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Old 2011-06-29, 03:08   Link #121
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by Chiibi View Post
I can't really agree with that. If they're the main characters, how can they not drive the plot forwards? Can you give an example of such a character?
I can't name anything off the top of my head(I block bad shojo from my memory ), but if you have a female character who's continuously being controlled by a guy, and she's way inferior to the guy, and she just ends out doing what she wants, she stops driving the plot as much. It becomes about her fulfilling her desires.

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No different than the lead characters in Hollywood movies, except they're more developed because they can go outside of a two hour-long film. Besides, what's wrong with fantasizing? I mean, that's the entire point of entertainment, don't you think?
Artificiality in characters makes it more difficult to immerse yourself. I suppose as a man I find it difficult to empathise with such a lead.

Quote:
For the record, my favorite male lead in shoujo started out as a penniless orphan, then he joined a band and became famous, then he developed a fatal disease that prevented him from singing and eventually committed suicide. As punishment, he is forced to live the afterlife as a grim reaper but he isn't able to collect a single soul. He ends up falling in love with the now deceased band leader's daughter yet she has her eyes set on someone else. Despite this, he still risks everything to help this girl simply because he cares that much. He's handsome but not very built. He isn't particularly powerful or strong, he has common sense and is insightful but has quite a few personality flaws. What makes him so appealing to me is how noble, passionate, and loving he is. But like a real human, he's not noble, passionate, and loving all the time. He has to go through many trials and slowly develop these traits.
So I cannot possibly think of him as "just an object". Pushing the fantasy elements aside, he feels quite "real" to me.
He seems too perfect to my mind. From what you describe he never did anything seriously wrong, and was just screwed over by fate. He may originally have been an orphan, but he's still rich and famous now isn't he?

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Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
Actually I consider Chiaki to be pretty much in line with the common trope of the shoujo male lead. He possess three of the four widespread qualities: He comes from a rich family, he's very successful, he's the best looking guy of the whole cast. If he came from a noble family he'd make a perfect score.

Minor characters flaws and weakness are actually very common in my esperience.
He's not completely out of line of traditional shojo, but he's going in the right direction. That said, when he compulssively cleaned Nodame's apartment for her out of disgust at the beginning, that seemed uncharacteristic for most shojo leads.

Another good example of a good male lead (from another medium) is Romeo from Romeo and Juliet (the original play), Romeo is basically an overly proud and hasty guy. His only redeeming quality is his capacity for love, and even that is a bit foolish.

Now I can see where the appeal of such leads comes from, it's the same thing that leads to Moe. I just find such idealistic depictions of people ultimately unsatisfying. I'd like to see people who are deeply flawed overcoming these flaws and falling in love. Arrogance can work, but it has to seem unjustified, and fate has to be out to destroy him, and not by deus ex machina developments like mysterious disease. His problems should be of his own making.
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Old 2011-06-29, 07:39   Link #122
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by Chiibi View Post
Jan-Poo was pointing out that Kyou's background and social life is not the typical love interest "norm". And that would be correct. He does not come from a rich or noble family but a cursed one and he is hated by many.
A boy with a troubled past and troubled social situation not normal? Eh. The bad boy with bad reputation is just as common as the prince. That's half the whole point of being a bad boy after all, just so the heroine can discover that he's really just "misunderstood."

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There's a simple explanation why: "flawed characters are more interesting". If he's already perfect, the only character change he can go through is "character derailment"....which is bad and not enjoyable to see.
But if he starts out "bad", you can predict his character is only going to improve as the story continues, and this is what catches the reader's interest; she wants to know what kind of exciting things are going to happen to change the foul-tempered "jerk" into a blushing boy of "moe".
And a lot of times, the "jerk" isn't actually an honest-to-goodness "jerk", the fact is, he had the potential in him to be kind all along. It's usually pride or fear (In Kyou's case, it was fear of not being accepted) that prevents him from doing so.
But he eventually matures past that.
I know exactly why the trope is popular, and you're really describing the best case scenario...which, I give, Kyou sorta is (Fruit Basket is after all a very good manga as far as shoujo goes). Far too many shoujo mangaka don't know the difference between a troubled and/or tsundere guy with a genuinely good heart (Chiaki moe~) and a jerk who is occasionally nice (disturbing abusive relationship vibe).

But Kyou is merely the better sort of a very common character in shoujo manga, not an exception that defy the common tastes. The way Jan-Poo first put it it would have given undue credit to Fruit Basket as if it is bucking the trend with its decision (as I said, on the contrary...).

Now that I've made the point I came in to make, I'd put in a bit of an opinion that male readers of shoujo manga are likely to enjoy this character archetype far less than female readers, for a rather obvious reason in that boys don't go moe over other boys unless it's Aki-chan Hideyoshi.

Last edited by Irenicus; 2011-06-29 at 07:50.
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Old 2011-06-29, 08:05   Link #123
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Eh. The bad boy with bad reputation is just as common as the prince. That's half the whole point of being a bad boy after all, just so the heroine can discover that he's really just "misunderstood."
Kyou has never been the "bad boy". If you said Rin from please save my earth, now THAT is a bad boy. But Kyou? come on. You are trying to fit him into a stereotype he doesn't belong to.
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Old 2011-06-29, 08:12   Link #124
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
Kyou has never been the "bad boy". If you said Rin from please save my earth, now THAT is a bad boy. But Kyou? come on. You are trying to fit him into a stereotype he doesn't belong to.
He squarely belongs in that dynamic. It doesn't mean he's a bad person -- he has quite good reasons to act like he does, he really does have a good heart behind his facade, and he evolves as a character as the manga develops, all of which is a good thing. However, he starts out hostile, physically aggressive, with a violent reputation among his peers, and tries to brush away Tohru's attempts to connect with him, at least at first. He even has the classic "bad boy" look, tall (-er than the heroine), dark and on the sharp side, especially in comparison to "white prince" Yuki. He is very much a "bad boy."

Oh, and that dark past thing. Everybody in the Sohma family's got issues, but Kyou's are especially, well, bad.
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Old 2011-06-29, 11:15   Link #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I can't name anything off the top of my head(I block bad shojo from my memory ), but if you have a female character who's continuously being controlled by a guy, and she's way inferior to the guy, and she just ends out doing what she wants, she stops driving the plot as much.
This true, however I don't engage in such series because I don't like overly-controlling guys like that.


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He seems too perfect to my mind.
Sir, if he was "perfect", I wouldn't love him as much as I do. I hate perfect characters. Every well-written character needs strengths and faults and they should be balanced. I'm more aware of that than anyone.

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From what you describe he never did anything seriously wrong, and was just screwed over by fate.
Define "seriously" wrong. If you mean "committ a crime" or "be abusive" or something like that, no, but there are plenty of real humans who haven't done that, myself included. If you're talking about the regular mistakes everyone makes, like lying, breaking rules, hurting people's feelings, misunderstandings, and taking a bad attitude out on someone unfairly, then yes, he's done all of that.

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He may originally have been an orphan, but he's still rich and famous now isn't he?
Very briefly, for about two or three years. In the afterlife, he's just a low-ranked shinigami who can just do magic tricks and he doesn't even remember his past til about six episodes before the ending of the series.

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Far too many shoujo mangaka don't know the difference between a troubled and/or tsundere guy with a genuinely good heart (Chiaki moe~) and a jerk who is occasionally nice (disturbing abusive relationship vibe).
That is very true. And it seems more common with smuttier shoujo aimed at an older demographic. *sighs*
Calling the girl "baka" and stomping away mad is one thing. Forcing ecchi/sex on her, or hitting her or constantly putting her down is a serious NO-NO. There's nothing "cute" about that kind of behavior.

Sho from Skip Beat is someone I regard as a "true jerk". And I was very glad that Kyoko saw that and more or less said, "F*CK YOU" to him.
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Old 2011-07-07, 00:29   Link #126
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I'm a bit surprised that there hasn't been any mention of Utena in this thread. Not only is it one of the preeminent feminist anime works out there, but it basically encompasses this entire discussion. For those unfamiliar with it, the male characters in the show are very reminiscent of the type of male love interests in shoujo works. In general, they display a strong sense of nobility but also tend to disempower the women they're involved with. On the flip side, Utena also examines female characters and how they end up trapped in the circumstances of both gender roles and the dominance of the male characters. I can't think of a better lens to bear on this subject.

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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Couldn't it have been done just as well by having her save the guy?
Sailor Moon is a fairly strong feminist work. If Sailor Moon went around having to save Tuxedo Mask all the time, then they would just be swapping gender roles and flipping gener roles isn't what feminism is about. Instead, Usagi tends to go for decisions based on what she is like and how she had grown rather than what her gender is. And that is what feminism is about.

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Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
Frankly that article made me giggle.
Because everything that was said is even more true in the case of male characters portrayed for the sake of a female audience. But it never even grazed the surface of my mind that portraying males as perfect, exceptional in every sense, sexy, successful, rich, noble and handsome beyond what's humanly possible (if i could have a penny for any male character in shoujo manga that possesses ALL of those...) can be considered sexist!
That isn't really true in the case of male characters. The argument is that when Hollywood tries to make strong female characters, we end up with these fanservice caricatures. When Hollywood makes the effort to make strong male characters, the results tend to be far more effective.

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Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
What really should be fought in my opinion is stuff like the idea that women are only good in the kitchen, are stupid, useless, incompentent, weak willed and overly interested in silly stuff.
In many ways, overt sexism like this (like overt racism) is less of a problem. This kind of stuff is easy to point out as a problem, and the vast majority of people can identify it. However, the bigger problem is when people point to characters like the Megan Fox character as a strong female character and then declare that feminism is no longer necessary. That's the kind of insidious malaise that's a lot harder to overcome.

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Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
A boy with a troubled past and troubled social situation not normal? Eh. The bad boy with bad reputation is just as common as the prince. That's half the whole point of being a bad boy after all, just so the heroine can discover that he's really just "misunderstood."
Yuppers. A lot of the appeal of male shoujo characters is the fantasy that they can be changed for the better. However, just because it's a common fantasy doesn't necessarily mean that there's a problem feminism-wise with it.

-----------------------------------------------

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Originally Posted by Chiibi View Post
For the record, my favorite male lead in shoujo started out as a penniless orphan, then he joined a band and became famous, then he developed a fatal disease that prevented him from singing and eventually committed suicide.
Good choice. However, you should mention that most of his better points develop as the story goes on. At the beginning and his attitude is quite a bit more sour, obstinate, and a lot less sympathetic. It takes a long time for his compassion to build up.

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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
He seems too perfect to my mind. From what you describe he never did anything seriously wrong, and was just screwed over by fate. He may originally have been an orphan, but he's still rich and famous now isn't he?
Chiibi is a little bit overly enthusiastic about the character's good points. Do note that he was messed up enough to commit suicide. Realistically, the female lead is better than him in just about every way.

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Originally Posted by Chiibi View Post
Sho from Skip Beat is someone I regard as a "true jerk". And I was very glad that Kyoko saw that and more or less said, "F*CK YOU" to him.
True, but Sho is pretty much the best character in Skip Beat.
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Old 2011-07-07, 02:38   Link #127
Kameruka
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I didn't reply to this thread for very long time because I wanted it to die. Yes I'm not joking. I already get way too many bad reps for making this thread. Of course you don't need to make a highly controversial threads in order to make people angry at you. Anyway let's get back to the topic.

Perhaps the best way to learn this problem is to understand the mentality of the shoujo fangirls themselves. As far as I can see, they don't see weak, crybaby heroines as a problem. Why? Because they are meant to be on that way. They are meant to be hated by the target audiences anyway. How better Keitaro from Love Hina in comparison anyway? I don't think Love Hina fans are watching that show for him despite he's the hero of the show. The heroine of the shoujo manga/anime also suffered same problem: designed to be hated by the fans.

The only reason I made this thread so that I can see any shoujo shows where the heroines interested more than just finding a boyfriend. There are already lots of shounen and seinen shows that the heroes are more interested than having a girlfriend and why no shoujo shows doing the same? There is Ouran High School Host Club though but I ends up hating it, a lot.

Last edited by Kameruka; 2011-07-07 at 04:09.
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Old 2011-07-07, 03:55   Link #128
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Originally Posted by Kameruka View Post
The only reason I made this thread so that I can see any shoujo shows where the heroines interested more than just finding a boyfriend. There are already lots of shounen and seinen shows that the heroes are more interested than having a girlfriend and why no shoujo shows doing the same? There is Ouran High School Host Club though but I ends up hating it, a lot.
The thing is that girls in Japan don't just buy shoujo series. If a girl wants to read something without romance there are plenty of shounen titles available.

Young boys however generally aren't interested in straight-up female perspective romances. Therefore girls who want to read romances have to read manga specifically marketed only to girls (Ie shoujo manga).
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Old 2011-07-07, 07:21   Link #129
SeijiSensei
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Originally Posted by Kameruka View Post
The only reason I made this thread so that I can see any shoujo shows where the heroines interested more than just finding a boyfriend.
Have you ever watched Saiunkoku Monogatari? While the heroine is romantically interested in the main male character, she puts that aside so she can pursue a career.

Spoiler:
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Old 2011-07-11, 00:43   Link #130
Chiibi
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Good choice. However, you should mention that most of his better points develop as the story goes on. At the beginning and his attitude is quite a bit more sour, obstinate, and a lot less sympathetic. It takes a long time for his compassion to build up.
Yes....I guess I'm a bit "blinded by love"....

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Originally Posted by Kameruka View Post
Perhaps the best way to learn this problem is to understand the mentality of the shoujo fangirls themselves. As far as I can see, they don't see weak, crybaby heroines as a problem.
I don't have a problem with a crybaby as long as her character develops.
I love Usagi from Sailormoon because she matures and becomes strong. I hate Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi because she never learns and stays the same helpless idiot for the whole 52 episodes.

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They are meant to be hated by the target audiences anyway.How better Keitaro from Love Hina in comparison anyway? I don't think Love Hina fans are watching that show for him despite he's the hero of the show. The heroine of the shoujo manga/anime also suffered same problem: designed to be hated by the fans.
Actually you are very very wrong, there.
Pardon me for saying so, but it doesn't seem like you do much research on shoujo manga and their audiences.

I have. I have read many issues of Ribon, Nakayoshi and similar manga magazines, and raw manga where they take character popularity polls.

Guess who is either ranked #1 or at least stays in the top 3?

Yes, the heroine. The heroine is the role model for the little girls reading the manga. They look up to her and admire her and wish to be like her, just like how American little girls look up to and wish to be like the Disney princesses.

This really isn't wrong for their age. It's a phase girls will eventually grow out of (as long as they're raised unspoiled.)

However heroines of shoujo manga make better role models than the Princesses, imho, for the most part. They seem to have a strong determination that Disney girls lack. This is gradually changing though, but in a nutshell of course, the shoujo heroine is going to have more character development, simply because there is more time to develop her in a five-ten volume manga series than a one-hour long Disney movie.

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There are already lots of shounen and seinen shows that the heroes are more interested than having a girlfriend and why no shoujo shows doing the same?
There are! You're just not looking hard enough.
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Old 2011-09-02, 03:49   Link #131
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True, quite interesting that shounen have more feminism than shoujo.

But the shounen takes the feminism too far where it actually seems counter-intuitive and sexist. Instead of the girl nearly getting raped all the time, the girls are over-protected where even the villainess are protected by the hero. And they're usually looked down upon and fodderized like in Naruto.

In Toaru Majutsu no Index however, the majority of the antagonists are women so the main character must treat them all equally. He does not discriminate. This is the most gender equal anime I've ever seen. Though not completely... since the female antagonists that he defeats end up joining his harem... while the male antagonists are forever forgotten or he remains hostile too.
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Old 2011-09-02, 04:33   Link #132
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Originally Posted by Myname View Post
True, quite interesting that shounen have more feminism than shoujo.

But the shounen takes the feminism too far where it actually seems counter-intuitive and sexist. Instead of the girl nearly getting raped all the time, the girls are over-protected where even the villainess are protected by the hero. And they're usually looked down upon and fodderized like in Naruto.
Since girls are in short supply in Shounen Action manga, I can really only identity two main archtypes -> The 'cute' weak-supportive class, and the 'sexy' strong-aggressive class.


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In Toaru Majutsu no Index however, the majority of the antagonists are women so the main character must treat them all equally. He does not discriminate. This is the most gender equal anime I've ever seen. Though not completely... since the female antagonists that he defeats end up joining his harem... while the male antagonists are forever forgotten or he remains hostile too.
A BIG misconception/misunderstanding here -_-

The defeated female villains don't join the harem, most of them just remain on passive-neutral terms, that is to say they aren't actively hostile or hold any lifetime grudges.
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Old 2011-09-02, 05:44   Link #133
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by Myname View Post
True, quite interesting that shounen have more feminism than shoujo.

But the shounen takes the feminism too far where it actually seems counter-intuitive and sexist. Instead of the girl nearly getting raped all the time, the girls are over-protected where even the villainess are protected by the hero. And they're usually looked down upon and fodderized like in Naruto.
...I think you misunderstand what feminism means.

Feminism, classic feminism, is diametrically opposed to the damsel-in-distress archetype that "over-protected" girls of [some] shounen manga are perfect examples of.

After all, the only real difference between an overly protected damsel and a "ravished" damsel is on which male wins the battle. You noted it yourself when you pointed out how female characters are looked down upon in Naruto, even though you misinterpreted it as feminism too far. Rather, feminism in fiction, in so far as such a diverse and complex movement can be simplified, is about returning the initiative to the female characters, to give them motivation and life, to empower them -- and I don't mean that in some shounen power level sense.

A female character doesn't have to be perfect and get all the happy endings; she can be a flipping rape victim even, but if a work of fiction goes deep into her psyche, presents the world as seen through her eyes, as well as portraying her ability as a human to survive, change, and grow, and to develop her identity as a person and give her a chance to speak with her own voice -- that work is, at some levels at least, feminist.
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Old 2011-09-02, 05:50   Link #134
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The essence of feminism is that the female character is as complete as any male character. Not neccessarily that they are as strong. The most important thing is that they are well articulated depictions, and not simply objects for male characters to win or protect.

So the female characters of Kuragehime are generally pretty weak and pathetic, but you could call Kuragehime feminist, as the characters, despite all their faults, are all human beings, with their own goals and motivations. Not simply someone the male character has to woo, and not people who can only exist in respect to a male character.
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Old 2011-09-02, 05:59   Link #135
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I'm surprised when seeing this thread come back from the dead. I virtually had nothing to say in this thread again except female characters in shoujo anime/manga sucks because the authors and their fans wanted to.

Let this thread die again before I got too many bad reps.
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Old 2011-09-02, 09:42   Link #136
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I'm surprised when seeing this thread come back from the dead. I virtually had nothing to say in this thread again except female characters in shoujo anime/manga sucks because the authors and their fans wanted to.

Let this thread die again before I got too many bad reps.
But this is the most perfect opportunity to post this ANNCast all about shoujo genre!

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/anncast/2011-09-02
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Old 2011-09-02, 09:42   Link #137
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Originally Posted by Myname View Post
True, quite interesting that shounen have more feminism than shoujo.

But the shounen takes the feminism too far where it actually seems counter-intuitive and sexist. Instead of the girl nearly getting raped all the time, the girls are over-protected where even the villainess are protected by the hero. And they're usually looked down upon and fodderized like in Naruto.

In Toaru Majutsu no Index however, the majority of the antagonists are women so the main character must treat them all equally. He does not discriminate. This is the most gender equal anime I've ever seen. Though not completely... since the female antagonists that he defeats end up joining his harem... while the male antagonists are forever forgotten or he remains hostile too.
I think you are misunderstanding feminism.
I had a link a few posts back that you should read.
http://www.overthinkingit.com/2008/0...bad-for-women/
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Old 2011-09-02, 11:13   Link #138
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I virtually had nothing to say in this thread again except female characters in shoujo anime/manga sucks because the authors and their fans wanted to.

Let this thread die again before I got too many bad reps.
If you hate bad reps, stop making stupid generalizations like that.

There are PLENTY of female characters in shoujo that do not "sucks". I doubt you've read every single one in order to determine that they ALL "sucks". There is variety in all genres of anime/manga, dammit.
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Old 2011-09-02, 22:19   Link #139
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Originally Posted by chiibi View Post
if you hate bad reps, stop making stupid generalizations like that.

There are plenty of female characters in shoujo that do not "sucks". I doubt you've read every single one in order to determine that they all "sucks". there is variety in all genres of anime/manga, dammit.
This!! Don't judge genre based on 2-3 things you've read.

Unto the topic, women do not suddenly become better when they take a man's role in society. They are already equal to men and that is what feminism is gunning for. Not for housewives to suddenly work again but for society to realize that its not a lesser job. Relating this to women in anime, Sakura from Naruto doesn't become a better character just because she had a power-up. Her character is still the same, completely undeveloped and whiny.

Now for the shojo jist of things, it is a very wide genre and in fact some of the best feminist material I have ever seen comes from this genre (Utena anyone?).
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Old 2011-09-02, 22:42   Link #140
Morisato
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Originally Posted by Chiibi View Post
If you hate bad reps, stop making stupid generalizations like that.

There are PLENTY of female characters in shoujo that do not "sucks". I doubt you've read every single one in order to determine that they ALL "sucks". There is variety in all genres of anime/manga, dammit.
Nah, I think the OP has a point. At least 90% of all shoujo has to do with a stupid high school girl that wants a boyfriend. She's usually dumb and the guy is smart, handsome, and rich so she has to listen to everything he says.

There's a few shoujo like Ouran and Skip Beat where the female is pretty strong. But even in Skip Beat, the girl is more or less controlled by Ren the rich handsome superstar actor.
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