My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.
And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.By
Here’s what you’re missing:
1. The reason this formula works is because because the “awesome, smart wonderful, powerful” character is less relate-able. What you’ve essentially done here is is completely ignored the appeal of what the actual concept is, and instead turned it into yet another excuse to whine about gender politics on Tumblr. The idea of these stories is not that “the guy get to be the hero because he’s the guy, even though there’s a more qualified girl” the idea is that that the “any person” candidate - the person who could be you or me, the person who is just your average, ordinary, every day person (The Lego Movie, in particular beats you over the head with the concept, it floors me that you’re still not getting it) can, in fact discover that within themselves, there’s something special. It gives the viewer (or reader; as this is a trope that predates movies and TV) something to dream about, the idea that even though they may not be popular, they may not be rich, they may even be someone that everyone else picks on and/or over-looks, they could one day discover that they are the most important person in the world.
2. There are plenty of instances of this wherein the super bad-ass mentor character is a guy. The idea of said character being female has not traditionally been a common trope until fairly recently.
3. Ok, so we’ve covered why the less-qualified person become “the special.” So the only question is “why doesn’t the female character get to be the special.” Well, to be perfectly honest, it comes down to people like the OP here, and to reactions exactly like this one. You put content makers in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t position, by giving them three options for using this story concept:
Option 1: The super-awesome mentor is a male, and the less-qualified, often bumbling every-person that turns out to be special is a male. Reaction: “why weren’t there any strong female characters? So sexist!”
Option 2: The super-awesome mentor is a male, and the less-qualified, bumbling, every-person that turns out to be special is female. Reaction: “why is the female protagonist so weak throughout the movie, and requires the strong male character to teach her how to toughen up? Where are the strong, independent female leads?!”
Option 3: The super-awesome mentor is a female, and the less-qualified, bumbling, every-person that turns out to be special is male. Reaction: the post quoted above.
Pretty much the only scenario here where people like you don’t throw a fit is when all the best central characters in the story are female; which requires you to basically hand the creative artists who write the stories and characters you claim to be fans of (remember when calling yourself a fan of something meant you spent more time talking about what you liked about it than whining about how horrible and sexist it is?) an edict telling them that instead of following an organic writing process, wherein they write what they know, build the type of stories they’d want to read, and fill them with the type of characters that speak to them, the must instead conform to what will make angry Tumblrinas happy.
It’s not complicated, folks. Nor is it some sinister conspiracy against your sex. Writers are at their best when they’re writing stuff that speaks to them. So male writers tend to craft their male heroes in the image of what they wish they could be, and their female characters in the image of the women they wish they could be with, or at least know (in which case what you’re actually complaining about is that a male writer’s idea of a fantasy girl is a strong, powerful, no-nonsense, capable bad-ass. God forbid, huh?). Female writers tend to do the same with their heroines and supporting heroes.
Of course, since this is Tumblr, and the automatic reaction will be to instantly search for examples of how wrong I am on this, I will stress the word “most” in that last paragraph. Every rule has its exception, and this goes double when you’re talking about people.