The male benders in ATLA:
Really good. They worked hard to get where they are skill wise and while it hasn't always been easy, they are capable and can hold their own in a fight. One of them was even the Avatar, which is pretty impressive since he mastered the elements at age twelve, rather than start learning at 16 like most Avatars.
The female benders in ATLA:
Inarguably the most powerful and unmatched humans in the entire world. Prodigies, masters, and creators of subbending styles. One was compared in skill to the Fire Lord at age EIGHT and able to perform one of the rarest and most difficult forms by 14. She couldn't be defeated by another's (even the Avatar's) bending alone. Only faced defeat when fighting two other master benders while on the verge of a complete mental breakdown (officially being defeated by different female bender). Another held an entire city up by a single turret while standing on unstable ground, and then went on to invent her own bending style at the age of twelve. One mastered her element in mere WEEKS, mastered bloodbending and defeated the woman who INVENTED IT the FIRST TIME SHE EVER ATTEMPTED IT, held her own against a master waterbender without ANY TRAINING, and fully healed someone from a fatal wound, making her a master at two vastly different forms of waterbending at the age of 14. A female Avatar quite literally reshaped the planet and created her own ISLAND. AND MOVED IT ACROSS THE SEA. These women shown in the show are not only the most powerful and talented females in their universe, but also in almost any known piece of television or fiction, all while being completely fleshed out and complex characters, not being defined as nothing but 'strong'. Each has their own personality, strengths, and weaknesses.
What people think I mean:
I get off on violence. I think hate sex is the best, don't think healthy and stable relationships are 'interesting' enough, and I purposefully sabotage all my relationships. I frequently ship characters with their abusers and consider dragging someone along and domestic violence 'grey areas' because if you look at context it really just means they love each other.
What I actually mean:
I love it when two people who hate each other, whether it be seemingly clashing personalities, or actual literal enemies (always enemies who balance each other out. Not 'anti-hero/villain guy constantly harasses heroine girl', but two people who are evenly matched and can hold their own against each other and even in hatred have somewhat respect for the other) who are fighting on opposite sides of a struggle, come together on equal ground and realize that they have more in common than they previously thought. When the two finally join the same side, whether it's due to the redemption of one character or what have you, they may not get along at first, but with time and effort the two eventually find themselves friends with the other. Only *after* they have an established trust and friendship do they then start to have romantic feelings for the other. The 'enemies to lovers' trope does not work if you cannot put 'friend' between the two.
There are older men in everything. Men don’t grow up with the idea that they’re somehow obsolete with age. Old men are brilliant, charismatic, fun, flirty mentors in everything the media puts out. They’re prestigious and powerful. Even if they’re abusers, they’re just misunderstood and broken hearted and it’s all very poetic.
Women are told that they peak at 18 and any nubile looks they maintain are a saving grace. Women are told that they’re worth precisely how much they can ensnare or seduce or benefit a man. Women’s lives, according to our society, begin at 18 and end at 29. If we manage to maintain the whole “young & fun” air we can get away with maybe a couple more years of being considered of worth.
Women don’t lose their vitality according to societally defined ideas about our age. Men aren’t the only ones who stay vital and passionate into their sixties. Young girls growing up have tragically few role models to look up to. They’re told there is nothing for them beyond being hot shit in their twenties.
I have this huge, ex-military biker guy neighbour who is like 80% handlebar moustache and has a ponytail halfway to his ass and him and all his huge biker guy friends all have tiny dogs and special, motorcycle safe seats for them on their bikes and my favourite things is when they all come roaring in on their bikes and take their tiny dogs out of their little studded leather safety carriers there is this loud cacophony of kissy sounds and full blown baby voices like “was that fun sweetie” and “who’s my handsome boy”