It just kind of bugs me because Éponine is probably the closest thing in the book to a female badass, and yet she's always portrayed as a weepy Disney princess. Granted, it might be a bit worrying that Hugo's idea of "female badass" is apparently "able to scream really loud," but hey, 1800s.
I have literally yet to see a fic that has her do something really cool like, I dunno, use her underworld connections to rescue Gavroche's brothers, or something. She's always a passive victim.
It's really something no fandom escapes, I've noticed. Anyone ever heard of Bridge to Terabithia
here? It's a book and movie that I like, and I was recently surprised to discover it had an active fandom, so I went and checked it out. The fandom's favorite character is by far the female lead, Leslie, a general ball of slightly-hyperactive awesome who helps the main male, Jesse, come out of his shell. The fandom takes it as a given they're a couple, even though nothing officially happens between them because
SPOILERS BELOW, EXCEPT MAYBE NOT DUE TO POPCULTURAL OSMOSIS
the book and film end with Leslie's death from falling in a creek. Naturally, give her popularity, a none-to-small portion of the fic is dedicated to getting her out of said creek. The most common way this goes down? Big strong Jesse saves her, even though throughout most of the story he's
an (emotional) distressed damsel and it would be (in my opinion) much more interesting for Leslie (or any similar character) to save herself under her own power.
I'm pretty sure most of these writers are female, too, which raises some... questions. Blame Disney?