You asked for it!
So, the thing that amazes me about genderbends, whether it's art or cosplay, is the poignant look it provides into the differences in male and female character design. Turn Eowyn into a man, take away the parts where he's wielding a sword, and it's mostly him being controlled and handled by women. He has few choices he's allowed to make himself, he's often given labels or roles by the women in his life, and he's forced to adapt to a world where his gender is not in power. He's a token character with a brief moment of heroism that is 100% defined by his gender.
Don't get me wrong---I like Eowyn a lot. She's one of my favorite characters (certainly my favorite female character). And I love LotR more than any other work of literature. But I have the same issue with her character as I have with the rest of Tolkien's world--- she's a lone voice, a sideline character, ultimately operating with the same restrictions women have faced through history--- that men will control the choices she makes. To be a hero, she has to defy their orders, and even then, her victory is defined by the fact that she's a woman on the battlefield, not her skills or bravery.
This hit a bit deeper than just the fun Fellowship one I did earlier, mostly because I'm thinking a lot more about gender egalitarianism in fantasy worldbuilding. With my own novel coming out in just a few months, and in editing the second and drafting the third in the trilogy, I find myself examining the inherent prejudices and stereotypes in our own world. Eowyn's character and many other characters whose struggles are defined by their gender (Alanna, Keladry, Graceling's
Katsa and Fire's
Fire) made me all the more determined to create a skilled protagonist whose gender was a non-issue. I've said it more than once--- I want girl Aragorn where it doesn't matter that she's a girl. In a world where women have the same opportunities to try and fail and succeed as men, I want the protagonist to be special because of her skills, not because she's a girl with those skills. I want her challenges to be the ones presented to her by the story, not the ones stuck to her because she's a woman in a man's world. That's, ultimately, what I tried to create in Mae and Mona and the rest of my worldbuilding for Woodwalker
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