I remember posting somewhere once in a thread about why girls aren’t exploited in animation anymore where some guy said, “all the disney girls are drawn to be generally attractive, but I don’t think there are any eye-candy men… or are there? Are there any Disney men that lots of girls like?” and I mentioned Roger. Tons of girls replied agreeing with me and the original guy was like “wait, Roger? from 101 Dalmatians? What’s attractive about him, he’s tall and lanky and has a big nose, he isn’t muscley at all! Wouldn’t you all prefer Gaston or something? Or do you girls think his big nose is indicative of something else?” and I was like “no, you idiot, he’s a silly, goofy guy who likes animals and can play a bunch of instruments, that’s why he’s attractive. What’s the matter with you? Gaston, seriously?”
This is why we need more girls in animation. And more guys like Roger apparently.
This is why I laugh my ass of whenever dudes talk about how men are “objectified” by the media too. Because 9 times out of 10, what men think is “women objectifying men” are characters like Gaston.
And Gaston is NOT a woman-driven fantasy. Gaston is a male wish fulfillment fantasy. Gaston is not what women want, he is what men want to be. He is hyper-masculinity to an extreme degree, dripping with sexism and testosterone. The fact that men think that Gaston is what women want says an awful lot about those men.
While I don’t want to generalize, female fans tend to prefer a very different kind of male hero. We like the Rogers, the Milos, the Hercules. Genuinely kind, often awkward men who are sometimes vulnerable and respectful to women.
Yes, this is a generalization. I own up to that. But I think it’s important to remember that there is often VERY big difference between what MEN want to be and what women WANT in our media.