I do not want to wade into the Jane/Jake war currently raging across Homestuck fandom. Yet I find I must comment on the “reverse the genders” argument that many are making.
Mainly, the arguments run that Jane’s behavior is inappropriate, and this becomes apparent if we were to imagine Jane was a man, and Jake was a women.
The inappropriate behavior being flipping the table, and getting mad at Jake for months of one-sided conversations and his failure to notice she used to have a crush on him.
So, aside from male not being the reversal of female, here is why gender reversal does not work: In the modern context, men and woman are not interchangeable. In the modern context, an action performed by a man can have a different significance than the same action performed by a woman.
So why does “he kept listening to her talk about her relationship problems for months, then got really mad at her” sound worse than “She kept listening to him talk about her relationship problems months, then got really mad at him”?
Firstly, there is the “Nice Guy” phenomena. It is not uncommon for men in our culture to be “friends” with a woman, and be completely nice to her and there for her, and imagine that this entities him to her romantic affection. That he has “earned” the right to date her, because he has always been such a good friend, and listened to her.And then get angry when she never realizes how he feels about her, or rages about being stuck in the “Friend Zone.” To be clear, these “friendships” are only maintained in hopes of future romance, and not out of genuine friendship.
So the reason it would seem bad if Jane (as a man) got angry at Jake (as a woman) for talking his ear off and not noticing his prior crush, its because we think Jane was being a Nice Guy, without genuine interest in Jake beyond maybe dating him one day.
If it were true that Jane was just mad at Jake for failing to notice she used to have a crush on him, or not giving her the love to which she feels entitled, then it would, indeed, be bad. It would be bad no matter the gender of those involved.
However, I do not believe that is why Jane is angry. Perhaps your interpretation of Jane’s character is such that it seems plausible she only speaks with Jake and continues to be his “friend” in hopes of one day getting together with him. By my interpretation, that notion is laughable. The source of Jane’s anger is the entirely one sided nature of their conversations, and lack of consideration for her feelings or interest in her well being. From her point of view, he only remembers she exists when he wants to talk at someone about his problems, and has no interest in her problems, in her well being, or in her input or advice. And if a friend, regardless of gender, treats you this way, I believe it is a valid reason to become angry. I am not saying that anger is the best response, but it is not blame-worthy to become angry under such conditions.
Secondly, there is a significantly higher frequency of men assaulting women than the other way around.* Violence against men certainly does exist. It absolutely does, and it deserves attention and discussion. But not here. Its existence also does not invalidate the high rates of violence against women, because two wrongs don’t make a right.
These higher rates of violence make it a much more threatening for a woman when a man looses his temper and flips a table, then it is for a man when a woman does the same.
Thus, the actions of “man” Jane have a significantly different weight than those of “woman” Jane, and one should not judge her actions by how they would appear if she were a man.
So, basically, that is why “reversing” the gender does not work in this situation. It does not work in any situation, because A) in the modern context, men and women are not 100% perfectly interchangeable, as a closer examination of any situation will demonstrate, and B) gender is not binary, anyways.
* “Women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence, men for approximately 15%.”(Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003)