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Bright Eyes

Should the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise have more rounded female characters?

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The majority of female characters have terrible personalities. This is something you could say of all forms of medium, gaming especially. Should we see which recurring personalities we have:

Rouge the Bat

Yeah, fuck off. No, really. I cannot believe there is such a thing as a 'sexualized' Sonic character but there does appear to be so because I'm looking at her! Here she is:

Rouge_the_Bat.png

Ugh, Jeez. This is the kind of thing I expect from Team Ninja, not Sonic Team. Yet she has a massive fan following and the developers seem to think she's great too seeing as she's in loads of levels. Her ridiculousness hit a whole new level when she started basically flashing the badniks to distract them in Generations. Which is wrong in so many ways it is unbelievable. If they keep using Rouge can't they redesign her or something so she isn't such easy ammunition against Sonic fans? They can even change her eye colour for trolling lolz!

But you would probably say I'm nitpicking and am deliberately selecting the worst example. But who else do we have who keep recurring?

Amy Rose? Probably the most used Sonic female. Is she one of the most pathetically hilarious characters? All she does is depend and chase Sonic around. Now to be fair, she used to be slightly more independent in Adventure 1 and 2 but nowadays (and Sonic CD to be fair) she's an utter joke. Yet she's EVERYWHERE because she's one of the earlier Sonic characters. If they keep putting her into the games can't they do something a bit more interesting with her than make her Sonic's Biggest Fan wink.png . It's so irritating it's unbelievable.

Cream the Rabbit? I mean, ok she's not as bad as the other two, but they try as much as possible to make her girly feminine and it is so annoying. I think she could actually become a decent character if they actually used her properly.

To their credit, Sonic Team do use Blaze the Cat a fair bit. She's actually a somewhat independent (unlike Amy), non ultra girly (unlike Cream) and non-sexualised (unlike Rouge) character which is somewhat amazing for a Sonic heroine! There is one problem I have with her though: she's a bit of a stereotypical strong almost feminist character. I have no problem with this, but she mostly seems to be all strength and little emotion (besides her death in 06 which was surprisingly well done and unless I'm missing out by not playing Rush). Despite her slight stereotyping she's still a good character. Better than Amy anyway.

But why am I whining? Because I know Sonic Team can actually make a good female character. Look at this young lady:

Sonicchannel_tikal.png

Why can't more Sonic characters be like this character? She is independent and strong willed enough to go against her father, she dies for what she believes in, she acts as a guide for Sonic throughout his adventure and she isn't stereotyped at all throughout the game. She acts an independent and realistic woman and no alternative enters her mind and it's not to make a point. Why can't all female characters in media be like this? It's so irritating. (I just hope to God that they didn't butcher her character in Sonic Battle).

So if Sonic Team could do it in Sonic Adventure why can't they do it now? Why can you get to play as cool characters like Sonic and Tails and we girls have a load of, on the whole, hopeless or (terrifyingly) male fantasy characters.

Now to be fair, you could make similar things about how male Sonic characters like Knuckles and Shadow are stereotyped too. But this thread is entirely basing it's discussion on the ladies to not get sidetracked.

Who else agrees with me that the female characters in Sonic games deserve a better time than they have had on the whole in Sonic history?

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The Sonic franchise should have more rounded characters in general, really...

That's a fair point that I allude to at the end of the post.

But I am talking specifically about the female characters here.

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I suppose a more discussable question might be: how might we go about making the girl cast more rounded? I'm not sure if anyone is arguing for them to stay as one-note props, comrade.

Well I just gave the example of Tikal who I think is actually a good example of a female character.

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Tikal and Blaze are my favorite female Sonic Characters actually. I like both of them.

Rouge and Amy are just... Meh.. Nothing interesting about her at all.

I think Rouge could be an interesting character if she wasn't so hilariously sexualized.

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The Sonic franchise should have more rounded characters in general, really...

I agree. Though I also agree that the state of female characters in general is quite unattractive. Well, not unattractive physically or whatever but ideally, it's not great. They almost always come out of situations secondary to their male peers and it's unfortunate we can't have more girls that are strong in their own right. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

I feel Blaze is potentially the strongest but severely underdeveloped. Amy could be too if she was allowed to be anything other than an annoyance. The others are either throwaway one-timers or have even less development. Rouge is Rouge... though I don't care much for the direction she's been taken. Her playfulness with Knuckles seems to have been largely dropped too.

Sexualised Sonic characters are a bit weird for me too. It's a bit like watching the Ninja Turtles gang bang Splinter. My precious childhood... with Rouge it's not so bad though. I never gave much of a shit either way. Some of the art of her doing the rounds on the other hand... tongue.png

Edited by Andrew Albacia

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An interesting character will be interesting regardless of sex. Take your favorite character and change his/her sex. Is that character still with an interesting personality? Now take your least favorite character. Is his or her personality still unlikeable? As you may note a character’s depth isn’t going to depend on sex at all.

I don't see Amy as a dependent girl; I see her as a dependent person. I also don't see Tikal as a realistically independent female, but as a realistically independent person.

With that in mind, I disagree with your notion that a female is a good character because she is strong and whatnot:

Why can't more Sonic characters be like this character? She is independent and strong willed enough to go against her father, she dies for what she believes in, she acts as a guide for Sonic throughout his adventure and she isn't stereotyped at all throughout the game. She acts an independent and realistic woman and no alternative enters her mind and it's not to make a point. Why can't all female characters in media be like this? It's so irritating. (I just hope to God that they didn't butcher her character in Sonic Battle).
Tikal has a great personality, yes, but for other reasons. Not because she is specifically an "independent woman who avoids stereotypes". That implies any female character who falls into the "weak-willed" archetype (which is no longer a female-only trope anyway) like Amy, is automatically bad writing. It is not. It just means they're different.

Completely agree about Rouge flashing to badniks, though. That's a bit exaggerated from her original "seductress" concept ;)

Edited by Homem

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So Rouge looks like something that Team Ninja will make just cause she has boobs?

No lol. It's the way she is so obviously designed to be a hilariously over the top seductress and the boobs are so emphasised in the design it basically says 'look here'.

And it's disturbing because she's a cartoon character :o

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And it's disturbing because she's a cartoon character ohmy.png

Do I need to go through my list of "Cartoon characters that come off as sexy"?

Might as well:

  • Candy Kong from Donkey Kong
  • Krystal from Starfox
  • Twana Bandicoot from Crash Bandicoot (before they removed her)
  • Carmelita M. Fox from Sly Cooper
  • I wonder if Cheetara and Pumyra from the Thundercats count?
  • Callie Briggs from Swat Kats?

Edited by ChaosSupremeSonic

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An interesting character will be interesting regardless of sex. Take your favorite character and change his/her sex. Is that character still with an interesting personality? Now take your least favorite character. Is his or her personality still unlikeable? As you may note a character’s depth isn’t going to depend on sex at all.

This would be great but creator's tend to put a lot more effort into the dudes so it doesn't always work well in reverse.

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An interesting character will be interesting regardless of sex. Take your favorite character and change his/her sex. Is that character still with an interesting personality? Now take your least favorite character. Is his or her personality still unlikeable? As you may note a character’s depth isn’t going to depend on sex at all.

I don't see Amy as a dependent girl; I see her as a dependent person. I also don't see Tikal as a realistically independent female, but as a realistically independent person.

With that in mind, I disagree with your notion that Tikal is a good character because she is strong and whatnot:

She has a great personality, yes, but for other reasons. Not because she is specifically an "independent woman who avoids stereotypes". That implies any female character who falls into the "weak-willed" slot (which is no longer a female-only trope anyway) like Amy, is automatically bad writing. It is not. It just means they're varied.

Completely agree about Rouge flashing to badniks, though.

"An interesting character will be interesting regardless of sex. Take your favorite character and change his/her sex. Is that character still with an interesting personality? Now take your least favorite character. Is his or her personality still unlikeable? As you may note a character’s depth isn’t going to depend on sex at all."

I agree, that would be great but let's be honest that isn't going happen anytime soon. The genders are always locked into their stereotypes when they are designed.

As for Amy, she's clearly been modelled on the stereotype of a needy female. She chases around the male Sonic and doesn't give him a break. You can't deny that it's based off the clingy girlfriend cliche that still exists now. So I would disagree that she's a needy person rather than a needy female.

I said Tikal was a good character because: She is independent and strong willed enough to go against her father, she dies for what she believes in, she acts as a guide for Sonic throughout his adventure and she isn't stereotyped at all throughout the game

You are kind of twisting my words there.

As for the weak-willed, yes I do believe it is bad writing when it is so clearly based on a female cliche, as Amy's so clearly is.

Do I need to go through my list of "Cartoon characters that come off as sexy"?

Might as well:

  • Candy Kong from Donkey Kong
  • Krystal from Starfox
  • Twana Bandicoot from Crash Bandicoot (before they removed her)
  • Carmelita M. Fox from Sly Cooper
  • I wonder if Cheetara and Pumyra from the Thundercats count?

Well I think they are all disturbing too having just looked at them.

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Do I need to go through my list of "Cartoon characters that come off as sexy"?

Might as well:

  • Candy Kong from Donkey Kong
  • Krystal from Starfox
  • Twana Bandicoot from Crash Bandicoot (before they removed her)
  • Carmelita M. Fox from Sly Cooper
  • I wonder if Cheetara and Pumyra from the Thundercats count?
  • Callie Briggs from Swat Kats?

Katella the Intergalactic Huntress from AoStH, lol.

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Yeah, I'm of the opinion that "Sexy is sexy, so why should we care?"

Well that's your personal opinion. I don't really mind that. I mean I think it's weird to find a bat sexy of all things but hey, it's personal opinion. (I'm not implying you do here)

I'm more talking about how it's bad that Rouge is sexualized because, for her design, it's rather demeaning to women.

Edited by Bright Eyes

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Well that's your personal opinion. I don't really mind that. I mean I think it's weird to find a bat sexy of all things but hey, it's personal opinion.

I'm more talking about how it's bad that Rouge is sexualized because, for her design, it's rather demeaning to women.

It's difficult. I know a fair few women in real life that take absolutely no issue with a character showing off their goods and don't find it offensive at all.

*edit*

I'm a woman and I don't give two fucks about how sexualized Rouge is as long as she's written well.

Well... kinda like that.

Edited by Andrew Albacia

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It's difficult. I know a fair few women in real life that take absolutely no issue with a character showing off their goods and don't find it offensive at all.

It's not about nudity. It's about how a character is designed so her chest is the one element about them most

people remember when they first see them. Don't you think that's kind of demeaning?

Also, a woman's opinion on this kind of thing isn't somehow more important than a man's.

Edited by Bright Eyes

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I'm more talking about how it's bad that Rouge is sexualized because, for her design, it's rather demeaning to women.

So essetially it's a bad thing that she looks sexy? Nothing about her character that's demaning to women, just her looks? That's just being petty.

Really, I don't think we should be applying feminism to the Sonic series because that's just going to open up a debate we would be better off avoiding. If she were treated like the girls in Dead or Alive, I'd be more in agreement with you.

Edited by ChaosSupremeSonic

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I agree, that would be great but let's be honest that isn't going happen anytime soon. The genders are always locked into their stereotypes when they are designed.
That is simply not true. I could cite dozens of examples.

As for Amy, she's clearly been modelled on the stereotype of a needy female. She chases around the male Sonic and doesn't give him a break. You can't deny that it's based off the clingy girlfriend cliche that still exists now. So I would disagree that she's a needy person rather than a needy female.
Maybe she is! But like I said, the concept isn't the cause of her being subpar. The exaggeration of the archetype and the execution, are.

I see that your argument is based mostly on "Strong and independent = good", which is not necessarily true, seeing as if it's written badly, such character can be bad as well. Saying it is true would be completely negating the variation in people's personalities that happen in a realistic setting. Amy and Blaze are both extremes that should be avoided, but that doesn't mean their original concepts are any bad.

Going back to my original statement, it doesn't really matter if a character is female in any situation. Be it for being sexualized or having a different personality, doesn't mean that character is fitting nor avoiding any "stereotypes".

Edited by Homem

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You criticise Amy and Cream for being girly and praise Tikal and Blaze for not being girly. You realise that line of logic is basically saying "the only way to have a good girl character is to make them not be a girl". I agree greatly with Honem in that regard.

Otherwise I don't think Amy has much problems. People only remember her from the games where she's written as a total psycho for some reason, when games like Unleashed and Shadow have her be completely controlled and sensible around Sonic. And she runs into him out of pure chance, not because she's actively stalking him. They need to develop this "best friend with a crush" Amy and not "Psycho Amy" from Heroes/Free Riders, that's all.

Also to say women are demeaned by making them sexually attractive is completely unliberating. All people, men and women, have the right to present their bodies however they like within reason. Rouge has cleavage. All things considered she's incredibly tame.

Edited by JezMM

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