meta: the ladies

Meta related to characters, plots, or other elements introduced by Victor Hugo in Les Misérables.
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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:52 pm

....you've just given me a plot bunny.
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MmeBahorel
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:27 am

There's a reason I just made her Musetta from La Bohème :)

A boyfriend at some point must have thought her musical, as Joly thinks her literary, and that boyfriend could have been anything from a young artist back from his Roman trip to a student with some grasp of Italian.

It's nicer than "Musette", which is Musetta's actual nickname, which could literally be an oboe-like instrument or an auvergnat version of bagpipes. Neither of which instruments are commonly described (in English, anyway) as all that beautiful. (The bal-musettes were so-called because of the auvergnat musette players and the popularity of the dance called "musette", a 17th-18th century pastoral dance taking its name from the instrument.) The diminutive takes away the potential literalness of the bagpipes translation.
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby between4walls » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:44 am

Asking a native speaker got me "cute little music" with an explanation that -etta conveus cute, happy, bouncy, cheerful, as well as little, while-ina would just be small. -
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:50 am

I've decided my least favorite Miz-woman cliche is distressed-damsel!Éponine. It's honestly made me want more than anything from this fandom a fic where Éponine saves Marius from Montparnasse or whoever, because given Éponine's experience with the Paris underworld amd Marius's inexperience at... well, everything, that honestly seems a more likely scenario to me.

This sort of fic also tends to kill off Azelma, I've noticed, presumably to give the bad guys a "Moral Event Horizon" (as TVTropes puts it) moment without putting the leading lady at risk.
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby Rachel » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:11 am

They also do it so that we have something to tell us that our love interest is a really, really awesome guy/girl/whatever. Like, after Thénardier beating Éponine non-stop, he kills Azelma! And Montparnasse rapes Azelma! And Babet eats her pet bunny! And Brujon drowns her kitten! And Éponine is forced to watch and almost killed, but either left on the ground for no reason, or was saved by her love interest. The author can then show us how sweet and supportive the love interest is by having them comfort Éponine and nurse her back to health.

It's such lazy and cliché writing.
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby WhoIam » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:12 am

I seriously hope I never write anything that cliche. I really do. That is just horrible. And OOC.
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby MmeBahorel » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:31 am

If I get time, Picnob, maybe I'll try that. Like at work on Friday because it will be so dead I can probably do a ficlet. And I should really be producing something (too many projects right now competing for my time).
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:25 am

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. :P 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?
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby Rachel » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:31 am

Honestly? I wouldn't even blame Disney. Because Disney knows about that trope and it does its best to fight it. I mean, look at Beauty and the Beast. You've got Gaston, who in any other story would probably be the hero. He's muscular, he's the town hero, everybody loves him. But he doesn't save Belle. He puts her in more and more danger as time progresses. And honestly, in Beauty and the Beast Belle does the saving, for the most part. Sometimes in more subtle ways, but she saves her father, and she's the one who saves the Beast with her tears or whatever.

There's nothing in Bridge to Terabithia to suggest Jesse saving anybody, since he can't even save himself. It's pretty clear that climbing out of that creek on her own would be pretty impossible as well. I'm not sure why the fandom has him save her. Probably so that they can build their relationship? Also, no one else really knows about Terabithia, so there aren't very many options.
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:44 am

This isn't really about Leslie specifically, she's just a character I've been thinking about recently and who I've noticed a lot of the same tropes apply to. Whether it's Éponine, or Leslie, or whoever, fanfic writers just seem to love turning badass women into distressed damsels that need to be saved, even if (possibly even ESPECIALLY if), they're actually more willful than their love interest.
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby Rachel » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:24 am

Well, to be fair, Éponine kind of did need a hero. I mean, she couldn't get out of the degrading poverty she was stuck in on her own, and nobody was going to help her. So, unless someone rescued her from the despair she lives in (like Cosette had been) her only way to escape the degradation in which she lives is to die. But on a smaller scope, Marius (or Enjolras or anybody) should not be saving her from anything smaller than poverty as whole, since she made a group of criminal masterminds (admittedly, Hugo masterminds-- not quite masterminds, but in Hugo's mind...) back down despite all of them being bigger and stronger than her as well as armed. And she had no weapons.

Perhaps something to do with the message we all have nailed into our heads from a young age? That we want to be submissive. We want to be the princess and we want to be saved by the handsome prince (not that there's anything wrong with being saved, it's just tiring when no one saves themselves). There has been some fighting against that trope recently, but I believe it comes down to the whole being treated like a princess thing and lazy writing. I'm not sure which it's more of.
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby SpiritOfDawn » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:04 pm

Rachel wrote:Perhaps something to do with the message we all have nailed into our heads from a young age? That we want to be submissive. We want to be the princess and we want to be saved by the handsome prince (not that there's anything wrong with being saved, it's just tiring when no one saves themselves).

We do? I must have missed that lesson in school :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
Rachel wrote:There has been some fighting against that trope recently, but I believe it comes down to the whole being treated like a princess thing and lazy writing. I'm not sure which it's more of.

[/quote]
Part of it is - to be fair - probably also the fact that she IS in a pretty bad situation and obviously not fully able to bring herself out of this, so help might be appreciated.
And doesn't she call Marius "my prince" in the french version of "on my own"? (Just for the record...)

However, weepy, she is definitely not. And there may be some difficulty (especially with sloppy writing...) when toeing that line.
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby meow139 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:46 pm

Sort of off the current topic, but posting it here because:

My Cosette I make very, very over-solicitous. I pinpoint the reasons for this as she has experienced very little human interaction aside of her father, and has really only been among people her own age at the convent. In 1832 I see her as very, very lonely and rather naive- certainly far too trusting for her own good. Also I agree with some of the discussion about a possible complex- given her history, it seems likely, so I make that a contributing factor in her interaction with strangers (read: Marius).

And yet she is intelligent, she is sort of impulsive, she is a bit too dreamy. My Cosette reads a lot, for lack of much better to do (remember, she has few friends) and thus I figure that when she saw Marius she was sort of... taken aback and reminded of all the love stories she read about in books (watered down- I imagine she would have a hard time getting any really good love stories). So, in short, my Cosette is way too trusting, very over-solicitous, cheerful and sort of dreamy- otherwise, for all intents and purposes a normal teenage girl.
Last edited by meow139 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby MmeBahorel » Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:01 am

I think you're probably right. It's how I ended up writing Cosette femslash - she's just so susceptible to anything due to loneliness and lack of socialization as a teenager. All she needs is a bit of a push in the name of love, and one does wonder how married life under Gillenormand's roof goes as she's curious as anything and while Marius is NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT THIS SORT OF THING, Gillenormand has fewer such qualms. He could have such a field day corrupting his granddaughter in law, and it would be adorable because Cosette is adorable. Her innocence and desire to please could so easily lead her down some very scary paths, which may be why Valjean is anxious to marry her off the moment he figures out that Marius is wealthy, with a solid family (Grandfather and maiden aunt - stolid family, actually), and a stand-up guy. It's the most convenient solution and best to jump on it the moment it has appeared, as the consequences of not following up on this could be terrible.

(P.S. The phrase is "all intents and purposes". I'm sure you know how cruel the internet at large can be; please consider this a helpful correction for future reference to prevent possible future issues on more public forums, not me laughing at you. I'm nice, I swear *g*.)
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Re: meta: the ladies

Postby Majestic_Picnob » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:44 am

Man Marius and Cosette's wedding night must've been awkward. Would either of them even know what to... do? Maybe that's why Hugo didn't describe it; too embarrassing. :wink:
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