All of DanielWessel's Comments + Replies

Hmmm, thank you for the posting, it sheds a light on something that I had not seen before. I like a lot of things about the posting, including the standing up part if the hero fucks up. And Samwise is an interesting "sidekick". I think he differs in at least two other aspects from the typical "sidekick" that deserve special emphasis:

First, Samwise is self-sufficient ("competent"). It's not the typical Robin character that needs to get rescued by Batman as a stupid plot ploy. He has his own skills and carries his own weight. Th... (read more)

FWIW, when I brought up gender, I wasn't actually thinking "women are choosing to take a submissive position, and that's bad". I don't think it's bad if women choose that. My thought was more along the lines of "Hmm, what is written here sounds eerily similar to how many women view romantic relationships, and coincidentally a lot of the people espousing the view are women, which provides further evidence that there is a romance subtext to this hero/sidekick dynamic." I wasn't making a value judgement concerning which gender played hero and which sidekick, just noticing that the subtext existed. And then my second thought was "there may be something psychologically unhealthy about evaluating the quality of romantic attachments in light of how much a person can save the world". I just don't think "is this person smart, powerful, and knowledgeable enough to save the world" is an appropriate criteria for a relationship here. Perhaps I should have not even mentioned gender and just said "this sounds like a romantic relationship" - that would have been sufficient to get the point across. Gender was only important insofar as it gave (correct or incorrect) clues about the motivations about people espousing the views. I could fairly be accused of stereotyping, since if a bunch of men said "I wanna be a sidekick" I might not have picked up a romantic subtext. (But I think stereotypes are epistemically valid as clues, and although it is sometimes instrumentally better not to act on that information for the purpose of not perpetuating stereotypes I thought it was okay in this case).
6Swimmer963 (Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg) 9y
I certainly hope to be at least that competent. I'm an adult; I've lived on my own and been financially independent of my parents since I was 17. If anything, it feels like "okay, I've got this taking care of myself thing down, can I have a harder challenge?" I'm a freaking ICU nurse, responsible for other people's lives 12 hours a day. It doesn't feel like I would strongly prefer being visible to being in the background. Both have an appeal. There's skill and satisfaction in knowing that you're making it look like the hero did everything on their own, too. I think people engage with things they read on multiple levels, not just the explicit arguments, and that includes picking up implicit social norms from context/subtext like "all the pro-hero writers are male, all the pro-sidekick writers are female." And that's not even taking into account the fact that my article is apparently fairly in line with Christian writing on the topic of service, and so might end up shared among Christian bloggers–and the various Christian's sects' attitudes to gender roles are often not ones I endorse.