Aang isn’t supportive, purple monkey dishwasher!
It’s the polite thing, on tumblr, not to go into the tags of an opposing view or ship and start ranting. Instead, what we do is go into our like-minded tags and rant to people who are more likely to share our perspective. But what happens when someone who disagrees with you, but can’t quite articulate why, asks for help from a third party who never saw the original argument?
A game of tumblr telephone!
A wild post appeared on my dash not too long ago (and, in keeping with tumblr etiquette, please do not go and rant there as I don’t wish to disturb the peace) that, while not mentioning me by name, was pretty clearly directed against something that I’d said previously.
Anonymous asked: “Hey can you give some examples of when Aang supported/helped Katara in the show? I haven’t watched the series in awhile and I don’t have time for a rewatch but I want some evidence to show to the people who say Aang isn’t supportive of her”
A while back, I did a little series lambasting the
comics and Legend of Korra for their
beportrayal of Katara as a character. What I said of the Avatar
comics (though it also applies to Korra) was:
Katara really gives too much of herself and doesn’t get a lot back.
Which is demonstrably true. Seriously, go back through the comics and check; I don’t see how this is even up for debate. (If you think it is, feel free to point me in the direction of evidence to the contrary…but even the third party who was appealed to for a counterargument agrees with me that the comics have sidelined Katara.)
I then went on to say of the Avatar series:
Katara and Aang, with Zuko and Iroh, are two of the most important relationships in the show…and for the same reason. See, it’s perfectly fine to have a one-sided relationship with regards to emotional support if you’re somebody’s parent; there’s no way Zuko can repay Iroh for all his emotional support (and he shouldn’t have to). But when it’s a romantic relationship as well…that’s going to lead to problems.
Aang says in The Southern Raiders that he understands how Katara is feeling, because of what he went through when he thought Appa was missing and when he found out about the Air Nomad genocide. Well, Aang, did you notice how Katara handled those situations around you? She was there for you and let you know you could lean on her, without ever once telling you how you should feel, judging you for almost killing someone, or telling you that you sound like Jet.
Demanding that Katara fall in line with your beliefs isn’t supportive.
Spouting an aphorism from monks who likely never knew their own parents isn’t supportive.
Begging Katara to do what you would do isn’t supportive.
Comparing Katara to a guy who tried to murder an entire town of innocent people isn’t supportive.
And it’s the only chance he really gets in the series to support Katara this way. Katara always feels like she has to be strong for the group, and that includes Aang. Rarely will she open up to him about her vulnerabilities, and when she does, Aang doesn’t really know how to act.
Did I say that Aang “wasn’t supportive” in absolute terms? No more than I said that Zuko wasn’t supportive of Iroh. What I said was the support was one-sided, in other words, out of balance. And furthermore, that that was perfectly okay in a familial or maternal relationship but not in a romantic one, which should be a pairing of equals.
The number of times Aang checks on or tries to improve Katara’s emotional wellbeing pales in comparison to the number of time Katara checks on or tries to improve Aang’s. Again, I don’t think this is really up for debate. It doesn’t mean that Aang never supports Katara, but that Katara is overwhelmingly the one providing emotional support to Aang without getting an equal share of emotional support back. And while this problem grows exponentially worse in the comics and Legend of Korra, nowhere is it more apparent than in some of the very examples used to attempt to prove my opponents’ point.
The anon who asked for examples to show Aang’s support of Katara may yet approach me with the entire list, so I won’t debate them all here. (Besides, some of them are valid.) But one in particular–suggested by a fourth person–I found to be telling:
Having a hard time trying to figure out earthbending, Aang respectfully calls Katara ’sifu’ for the first time after she talks to him about his problem and calls him a waterbending master.
Let’s do this.