The Perception of Heroines in Otome-ge

More than any other category of visual novel, otome-ge have been accused of being the most unfair in their treatment of female characters, but ironically, it is the self-proclaimed “fans” who are most unforgiving when it comes to the judgement of a heroine. No matter the target demographic, any genre will have its share of dynamic protagonists, as well as those which are less so. Yet the assumption persists that female protagonists are written the worst, with the most flaws and least likable characteristics.

To many, a girl who is unable to consistently endure her burdens,  no matter how difficult the circumstances, who is torn between romantic options, or who displays naïvety and innocence is called a weakling or useless, despite her own strengths as an individual. There are also instances when a heroine is dominant and unwavering, and these traits are considered offensive and vindictive. It is a contradictory logical knot: a perfect heroine incites boredom, but a heroine with flaws earns her derision.

Derogatory names are usually directed at the more idealistic and sweet-tempered heroines, and while some may indeed fit the description of being powerless and gullible, it is often more undeserved than the frequency of its use suggests. Which begs the question: If such terms are entirely inappropriate, why are they used so often? Why is it that optimism and purity are considered to be signs of low intelligence, an unpleasant personality, and unjustifiable reactions? Why are such faulty judgements used as justification for contempt, and why does the heroine in particular receive so much hatred? Simple bias, perhaps, or it may very well be that the accusations reflect more on the audience’s sense of judgement than the one supposedly deserving of it.

While initial impressions may be strong, I find that too many are eager to hate and insult, preferring the cheap satisfaction that comes with easy blame, instead of distancing themselves and trying to follow a definite reasoning behind such misguided opinions. While it is simpler to mistake ignorance or pacifism for stupidity and the like, in the end, it only gives the hasty detractors an image of egotism and superficiality,  instead of serving as any proof of superiority.

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