“For shits and grimaces, I will, for a moment, entertain Paul's ostensible premise that a fetus has the equivalent value of the born uterus-having person carrying it. Great. So what? My life, right now, is not so precious that any other human being could be compelled to use their body to support mine for the next nine months (at least). No other human being is obliged to give up an organ for me, even if it would save my life. Nor bone marrow, nor blood, nor skin. People who are forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term are being asked to do something no other people are asked to do for another person, which exposes the truth of the anti-choice position: Fetuses are valued more highly than the people who carry them. This legislation does not more highly value the potential life of a fetus. It devalues the life of women and other people with uteri.”—
sakura can't do what?
I think the reason people think Naruto can stop loving Sakura yet Sakura “cannot stop” loving Sasuke is rooted in one thing: Gender discrimination via denial of agency. For those of you who don’t know, agency is the method by which characters or real people exert their self-determination via their actions. An example of this is a parent limiting a child’s agency to prevent them from staying out too late or getting into trouble.
Male characters in Naruto are generally active (they make things happen), while females (among the younger set) are passive (things happen to them, e.g. they need to be rescued). In part 1, both Sakura and Hinata are like this. Sakura lets Sasuke influence her behavior, despite Inner Sakura revealing her personality is a lot more like Naruto’s.
During Pain’s attack, Hinata’s one moment of agency (her confession) goes awry and gets inverted, causing Naruto to go six tails, and eventually, nine. Instead of rescuing Naruto, she necessitates that he is rescued by his father, Minato.
In Part 2, Sakura has become a true actor, and therefore, more powerful in terms of the story. She even has literal “monstrous strength”. Sakura is able to exert her agency onto the narrative, defeating Sasori, being instrumental to Konoha’s survival during Pain’s attack, expressing her willingness to kill Sasuke to protect Naruto, being a key member of the Medical Ninja Corps during the war… it goes on. Both Jiraiya and Chiyo comment on her similarity to Tsunade, arguably the strongest woman in the Leaf.
This makes her threatening. Some might even say masculine. So certain fans need to restrict her agency:
“Sakura doesn’t love Naruto! She will always love Sasuke!”
So thanks for returning her to the twelve year old girl ruled by her emotions totally incapable of properly assessing her life situation because her period yeah.
Naruto gets to switch because he’s a guy, since men are actors. Actors decide. This, despite the fact that if ANYONE in this entire series is ruled by emotion, it’s NARUTO. Also possibly Sasuke.
Sakura is smart. All the answers she gave to Naruto in her “confession” were real, viable reasons for her to love him.
So they have to take that away from her, too. They have to say she was deceitful, disingenuous, and inconsiderate. Even ruthless. Which are all true.
But that very thing is what completes them both. Naruto and Sakura are ruthless when it comes to protecting the ones they love. Naruto was willing to break Sasuke’s legs to bring him back to Sakura, not to mention endure any injury: “Even if I’m torn to shreds, I’m taking Sasuke back to Konoha!” I don’t think Sakura attempted to kill Sasuke out of romantic love for Naruto. She did it for something way deeper than that. She risked everything to protect the person who had done the same for her countless times. She was ready to pay the price of releasing him from that burden with her life.
That’s why all these other “ships” are hollow to me.
In the end, it isn’t about Naruto choosing Sakura or Sakura choosing Naruto. It’s about both of them having the agency to choose what’s best for themselves.