Something Pretentious Invoking Galatea
But wait! There's more numbers! There are so many numbers yet to come! From the rest of the group (because guys can be distinct and girls are just, to kick off an entry of trope-dropping, The Chick), you've got the leader. Or you've got the self-insert. Sometimes they're the same guy. For the ease of writing, and because there's no real difference in how the two operate in this phenomenon, we're gonna suppose they are in fact the same guy. He can range anywhere from a straight-up personality port with the occasional superpower and Stuish tendencies to full-on raging Gary Stu. You will always know him when you see him. He isn't necessarily the creator's explicit self-insert, but you will always know him.
Know also that there is a 94% chance the girl!Toa will be his girlfriend. 1% of the time, they'll be out-and-out married.
Alright, I'm fudging the numbers a bit there. Sometimes there's just really heavy romantic tension. And I haven't actually seen any that are married. But that's fairly irrelevant: all I'd have to do to correct it is change 'girlfriend' to 'some kind of romantic thing going on'. And maybe add that one percent back. To say 95% of The Girl Ones exist for some kind of romantic deal with the Self Leader Guy is an overstatement of mere thousandths of percentage points.
This is the Happy Funtimes List portion of the blog entry, and what I want you to do is take this with you next time you run across one of these My Bionicle Girlfriends. Take the list and a moderately-to-extremely caffeinated beverage of your choice. I do not, in fact, want you to incur liver damage.
Take a sip every time one of these is true:
- She is romantically attracted to the Self Leader Guy
- She is his girlfriend
- It is even admitted she is based on a girlfriend or a girl the creator fancies
- Every single word used to describe her that means attractive
- Take additional sips at personal discretion if she is continually described as attractive throughout the given work/description/topic
- She's the 'emotional centre' of the group
- She's the wisest of the group
- She's always supportive of Self Leader Guy's leadership
- She's feisty, but never too spirited
- She's 'mysterious' and may as well be a different species from the rest of her (male) group
- She has a mask that serves no practical offensive purpose, barring the presence of mindblowing writing/mindrending writing
- Three if she has an elemental power along the lines of 'love' or 'light' or 'spirit': five in addition (for eight total) if, god help us, it is love
- She's got pink somewhere (most likely in non-MOC incarnations, naturally)
- Despite all logic, she is the only one for miles (which is how long it'll take to find another woman, and surprise surprise...) with any sort of hair or hair analogue
- Extra sip for a given point if it is described in terms that describe it as 'unlike the men' or 'better than the males' or other similar language
Once finished the given item (or if out of pop: this is a very real threat), start the stopwatch. The final score is how long it takes for the world to stop shaking, measured in hours:minutes:seconds.
Have I yet mentioned how incredibly likely it is she's gonna be Self Leader Guy's girlfriend? It is so very likely. Why, she might actually be based on his girlfriend in real life. But why stop there? Why not base her on who the creator would like for a girlfriend? There ain't no law. Might be kinda creepy, but ain't no law. You will know when the Bionicle relationship is not based on an actual relationship if the Bionicle relationship is utterly, crystal-perfectly idealized. Then there is the event horizon past which even an idolized crush has been raised to such a point in the work where she can only be said to be utterly fictional. It is as terrifying as it sounds. Lovecraft would have written about this, if it wasn't for his issues.
And she's always pretty. Or beautiful. Sexy? Alluring? Take your pick. It's been used. The key point is how the narrative describes her. A character or two going on about her atrractiveness is one thing. When everyone, even the narration, can't shut up about how mesmerizing she is or something, you got a whole other ball of wax. Clearly, in the Bionicle universe, there is only one option for female characters: attractive. Unless there's old women or more bestial races, but don't expect them to be spared from the lookswash. Bonus points if she's called on to use her sexiness for some end. And god help us all if the word 'wiles' ever hits the screen. Actually, at that point, we're beyond divine intervention.
Don't get your hopes up over any real subgroups of Bionicle Girlfriends: they're all basically the same character. Imagine, if you will, a control board. The biggest feature on this board is 'emotional sensitivity'. To the left is the label 'tough but with a chewy, care-y centre'. To the right is 'absolute pacifist who's more in touch with life and things than those barbarian men'. You quickly find that the left label is a sterling example of an informed attribute and, if a work goes on long enough, blatantly lying about the toughness. There are more things wrong with the right label than you wish to consider at the moment. Cringing a bit, you check out the rest of the board, whisking your gaze away like children in the wrong place.
The 'wisdom' slider. You find quickly it will not go below a certain value of 'wise'. Squinting to read the words carefully, you see 'far more enlightened than the males of the group' at the top. You recoil a little bit, wondering if you didn't just leave behind the section on antiquated notions of gender. Maybe the one next to it is better?
'Assertiveness'. Yes. Here we go. You feel hope once again. On the one side, 'totally passive'. On the other side... 'Sometimes She Says And Does Some Things, But This Is Not To Be Mistaken For Actual Independence Or Spirit Or Any Of Those Uncomfortable Things'. The board does not survive its encounter with the trendy brick wall. It became all-too-apparent that the Bionicle Girlfriend occupies a neat little role as 'accessory'. 'Sidekick'. Not quite on equal footing with Self Leader Guy. We need to maintain those gender roles, you know. It also becomes all-too-apparent you picked the wrong day to stop playing caffeine drinking games.
Speaking of, here's a bonus round for artwork. Extra sip if she's portrayed all snuggly or fawn-y with Self Leader Guy. It's hardly mandatory: inclusion in the game proper is probably going to push you to dangerous levels and/or tax your drink reserves. And in that same vein, be ever-wary of toa!Huki/Maku art. Ever wary.
And then, Narrator preserve us, there's the little issue of her powers. It is where you cry 'what kind of a lame power is heart, anyway', but never conclude that 'heart is an awesome power'. There's her mask, typically something mental in nature. The telekinesis is never used to awesome ends. Or sometimes she's saddled with the just plain useless ones. It's never anything offensive: apparently, the shapes of those aren't nearly as 'feminine' enough as the fandom might like. And oh, the things I could go on about there.
But what about her element? But what, indeed. Usually, it's something from the scant handful of 'female' elements. Sometimes, someone has the guts to stand up to canon (I like to think my being Empress means canon will never rule in BBC) and give her another one of the standard elements. There is a third option, though, and it is far more common. Apparently, having people tell you 'but fire is for boys' is far more dreadful than freaking spirit or 'light' or love sweet Jason people make love an element with a straight face.
Ahem. Never forget the old gods. That said, the third option is woe-inducing. It's always something so blandly, sterotypically 'feminine.' Like 'spirit'. Or 'light'- but not the normal light tribe. Oh no. It's usually more angelic in nature, because blah blah purity (another one!) blah blah too good for this wicked planet blah blah angels. And then we get to the unspeakable horror that is Toa of love, and I just puked in my mouth a little. I'd like to think that says it all. Please. Please tell me that says it all.
All these things and more (so, so much more) combine to make Bionicle Girlfriends. And they're everywhere. There's no escape. Even the rare 'second girl' has a 70% chance of falling into this category, though generally with another character. While maybe not fitting the classic definitions of Relationship Sues, there's no mistaking what they are in form and intention. So yes, guys, we did in fact see what you did there. And you can't see it through the Internet, but we're cringing.
Or you could, you know, not do this and just make good characters that happen to be female. That's always been an option.