When there was the possibility of a female Link about half of the internet raged over the prospect. Some people cried out in support of she-Link, but a troubling number of people were outraged by the possibility.
They didn't understand why there was a need for change. "Zelda is already a badass." That's almost a true statement, but there are caveats to it. Broken down by game there are major problems with her role. Zelda has historically been a princess in need of salvation. The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (wherein she requires saving not once, but twice), The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: oracle of Seasons, The Legend of Zelda: the oracle of Ages, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (need saving twice again), The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword all feature her as a character in need of rescue from the (occasionally) big strong man. There are a few instances wherein Zelda is "badass," but it's always in the context of a support role for the male protagonist, Link.
In Ocarina of Time, Sheik works to lead Link in the right direction... only to end up captured by Ganon. Tetra is a pirate ship captain! She gives Link a lift here and there. (Taxis are badass? sure?)… And she's then capture by Ganon. In Skyward Sword she's the reincarnation of the Goddess! That's cool, right? But then she's capture by Demise's forces and requires saving. At the end of some games she fires off some light arrows at Ganon, but it's always Link and his impressive phallus of justice that saves the day in the end. It's the same thing over and over again. The female "love" interest has some marginal skill before being turned to stone, possessed, or just plain old kidnapped. I'm kind of shocked she was never tied down to railroad tracks while Snidely Whiplash cackles just off screen wringing his hands. The only time Zelda even holds the title of sidekick in these games is when she's removed from her own female body and made to possesses giant suits of armor (presumably made for men).
Sheik holds a special place in gamer's hearts. She's this awesome example of how cool Zelda can be to the world at large, but I'd like to point out something troubling to everyone out there. Zelda as Sheik is pretty lame. What does she do? She teaches link to play his ocarina, and then she's captured.
She's the Boba Fett of the Legend of Zelda Universe. She doesn't do anything.
But let's dissect this a little bit further. Why is she so much cooler than the rest of Zelda's incarnations? It's because she's androgynous. That's right ladies and gentlemen. People latched onto Sheik because they thought she was a dude at first.
Please tell me you all see the issue with this.
There's no reason why Link cannot be a female character. He's a genderless "every-man" with no inherent personality or character traits. Eiji Aonuma states that "I don't want people to get hung up on the way Link looks because ultimately Link represents the player in the game." So why, pray tell, are we completely ignoring roughly half of the globe's population? How can Link represent the player when so many players aren't male?
Super Mario Bros 2 allowed players to select peach. She was on par with Mario and luigi and could do everything they could do. That was in 1988. The original legend of Zelda came out in 1986. The first Zelda game to give you a playable and truly badass Zelda character is the upcoming Hyrule Warriors. (Smash Bro's doesn't count. It's not canon.)
Why has it taken 28 years for this to happen? And why did it take Nintendo allowing another company to make their game for it to happen? And why do I seem to be the only one out here that has a problem with this?