There are specific tropes that annoy me, but when I criticize them in men, I'm an outlier, and when I criticize them in women, people discount what I'm actually saying on the grounds that it /must/ be an expression of internalized sexism. Which makes me want to laugh, bitterly, because they're generally protecting a male creator's character from reproach and finding reasons not to listen to a flesh-and-blood woman. Because /sexism/. Not theirs, supposedly mine. The specific thing is that I'm really put off by is incompetence in any form. Neville Longbottom squicked me right up until the 7th book, because if there was a way to get it wrong (whatever "it" was) he probably did. I hate watching characters who live in a way that they're constantly belly-flopping and easy to take advantage of; characters that make the heroes look extra smart and good by comparison; characters who are in an awesome setting, but miss out on the coolest parts because, at best, they're being left out and worked around.

My feeling hits me especially hard when the character has a position of responsibility, and is putting other people in danger by being clueless and ineffectual. Jasmine's dad in Aladdin. Belle's dad in Beauty and the Beast. This is a character type I can't stand. But, weird as people think it is that anyone could possibly dislike such well intentioned, good-hearted men, throwing in any mention of women who fail this way turns it into a conversation about "victim-blaming" even when the only thing going against them is an author who decided they should be defenseless, naive, and incompetent. We're getting fewer female characters like this than we used to. Fewer straight-up damsels. But often they're still covered with a defensive veneer of "look, once in a great while she shines, and if you aren't impressed that's totally because you're against female characters." Whereas, when a male character doesn't fail twice a year and that's trotted out as a valid, redeeming quality, I dislike him just as much. Summer-of-supervillainy and Ami-angelwings have written some very eloquent posts about the contemporary and historical pervasiveness of this, in relation to female characters. It tends to be much more pervasive and stubborn with regards to women (in the sense that they aren't allowed to outgrow it and do something cool at the eleventh hour). But what's annoying me right now is how little tolerance there is in fandom for disliking incompetent characters of either gender. The widespread agreement with sentiments like "if you don't like Neville Longbottom, I think you must have no soul" is tiresome.