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Do you think the Sonic series is kind of sexist?


SnooPigu

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With how they treat the females compared to the males, i know theres some exceptions to the rule like Blaze and Zeena and sometimes Rouge, but in the their respective casts theirs males their associated with are stronger and more important than they are, like Silver vs. Blaze, the rest of the Zeena vs the other Deadly Six(all are male), Rouge vs Shadow, finally Amy or Sally compared to Sonic, all these dynamics have the males just have more going for them than the women.

Have you ever thought this, i dont think the women in the franchise are useless, but i feel they dont contribute and put under the men most of the time.

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While there are a lot of elements over the series that have excessively relied on outdated stereotypes of women, I've never fully gotten the idea of the series actively trying to downplay the strength of its female characters, more that it was poorly utilizing them in ways. As of recently, I feel the franchise has significantly improved in the regard of trying to expand the diversity of the cast and the roles the females can play.

I don't inherently think it's bad that certain females aren't as physically powerful as the males as long as they retain their own independent character. However, having characters like Tangle, Whisper, and Belle brings a much needed refresher as more characters who don't  rely on more stereotypical "feminine" concepts. However, I'm glad we can still get characters like Jewel who are fine as more down to earth characters.

That's on an overall subject for me. Sheesh, I don't wanna get into all the specifics of each character and how they have been mishandled and implemented over the course of their history that falls onto a lot of those old sexist stereotypes. And moments where they shine past them. It's just all filled with many ups and downs.

So my feelings are complicated.

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Outside of the comics yeah. Most of the female characters are either  support staff for male characters or irrelevant. I guess that it's a moot point now that everyone is support staff, but even back in the day they diminished Rouge's independence compared to her first appearance and didn't really create any female "equals" to Sonic aside from Blaze....who they went on to make support staff for Silver.

I like most of the female characters that already exist and wouldn't really change anything about them, but I'd also just like a character that's strong enough to hold her own and driven enough to have her own journey. A character with their own history, their own goals and a personality that clashes with Sonic's in an interesting way. The Rush games are the closest thing to what I'm after, but that was how long ago? Sheesh.

Archie and IDW were both great equalizers, but neither of them have any bearing on the main canon. Tangle, Whisper and even Belle are basically perfect examples of what I'm asking for though, to give them credit.

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Mildly, but no worse than average (and arguably better in some ways). It's a series aimed more at boys so it focuses more on what boys want to see: cool tough boys fighting robots and monsters and shit. This ends up with the girls comparatively sidelined, though they still managed to have a fairly diverse bunch of them, while a lesser series may have just had one prominent female character to be The Girl.

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I think the distinction between "this character as a female character has been handled poorly" vs "this character as a CHARACTER has been handled poorly" needs to be made 

Suffice to say, no I don't think the Sonic series is particularly sexist towards the female characters, with the exception of maybe late Adventure-Dark Age era Amy being a marriage obsessed weirdo I don't really think they wrote the females particularly better or worse than the males. Especially nowadays when everyone is irrelevant regardless of gender, like Rouge has just as much agency as Knuckles currently, that being none so I don't really see it that way specifically 

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17 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

To some extent.

I think the most explicitly sexist thing is Iizuka outright stating "only male hedgehogs can go super," which feels super weird and arbitrary.

Don't get me started on this. I hate that stupid arbitrary statement. I have no idea why he made it. I'm not even much of a progressive, it's just STUPID.

Anyways would love to see an Amy game where she gets to go Super.

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Games: Little bit, yeah. Give us Super Amy, you paternalistic fucks!

Comics: Absolutely not. Love 'em or hate 'em, Tangle and her friends are easily the highlights of IDW and I can't wait to see what mischief they get up to next. Especially with fantastic renditions on Amy and Rouge in tow.

Spoiler

It'd be better if Sally and Bunnie were there too, but hey... can't mess with the lawyers.

Movies: Too early to tell, but Maddie's been quite handy for a hero's wife so far. I don't think it will be - Paramount's been very good about building up strong women as of late (Evey and Regan Abbot, Julia Meade-Hunt, new-Uhura, etc.) - but we'll have to see how they treat Amy first.

1 minute ago, charmsb said:

I hate that stupid arbitrary statement. I have no idea why he made it. I'm not even much of a progressive, it's just STUPID.

I'm with you. Locks Tails and Knuckles out of their Super forms too. Ergo, the sooner this bullshit goes, the better.

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3 minutes ago, KingMario05 said:

I'm with you. Locks Tails and Knuckles out of their Super forms too. Ergo, the sooner this bullshit goes, the better.

Gotta love the Mania team for ignoring the mandates and giving every playable character a super form, hedgehog or not.

I think if there ever was a Mania 2 with a playable Amy, that'd be our way of finally getting Super Amy.

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2 minutes ago, KingMario05 said:

Movies: Too early to tell, but Maddie's been quite handy for a hero's wife so far. I don't think it will be - Paramount's been very good about building up strong women as of late (Evey and Regan Abbot, Julia Meade-Hunt, new-Uhura, etc.) - but we'll have to see how they treat Amy first.

Set pictures revealed:

Spoiler

A veterinary clinic, which leads me to believe that Maddie will probably hold some importance as a vet if Sonic/Tails/Knuckles gets seriously injured. I did think that, while she didn't have a large role in the movie, she certainly wasn't treated with disrespect as much as she just didn't need to be there. So yeah, I'd say the movies are pretty fair to Venus.

 

1 minute ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Gotta love the Mania team for ignoring the mandates and giving every playable character a super form, hedgehog or not.

I think if there ever was a Mania 2 with a playable Amy, that'd be our way of finally getting Super Amy.

Still, no one really gets anything unique besides glowing, invincibility, and super speed. I don't think everyone really needs something unique but a uniform yellow tint would be nice. And I think Knuckles should have his own form to do with the Master Emerald; but that's just too wishlisty.

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Quote
Spoiler

Maddie will probably hold some importance as a vet if Sonic/Tails/Knuckles gets seriously injured.

 

Oh please, please, please don't let Tails get hurt in this. The boy needs his badass back, dammit!

3 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Gotta love the Mania team for ignoring the mandates and giving every playable character a super form, hedgehog or not.

I think if there ever was a Mania 2 with a playable Amy, that'd be our way of finally getting Super Amy.

...and now we know why Mania 2 isn't a thing. These mandates fucking suck, man.

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28 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

To some extent.

I think the most explicitly sexist thing is Iizuka outright stating "only male hedgehogs can go super," which feels super weird and arbitrary.

If I may be bold. I kind of felt like the scene in Adventure 2 where Knuckles "saves" Rouge from falling lava was just a bit worse. While the Super form statement was dumb, it's something that could at least be mitigated by Amy having other powers and such.

To me, that scene where Rouge just starts falling and seems to forget she can fly feels like a scene that exclusively existed for the sake of removing her agency so she would fit in a bit of a damsel role and artificially ending the Knuckles fight by having her get a crush on him. It just, feels like a scene that wouldn't have happened if she was a male character.

I don't know, I am probably just overthinking it. It's more subtle feeling, but that scene just always kind of rubbed me wrong outside of it being stupid on its own.

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If it does feel that way, I'd say its more of a consequence of the target demographic than anything intentionally malicious . It's no worse than your average Shonen series....which yea, is still pretty bad all things considered. 

With the exception of Blaze, which lasted all of two years, every female character is delegated to a secondary role. It's sexist, but it's not egregiously so, but it could still be better.

 

The comics pretty much fill the void fortunately, but Sega are never going to give them any attention.

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While I think that all works of media in the present day should take it upon themselves to be balanced and equal, I really don't see why media targeted towards boys should have to try so hard to have a bunch of female characters. As long as the female characters aren't disrespected, I don't see a problem with media, targeted towards males, putting males in the spotlight more often. I wouldn't make a movie/game/book what have you for girls and have most of the main cast be men. Just as long as nothing is blatantly sexist and female characters still exist and aren't stereotypes/exist to be romantic fodder/etc, yeah I really don't see Sonic going so wrong here.

They can expand their audience no problem though, as they have already been doing. There's plenty of existing female fans (more than I've seen in a lot of fandoms) and tons of girls writing into the IDW comics from what I see on the back covers. I welcome that, as long as I still get my piece of the pie, too. I just don't think Sonic was doing much harm before now is all.

Despite what I said though, HUGE franchises, especially movies, have less breathing room to target certain sexes. Something like the MCU being as massive as it is shouldn't keep catering to one sex. I feel like once you become standard entertainment like that, being inclusive is way more important.

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I'd have to say no*

Because I'm currently researching a video for Sonic Adventure and Amy certainly isn't written badly in that game, she begins living out in the big city, doing things on her own and showing herself to be capable despite her portrayal in Sonic CD.

She goes through an arc of wanting Sonic's help when danger comes, but then she proves to herself she can handle it...

 

Now for the *

 

For a lot of Sonic games, outside of the primary focus characters for that story, most if not all other characters who appear are handled quite badly. A prime case example of this is Forces, despite Amy having a major role in the Resistance, the start of the game... her portrayal is crap.

It's only through her in game radio dialogue that you get some idea that she is important and she is making a major difference in the game world.

But we don't really see it as the player.

Now contrast this with any other character who isn't a big factor into the plot and you'll find that their portrayal is also quite bad.

 

So I don't think it's sexist, but it's just a thing that most characters who are not story important are just treated badly, and this often falls onto surface level tropes and stereotypes.

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Let's ignore the current stream of games for a bit, because it goes without saying that everyone but Sonic is treated like dogshit nowadays.

Even back when the series actually did develop its secondary cast, can anyone really say the females stood out as much as the males?

Amy has a whole arc in Adventure, but its treated as secondary to the main plot. Rouge is completely overshadowed by Shadow even in Adventure 2, to say nothing of later on. Cream's debut is a footnote in the grand scheme after initial push as a part of Sonic's team, Wave is again, overshadowed by Sonic's newest rival, Jet. And every other female are one offs.

 

Blaze is the ONLY one who was pushed as a major character in the same vein as Tails, Knuckles or Shadow were, and even she ultimately lost out to Silver in 06.

 

 

Its not overtly sexist, but when you have a cast of teenaged superheroes but only the boys actually get to headline the major story arcs while the girls are mostly supporting them, it does kind of stick out more.

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Overall, I don't think this series is sexist.  The female characters are written pretty well for the most part, whenever they do get focus and Blaze and Rogue the Bat are some of the most popular characters in the franchise.  The problem though is how they are underused in the games.  Although, I could make the same case for any secondary character who isn't the main focus of the story.  Like @Badnik Mechanic mentioned, this has more to do with the fact that most of the secondary characters are written terribly if they are not important to the story and characters like Amy just unfortunately fell under that umbrella.

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Theres alot of sexist moments in the archie series, theres official covers and artwork seeing most the female cast as harem members for Sonic. If thats not degrading i dont know what is. Making(or attempting to make) the main lead harem protag is not progressive and devalues the females as male escapist fuel through Sonic or hell Knuckles sometimes. Complain about Shadow and Silver all you want and they overtake Rouge and Blaze respectively, but at least their female partners arent proped up to lust after to them to show how cool and wish fufilling they are for fanboys.

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6 hours ago, Kuzu said:

If it does feel that way, I'd say its more of a consequence of the target demographic than anything intentionally malicious . It's no worse than your average Shonen series....which yea, is still pretty bad all things considered. 

Which is funny, because whenever shonen does break from the largely male-dominated tradition and let women be more prominent, the boys in the audience tend to be fine with it?

It's gone from a genre that largely sidelined the girls to one where the girls actively fight alongside the guys in many series. Yu Yu Hakusho features Genkai, a woman - an old woman at that - as both the hero's mentor and an active fighter in her own right. Heck, an entire Jojo part - Stone Ocean - stars a woman as the main character, and it's still every bit the shonen action series the other parts were. Other popular shonen series with female main characters like Slayers, Kill la Kill, Soul Eater (arguably), etc. all fared really well.

The idea that boys can't or won't accept more prominent female characters is rubbish. Most boys are totally fine with girl characters actually getting to do things, or even being the central character, as long as the series is still hitting the right notes of having lots of fights and cool action scenes.

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I think the desire to correct the once (current?) common idea that women are frail by depicting female characters in popular media as being just as capable ass kickers as the guys can lead to tunnel vision where the only kind of strength that is respected is physical or martial prowess, when there are many kinds of personal strength.

The damsel in distress is a time worn trope, and in video games used to be all of the representation female characters got in some of the most popular games. In Sonic Adventure however, Amy being kidnapped and escaping her captor is a story worth telling in of itself, not just as an inciting plot point to get Sonic motivated to rescue her. Amy's optimism and kindness are virtues that serve her well on her adventure too; she isn't just the character who fights with a giant hammer.

Unfortunately, this basically all disappears in Sonic Adventure 2. It would be wrong to say Amy has no impact on SA2's story, but she does not have a meaningful plotline for herself. The ultimate reason for Amy's inclusion in SA2 is because the writers needed someone who would bother even trying to change Shadow's mind about destroying the world; in other words, Amy exists in SA2 to advance a male character's story. Maria has it even worse. Her entire role in the story is to die to motivate Shadow's actions. If that doesn't reveal how much the writers cared about their female characters in SA2, I don't know what does. Even Rouge, supposedly a skilled jewel thief, has to be rescued while on a mission to steal the Chaos Emeralds just so Shadow can have another flashback about Maria.

Things have never really gotten better in the games as far as it's presentation of female characters is concerned. Starting in Heroes they turned Amy's crush on Sonic up to 11(000), and moved Rouge into Shadow's orbit while pushing him as one of the main characters in the series. Blaze actually had a strong character arc when she was introduced, so of course they made her secondary to Silver, despite his unpopularity after debuting in the worst game of the series. By then Sonic Team had such a poor track record with storytelling that they managed to discredit the very ideas of just about everything they had done in the prior half decade. They decided to throw out as much as they could for Sonic Unleashed, and the series narrative and characters have largely remained in stasis ever since.

So. Yeah. I do think the games have a sexist history.

It's also noteworthy how many of the adaptions have taken the trouble to add female characters to the main cast in an effort to balance out the gender ratio: SatAM/Archie had Sally and Bunny, Underground had Sonia, Boom had Sticks, and now IDW has Tangle/Whisper/Belle. Dr. Mechano is right; boys don't have any problem with rooting for female characters.

One last thing because this turned out longer than I expected: I don't like how Maddie is portrayed in the movie. She's a veterinarian but her husband is the one who figures out how to wake up the unconscious Sonic? Come on, let her do the thing she is supposed to be good at and treat the animal herself.

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I kinda agree with that there is a problem with the representation of female character (not necesseraly than the "sonic serie is sexist" which seems a bit more clickbaity), and that stuff are better with the comics. Having the kind of handling of character that the comic have transferred to the game would be really great for that part, especially for Rouge. I think that the "Team Dark" concept amplified a lot the problems around the handling of Rouge (a problem that was also present in ArchieSonic), and having her not following everywhere Shadow in IDW really helped the character to have moments for her to shine.

About the comic, I would say that they *got* better, as the Archie Era was kinda hit and miss, and even during the beginning of Ian's writing. At least he got better with time, and the second continuity was already way better.

9 hours ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Gotta love the Mania team for ignoring the mandates and giving every playable character a super form, hedgehog or not.

About this one, I'm not sure that they have really "ignored the mandate", as most of the non-Sonic super form seems to be more "gameplay"-based than story based, as they don't have really an "own" design (while all the "Hedgehog Super Form" in modern Sonic are golden, for instance). So I feel that the mandate isn't really against having the Super Form in gameplay, but about them "really existing in the diegesis of the story".

But still, adding a Super-Form-powered female character (Blaze is cool and should appear more, but she has her own kind of super form, and is from another dimension which makes usage a bit more difficult). Be it by adding one to Amy or adding a new female character in the same "league" of Sonic/Shadow/Silver (she could be an Hedghog or not).

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48 minutes ago, Kazhnuz said:

About this one, I'm not sure that they have really "ignored the mandate", as most of the non-Sonic super form seems to be more "gameplay"-based than story based, as they don't have really an "own" design (while all the "Hedgehog Super Form" in modern Sonic are golden, for instance). So I feel that the mandate isn't really against having the Super Form in gameplay, but about them "really existing in the diegesis of the story".

Nothing in Mania says that the other characters' super forms are "non-canon." The forms themselves are even called "Super Tails" and "Super Knuckles," not some lesser title.

I'm fine with them not being gold, since they weren't gold in the Genesis games either. "Super hedgehogs are gold, super other animals are just really shiny" is a perfectly acceptable lore explanation.

Arguably, we saw Super Tails and Super Knuckles at the end of Sonic Heroes as well; they become shiny and invulnerable and much faster than usual, as a direct result of powering up with the Chaos Emeralds. Sounds like their classic-era super forms to me.

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20 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Arguably, we saw Super Tails and Super Knuckles at the end of Sonic Heroes as well; they become shiny and invulnerable and much faster than usual, as a direct result of powering up with the Chaos Emeralds. Sounds like their classic-era super forms to me.

Tails and Knuckles don't change colors or even become shiny, though. They get their "transformations" from Sonic going super. Whatever they are, they're not a "standard" super form.

(Video goes to relevant cutscene.)

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Nothing in Mania says that the other characters' super forms are "non-canon." The forms themselves are even called "Super Tails" and "Super Knuckles," not some lesser title.

I'm fine with them not being gold, since they weren't gold in the Genesis games either. "Super hedgehogs are gold, super other animals are just really shiny" is a perfectly acceptable lore explanation.

I'm not saying that they are necesserally non-canon, just that assuming that Mania's team are managed to pass the mandate seems to be a bit leaning to the side of wishful thinking IMO, especially as we are biased to like the idea that the small team would manage to pass a mandate from the big corp. It was just a side note about the "ignoring the mandate" though, not something really important xD

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