I also mentioned how these fictional ladies’ hostility and competitiveness, while probably meant to show their ability to ‘hold their own’ among the men, can actually make them look weak. I thought that was a strange contradiction, and one worth exploring.
To illustrate this dichotomy, have you ever noticed the way an animal reacts when you walk onto its turf?
Think about the small dogs that run yowling up to the fence, declaring the boundaries of their yard at the top of their high-pitched lungs. They probably think they’re showing you how powerful and dangerous they are, but the fact that they’re getting so worked up over such a little thing makes them look downright impotent. (And it’s incredibly annoying.)
Now think about the girls in fiction who constantly snap at their male counterparts. “You’re doing it wrong! Yip! Nobody’s safe when you’re driving! Yap! I have to do everything myself! Bark!”
Alternately, there are their quieter but equally misdirected counterparts, the ones whose primary goal in life seems to be to surpass or at least keep up with the guys... who are on their team. Think about the kid who’s so eager to be the one who wins the game that he scores on his own team. They’re so anxious to prove themselves that it hurts their ability to do what they’re supposed to be doing.
Have you ever tried to prove that water is wet? Of course not. The only time something needs to be proven is if there’s a good reason to doubt it. So if these girls are trying to prove that they aren’t weak... I think you get it. ;)
Now think about skunks. They’re small, they’re soft, and they’re known for their confidence. They don’t pick fights because they don’t have to. They don’t attack, yammer like a small dog, or try to assert dominance, because they already know who’s the boss.
They don’t need to rule the forest, because they’re sure that they’ll get what they want and make it to wherever they’re going without needing to step on anyone in the process.
Do they stand up for themselves if threatened? Sure. But they’ll warn you gently before they waste their spray.
I remember watching an anime once, and growing more and more impressed as a young homemaker held her position and, while remaining respectful of the other party’s opinions, gently and quietly convinced the man on the other end of the phone that her point of view was correct.
The kicker? The man in question was, unbeknownst to her, an extradimensional king.
She held her ground, she got what she wanted, and she did it without making an enemy, snapping like a chihuahua, or losing any of her class.