This article was NOT written by me.
It was written by flower-in-the-light
, a friend of mine on deviantART. link
The reason why I'm posting this as an article instead of a link is because I think it'll get more attention this way, lol. It's a very well thought-out article, and a wonderful rebuttal against the "Winry-is-abusive" and "EdWin-is-unhealthy" claims out there. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts about it!
~ Allegations of Abuse In FMA ~
Very recently, a number of fanfictions have come about claiming that Winry Rockbell is abusive, mainly toward Edward Elric. The reason is because of her wrench.
"Look at how bitchy she's being! Poor Ed is stuck in an abusive cycle with Winry, who continually hits Ed with the wrench and she'll probably give him brain damage!"
The above is the basic idea behind this. However, I would like to put forth the point that comical violence is a big part of anime in general, and most of the time is written more like a metaphor than anything else.
For example, in FMA, Ed gets in a lot of fights. Arakawa is really good at showing these injuries healing over time, like with the scar on Ed's forehead. It kept reopening because he was getting in constant fights with Scar and the Homunculi. However, with Winry's wrench, Ed's bumps and bruises are gone in the next panel. Poof! Magic!
Winry hitting Ed with a wrench is there to represent emotion and comic relief, just like how Al's armor will suddenly become cartoonish and have expressions. We know that Al's armor doesn't really have facial expressions, and we laugh when it happens because we know its not to be taken seriously. All of the characters in anime have times where they look deformed (or chibi, as it were), like when Ed and Mustang are arguing about Ed drawing out Scar and Homunculi's attention. Ed's face suddenly looks like that of a freakish cartoon crocodile, with pointed teeth and a triangular face. Now, is Ed's head actually suddenly changing shape? No, of course not. It is a common theme in anime to use distorted figures or extreme actions to bring comic relief into the story. Another example where they are slightly less distorted is when Ed throws Ling and Ran Fan from the hotel room - literally. Are you actually suggesting that Ed picked up both Ling and Ran Fan and threw them ten feet?
To go off on this further, in anime there is often a woman portrayed as the love interest for the hero, and she has moments of being violent. Typically, she is also a childhood friend, or Girl Next Door (GND). As evil_little_dog stated in her own piece against Winry bashing on livejournal:
"A standard trope, at least in '80's anime/manga, was The Giant Hammer. A female character, usually the Girl Next Door, would pull a giant hammer out of nowhere and smack the male lead with it. He'd get a monstrous knot, whine, and would ignore the reason he got the whack on the head - usually from eyeballing/flirting with another girl than the GND. Lum in Urusei Yatsura had not only a giant hammer, but also could throw lightning bolts. Kaori Makimura, from City Hunter, whacked Ryo Saeba over the head regularly for falling in love with his latest damsel in distress and losing sight of his job. Kei and Yuri, from The Dirty Pair, not only carried horkin' big guns, they destroyed planets. Usually by mistake, mind. It wasn't really their fault. But violent girls are stock and trade in anime and manga, and to say that Winry is particularly violent is like saying the sky is green.
Arakawa's style of art and storytelling evokes what I remember loving from the stuff I read (using that term loosely - untranslated manga meant I looked at pictures and guessed what was going on) and watched. Lum and Kaori could take care of themselves. That hammer/lightning bolt was just a prop, as were the knots the Boy Next Door received from those particular items. Not to mention, showed the whole Unresolved Sexual Tension going on between the GND and the BND. And Arakawa grew up with this sort of storytelling. I actually applauded her for not using a giant hammer - the wrench, at least, makes sense considering Winry's profession, even if it does appear out of nowhere."
On top of all of that, what about the other characters in FMA? Riza, Izumi, Ran Fan, Olivia, and so on- all are fairly violent, but this level of dislike is aimed only at Winry. As evil_little_dog further stated:
"And if Winry's violent and that's such a horror, where are the reactions about Riza being violent? Is it different because she's a soldier? Despite her shooting at her puppy for peeing on the floor? And there's that casual underlying threat that she'd shoot Roy if he doesn't finish his paperwork that's worked into so many fan stories. There's not a problem with that, is there? What about Izumi? She threw Ed and Al around like they were rag dolls. She left them on an island to starve. They didn't know how to take care of themselves. Sure, they learned, but before Ed and Al figured out what was edible, they were slowly starving to death. That's not abuse?"
Izumi and Riza are well liked characters, and they are far more violent than Winry. They are violent in a way that is real- two seconds later, bruises are still there, bullet holes are still in the wall. However, no one would say that those two women are abusive.
"Just because Winry is cute/pretty doesn't mean you should ignore her abuse toward Ed!"
Winry being cute or pretty has nothing to do with that. If she were actually abusing Ed, her looks would not excuse it in any way. Are you seriously under the belief that everyone around Ed and Al just wink and go 'oh you' as Winry giggles and perpetuates a cycle of abuse? That makes no sense whatsoever.
To also quote my friend Rosie (aka zeowynda): "What really makes my blood boil is this: double standards.
Suppose I write a fanfic where Roy is stressed and abusing his position as Ed's superior officer. He takes advantage of him somehow and Ed feels shocked and confused. He goes home to Resembool where he talks things out with Winry and she makes it all better because she loves him and cares for him.
You can bet that I'd get tons of flamers over that because Roy is out of character and has been turned into the "bad guy".
But for some reason, grossly exaggerating a characteristic of Winry's thus making her out of character and turning HER into the villain is fine.
You can argue all you want that "it's an AU fic, so it's okay". But that doesn't change the fact that abusing the woman's character is considered acceptable moreso than the male's."
Furthermore, there are two big facts that stand in the way of the idea of Winry being abusive, and they are:
One, Ed and Al love Winry. They love her.
You can argue for hours on end if they love her romantically or not, but the fact remains that they do. She is their closest friend; she has been there with them through their most difficult days, and in the end she is there to (in Ed's case literally) build them back up again. They know her better than anyone else does, and if she was honestly abusing Ed, (and Al for that matter) do you really think they would love her the way they do?
When she is taken as a hostage they are terrified for her. When she is hurting because of Scar they hate that she is crying while they cannot help. When she comes up with the plan to get out of the military's clutches they cannot bear the idea of her putting herself in such danger. They love her, and both boys are self aware enough to get away from people that treat them badly. They are not, as fanfictions often portray them, completely broken little boys desperate for any affection. A part of them is still hurting, sure, but wounds like what they have suffered don't ever fully heal. As they go on their journey, they learn the value of their own lives. As Al screams at Ed after Ed was willing to let Scar kill him:
"How could you do something so stupid as choosing to die when you could keep living!? You might find a way to restore our bodies if you survive and learn more about alchemy! And you might even find a way to save poor girls like Nina! How could you toss all those possibilities away and pick death?!"
These words do not show boys trapped in endless misery, unable to even get out of an abusive situation. Ed and Al are strong, and are very set in their morals, and know themselves and their worth. As such, they would not take abuse of any kind.
Secondly, does it really make sense that if Winry was abusing Ed in any way that Al or Pinako would stand for it?
Pinako loves the boys like they were her own, and the whole series focuses on how much Ed and Al care for each other. Is it that Al is being blinded by Winry's cuteness? Because a pretty face will stop Alphonse Elric, who loves his brother so much, from protecting said brother. Right.
Pinako and Al would not stand by and watch if Ed was being hurt by anyone. They would step in immediately. And that's the truth.