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-   -   sexism/feminism within anime (http://forums.animesuki.com/showthread.php?t=82411)

Dark Wing 2009-06-05 23:31

sexism/feminism within anime
 
I thought it be interesting to discuss sexism and feminism in reference to anime. I remember seeing this topic being brought up somewhat in many anime forums here, and I think it's something worth discussing into further detail. Of course, like any medium, anime is far too broad to generalize as being wholly sexist (or feminist), so I intend this thread to be used for discussing topics such as

1. Was there any particular anime that you stopped watching or didn't like because you found it to be sexist?

2. Do you think there is a difference between anime and western animation in terms of sexism? Do you think that what is portrayed in anime to be a product of the differences in what is perceived as sexist? etc.

Of course, those are just starters, feel free to discuss any tangent so long as it stay relevant to the topic

Yeah, both shounen/shoujo and all other types of manga are open for discussion, it'll be interesting to see the differences in terms of demographics as well.

I guess it would also be interesting to discuss whether the differences in culture is to blame, or whether that is just another misconception. In my case I will be able to contribute little on this matter since I know very little about the Japanese culture to start off with, but for any of those that do, your input is appreciated.

Oh, and I realize that this forum is for anime, but I wouldn't mind discussing manga as well so long as it's appropriate.

cyth 2009-06-05 23:47

My take on issues like this: It's fiction. Anyone who takes fiction so seriously as to stir a public outcry (the recent rape games incident comes to mind) needs to grow up and tone down the hypocrisy.

Dark Wing 2009-06-06 00:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by Toua (Post 2437637)
My take on issues like this: It's fiction. Anyone who takes fiction so seriously as to stir a public outcry (the recent rape games incident comes to mind) needs to grow up and tone down the hypocrisy.

While this is true that it's fiction one cannot deny the influence certain types of media have on certain people especially kids.

And before you go on and say anything remember you can find almost anything off the internet. :heh:

Also I'm not really talking about porn but the way most girls and women are shown in anime/manga for example Orihime form Bleach or heck the entire female cast of Naruto.

PS: Now don't get me wrong I don't believe that unproductive or outdated messages in media are all that bad of a problem to the degree that it should be boycotted because it's sexist or some bull like that

Raiga 2009-06-06 00:37

Anime (and by extension, other Japanese media I suppose) seems to me to be less conscious-- or rather Western media is over-conscious, you can't really draw the line-- of the whole "girls need good female role models" thing (which sounds fine to me as I'd rather my sister not start acting like Hannah Montana).

I mean, I think the absence (or at least lesser degree) of this massive taboo nowadays on portraying women in Western media as weak in any way allows female characters to just be whatever character the author feels the story needs, instead of having to be the very image of a healthy well-balanced independent girl Living The American Dream etc. Not to say women in anime don't often get objectified, but... well, depends on the show. Which is just it, it's allowed to depend on the show, instead of every show having to tread lightly so as not to set off a rabid feminist somewhere.

Out of what I've watched, I've never seen anything that seemed particularly misogynist at all, that I can recall... and most of my favorite characters have been female but there are many potential reasons for that. XD

danin8r44 2009-06-06 00:54

Anime often markets towards one specific group. The portrayal of women and men in anime depends entirely on who the material is being marketed for and what they want to see. I don't see that as sexist, simply pragmatic.

holyalexander 2009-06-06 01:52

it depends how you depict the anime.. and the person watching it..

Zu Ra 2009-06-06 01:57

Well rarely do I defend anime but had to here .


Sexism is absent in anime broadly speaking . Depiction of women in anime is better than the actual status of women in Japanese society , I am not hinting women in Japan are ill treated . But women in anime are shown in a positive light they are always shown verbally dominant or as equals to there male counterpart , What they cant make up in brawns they make up with brains w.r.p. to shonen.


I speaking from experience I watched a few live action and the most popular ones are, the ones where women are more dominant or less stuck up then there male counterparts ( My Girl, Gokusen, Hana Kimi, Full House), . Soaps stray from real life and over-glorify . If that genre is popular that is basically goes a long way to say its not the position of women i n society . ONCE Again I repeat I am in no way implying wife-beating spousal abuse is a common practice, but approach in general is sexist . I am stressing on the mindset of the male which cant overlook females as anything else than sex objects . And to be brutally frank even rest of the world has a sexist approach but seldom that ballant .( also if anyone want me to back up this claim I cant do it through various mediums from print to pornography BUT via PMs as AS.Forums is PG 13 )




Coming back to the topic at hand yes anime depicts women in positive standing toe to toe and as equals to there male counterparts . The reason for this is definitely not the producers directors studio heads or manga ka are feminist. The reason simply being profit, when anime began the target audience was mainly male . But over the decades anime is going mainstream and marketed towards both genders . If you see the popular anime shows going via viewer ratings cater to bothe genders not just one . Or you wouldn't see Sazae Chan Crayon Shin Chan or Maruko Chan consistently making it to the top ,.

Source:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Katapan (Post 2431188)


Ratings for week of May 25-31:

16.4%(18.1%) 05/31 18:30-19:00 CX* Sazae-san
12.4%(12.6%) 05/29 19:30-19:54 EX* Crayon Shin-chan
10.8%(10.0%) 05/29 19:00-19:30 EX* Doraemon
*9.6%(13.1%) 05/31 18:00-18:30 CX* Chibi Maruko-chan
*9.3%(*9.8%) 05/31 *9:30-10:00 CX* One Piece
*9.3%(*9.2%) 05/31 *9:00-*9:30 CX* Dragon Ball Kai
*6.7%(*7.2%) 05/30 18:00-18:30 NTV Detective Conan
*5.8%(*4.0%) 05/31 17:00-17:30 TBS FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST
*5.6%(*7.9%) 05/31 *8:30-*9:00 EX* Fresh Precure!
*5.1%(*5.6%) 05/28 19:00-19:30 TX* Pokemon DP
Spoiler for space:



Most shows are following that same strategy from shonen to mecha . If you take the popular shows C.Geass (C.Designs by Clamp ) Gundam 00 ( C.Designs by Yun Koga who is a BL/Shojo writer) or Marcross F have been conceived with female audience in mind

Quote:

1. Was there any particular anime that you stopped watching or didn't like because you found it to be sexist?
I have stopped watching animes in which fan service over took the plot . Rarely due to sexism the closest would be Naruto in which I found depiction of women distasteful.

Quote:

2. Do you think there is a difference between anime and western animation in terms of sexism?
Actually no, both cartoons and anime depict women in a positive light . .The only difference would be political correctness and thank god for that




The only sexism to speak of is in Shojo Manga . Before the womenfolk stop.makin.samwiches, pick up there pitch forks and crucify poor ol me hear me out . Let me come out straight I haven't read many shojos but I have definitely read a whole lot of summaries . Sadism and Masochism are somewhat the prevalent themes,at least in fiction women like to be abused .


Quote:

The reason being, these are the main set of requirements for playing lead characters love interest in a Shojo :


- Has to go out of the way to be dense or a complete jerk .

- Has to look down on the lead and make her feel like complete trash .

- Has to put the lead in a precarious position as slave servant, in a way to take advantage of her sexually

- Has to to ridicule humiliate the lead at least once . Character popularity greatly depends on frequency of humiliations and insults.


Though I sprinkled lots of humor in the last part it remains a fact ... I pretty much think it is somewhere on the lines of male Tsundere

james0246 2009-06-06 02:07

In a broader sense, danin8r44 and Geta Boshi are correct. A Shounen anime/manga is designed to be appealing to younger boys, and, consequently, women play less of a prominent role in said anime/manga (though this is not true of all Shounen series (To-Love-Ru and Negima immediatly spring to mind)). But, for an anime/manga geared toward older women (Josei), there can be strong women and weak men (Though this is not true of all Josei series). Etc. In the end, it is not so much sexism on a broad scale, as it is simply pragmatism/economics.

That being said, individual authors/directors can be sexist within their respective “genres”. You mentioned Kishimoto's treatment of his female characters in the manga/anime Naruto as an example of possible sexism, and, to an extent, I do think that there might be some subconscious sexism involved in the storytelling involving his female cast (considering Kishimoto’s lacksidasical approach to defining his female cast). But, individual cases should not be used to define all similar anime/manga.

Darklord_bg 2009-06-06 03:45

If anything, anime nowadays is more sexist towards men than towards women.

Most shows depict women in very positive light - domineering and superior towards their male counterparts. Even if they are less competent as fighters or specialists they make up for it by being verbally more assertive and the guys always wimp out.

Pick any shounen - the guys are usually more powerful but they never ever win an argument with the girls they protect all the time and often take a beating from them.

Also, there are plenty of animes in which women are portrayed in a positive light, and men in a negative one. Even when the men are portrayed positively (i.e. shows like TTGL) the women are not depicted negatively in any way (i.e. Yoko).

So, in conclusion, there are good characters from both genders but from the bad characters almost all are men, so I would say today's anime is more sexist against men.

I don't even want to get into the topic of harem/romance shows, where all guys are as a rule incompetent, wussy and indecisive and all the girls are either nice and innocent to a fault or strong and assertive and use the male characters as a punching bag. Both of those archetypes are superior to the male character.

I have a feeling this is an ongoing trend. At first the phrase "harem male lead" was considered an insult by most anime watchers. Then gradually "male lead" by itself became a reason for scorn and sometimes even "male character" in general.

I really wish the producers would stop to cater only to women - we already live in a democratic and equal society, so we don't need to put men down to make women feel stronger and protected.

Dark Wing 2009-06-06 10:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darklord_bg (Post 2437855)
If anything, anime nowadays is more sexist towards men than towards women.

That is so true if you look back at anime in the late 1980's to the early 1990's women where depicted more as I need to be pretty so I can get married one day. (prime example wedding peach) :rolleyes:

Kimura sensei 2009-06-06 10:20

1. Was there any particular anime that you stopped watching or didn't like because you found it to be sexist?

No. I never have done this to any other kind of media either.

2. Do you think there is a difference between anime and western animation in terms of sexism? Do you think that what is portrayed in anime to be a product of the differences in what is perceived as sexist? etc.
I don't see any difference.

Kamui4356 2009-06-06 11:15

I find anime to be a mixed bag in this regard. There are lots of female characters, what while they might not always be the best role models, are at least shown as strong, independent people.

Then there are female characters that are basicly shown to be an extention of the male lead, and merely react to his presence. These latter types typically show up in bad harem series. If the character is supposed to have a life outside of the male lead it's often used as a reason they meet, then a lot of times it drops to the level of an informed ability. Sure she might mention she's on a tennis team, but the only thing we'll see of that is her dressed in a tennis uniform and carrying a raquet. Even when we do see it, they're often willing to give up everything to be with generic male lead #2649-B.


Though I may have talked more on the more sexist type, I don't think they show up more frequently. As I said, it's a mixed bag. Though I'm talking mainly about shounen and seinen there. Geta Boshi covered shoujo already, and I tend not to read/watch much of that. Though I'd add that type of character dynamic isn't unknown in western fiction aimed at pre-teen/teenage girls. A certain book series with sparkley vampires comes to mind.

Hs Vi Germania 2009-06-06 14:45

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dark Wing (Post 2437622)

1. Was there any particular anime that you stopped watching or didn't like because you found it to be sexist?

No, never.
If an anime is really to sexistic you know it from the beginning because those contents are already shown at the cover or at the intro.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Dark Wing (Post 2437622)
2. Do you think there is a difference between anime and western animation in terms of sexism? Do you think that what is portrayed in anime to be a product of the differences in what is perceived as sexist? etc.

I think animes are mostly not really based on sexism and you have to differ between Hentai and real animes. If there is sexism within animes, it's more a variety to the beat-em-up-action.
These both terms of sexism and brutality is mostly mixed and although brutality can be lonely in an anime, sexism needs brutality or it would be only a Hentai.

Of course there are some guys who only watches animes because of its sexism (Najica, Ikki Tousen, Aika, Tenjou Tenge) but those are special groups and such people should simply look for a girlfriend. ;)

Kaioshin Sama 2009-06-06 15:32

I suppose one could say that overly moe characters that are all the rage these days are a depiction of the female sex that is marred by sexism. Especially the kind that is always cowering at every little thing and need to be sheltered and protected.

Zu Ra 2009-06-06 15:55

I didn't touch upon on sexism towards male anime characters as the thread title was sexism/feminism . And quite frankly I dont mind abused exploited male characters . The reason being in real life the society in general is male dominated . I really dont think a few abuses here and there will do anything .

But in terms of females the society , there is gender bias and sexism prevalent . So unless I am watching a show which is concerning female exploitation I would abhor such shows generally . At least in fiction I want too see equal treatment of sexes w.r.p to female anime characters minus prejudices or gender bias. So thats an issue for me .

Darklord_bg 2009-06-06 16:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by Geta Boshi (Post 2438623)
I didn't touch upon on sexism towards male anime characters as the thread title was sexism/feminism . And quite frankly I dont mind abused exploited male characters . The reason being in real life the society in general is male dominated . I really dont think a few abuses here and there will do anything .

But in terms of females the society , there is gender bias and sexism prevalent . So unless I am watching a show which is concerning female exploitation I would abhor such shows generally . At least in fiction I want too see equal treatment of sexes w.r.p to female anime characters minus prejudices or gender bias. So thats an issue for me .

That's the thing though...I think the sexism against men is much more prevalent and should be discussed. I don't think that we live in a male-dominated society is a good excuse. In fact, I'm not sure we live in a male-dominated society anymore. Most Western countries (Europe and the US in particular) are heavily geared towards women - women rights, women power, support for women, etc.

To get back on topic, I can relate much more easily to male characters, since I am a guy, so I find it very offensive to see male characters treated so badly.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Do you guys relate more to female characters, or do you just not care about the characters at all?

LeoXiao 2009-06-06 16:24

Sure, sexism exists in anime. It exists in pretty much all media. It's just that in different nations it comes out differently. And you can't realistically get rid of sexism altogether in the media (particularly fiction), because people are naturally inclined to make generalizations and whatnot all the time; it's just how we work. Men like certain traits in women, so they're going to put those traits in fiction, and it's going to be sexist.
Women shouldn't complain anymore now that they can technically get jobs in all fields (seriously, like most doctors are women) and legally have the same rights as men. That's enough, going any further is just absurd.

Hs Vi Germania 2009-06-06 16:31

I think the problem does mainly belong to our society.
What should be a "sexy" man and who wants to watch an anime which is filled with sexy men?
Only a few women or homosexual men would watch it and those ones would not be the majority.

To defend us men only a few guys watch animes because of its possible sexism.
If I watch an anime, I notice the sexism and it's ok to me. I would not say I need it.
The anime should just not set its majority on the sexism in the films/series.

Jan-Poo 2009-06-06 16:35

To think that representing women and girls as sexual object has anything to do with sexism is a flawed logic. Who creates such content doesn't do that because that's their opinion of women, they do that because that's what the public want to see. If someone likes war movies does that means he wants to go to war as a soldier?

Erotic material meant for a male public shows idealized and objectified women, erotic material meant for a female public shows idealized and objectified men. If such representation of female characters was a symptom of a chauvinist society, then why there is such an abundance of yaoi materials, and otome games?

If you want to approach this problem seriously you need to learn to differentiate what is just pure fan service and what is the symptom of a lingering sexist philosophy.

For example I have no doubt that Macross (the first series) is a lot more sexist than any eroge based anime you see nowadays. The movie is even worse on that regard. That's because you see quite a few sexist remarks and the female characters just accept them as totally normal.

However that is generally true for anything that old, western and eastern alike. Our society has changed a lot in that regard in the last years, and what was considered perfectly normal and correct 30 years ago, it isn't now. An example? I think the following image is self explanatory:

http://correctopinion.files.wordpres..._galactica.jpg

Why in a game box instead of representing the whole family having fun alltogheter you show a woman and girl washing dishes while the husband and the male child have fun playing?
And they smile too, because hey it's woman's joy to mind the house.

That's the true sexism imho, not a naked body.

Quote:

1. Was there any particular anime that you stopped watching or didn't like because you found it to be sexist?

2. Do you think there is a difference between anime and western animation in terms of sexism? Do you think that what is portrayed in anime to be a product of the differences in what is perceived as sexist? etc.
1) No because I didn't really see anything that was so incredibly unbearably sexist to make me stop watching an anime. Anyway it doesn't really affects me. most HP Lovecraft's works are blatantly racist, however I can pass on that and enjoy the stories.

2) I think there is a difference in the way sexism manifests itself but there isn't really one that is more sexist than the other.

solomon 2009-06-06 17:10

I can't say I have seen anything that would count as either in anime. I don't like moe so I can't comment on it, but I am surprised at how assertive and freethinking some females are in anime shows, which seems somewhat at odds with mainstream Japanese soceity (or so it seems).


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