This is probably just a Hey Arnold fandom thing, but everyone seems to hate on Lila because she happens to be who Arnold has a crush on long-term in the series. It’s always bothered me that their hate of this character is rooted in misogyny and the fact that Arnold likes her and not Helga. It’s such a bad reason to hate a character, and it still upholding the societies hold on what they want from us. They want people to hate women characters, and in its self-other women. They pit us together on purpose and thus reinforcing it.
Why I have always liked Lila is because I was just like her as a child, I was very sweet to everyone, and I didn’t give others a reason to dislike like. Or so that I thought, lol I didn’t know much about the world. I was a people pleaser, and I tried hard. It might have also been a lot of me being afraid of who I actually was, but I didn’t know that then, and I certainly wasn’t being fake. When asked who from Hey Arnold I was like it’s always Lila with a mix of Phoebe.
The first reason people don’t like Lila is that she gets in between Arnold and Helga. Again, that is just a stupid reason, it upholds and reinforces pitting women against one another, and especially knowing that Arnold was always going to end up with Helga then why does a crush on Lila or even Ruth matter. It’s just not a legitimate reason.
The other reason is that she’s perpetually cheery and optimistic. I can see why would be annoying, but instead of blaming the character or women for being this way you should get mad at the reason this happens, men, society, and the patriarchy. We are taught to stay subordination, silence, sweet, and to be less than what we are. That is changing now, but there is a lot of progress that desperately needs to be made. My point is that Lila is the type of female that the 90’s would have made, she is a product of the times, and of men. It seems like that mean always equate as being “real” to some people, why is it that nice is fake? When people say that because it paints this picture that niceness is just an illusion, and all people are really genuinely nasty at their core and there’s no such thing as niceness at all. That is not true, there are a lot of truly nice people but others are too jaded to see that.
The third reason I see a lot is that she was too perfect. Which is just laughable. She obviously wasn’t or so many people wouldn’t hate her. Lila is literally described in the first episode as someone who wants people to like her to a point it hurt herself, her home life is not good. That doesn’t sound perfect to me. Her acting as if there isn’t anything wrong is how a lot of people are in public, it’s not anything but not sharing your problems. Is that a bad thing to not overshare? Which is funny because if you overshare your fake, if you don’t share at all your fake. You can’t win for lose.
The fourth one I see is that she rubs people the wrong way, which is more of a reflection on them and not the character. Which it seems to be a thing people like characters who are dark, evil, have pasts, and are super problematic and if there is a nice one people think it is boring.
Another reason was that she upheld what is seen as typical femininity, again being in a society that upholds that and with the patriarchy and men who want that as well, and if you take in the setting and time of the show. typical femininity was what was expected from women, we don’t blame men for being a typical guy or for their masculinity. Then why do we do it to other women or female characters? Just because she is entirely feminine is not a bad thing, as long as it’s her choice, just like it’s not a bad thing for Helga not to be.
Next, a lot of people call her a Mary Sue, but only back it up with the first episode she is seen in, and you can definitely dislike her for that, a lot of those things aren’t even bought up in future episodes, and that was Lila’s first day of school when she was actively trying hard to impress others and get them to like her. If someone judge other for that in real life it would not be a good thing.
Besides that, I hear a lot that she leads Arnold on, which is the opposite of the truth. She tells him all of the time that she “doesn’t like him like him.” It doesn’t get much clearer than that to be honest. Should she be a bitch to Arnold because she doesn’t have a crush on him too? Oh, wait people would hate her for that too. Women can’t do it right, both choices are always wrong especially according to men. She was honest and upfront with him, which is what most people ask for, it’s stupid that she gets shitted on for it. Adding on that people hate her for choosing Arnie, her bad taste in guys isn’t a reason to hate her. Or that she friend-zoned him, which is hateful and nasty. There is no such thing as the friend-zone, it’s something that is made up by men to be friends with a girl who they like to get with them. So, if Arnold was “friend-zoned” that is his fault.
Another ridiculous one I heard was that Lila was manipulative, there are no canon facts to back that up, expect that people hate Lila and will make up anything to hate her. Reasons within this that people use to justify this reasoning is one that she was nice to him, she was still his friend after she stopped crushing on him, and he started crushing on her. Or in the Married episode that she let him walk with when he asked. Already those reasonings as bullshit, but I’ll explain anyway. If she was a bitch people would still hate her because she was the threat for Helga, and her being nice to everyone but him would be a problem too. They were still friends, well that was Arnold’s choice too, do the same fans blame him too? Of course, not because it was never about that, it was about hating Lila. Lastly, Arnold asked Lila to walk with him and carry her books, she said no to the books which people forget, but yes to walking, again they blame Lila for Arnold’s choice.
I can see why people would dislike her for her “ever so” way of speaking or finding her boring, because the only reason she was created was to be a love interest for Arnold, that just show how women were seen in the 90’s. Those are good reasons not to like her, personally, I loved her.
When talking about Lila no one ever brings up how she helped Helga out on many occasions, and kept her secret. That is my defense of Lila Sawyer. I hope this makes you second guess about women, men, society pressures and the patriachy.