This doesn’t seem fair, because it seems to imply that the end goal for women in terms of a character being admirable is just “a bunch of men will lust/love you,” whereas the end goal for men is “saving the country/civilizing the world.” Or at least, making people around them slightly smarter.
All of it seems to fall back to that old joke that goes: what do you need to make a movie for men? A horse and a gun. What do you need to make a movie for women? A man.
The message seems to be that a woman can have any other quality she wants and that’s great – but she also needs to be pretty to be heroic. Which, this is just not true. For reference, I am going to present a picture of beautiful on the inside Mother Teresa:
And I would like to remind you that if there is a TV show version of her life, she will be played by Sophia Loren.
This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing – I’d rather have female characters that were smart and hot and competent than characters who were just hot and incompetent – but I do wish we could get a female version Ned Stark who didn’t look OMG JAW DROPPINGLY AWESOME in thigh high boots.
But! It’s possible that I am just not watching TV all the time. Can you think of any examples of characters who are admirable women who aren’t pretty? I feel like I must surely be missing something, here.