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Women Love Fest: Day 4

There are some things I agree with when it comes to Sakura Haruno's flaws: Sakura is too dependent on Naruto; I don't like how she's still in love with Sasuke despite the fact he tried to kill her (apologies if you ship SasuSaku); she does tend to let her emotions get in the way (although to be fair, she's not the only shinobi who's bad for this - does the name Chouji Akimichi ring any bells?); and she could be downright cruel in Part 1. However, some of the criticism of Sakura is unwarranted and gets way into bashing territory. Off the top of my head, I'm going to list twenty of my pet peeves of Sakura-bashing, and then try and reply to them.

(NB: I'd better warn you that I ship NaruSaku, so there may be some bias. If you're a NaruHina / SasuSaku shipper, don't take my comments personally - I'm referring to the extreme fringe of pairing fandom, not those pairing fandoms in general.)


1. "Sakura is abusive and Naruto should thump her one because she's always hitting him. If you support NaruSaku, you support domestic violence."
2. "Sakura did nothing in the Sasori fight."
3. "It's OK when Naruto chases after Sasuke, but Sakura is a stupid fangirl."
4. "(insert pages of bile about Sakura lying to Naruto)"
5. "Sakura has small tits and looks like a man."
6. "Even Kishimoto hates Sakura, he called her a detestable bitch."
7. "Sakura hasn't done anything in the war."
8. "Sakura is just a medic and no-one wants to see some girl healing people because it's not impressive. She only heals fodders anyway."
9. "I hope Sasuke and Naruto get together so Sakura kills herself."
10. "I hope Hinata punishes Sakura for abusing her man."
11. "Sakura confessed and/or hugged Naruto to get at Hinata, because she knew Hinata liked Naruto."
12. "Sakura should have punched Sasuke instead of stabbing him with a poisoned kunai."
13. "Sakura is a Mary Sue."
14. "Sakura hates Naruto, uses him, and only cares about him when it's convenient."
15. "Sakura is a stupid bitch for screaming for Naruto when Konoha got blown up."
16. "Sakura is a bitch because of what she did to Ino, dumping her over a boy. Therefore I will hold it against her for the rest of the manga."
17. "Sakura was completely and utterly useless in Part 1."
18. "Sakura was a bitch to Naruto when Jiraiya died and shouldn't have yelled at him."
19. "Sakura is ripping off Tsunade."
20. "Sakura's fans are all stupid tards who think she can beat Madara / Itachi / insert overpowered baddie here."



1. "Sakura is abusive and Naruto should thump her one because she's always hitting him. If you support NaruSaku, you support domestic violence."
Yes, I've actually seen people say this, and it's not true at all. Loads of people support SasuSaku, but that doesn't mean they actually approve of trying to kill your girlfriend by strangling her! Besides, girl-hits-boy is an overused trope in Japanese media, and Sakura's not the first or only girl who's thumped a boy. Akane Tendo and Rukia Kuchiki are two examples that spring to mind. I don't find it funny, but obviously, Japanese humour and cultural concepts do not always translate well. It is slapstick comedy and played for laughs. One theory I read about this is that women have so little power in Japanese society that watching one attacking a man is akin to watching a mouse bite a cat. The weaker is attacking the stronger. Naruto himself doesn't seem to mind; Sakura's punches have little to no effect on him, physically or emotionally. He's not a sad, downtrodden victim. Compare to when Karui used Naruto as a punchbag, and Naruto was so badly beaten he had to have medical treatment.

Moreover, it's worth bearing in mind that not only could Sakura do a hell of a lot more damage than she actually does, given that she can break rocks with her fists, but the anime Flanderises Sakura and makes her far more violent than she is in canon. Compare the number of times she hits Naruto in the manga to the number of times she hits him in anime filler and the movies. And Naruto has been through far, far worse. Pollyanna that he is, he still chases after Sasuke despite having a Chidori shoved through him, and was willing to sit down and talk with the man who killed his sensei and father figure, instead of killing him. What Sakura does to Naruto is nothing in comparison. Besides which, the Kyuubi attack was not payback; Naruto was out of control. He was upset when he realised he'd hurt Sakura, because guess what? Naruto still likes her. And whining about poor little abused woobie Naruto one minute and saying he should put the bitch in her place the next makes you look a bit hypocritical. There's a good discussion on fail_fandomanon about this.


2. "Sakura did nothing in the Sasori fight."
I've already posted about this and am not going into it again, so here's my response to that claim.

3. "It's OK when Naruto chases after Sasuke, but Sakura is a stupid fangirl."
I do find Naruto and Sakura's devotion to Sasuke a bit crazy, especially after what he tried to do to Sakura and him stating that he wants them dead, but it annoys me how Naruto gets more of a pass than Sakura. Why is it OK for him to chase after a guy who doesn't give a shit about him, but not Sakura? Is it because the evil vagina gets in the way of the yaoi or something? Some of the most rabid Sakura haters are SasuNaru fans, so it does make me wonder. See point 9.

4. "(insert pages of bile about Sakura lying to Naruto)"
See what I wrote on hated_character for more, but in a nutshell: Sakura lying to Naruto was cruel, and I did facepalm, but she did have her reasons for doing so, and saying she should be raped and killed over it is beyond fucked up. I don't care if she isn't real, saying shit like that is not cool, particularly in a fandom where people who've done much worse get a pass. It's why I hate the Draco In Leather Pants trope so much. Torturing your brother into insanity, killing people for shits and giggles, announcing plans to commit genocide, siccing a giant demon fox on a village, turning your own child into a weapon and convincing him his family hate him when the opposite is true, stabbing your own team mate and leaving your other team mates to die, experimenting on children, blowing up villages and so on = cool because the villains are so sexy and badass (do NOT get me fucking started on Hidan or Itachi and leather pantsing thereof). Lying to Naruto = OMG OMG DIE YOU FUCKING BITCH DIE. And no, Sakura is not 'evil' because of it.

Sakura wanted Naruto to stop chasing after Sasuke and risking his life in the protest, and because of the promise he made, she genuinely believed he was doing it on her account. Now I'm not going to get into what Sakura feels for Naruto, but she does care about him and was upset when she realised how much pain she was causing him. It doesn't help that she's been kept out of the loop. She doesn't know about Itachi and the massacre, or the little chat Tobi had with Naruto. Sai, who started the whole damn thing, only knows so much as well, so she was acting on misinformation.

5. "Sakura has small tits and looks like a man."
OK, Kishimoto isn't great at drawing women, and there are some panels where Sakura looks a wee bit like Suigetsu, but this is just stupid. Small tits are no reason to bash a character, and it just makes you look like a misogynistic idiot. Fuck sake, do people who say this crap think the same about real women with small tits? It takes all sorts to make a world. Sakura is primarily a combat / medical specialist, not a traditional kunoichi (although few Naruto girls are, except maybe Ino and Kurenai). Having big tits would be a hindrance, not a help. You want to see tits, read Bleach or better still, hentai. Or even better, get a real girlfriend. If you only read Naruto for fap material, you're going to be disappointed. Sakura isn't there for fap material.

And no, she does not look like a man. Although she does make an attractive one in Rule 63 art, as does the not-remotely-manly Hinata (especially Kiotsukatanna's version - I love the idea of a male Hinata as a gentle giant).

6. "Even Kishimoto hates Sakura, he called her a detestable bitch."
No he didn't. That is a mistranslation. He certainly didn't call her a bitch. Apparently, what he said was that people were calling her detestable, which is not the same thing. He also stated he was fed up of people comparing her to Hinata. See point 10. Whether he is going to fulfil his promise of making Sakura more heroic remains to be seen, but if the war is any indication, he may be.

7. "Sakura hasn't done anything in the war."
Right, so healing people isn't doing anything? Foiling an assassination attack and stopping other medic-nin from being killed by a Zetsu clone isn't doing anything? Reporting important information to Inoichi isn't doing anything? Forensic examination of Zetsu and filling Shizune in about Yamato isn't doing anything? Are we reading the same manga?

On the subject of Zetsu, I can't believe people were automatically assuming Sakura had killed the real Neji and going on about how evil she is to kill her own comrades. Because Sakura would really do that. And then the Neji in the tent turned out to be a Zetsu clone, while the real Neji was shown elsewhere, alive. This kind of kneejerk bashing of Sakura as soon as she fucking appears, even if it's only in one panel, is one reason why I stay well away from the Telegrams whenever she's in a chapter.

8. "Sakura is just a medic and no-one wants to see some girl healing people because it's not impressive. She only heals fodders anyway."
OK, I know watching a character beat seven shades of shit out of some mooks is entertaining, but bear in mind that the shinobi army is not just composed of combat types. Think from the point of view of the story - a real-life army needs doctors, IT specialists, drivers and all kinds of people besides soldiers. A shinobi army in the world of Naruto is no different.As well as fighting, Hinata and Shino have been shown acting as scouts / trackers. Inoichi Yamanaka and Ao (the grumpy old git with the eyepatch from Kirigakure) do intel stuff. Mabui, the Raikage's secretary, transports stuff. Shikaku, as Jounin Commander of Konoha and Tsunade's right-hand man, plans and coordinates attacks. Shizune and Sakura are medics. The fact that Sakura was placed on Squad 3, rather than the medical division, does make me wonder if she's going to get a fight sooner or later (and no, she wasn't being a bitch to Lee by telling him to watch his back, she was helping him, because she'd met Zabuza and Haku when they were alive and thus knew more about them than he did). Yes, Sakura might not be healing named characters, but she's still doing an important job. And given how many shinobi have died, the medic-nin are vital in ensuring that shinobi stay alive.

Also, how was healing Kankuro not impressive, when you consider even Chiyo couldn't help him? Or Gai, when you consider that he was so badly injured from fighting Kisame that the slightest movement had him screaming in pain? Were it not for Sakura, Gai would be out of the war, and I'm sure plenty of his fanboys wouldn't be happy. Instead, she had him up and running. He's hardly a fodder character.

Moreover, not all of us want to see DBZ-esque spamming of huge attacks that are OVER NINE THOUSAAAAAND!!!!1 I myself like watching teamwork and battles that involve tactics (for instance, Team 10 vs zombie Asuma). I find godmoding unappealing as hell.

9. "I hope Sasuke and Naruto get together so Sakura kills herself."
Wow, you're wishing a horrible death on a fictional character over pairings. Pathetic. That aside, while Sakura might not be happy about not getting a man, it's not the end of the world. Naruto and Sasuke are her team mates, and she wants them both to be happy. If that means them loving each other, so be it. Plus she'd probably find it quite hot. She's more likely to sneek off for some alone time than cry a river of tears.

Btw, SasuNaru probably isn't going to happen. Get over it and stop bashing Sakura for being a threat to your pairing. I love ShikaChou, but I don't hate Ino because of it.

10. "I hope Hinata punishes Sakura for abusing her man."
First off, I like Sakura. I like Hinata. Yes, it is possible to like both.

Now to the point. One, Naruto isn't anyone's man except his own, and two, why would Hinata do that? Hinata's a nice girl. She's like a female Chouji, but with daddy issues instead of an eating disorder. She hasn't got a cruel bone in her body. Obviously, if Sakura was, say, under a genjutsu and attacking Naruto, Hinata would step in because that's how she is, she cares about her comrades and wants to protect them (see Neji), but I don't think Naruto needs her to swoop in and save him from the evil pink villain. He does not need saving.

There are so many fics where Hinata's turned into this huge bitch who hates Sakura because she's so MEAN to Naruto, and lays the smackdown on her, and it irritates me because this rivalry with Sakura only exists in fans' heads, because they're both paired with Naruto. That's it. They've barely interacted in the manga, and whenever they have interacted, it's been amicable. In reality, while the girls might not be BFF, they bear each other no ill will. Sakura did tell Hinata she shouldn't have gone charging in against Pein, but that was it, and she also healed Hinata and made sure she was OK. Sakura's got no reason to hate Hinata and vice versa. And Sakura is hardly the wicked abuser fandom makes her out to be. See point 1.

11. "Sakura confessed and/or hugged Naruto to get at Hinata, because she knew Hinata liked Naruto."
Again: this is implying that Hinata and Sakura have some rivalry going, and they don't, never have and never will. Just because Sakura and Ino were rivals does not mean Sakura is going to have a catfight with every other girl in the series. I remember loads of fans were hoping Karin and Sakura would fight over Sasuke, and in fact, the opposite happened.

Sakura did notice that Hinata loved Naruto, she's not stupid, but I really don't think she thought, "Hey, I'm going to troll Hinata." I've seen this argument mainly from the more batshit contingent of the NaruHina fandom. If you believe she loves Sasuke, why would she be a threat to NaruHina, and why would she want to get at Hinata if she doesn't love Naruto? What motive does she have? She hugged Naruto because he saved her village, not because she wanted to upset Hinata, and I really don't think Hinata was wishing death on Sakura behind her smile. Hinata's not that fucking petty. Neither is Sakura. They're sixteen years old! They're at war! The last thing they're going to do is fight over boys!

The confession also had nothing to do with Hinata. If anything, it was about Sasuke. The circumstances and motivation were entirely different. If you seriously believe Sakura was trying to hurt Hinata via Naruto, you are deluded. Take off the pairing goggles and actually try reading the bloody manga. This is also why I made Hinata and Sakura friends in my fanon - they're more likely to be mates than enemies. They have more in common than you'd think.

12. "Sakura should have punched Sasuke instead of stabbing him with a poisoned kunai."
They don't call the Sharingan the Sharinghax for nothing. That eye seems to have new powers every time an Uchiha shows up, and if I recall correctly, the Sharingan can detect the flow of chakra. Sakura needs time to build up chakra in her fists, a jutsu which takes time she didn't have, and Sasuke had his Sharingan activated and would have noticed the flow of chakra to her fists. While the poisoned kunai wasn't the best idea, Sakura would have been fucked whatever she did, because Sasuke is so damned broken.

13. "Sakura is a Mary Sue."
Bollocks. I've already posted about this. I will say that it is laughable that people will moan about Sakura's million flaws one minute, and the next they're calling her a Sue. You can't have it both ways. A Sue doesn't have flaws. This post, an analysis of Sakura's fighting style, is also worth reading.

14. "Sakura hates Naruto, uses him, and only cares about him when it's convenient."
Sakura didn't like Naruto at first, true, but the longer she spent with him, the better she got to know him, and whether you ship NaruSaku or not, you can't deny that she does like him at least as a friend. While her confession may have been a lie, I do think part of it - where she talks about how Naruto's changed - was genuine. She knows him better than most of the rookies; she's seen him at his best and at his worst. She's healed him when he's been hurt; she gave him a hug when he returned to Konoha after saving the village; she was genuinely upset when she realised how much she was hurting him; she stood up for him in front of Sasuke; and even in Part 1, she cheered for him in the Chuunin Exams and was willing to help him see through his dream of becoming Hokage. Hardly the sign of someone who hates Naruto.

Yes, she gets mad at him sometimes, but frankly, you'd need the patience of a saint to put up with Naruto, because by golly is he trying sometimes. And real friends don't mindlessly worship you, they tell you when you're being an arsehole or an idiot. Naruto was certainly happy to call Sakura out when she confessed to him. And yes, she is too dependent on him, and Sai was right to call her on it, but using him? That's taking it too far. The only time she's come close to doing that was the confession, and she did have reasons for it.

15. "Sakura is a stupid bitch for screaming for Naruto when Konoha got blown up."
If a bunch of enemies came rampaging into your home village, killed people left, right and centre, you didn't know if your friends and family were alive or dead and you were frantically running around in a hospital trying to save people just as the village got turned into a pile of rubble, you'd be upset and having a Heroic Blue Screen of Death too. Naruto, as Konoha's strongest shinobi, was Konoha's only hope. No wonder Tsunade wanted him to come back - she knew he would be able to save the village, and she was right.

16. "Sakura is a bitch because of what she did to Ino, dumping her over a boy. Therefore I will hold it against her for the rest of the manga."
Yes, dumping Ino over Sasuke was pretty arsey, particularly given how kind Ino was to Sakura when they were kids, BUT. It wasn't just about Sasuke, it was about Sakura coming out from under Ino's shadow and coming into herself. She'd been falling behind Ino for too long and needed to break away.

Moreover, their rivalry was resolved after their fight. The girls themselves got over it, and I wish the fandom would too, because as someone who loves them both, it irritates me to see fellow Ino fans hating on Sakura. I just wish Kishimoto hadn't completely ignored their relationship in Shippuuden, because this manga needs more female bonding, Ino is my favourite girl next to Sakura, and I'd love to see how they are with each other these days.

17. "Sakura was completely and utterly useless in Part 1."
I admit I hated Sakura when I first got into Naruto, and I'm still not happy with how she behaved in Part 1. However, fairy1234, who did like Sakura in Part 1, did a better job than I could of explaining why the idea of Sakura being useless isn't entirely true. Here's her post on Part 1 Sakura, and it's worth a read.

18. "Sakura was a bitch to Naruto when Jiraiya died and shouldn't have yelled at him."
While Sakura does need a huge privilege check - as Sasuke would agree - and can't empathise with other characters who've lost their sensei, I don't blame her for getting angry. Shizune was doing an autopsy on the Pein body, and Naruto wanted to go in there and yell at her to hurry up, and as a medic herself, Sakura could appreciate that Shizune was doing an important and difficult job and needed to concentrate. Having a yelling human traffic cone in there would only make it harder for her to do the autopsy.

Moreover, Naruto was being pretty tactless to Tsunade. Tsunade was suffering over Jiraiya's death too. Jiraiya was her friend and team mate, she'd known him for years, and whether you ship them or not, there's no denying that she was distraught when he died.

19. "Sakura is ripping Tsunade off."
I never got this. By that logic, Naruto is ripping Jiraiya and Minato off. Sasuke is ripping Itachi, Fugaku, Madara and Orochimaru off. Shikamaru is ripping Shikaku (and Asuma) off, Hinata is ripping Hiashi off, Chouji is ripping Chouza off, Lee is ripping Gai off...you get the picture. Yet Sakura's the only one I've seen this criticism levelled against, usually by Tsunade fanboys.

First, people complain that Sakura has no abilities, then they complain that she's just ripping Tsunade off, and I bet if she'd learned her own jutsu, people would be crying PNJ. Of course Tsunade is going to teach Sakura her jutsu. What the fuck else is she supposed to teach her? And when you consider that Team 7 are parallels of the Sannin in terms of personality, what with Naruto's joie de vivre and chutzpah that he shares with Jiraiya, Sasuke's Orochimaru-esque desire for power and descent into madness, and Sakura's temper and interest in medicine, it makes perfect sense for her to learn Tsunade's jutsu. After all, Naruto learned the Rasengan and Sage Mode and got Gamabunta, like Jiraiya did, while Sasuke gained the ability to summon Manda and G-d knows what else, like Orochimaru did (dammit, Kishi, give Sakura Katsuyu already).

20. "Sakura's fans are all stupid tards who think she can beat Madara / Itachi / insert overpowered baddie here."
Way to generalise. You are going to get the odd starry-eyed newbie who overrates her in terms of power, but most of us aren't deluded. We know she's not going to beat Madara, especially since it's pretty much written in stone that Naruto will fight him. And yes, I know I wrote a fanfic where she beat Madara, but she did have help from Sasuke! I do try to be a little realistic when writing fanfic!

Also, telling us we need to be educated and/or we're wrong in the head for liking such an awful character? Fuck. Right. Off. If baddies like Orochimaru and minor characters like Matsuri or Genma can have fandoms, so can Sakura.

So there you have it.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
hokuton_punch
Sep. 12th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
I would like to marry this post. God, it's just a thing of beauty. ♥
night_owl_9
Sep. 13th, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
You make a lot of very good points :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )