Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 01:26 pm
I just watched Avatar: the Last Airbender and it was awesome (see my lj for squee) but something struck me in the third season, when the teenage characters started to interact more with their adult allies en masse.

While many of the teenage/child characters are female, and are written really well, hardly any of the adult ones are. There's a lot in the world, in the form of off-screen or dead mothers etc, or characters who show up for a single episode. But I can think of hardly any female characters over 20 who appear on screen for more than one episode, and none who really DO anything apart from the grandmother who is only at the very beginning of the series.

We have Gran Gran, who is pretty cool but only at the beginning of the show.
There's Zuko and Azula's mother in flashbacks, and I'm not sure that counts.
There's Azula's handmaidens who do very little apart from act as a sort of greek chorus (though I did like their final scene).
There's Joo Dee, the brain washed attendant, who is an interesting character but by definition has no motivations of her own and is also fairly young.
There's possibly a few in some of the double episodes, like the female guard at Boiling Rock, but I'm not sure they count (she didn't even get a name)

Meanwhile, we have the Water Nation troops, the Fire Nation leaders, the Earth generals, the swamp benders, the tea shop owner, all the gurus and teachers, uncles and fathers. I can think of ten or twelve off the top of my head. The entire Order of the White Lotus seem to be male.

You could argue that it's a sexist society so women don't get to do those roles (which doesn't bode well for the female characters future, and somewhat contradicts their present). But I think it goes beyond that. The fact that the closest thing we see to a female master is an evil witch (in a VERY similar role to that of Gwen's grandmother in Ben 10, very archetypal "Young women with power must not let it turn her into an evil witch" stuff going on there) was a bit creepy imo.

It doesn't ruin the show for me or anything, it's just annoying.
Thursday, December 24th, 2009 04:27 am (UTC)

I've heard that, originally, Toph was meant to be a guy.

Also haven't you heard the Zuko's mother is the Earth King's bear (~*~Ursa~*~) theory? That makes her a much more visible character.
Thursday, December 24th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
It's my favourite crack theory. :3 See, 'cause the kids make a big deal about how it's just a plain bear, and how weird that is, and it's very silly.

June's the bounty hunter Zuko hires to CAPTURE THE AVATAAAAR in the Bato episode, and she comes back at the end. I've always thought of her as more of an adult than a teenager.
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Actually, one of my favourite fantheories from the TVT page is about how it's not just the Avatar who reincarnates -- his best friends/element master teachers reincarnate as well, which is why Aang gets on so well with the others, and why Katara and Toph are so awesome at such a young age.

But that might mean that Sokka is a reincarnation of Sozin??? D:
Monday, January 18th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
[personal profile] coffeeandink also talks about it with discussion in the comments.
Edited (rassin frassin dw html) 2010-01-18 09:23 pm (UTC)