Today's discussion, is this sexist or not: A male hero accomplishing his goal and "getting the girl" at the end.
Here's one school of thought: When you see this happen, the female is just a trophy for the man to win. Men will pursue women as trophies to be won, an added perk to already saving the world and all that jazz they do. That's sexist.
Another school of thought: The man is earning the woman. He must prove himself worthy of the woman and getting up to her level, so both partners bring an equal amount of awesomeness to the relationship. Feminist.
Aha! The feminist and sexist concepts are exactly the same. The man is earning the woman, but by one's definition, it's sexist. By another, it's feminist. Dun dun daaaaa......
A man needs to be worthy of the female and has to earn her love, because a strong woman deserves a strong man. But a man earning the woman turns her into a trophy, an object. So... what now?
Here's what I think. Which way it's taken depends on how developed and layered the woman is. If she's very layered, fascinating, with strong goals and motivations--then hell yeah her partner should live up to that. But if she's a 1-dimensional replacement for a shiny trophy, that's the man "earning a trophy worthy of his accomplishments" rather than "improving himself to be worthy of her accomplishments."
Both partners must bring something to the table and earn each other, be worthy of each other's accomplishments.
Get it? :)
Moral of the story: write well-developed, 3-dimensional female characters (and male characters too of course, but in this specific trope, the FMC is usually a 1-dimensional object), and no one will accuse her of being a trophy.
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