I haven't written an essay on anything in quite a while, so I figured, since I'm now writing and self-publishing my own original fiction, I'd share a rule that I've developed.
I have always been attracted to the female characters in any given story that I watch or read: Princess Lana on "Captain N: The Game Master", Princess Zelda on "The Legend of Zelda", Roll on "Mega Man", Jun on "Science Ninja Team Gatchaman" (a.k.a. Princess on "Battle of the Planets"), etc.. While everyone else watched "The Transformers" and "G.I. Joe", I was a "Jem" boy. My first comic book was "Supergirl". "The Real Ghostbusters" was one of my big series, but I really loved it when Janine put on a uniform and proton pack. I was ecstatic when I discovered "Sailor Moon" in 2000.
Over time, I have come to prefer the female characters, and my interest in the male characters has decreased. While I got into Transformers in the mid-1990s and into G.I. Joe very recently (last few years), my favorite characters are, of course, Arcee, Carly, Scarlett, etc..
I think my reason for this is I view female characters as cleaner and/or more mature than male characters - and, well, just pretty!
So it really upsets me when they're killed, maimed, arrested, or otherwise traumatized.
The positive viewing experiences of many movies and series that I've watched have been tainted by a character death, an arrest, or something else.
I watched a 26-episode series called "Devil Lady". In the final episode, the main character, a fashion model, survives, but she loses both of her arms. Bye-bye, modelling career. So depressing. I sold the DVD set to a friend.
There's Lamika Lee's pointless suicide at the end of the original "Vampire Hunter D". There's Katrina's and Tara's senseless deaths (not to mention a whole bunch of other girls) on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". The Gundam franchise is littered with the corpses of beautiful girls.
Don't even get me started on cop shows. I saw an episode of "CSI: Miami" where one of the culprits happened to be the teen girl that initially reported the deaths. She had inadvertantly killed her mother in a flash of anger (with the object that she'd picked up for self-defense when she'd heard a noise) after learning her mother was sleeping with her (the girl's) boyfriend. She was found out at the end of the episode and hauled off to jail. Bite me. She was justified.
These deaths and other negative events make me enjoy the overall stories less.
That's why I'll never do it in my own fiction.
This brings me to what I called the Preserve the Pretties philosophy: never kill, maim, incarcerate, or permanently traumatize a cute female character. It's a rule that I live by in writing my own original fiction, and I encourage others to do the same.
Need characters to die, suffer, or face the consequences? Males will do just fine, thank you very much. At the end of the battle, the girl emerges triumphant, unharmed, and preserved.