What is with the unrealistic male characters?

The teenage years. Friendships, crushes, growth... and hating. Lots of hating.

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What is with the unrealistic male characters?

Postby KiZeR on Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:17 pm

Yes, I know its just a comic strip, but for a comic that somewhat realistically deals with adolescent life and female complex relationships, the men are all so unrealistic. At first I thought, oh, this comic is written by a woman. But its not. So we've got guys who are offended when a girl asks them for sex and sneaks into the shower with them, guys who are offended when they learn the girl they're about to have sex with is a virgin. All the guys are acting like girls!

I find this very strange. Whats up with that?
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Postby Chrysee on Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:40 pm

For someone who seems able to recognize complex female relationships, you sure do seem to over generalize about men and their relationships. ;P
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Postby SatoshiSaotome on Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:45 pm

Speaking as a Hetrosexual caucasion, 18 to 40 male.

We're not all that complicated.

While there are some of us whom put a little more thought and respect into it when it comes to sex.

And there are those whom put little to no thought, they just stick it in and leave then they are done.

Even the most complex of us, are rather simple folk.

While In my medium to small list of sexual partners, I have made some extremly wise, to utterly dumb choices, and I can 100% agree to this one simple sentence:

"SEX IS BETTER WITH SOMEONE YOU LOVE!"

Regardless. No man, no matter who he is, turns down a woman that fine, in a shower, practically grabbing it for joy.

The virgin thing... I can understand however...
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Postby Freemage on Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:53 pm

I disagree that Stan is being portrayed in an unrealistic fashion. He's just been thrown for a loop, largely because he thought one situation was actually another.
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Postby Tarlia on Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:05 pm

Why on earth is it unrealistic that Stan is surprised Michelle is a virgin? "Offended" is stretching it, we don't even know what his "why?" meant yet. What was he supposed to do that's MANLY enough for you? Go "HELL YEAH!" and think he's the shit and immediately run out and brag about it to all his friends?

Marshall may not be acting like a "typical" teenage guy, but he's one example, and "different" isn't necessarily "unrealistic".

I'm also curious how these two incidents mean that all the male characters in the strip "act like girls" (whatever that means). Got any more examples to back you up?
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Postby StarKruzr on Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:20 pm

The OP is correct in saying that Marshall is behaving really, really strangely.

I think Stan's reaction, though, is entirely normal. He's REALLY been thrown for a loop here. It's almost a kind of deception -- and a pretty serious one.
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Postby ria on Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:05 pm

I don't think the men are any more unrealistic than the women here. The criticism has been made before that the characters in general are unrealistic, and I even agree to an extent (nothing I can't forgive because it helps the story, though). But really, do you think Aggie is a typical high school girl any more than Marshall is a typical high school boy?
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Postby Starline on Tue Oct 03, 2006 4:52 am

I think all the characters 'think' too much. I don't recall most of my friends or classmates in highschool thinking so much. At least, not about actual important things anyway.
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Postby daanton on Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:15 am

Starline wrote:I think all the characters 'think' too much. I don't recall most of my friends or classmates in high school thinking so much. At least, not about actual important things anyway.

Almost as if this strip mostly engages in social commentary and not just in humour... yes, I've noticed that, too.
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Postby Freemage on Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:40 am

dannton: That doesn't invalidate the criticism; social commentary could be made without having the characters say/think it explicitly.
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Postby quitejaded on Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:41 am

Marshall is weird, but Stan isn't "offended". I told a guy I was a virgin and he was like "Nuh uh... Why?"

He's probably surprised. I read it as "This beautiful thing is a virgin?" Don't know why so many exclamation points. We'll find out soon.
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Postby Enaronia on Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:51 am

SatoshiSaotome wrote:Speaking as a Heterosexual caucasion, 18 to 40 male.

We're not all that complicated.

Even the most complex of us, are rather simple folk.

I'm glad you've questioned every heterosexual male on this. Of course, if you've displayed that much interest in the question, then you've proven yourself to be pretty complex.. and if you haven't, you've proven yourself to make large sweeping commentaries about people based on yourself, but not about human nature in general, only for some reason applying it to one specific group that you belong to. That also makes you fairly interesting and complex, if wrong. And hey, you're here, proving that you do, in fact, have some other interests... Sorry, but no.

And then, there's all of those examples who are not you... each one different.. that's pretty complicated. Even if there weren't that much to you (which I don't believe anyway), that doesn't mean everyone who shares certain arbitrarily decided categories with you is just like you.

Heck, I think the largest group of well-known historical figures consists of heterosexual males ages 18-40--they've done some fairly interesting things, I believe. And I don't think they're all that under-represented in contributions to society, science, technology, or religion either.

I really really don't like it when someone thinks (and proclaims as fact!), just because he/she kinda seems to fit a negative stereotype, all people from that group really are just like that. They ain't.

Regardless. No man, no matter who he is, turns down a woman that fine, in a shower, practically grabbing it for joy.

Nonsense. Men are capable of thought, just like everyone else. I don't know a single straight guy who wouldn't have, uh, turned her down. Actually, I don't think I know many who would have bothered with the words, opting for shoving her out or leaving and grabbing pants on the way out of the locker room instead. I'd do the same, and not give the guy another chance. But it's a little bit different for me--a guy I'd be dating would be allowed in the men's locker room, Karen isn't.


And on a completely unrelated note:
Starline wrote:I think all the characters 'think' too much. I don't recall most of my friends or classmates in highschool thinking so much. At least, not about actual important things anyway.

Hmm.. well, I certainly can't speak for your friends, but mine always seemed to. And I know that I personally didn't do much else.
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Postby KiZeR on Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:59 am

I find Stan's reaction the most unrealistic of all. Sure, when you're older and more experienced, you might prefer someone with experience as well. The sex is generally better. But for a high school guy, sex is sex. Hell, a virgin is usually prefered. In high school, only girls look down on the prospect of sleeping with a virgin, which is why I say Stan is acting like a girl.


Stan isn't just "suprised" Michelle is a virgin...his appearance and response suggests he's actually turned off by the idea of sleeping with a virgin. We can pass off Marshal as being gay, but Stan? What's his deal?
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Postby Tarlia on Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:17 am

KiZeR wrote:I find Stan's reaction the most unrealistic of all. Sure, when you're older and more experienced, you might prefer someone with experience as well. The sex is generally better. But for a high school guy, sex is sex. Hell, a virgin is usually prefered. In high school, only girls look down on the prospect of sleeping with a virgin, which is why I say Stan is acting like a girl.


Stan isn't just "suprised" Michelle is a virgin...his appearance and response suggests he's actually turned off by the idea of sleeping with a virgin. We can pass off Marshal as being gay, but Stan? What's his deal?


As we all know, all people, especially high school guys, are exactly the same, and they all behave like one big singular unit. If one dares to act a little differently, clearly he is gay, was beaten as a child, or is an alien.

Why is it so hard to grasp for many people that not everyone has to be exactly like you or your circle of friends?
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Postby Miyo on Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:16 pm

KiZeR wrote:I find Stan's reaction the most unrealistic of all. Sure, when you're older and more experienced, you might prefer someone with experience as well. The sex is generally better. But for a high school guy, sex is sex. Hell, a virgin is usually prefered. In high school, only girls look down on the prospect of sleeping with a virgin, which is why I say Stan is acting like a girl.


Stan isn't just "suprised" Michelle is a virgin...his appearance and response suggests he's actually turned off by the idea of sleeping with a virgin. We can pass off Marshal as being gay, but Stan? What's his deal?


This is only a guess, but from what I can tell of Stan, I don't think he's seriously thinking of a relationship with Michelle. Michelle however, seems rather gooey eyed and daydreams about him. Something that seems to me to say "I want to date this person". (Who knows, she could be just doing it for fun too.)

However you are right that some girls put alot of...importance in their virginity. So this may be a very special time for Michelle. Now how does this matter to Stan? Remember when he was very hesitant in going after Michelle and what Jack said? That "the Hero dunps her then the sidekick does too is bad storytelling", or something like that. Stan brushed most of it off saying that Michelle knows she's hot and she uses it. Sort of saying that if he does leave then it won't hurt her so much because she doesn't care either. But when he finds out that she is giving up something as big as her virginity it becomes more dangerous, because this shows 1. Michelle isn't as experienced (therefore confident) as he thought and 2. he is something really important to her for her to do this. Therefore he's figuring this isn't going to end Happily Ever After....

So this is how it goes:

1. Stan takes Michelle's virginity.
2. Michelle expects more (relationship possibly?)
3. Stan doesn't want to give more.
4. Michelle is crushed and might possibly join Sara in loathing men.
5. Stan gets the reputation of being a scumbag...or at least a WORSE scumbag...who takes girl's virginities and leaves them in the dust.

Hmm....if Stan is as hung up about image as I think (or at least somewhat has a conscience) then yeah, he may be a little upset.
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The problem isn't

Postby Buggy on Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:18 pm

That Stan. Marshall etc may be exceptions to the rules. Rules are full of exceptions after all.

But where are the average guys? While it is perfectly normaly to have several handfuls of exceptional people in the school, there would many more handfuls of average people..by definition..

Where are they?
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Re: The problem isn't

Postby KiZeR on Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:32 pm

Buggy wrote:That Stan. Marshall etc may be exceptions to the rules. Rules are full of exceptions after all.

But where are the average guys? While it is perfectly normaly to have several handfuls of exceptional people in the school, there would many more handfuls of average people..by definition..

Where are they?


I supposed there's Rich. But even he's more a fantasy ideal then an average guy. There is Duane, pining over Penny, a girl he'll never have, while not realizing Angie likes him.
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Re: The problem isn't

Postby Tarlia on Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:49 pm

Buggy wrote:That Stan. Marshall etc may be exceptions to the rules. Rules are full of exceptions after all.

But where are the average guys? While it is perfectly normaly to have several handfuls of exceptional people in the school, there would many more handfuls of average people..by definition..

Where are they?


They're not interesting enough to be made into named characters? :)
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Postby isobel on Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:01 pm

I don't think Stan's that weird, really. He's surprised Michelle's a virgin, but there are many things that could produce that kind of response. I mean, a confident and beautiful girl in a catsuit who doesn't act at all shy/awkward, and who was seemingly "with" Mr. Manly Man Rich isn't going to say "virgin" to much of anyone. Plus she didn't say anything about it, so for all Stan knew, there was nothing to say (see the above). That's gonna be a shock to anyone, teenage or not, male or not. Let's stop the presses on saying he's put off or anything else until we see it; all we know now is he was quite shocked.

As for Marshall, well, he's not typical, but I don't find it super hard to believe that he may have emotional trauma that gives him such an aversion to sex. If you think of it that way rather than "he's a plain vanilla guy who never had anything bad happen to him in his life," then he stops looking so weird too. I'm going to submit that he's afraid of people (like we see in "Weights") and fiercely independent (that Aggie fainting spell speech of his; I know I mention it a lot but it does seem relevant) for a reason. Marshall does not understand or trust people, he understands and trusts things. So there's his weird.

Rich and Duane are really pretty normal. Rich has the teenage alpha male syndrome I'm sure everyone saw at least once in high school, and Duane's the sensitive-poet guy who gets "You'll make a great boyfriend" from all the girls he knows. Those are standard enough types that I'm sure everyone here has run into them at least once during their teen years. They're not Everyman, but no one here is. They're just familiar faces from high school. Insisting that Marshall and Stan are freaks because they're not total horndogs is just weird. The cast is by and large composed of personality types common among teenagers, with some twists here and there so we don't get bored.
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Re: The problem isn't

Postby Enaronia on Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:02 pm

Buggy wrote:That Stan. Marshall etc may be exceptions to the rules. Rules are full of exceptions after all.

But where are the average guys? While it is perfectly normaly to have several handfuls of exceptional people in the school, there would many more handfuls of average people..by definition..

Where are they?

I really don't think there's such a thing as an "average" person. The average person would have every most common trait, but every real person is unique, deviates from the norm in at least one area.

I am unique and special! Just like everybody else.

isobel wrote:As for Marshall, well, he's not typical, but I don't find it super hard to believe that he may have emotional trauma that gives him such an aversion to sex.

I've read that a lot... isn't it possible to believe that he's just not typical, without any emotional trauma? I'm not a lot like him overall, but the things that people say make him atypical? I'd say pretty much all of the same things. I'd probably have dumped a guy who treated me like Karen earlier, but if I did manage to get into the same situations he did, I'd act the same way. And I have had no emotional trauma and have no aversion to sex.
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Postby Sebastian on Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:37 pm

KiZeR wrote:Stan isn't just "suprised" Michelle is a virgin...his appearance and response suggests he's actually turned off by the idea of sleeping with a virgin. We can pass off Marshal as being gay, but Stan? What's his deal?


I think the deal is like this, she was (even for a short while) Rick's girlfriend, and either Rick didn't tap her or she didn't let be tapped by him
For Stan that have for Rick a bad case of hero worship either options are inconceivable, that she could choose him over Rick for the "tappng" doubly so.

IMHO.
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Postby isobel on Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:44 pm

Enaronia: I'm open to Marshall being atypical and trauma-free, but I've seen some stuff in other parts of the comic that suggest the boy's got issues. At the end of "Weights" he's getting all scared of people and emotions, and he went postal at Aggie in "Crushed" for what sounded like the same reasons. I'm still guessing, like the rest of us, I just give trauma my vote because of some other points in the comic.
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Postby Ostracee on Tue Oct 03, 2006 4:51 pm

Okay, I've got to say, some of the things in this thread are completely horrible - I have never seen this much misandry and homophobia in a page and a half. That said,

I read Stan's reaction as worried over "first time syndrome." I'm surprised no one else seems to have seen it this way. He seems to want a relationship, but I don't think he wants to turn into her "first love."

Marshall's "issues" about sex seem to be good old Puritan guilt - not that uncommon. Also, since my guess would be that he doesn't have a condom, this could get him into quite a bit of trouble. It might even be that giving in here tells her she wears the pants, which he won't have. Not to mention this could get them both fired; he didn't see Charisma's little "hint-hint" look earlier. There are a lot of reasons for a straight guy to turn down a girl in that situation.

This comes off as quite arrogant, and for that I'm sorry, but honestly, it all seems so obvious.
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Postby Freemage on Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:59 pm

Ostracee wrote:Okay, I've got to say, some of the things in this thread are completely horrible - I have never seen this much misandry and homophobia in a page and a half. That said,



BZZZZZTTTT!!!! We have a wrong answer.

Sorry, but even as someone who has not been posting, "Marshall is gay," I find that attack overbroad and insulting.

Homophobia is a non-standard term (since it should actually mean 'fear of things that are the same') for people with a hatred of homosexuals.

Fred Phelps is a homophobe. The folks suspecting that Marshall MIGHT be a closeted gay (even to himself) are not. This doesn't mean they're right, but branding them as gay-bashers is sufficiently far enough out of line to request both a retraction and an apology.

Misandry is a bit more accurate (in the posts stating, "No straight teenage male would ever refuse sex/think through the consequences of sex with a virgin"), though most of THAT is coming from, um, other guys. When women see female characters portrayed in an unrealistic fashion in other comics, they usually respond accordingly; Marshall and (to a lesser extent) Stan are sufficiently far off the norm that it at least is getting male readers to ask, "What's up with that?"
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Postby isobel on Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:45 pm

Oh, thppt bleah. I'm going to skip the traditional eating of the liver on the board and go straight to the point that while the loudest posters tend to have some pretty out-there ideas, a lot of us are of a more quiet and moderate bent. Hell, I think the recent threads have actually been calmer about some issues than they were even a month back.

We're not all mad here, you've just got to dig a little to see it. :wink:
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