Damsels in distress can sit and wait until somebody else comes to rescue them. They don’t have to think. They can be reckless, careless, and stupid without fear of consequence. They can allow themselves to be kidnapped by villains — no worries! They have to be special since their hero will save this passive little selves. They never have to change or grow, let alone admit they are wrong because everything will work out in the end. Their sexuality is enough as she can jiggle it for the hero who saves her no questions asked.
If the Patriarchal is guilty of any one sin, it is leading millions of gullible little girls into thinking they don’t have to work or think as survivors and thrivers. Female protagonists are often not the captain of their own ships, even if it seems to be spun in such a way. She is pining for a man. She aims high, but is humbled and retreats, settling for a inferior consolation prize. She learns that love is more important than ambition, yet male protagonists can have both: he can win the prize and The Girl.
These days, many shows have a female protagonist who is more capable than the male co-star, yet she is still settling with someone beneath her. She is reduced to being the nanny whose waste-of-life activities hold her back. The Wonder Woman delusion dictates she still needs a Steve Trevor to function. She will waste her life and talents on a loser who exploits her.
She snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. She carries dead weight who exploits her, making her a loser in the bargain and deserves no respect.
She can insult him all she wants, but he gets more from the bargain than she ever will.
Note that reversal of roles does nothing to fix an imbalance: a male protagonist who saves the woman still gets ahead as a hero. The female protagonist is not so lucky. She is still the servant and maid cleaning up a partner’s messes as she must multi-task. Superman never had his job as reporter or secret life as a superhero in jeopardy because of Lois Lane’s ditziness. She was just a regular customer of Superman who made him look good at his job as rescuer as she made his rivals such as Lex Luthor look bad. Clark Kent lived to his full potential, leading the Justice League and being the king of the heroes.
In the Patriarchal, it is all about women settling for less, not more. She must know that ultimately her place is to miss her mark, either of a specific goal, or just waste her life in general. She cannot have it all.
She won’t rule the world, let alone her world. She must play games of bailing out a man or have a man bail her out.
Stories such as the television series Madame Secretary or the Closer are the exception, not the rule, but even then, these are professional women who come from good homes and did not have to struggle to survive in their developing years. They are refreshing guides to those who have the same advantage.
We don’t have the stories of the lost girls who desperately need maps to get them out of their hellish existence.
How does she escape abuse and poverty without thinking getting pregnant or latching on to some man will do it for her?
How does she break through the overt and latent misogynistic traps: how can she get a grant or bank loan to start a business?
How will she educate herself?
When her family neglects her, abuses her, or even prostitutes her, how does she triumph?
How does she do it without settling for less or using her sexuality or exploiting herself?
Why should she be a visionary with a plan and a dream, and not a schemer or a conniver with toxic fantasies?
We can discuss the escapism of 50 Shades and Twilight, or we can discuss how to make different map where no escape is necessary because those lost little girls have them analyze of creating their own paradise.
No, it will not be easy. There is real work, obstacles, and opposition, but learning to build worlds is an invaluable lesson, and the Matriarchal is the structure to explore the different ways to build them. Diversity of heroines is essential to the style: they come from all walks of life. They have different dreams, talents, innovations, and methods, but they all wish to seek a better life and a better way. They do not enable. They do not look for a saviour. They do not play a martyr. They are women of action and do not settle.
They are the guides for the lost to find their own voice, talents, and vision. They tear down delusions as they show the ways of reality and truth, and make the map to finding those ways.