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Author Topic: (controversial) Is Korra being exploited for feminine suffering as to Tenzin  (Read 8099 times)
Darmani
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Maigano
« on: Oct 05, 2014 04:57 pm »

I hope its appropriate to make this topic and not have to fit it under another.  At least on the front page nothing seemed appropriate.


Ahem.  In the season 3 finaleboth Tenzin and Korra have gone on a powerful and painful trial.  Tenzin was beaten within an inch of his life and left without care (and it seems basic necessities) by the RL Gnaag.  He had to nearly lose his whole family again (that year, recall 1-3 all happens in like 8 months tops) and Zaheer was a total antichrist to his beliefs.

Even his "not that special anymore" buttons were pushed with the arrival of the new airnomads and even Bumi gaining his powers and more loved by the recruits and earlier that year, in addition to seeing the people he governed and served cheer for his family's capture and mutilation lost his seat of authority.

Three weeks later he's on his feet and caring more about Korra.  Korra is in a wheelchair with painful smile and a single tear.

I think this is a sign of the old women are emotional and more frail as to men.  (see how losing in battle is portrayed only the darkest character pieices assume battle is traumatic for dudes, but any woman exposed will be in pieces or something is 'off about her)

I am not majorly incensed.  Just observed and thinking about this.  PArticularly as, at least in spacebattles, people have latched onto the idea of Tenzin being her well meaning tormentor, with his compliments driving her deeper into despair and frustration and so on.

They practically went through the same thing or worse.  But Tenzin is aokay but Korra is in a tizzy?
This particularly strikes me as while I appreciate parts of Tenzin there is always something off, in my opinion of how they deal with him.
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Spiritwhisperer
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 05, 2014 05:02 pm »

I don't think Korra is in pieces for losing a fight. It's not like that never happened before. It's a complete existential crisis challenging her whole purpose in life instead. And noone is as hard on Korra as Korra is on herself; the little internal voice telling her she's not worthy, she's not needed. I think the whole point would still stand even if she'd knocked Zaheer out of the sky in the end herself (which in a way she did herself anyway).
« Last Edit: Oct 05, 2014 05:07 pm by Spiritwhisperer » Logged

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Darth Uchiha
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 05, 2014 05:07 pm »

It's not that, Tenzin suffered physically, not mentally, and, in his case, he wanted new airbenders, in fact, he felt his entire life was about reviving the air nomads, seeing new airbenders brought him nothing but joy, that's why he fought so hard to protect them. Also, he may have nearly lost his family, but they ended up being alive and well in the end, that also caused him joy (he does love them).

Korra, on the other hand, what did she gain? All she did was survive, that's it, otherwise, she lost so much, not physically, but psychologically. All she ever wanted to be was the avatar, but, every season showed how much the world was changing, and, perhaps, that a the avatar was no longer needed. It started with the equalists being right about bender/nonbender inequality, then Unalaaq about the spirits, and, finally, with the airbenders choosing to protect the world, even Korra herself was obsolete. Notice how when she's hallucinating, it's the past villains pounding into her head that the world didn't need an avatar and that she should give up and die, that's a lot of stress and emotional pressure, especially for someone that's only 16, I'm 16 too, and I'd probably end up like Korra, if not completely insane after all that.
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Darmani
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 05, 2014 05:12 pm »

I'm pretty sure a beating to the point [edit]you can't stand on your own [/edit]and your family is held hostage and nearly burning in lava and used as bait and lots of things count as mental torture.  And the body matters to the mind.
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Darth Uchiha
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 05, 2014 05:15 pm »

I'm pretty sure a beating to the point yo ucan stand and your family is held hostage and nearly burning in lava and.. used as bait and lots of things count as mental torture.  And the body matters to the mind.

Not exactly, the difference being, Tenzin is a grown man, and his family was safe in the end, if they died I'd understand, but they didn't, they weren't even harmed, really. Also, not everyone considers personal physical danger to be mental torture.
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morbosfist
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 05, 2014 05:17 pm »

Their respective ordeals are hardly comparable. Yes, Tenzin got beaten badly and his family was in danger, but he also got rescued and was reunited with his family. Korra thought she lost her father (as in actually died, not kidnapped), got poisoned, nearly died herself, and her injuries were so severe that it evidently took her two and a half years to get back to normal.
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zukataang
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 05, 2014 05:59 pm »

Tenzin is a grown man,

This, really. It's not exactly clear what Korra's deal is, but if she's having an identity crisis, it makes sense that Tenzin, who has had forty or so more years to think through his place in the world and his purpose, would be able to deal better with the same issues. I don't think the comparison is fair and I seriously doubt that Korra being female has anything to do with it.

Even if he felt special in a good way for being one of the last airbenders (which I doubt), he's got a wife and kids, he knows that he has value as a human being. Korra jumped to the conclusion that Mako wouldn't want her if she wasn't the avatar at the end of season one, and she hasn't had to deal with questioning her utility as the avatar ever since because she was needed more than ever until the end of book 3, so maybe she's still not convinced that she can still be special and interesting even without being needed as the avatar.

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« Reply #7 on: Oct 05, 2014 06:05 pm »

^ agreed. Korra was only 18 when that experience happened to her. Sure she's the Avatar, but the fact that she was even still alive after what happened to her was nothing short of a miracle. Plus the poison had a HUGE affect on her physically; combine that with all the mental suffering she went through, and well it's no wonder she's secluded herself from society for 3 years Sad
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ThaiOzai
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 05, 2014 06:08 pm »

Tenzin is a grown man,

This, really. It's not exactly clear what Korra's deal is, but if she's having an identity crisis, it makes sense that Tenzin, who has had forty or so more years to think through his place in the world and his purpose, would be able to deal better with the same issues. I don't think the comparison is fair and I seriously doubt that Korra being female has anything to do with it.


Tenzin solved his own identity crisis in the Fog of Lost Souls. So you're right, he at least wouldn't have to deal with that component of the trauma.
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« Reply #9 on: Oct 05, 2014 06:11 pm »

Tenzin meditates.

I bet if Korra meditated, she'd be all fixed in a just a few sessions.
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« Reply #10 on: Oct 05, 2014 06:18 pm »

Everything is sexism nowdays
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Kovsk
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« Reply #11 on: Oct 05, 2014 06:43 pm »

Everything is sexism nowdays

Lol, it really is.
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« Reply #12 on: Oct 05, 2014 06:55 pm »

Would it help if it was Lin instead of Tenzin?
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« Reply #13 on: Oct 05, 2014 09:18 pm »

Would it help if it was Lin instead of Tenzin?

Nah, Lin would punch her suffering in the face and then get acupuncture since it worked so well the last time.
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Ikkin
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« Reply #14 on: Oct 05, 2014 09:19 pm »

The situations Korra and Tenzin went through aren't all that similar.

Korra was repeatedly targeted for violence by people who believed she had no place in the world because of who she was.  Tenzin, in contrast, was chosen as bait; he willingly chose to face violence instead out of love for Korra.

There's one other character in this franchise who was repeatedly targeted for violence because of who he was -- Zuko in The Promise.  And, like Korra, the repeated assassination attempts threw him into a massive crisis of confidence and made him question his own worth as a leader.  He ended up paranoid and insomniac and basically suicidal (admitting that when Aang killed him in his dream, he felt relief)... and that's without suffering a massively incapacitating blow and being unable to act for years.

And that's another massive difference.  Tenzin had all sorts of duties to throw himself into to keep from thinking too hard about his ordeal.  Korra was confined to a wheelchair for untold hours, unable to do anything but think about what had happened to her.  It shouldn't be surprising that she'd have suffered longer-term mental consequences.

Finally, there's the poison itself to consider.  It's heavily suggested to be mercury... which has some pretty nasty psychological effects:

"The classical literature contains detailed accounts of the consequences of long exposure to higher concentrations of elemental mercury vapour where the full syndrome of erethism is seen. Individual variation in exposed people is the rule but the most commonly reported syndrome includes loss of memory, insomnia, lack of self-control, irritability and excitability, anxiety, loss of self-confidence, drowsiness, and depression. In the most severe cases delirium with hallucinations, suicidal melancholia, or even manic-depressive psychoses have been described."

[Source]

It's hard to blame Korra for being plagued by depression and hallucinations and a lack of self-confidence when she got a good half-gallon of that shoved under her skin and pulled out her throat.
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Goodfella
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« Reply #15 on: Oct 06, 2014 12:25 am »

A good question to ask is, if Korra were male (or even nonbinary), would his/their suffering be considered for the sake of suffering or a matter of him/them being more "emotional and frail"? Truthfully, I'd say no. For reasons stated well by Ikkin and zukataang, there are MANY reasons for Korra to be where she is right now and it isn't because of her gender.

There's nothing "emotional" or "frail" or somehow lesser about Korra herself in what Korra is experiencing, either. It wouldn't be surprising to see anyone suffering depression or PTSD as severely as Korra after her mental and physical traumas.
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« Reply #16 on: Oct 06, 2014 01:05 am »

Why is everything related to sexism now?
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« Reply #17 on: Oct 06, 2014 01:12 am »

Because too many people eat up everything their Humanities teachers tell them?

Anyway, I find the questioned posed rather interesting. Though I think that Korra's emotional pain works well for her.  Her character is best explored when we see her vulnerable side. Physical pain alone does not open up those grounds for usvto explore.
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Goodfella
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« Reply #18 on: Oct 06, 2014 01:40 am »

Tbf, sexism in media IS a big and interesting topic, especially considering how common it is to fetishize female suffering or to fridge female characters for the sake of man pain.

However, in THIS particular issue I don't consider it tied to gender. We've seen examples of male AND female characters who have suffered to the point of incapacitation in Avatar. Notably, Zuko was downed for a few days during his BSOD period and Lin also went through one.

Korra, on the other hand, is going through an extreme but understandable BSOD. IRL, some people don't recover for YEARS. The fact their taking the long route for Korra recovery instead of just saying, "POOF! She's back to normal!" is not just realistic but its been treating what she's been through seriously. That's actually an affirming, positive thing, since we KNOW she's going to find her way back up. We KNOW Korra's going to be in a "good place" by the end of the series. That serves Korra's character much more than the feeling of superficial suffering done for cheap angst and shock.
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Darmani
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« Reply #19 on: Oct 06, 2014 06:48 am »

Thanks goodfella.

It just struck me that, especially in light of the finale, that Tenzin seems more all better but Korra ... isn't.  And it much less time.  This is less "humanities" and more the notice of how masculinity or just violence is portrayed (man will with a slight grimace take knives and chairs and other things but flinch and get mean when a woman touches them) 
This response is so ingrained we accept it without thinking and its bothering me as it makes sense of Korra to be PTSDing and such from the poisoning ordeal and thinking her father is dead and so on.
But So would it make sense for Tenzin who was left a heap of meat and bones on the floor only alive as struggly bait is the best kind.

So I'm feel Both are being shortchanged or at least there might be a sketchy play on our assumptions with his.
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« Reply #20 on: Oct 06, 2014 07:39 am »

I hope its appropriate to make this topic and not have to fit it under another.  At least on the front page nothing seemed appropriate.


Ahem.  In the season 3 finaleboth Tenzin and Korra have gone on a powerful and painful trial.  Tenzin was beaten within an inch of his life and left without care (and it seems basic necessities) by the RL Gnaag.  He had to nearly lose his whole family again (that year, recall 1-3 all happens in like 8 months tops) and Zaheer was a total antichrist to his beliefs.

Even his "not that special anymore" buttons were pushed with the arrival of the new airnomads and even Bumi gaining his powers and more loved by the recruits and earlier that year, in addition to seeing the people he governed and served cheer for his family's capture and mutilation lost his seat of authority.

Three weeks later he's on his feet and caring more about Korra.  Korra is in a wheelchair with painful smile and a single tear.

I think this is a sign of the old women are emotional and more frail as to men.  (see how losing in battle is portrayed only the darkest character pieices assume battle is traumatic for dudes, but any woman exposed will be in pieces or something is 'off about her)

I am not majorly incensed.  Just observed and thinking about this.  PArticularly as, at least in spacebattles, people have latched onto the idea of Tenzin being her well meaning tormentor, with his compliments driving her deeper into despair and frustration and so on.

They practically went through the same thing or worse.  But Tenzin is aokay but Korra is in a tizzy?
This particularly strikes me as while I appreciate parts of Tenzin there is always something off, in my opinion of how they deal with him.

I think that being attacked by the Red Lotus head-on compared to almost dying of mercury poisoning can really be compared...
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« Reply #21 on: Oct 06, 2014 07:53 am »

Thanks goodfella.

It just struck me that, especially in light of the finale, that Tenzin seems more all better but Korra ... isn't.  And it much less time.  This is less "humanities" and more the notice of how masculinity or just violence is portrayed (man will with a slight grimace take knives and chairs and other things but flinch and get mean when a woman touches them)  
This response is so ingrained we accept it without thinking and its bothering me as it makes sense of Korra to be PTSDing and such from the poisoning ordeal and thinking her father is dead and so on.
But So would it make sense for Tenzin who was left a heap of meat and bones on the floor only alive as struggly bait is the best kind.

So I'm feel Both are being shortchanged or at least there might be a sketchy play on our assumptions with his.

I don't see them as short changed here.

IF say, Tenzin had actually lost any of the air nation, Pema or any of his kids (or let's assume he thought he saw them die in front of him); IF Tenzin were beaten to the point he was on death's door and physically handicapped for potentially YEARS; IF Tenzin had been successively beaten over the head by seemingly the world and his enemies that he was "expendable" and that he wasn't "needed" (let alone needed to DIE for the world to move on) on top of feeling he had no sense of self outside his "role" - it would be comparable and understandable if he was suffering PTSD, physical and mental trauma and depression, needed a long period of time to recover. This isn't because of his gender or concepts of masculinity, it is of the situation he was in. However, the reason Tenzin is able to be "all more better" than Korra is because he hasn't had to experience all these things. While he was definitely in a terrible experience, he was not physically handicapped, emotionally tortured, and left self-doubts about his inner self.

For Korra, why wouldn't it be understandable for her to be feeling the way she is? For one, it is a great "short changing" to those who struggle with physical and emotional traumas IRL. People recover at different rates and require different methods of healing - this is not gender, this is people in general. IF Tenzin were Korra here, I don't think anyone would be questioning why he needed those three years and more.

EDIT:

Basically, it isn't wrong to look at gender-bias. However, the crux of your argument ignores various factors of age, circumstance, damage done, personalities, and even core conflicts/inner demons. Those play a MUCH larger role in where Tenzin and Korra are at the end of book 3 than simply their genders.
« Last Edit: Oct 06, 2014 08:02 am by Goodfella » Logged
Darmani
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« Reply #22 on: Oct 06, 2014 02:24 pm »

I just think beaten with your siblings and home and etc captured is tormentous no matter the age,  And Zaheer has proven to be a liar and murderous to those he's allied with, let alone attacked.
For me, thinking back, the situations are different, but very comparable.  Combined with Tenzin, once again, not getting it and possibly pushing Korra over the edge with the "not need you anymore, just focus on you, isn't that good" and so on, that is what feels off.

Okay he is better as the nature of his injuries heal better in less time.  but the mental scars could stay. OR if he can recover from them why is he being a source of additional problems for Korra, as to a person who, as a mentor and so on, help her through this or at least see how what he's doing is having the opposite of its intended effect.

I'm just wondering if this is from construct of the narrative is happening more because we need to see Korra suffer and that's okay.  As to see Tenzin suffer.  Admittedly Tenzin having deep seated and complex issues has been a thing and I appreciate them not going to the well again but he's still screwing up but in a way worse than previous.

Compare his advice and insight and actions with Korra and her initial Amon freakouts and refusal of Tarrlok versus now.  He appreciated her apprehension but saw immediately that it might be coming from a bad place.

Now he's trying to do right by her but piling on the stresses and problems and making her worse without catching it.
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« Reply #23 on: Oct 06, 2014 06:04 pm »

I would agree with you....IF these things were proven to be an issue for Tenzin.

So for example, IF Tenzin's entire conflict this season were feeling like, "I keep messing up and I keep failing to provide. I'm the leader of the air nation, I need to be able to handle this alone. Only I can do this" and this were proven to be a problem for him, I could see the being beaten up and then left to die leaving a bigger impact IF it layed on his issues much like how in Book 2 the Fog of Lost souls were getting to him. However, not only has he gotten past a lot of his issues at the end of book 2, but nothing in book 3's finale happened to trigger any apparent issues for him.

Basically, you keep bringing up "why doesn't he have mental scars/traumas/need to heel like Korra" but the question is, what did he need to recover from? He was physically hurt but far from enough to put him out of action, which isn't the first time this has happened to him OR any other character in the franchise. Getting attacked in his home? It's already happened and this is a much smaller issue compared to everything else. The safety of the air nation? They not only all lived but none of them were harmed and they even came out of this a stronger people, which is the best outcome Tenzin could have hoped for. His family and siblings? Also still alive and unharmed. His duty as leader of the Air Nation? He not only fulfilled it but he continued to be in capacity to lead them AND he chose to make Jinora another leader, something that he'd been leading up to. Basically, in that department, he's (and the air nation) ultimately recovered and arguably come out stronger in the end.

As for his treatment of Korra, I don't doubt he's unknowingly hitting triggers for her in what he said but I don't consider it "off". He did what arguably IS a "kind" gesture: he made his appreciation clear by thanking her for being the reason their survival and then tried to take the load off so she could recover. He of course wasn't trying to dismiss Korra or get rid of her, as he was one of the people waiting for her and had said it was only until she got better/could resume her Avatar duties. The fact those words DO have a big impact on Korra though is a huge difference between where Tenzin and Korra are. Tenzin still has his sense of self-confidence and assurance of his place in the world, Korra feels she's lost hers, and by extension, her identity. Which has just as big an impact on her as the fact she's been wheel chair bound for presumably more than a year.

Again, it's not "Korra's female so of course she'd be suffering PTSD/Depression/physical and mental traumas". It is, "Korra regardless of gender identity has been through an extremely traumatic experience which tore into her both physically and mentally and took core issues/self-doubts she'd been struggling with repeatedly throughout all the books and amplified them by bringing them to the foreground with her."
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« Reply #24 on: Oct 06, 2014 06:42 pm »

Are people forgetting the fact that Korra was poisoned and literally died for several seconds in addition to the fact that in the past year she lost her bending, lost her connection to the past Avatars + had Raava, the Spirit of Light literally ripped out of her and destroyed, wasn't able to protect the Earth Queen from being assassinated and was convinced to basically give up her life because she was useless? Are people also forgetting the fact that in a few short moments Korra was facing ALL of her biggest fears and inner demons while she was being chained scores of feet above the ground like she was being crucified or something PLUS the false knowledge that she believed her father was dead and that she had WATCHED HER FATHER FALL TO HIS DEATH? Let's not forget the fact that all Korra wanted to be was the Avatar, yet here she is now getting nothing but messages that the world doesn't need or want the Avatar anymore like they did 100 years ago, so she literally lost her mind at the thought that she was useless and nobody wanted her around.

Tenzin just had the s**t beat out of him. Tenzin even said "As long as I'm breathing, it is never over." Tenzin was more than prepared to fight to the death if it meant protecting his family and the other airbenders and perhaps distracting the Red Lotus long enough that everyone else could do what was needed to stop them. Plus, Tenzin had his secret, life-long identity crisis resolved in season 2 when he saw the spirit of his father and finally realized that he is TENZIN, not AANG 2.0.

Finally, are people forgetting the fact that during the events of ATLA, the Avatar was was a 12-year-old boy whose entire people were wiped out leaving him to be the only airbender to survive and be in present existence? Have people forgotten the breakdowns Aang had when he felt as if he had failed the world AGAIN during the Seige of the North after he had promised to redeem himself after he wasn't there 100 years ago to protect and save his own people? What about the time when he ran away again in a fit of rage and self-pity because he was told that the whole world thought that he was dead AGAIN and had once AGAIN let them all down? How about when he cried OVER HIS LOST BISON. I emphasize that because some people would find it ridiculous that one would cry over a PET/ANIMAL. Were people talking about sexism then? Were they talking about how weak of a character he seemed to be for a male? How much of a wimpy sissy he was? No, he was just a 12-year-old little boy, his feelings were warranted! They were expected! He handled it very well for somebody his age and in his position! /s

Yet when KORRA goes through her own identity crisis and breaks down, it's all of a sudden sexism.

People are talking about SEXISM? Seriously?
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