Superman and Wonder Woman (especially Wonder Woman) more interesting than Batman, and these are specifically things that make their characters interesting. 

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Analysis of Sexual Assault Parallels in Sailor Moon SuperS episodes- I unpack all of the sexual assault subtext in each episode of Sailor Moon SuperS where the Senshi (and Tuxedo Mask) are targeted by the resident villians. Trauma warning for discussion of sexual assault, victim blaming and all the other issues that go with that.

And on that note, I finally added this to my liveblogs and post series section.

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bluewalltack replied to your post: “Oops sequel post If it gets down to it, though she might not exactly…”:
Don’t forget about the comparisons between Riza and her Dad and Roy and his mom and how the female characters tend to take a maternal role (Winry, Riza, Rose) where that doesn’t really happen with a lot of the male characters.

Aw yeah I knew I was forgetting someone! That’s another single mom (presumably) who was supportive and clearly influential to her child (while being a badass business owner). In contrast, Riza’s dad cut her off emotionally and used her as tool after her mom died, even though he did seem to care for her.

I think Al can be a bit maternal at times tho, he’s kind of a born caretaker, but that’s a good point.