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Old 2007-04-12, 14:33   Link #1
WanderingKnight
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Age/Demographic stereotypes

Ok, maybe a similar thread was created before, but I can't find any good keywords without browsing through millions of past threads... So I'm making a new one.

Recently, a mini-off-topic discussion was brought about in the Lucky Star thread. I'd like to discuss this with a bit more depth to it, so here it goes:

What do you feel about the typical age/demographic classification & stereotypes of manga/anime? In my opinion, they are market-guided and reflect many stupid biases of society, mainly based on content target. I mean, the conception that shoujo is for girls because its content is more appealing to girls, or that shounen has content more appealing to male adolescents... it just seems kinda biased and devoid of argument, IMHO.

And, in a side subject, I always found shoujo stuff (well, at least some shoujo stuff) a little more devoid of social biases when it comes to sexuality--an example I already gave in the Lucky Star thread was the Card Captor Sakura manga, where the characters found same-sex relationship perfectly normal (for both sexes) and none of them reflected a different attitude towards what were clearly homosexual characters (yeah, kudos to CLAMP for that). What do you think of it?
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Old 2007-04-12, 14:57   Link #2
Daniel E.
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I can't even begin to count the number of times my friends have trown jabs at me for liking stuff like Ichigo Mashimaro.

They say it's not the type of stuff I should be watching.
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Old 2007-04-12, 18:28   Link #3
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Labels are not great, but they are necessary. It is similar to slapping genre onto stories: the genre doesn't tell the whole story, but it coveys certain ideas. It is not possible to fully describe something unless it is experienced, and to fully comprehend a series, a person must watch it. But, who would watch something without knowing anything beforehand? That's where the labels come in.

Everything people came up with are labels. A pencil is a label given to a tool that has graphite covered with wood. But it doesn't describe whether the pencil might have bite marks or pretty design on it.

I'm playing the devil's advocate here, but prejudice are formed from elements of truth. I would not walk around in a slum one o'clock in the morning. Similarly, the labels: shounen, josei, shoujo, etc... are formed because of statistical analysis. The fact is, the majority of the audience do tend up to be the target.

But that's all there is to it. People should not be confined to watch a specific genre simply because they fit the bill of the target audience. Labels are guides, not determining factors. If, say, a 40-year-old male likes Shoujo, what is there to refrain him from watching it? Instead, the next time a shoujo tag is on a DVD, it would encourage him to buy it.

PS: With the exception of pornography of course XD. There's gotta be a limit there
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Old 2007-04-12, 18:48   Link #4
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Of course, for reference's sake (mostly I agree with AvianWing): it's always important to remember that the most popular manga magazine with females in Japan is actually Weekly Shonen Jump - so obviously the market label is only somewhat useful.
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Old 2007-04-12, 19:18   Link #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
What do you feel about the typical age/demographic classification & stereotypes of manga/anime? In my opinion, they are market-guided and reflect many stupid biases of society, mainly based on content target.
Basically, the breakdown of shoujo, shounen, seinen, josei, etc. are exactly that. They're marketing terms based on who the creators believe that a particular work is supposed to appeal to. I don't think that there's any significance to such classifications beyond that. The way I see it is that if a show is well-written and intelligent, then it shouldn't matter if it's meant for 5-year old girls. Instead, anyone who's interested in the subject matter should be free to enjoy it. I think that it's infinitely more useful to group shows by genre and the like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
I mean, the conception that shoujo is for girls because its content is more appealing to girls, or that shounen has content more appealing to male adolescents... it just seems kinda biased and devoid of argument, IMHO.
I don't think that such classifications are biased at all; they're based on cold monetary statistics. A work that's marketed to the wrong demographic simply won't be as successful as it would be if it had the proper demographic in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
And, in a side subject, I always found shoujo stuff (well, at least some shoujo stuff) a little more devoid of social biases when it comes to sexuality--an example I already gave in the Lucky Star thread was the Card Captor Sakura manga, where the characters found same-sex relationship perfectly normal (for both sexes) and none of them reflected a different attitude towards what were clearly homosexual characters (yeah, kudos to CLAMP for that). What do you think of it?
That may depend on the kind of works that you're exposed to. Most shounen material, until quite recently, restrict themselves with more conventional relationships, while shoujo material is much more likely to be experimental. Shoujo is also much more likely to challenge gender roles, which probably makes it more receptive of homosexuality.
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Old 2007-04-13, 05:59   Link #6
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Well, I understand the point, labels are necessary. But why don't we stick to labels which have no gender connotation whatsoever, like Romance, Mecha, Action, Horror...? There is no need to resort to a gender discrimination when putting up a label for an anime/manga.

Yeah, I'm against gender discrimination in all its forms
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Old 2007-04-13, 07:17   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel E. View Post
I can't even begin to count the number of times my friends have trown jabs at me for liking stuff like Ichigo Mashimaro.

They say it's not the type of stuff I should be watching.
Same, I brought Love Hina Mangas to school and I was laughed at for bringing anime porn, lol ^_^, that was a laugh. Of course they were joking but I understood and we laugh some more. They understood why I liked it when they read it too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
What do you feel about the typical age/demographic classification & stereotypes of manga/anime? In my opinion, they are market-guided and reflect many stupid biases of society, mainly based on content target. I mean, the conception that shoujo is for girls because its content is more appealing to girls, or that shounen has content more appealing to male adolescents... it just seems kinda biased and devoid of argument, IMHO.
Well think about it. Not just in anime but in the real world. Of course you know the Film industry is marketed toward the 16-20 years old kiddies. That practically mean about 50% of AS members, even I fall into this category. Shojo mangas as you stated really are aimed for the female population on our society. I even ask my sister this question who buys tons of Shojo mangas. Of course they buy it for "handsome/cute/attractive" looking guys, and it's like reverse-harem theme, but just for girls. (and the lovey dovey things that comes along with Shojo mangas). Stereotype or not, you don't see too many guys buying shojo mangas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
Well, I understand the point, labels are necessary. But why don't we stick to labels which have no gender connotation whatsoever, like Romance, Mecha, Action, Horror...? There is no need to resort to a gender discrimination when putting up a label for an anime/manga.
Even though it is anime/manga, it is still a market. Don't forget.
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Old 2007-04-13, 08:46   Link #8
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your title included age so I'll say this about that.

Look it's fairly acceptable for baby boomers (50-60 yr olds) to be collecting Superman/Batman/Spider Man comics. What's the difference? From what I hear Gundam is still popular among middle aged Japanese men and it isn't uncommon to see them reading manga on the train in to work.

If you have a look at the anime memorabilia for sale on ebay particularly from the 60's, 70's and 80's, you know that kids aren't buying these, I'm an adult in a decent paying job and I have trouble paying $300 for some rarer Macross memorabilia and Voltes V stuff. So it's safe to say at least there's interest from people who area lot older than you think.

As for shoujo/shonen and the like, it's like porn ie lesbian, S&M etc etc. It helps you get a grasp of what to expect, the moment i see shounen/shoujo. I know it will be either have traditional masculine or feminine characteristics. I expect shoujo to have a feminine slant to it with a majority of characters being female with female issues at the core. Granted I don't read or watch a lot of that genre, but the few I've seen are generally about girl to woman transitions etc etc. (stuff I can't generally relate to).opposite for shonen, scryed is probably the best example wth a very straightforward plot with little to no thinking required. Mainly male chracters and guys being masculine ie beating the crap out of each other. It's something I can relate to. I think you're making too big a deal out of it. It's like saying calling a girl "a girl" is sexist.

Even if we use ambiguous terms like tragic romance or say ultra gore violence action. Instantly we'll do the discrimination anyway. Look at the demographic that watches "rambo:1st blood" whch is classed as action against "sweet home alabama" which is classed as a romance according to imdb. No mention of male or female but automatically we do it. It's part of our programming to respond to traditional male and female concepts. The labels aren't an issue if they're actually telling the truth. If the writers write an anime with a particular genre in mind then fair enough, it is what it is.

Last edited by hobbes_fan; 2007-04-13 at 09:01.
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Old 2007-04-13, 08:58   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
Well, I understand the point, labels are necessary. But why don't we stick to labels which have no gender connotation whatsoever, like Romance, Mecha, Action, Horror...? There is no need to resort to a gender discrimination when putting up a label for an anime/manga.
They do. It's just that this classification is a little obscured by the way Japanese companies do their marketing.In a manga periodical like Shonen Jump, it'd be normal to see every one of your categories represented in a single volume.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aoie_Emesai
Shojo mangas as you stated really are aimed for the female population on our society. I even ask my sister this question who buys tons of Shojo mangas. Of course they buy it for "handsome/cute/attractive" looking guys, and it's like reverse-harem theme, but just for girls. (and the lovey dovey things that comes along with Shojo mangas). Stereotype or not, you don't see too many guys buying shojo mangas.
While marketing concerns are very real, there is a lot of cross-gender purchasing. As rooboy brought up, the most popular manga among girls is Weekly Shonen Jump, and I'm sure that there's plenty of guys who like Card Captor Sakura or Fruits Basket.
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Old 2007-04-13, 19:37   Link #10
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Quote:
Even if we use ambiguous terms like tragic romance or say ultra gore violence action. Instantly we'll do the discrimination anyway. Look at the demographic that watches "rambo:1st blood" whch is classed as action against "sweet home alabama" which is classed as a romance according to imdb. No mention of male or female but automatically we do it. It's part of our programming to respond to traditional male and female concepts. The labels aren't an issue if they're actually telling the truth. If the writers write an anime with a particular genre in mind then fair enough, it is what it is.
Well, the thing is, as long as you classify it based on actual content and not to a certain target gender, you're not really discriminating. The discrimination is obviously subverted by society, that is, society has already imposed upon us stereotypes of men and women and what their tastes are supposed to be. My point is, that society is extremely sick if it resorts to things like that. It's like propaganda discrimination. "Women should like this, because they are women". That's what I'm against.

Quote:
They do. It's just that this classification is a little obscured by the way Japanese companies do their marketing.In a manga periodical like Shonen Jump, it'd be normal to see every one of your categories represented in a single volume.
I already know that. My question was, why not stick with those classifications, that are inherently non-discriminatory, and drop the discriminatory ones?

I understand that an enterprise has to be as profitable as possible, and that is very hard to apply my ideas in a practical sense, but why aren't we able to question a bit the stereotypes of society, specially regarding something we don't really choose, like gender? I feel you're only describing me the situation (which I already know in full detail) and not really making a personal judgment on it.

Quote:
I think you're making too big a deal out of it. It's like saying calling a girl "a girl" is sexist.
No. Stating that there's something most girls will like and another which most guys will like is sexist.
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Old 2007-04-13, 22:58   Link #11
4Tran
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
I already know that. My question was, why not stick with those classifications, that are inherently non-discriminatory, and drop the discriminatory ones?
In one word, laziness. I see people referring to the likes of Bleach and Naruto as "shounen anime" all the time, when it would be far more useful to call them "shounen fighting anime". Finding and using the proper phrases takes more effort, so some people are inclined to forgo it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
I understand that an enterprise has to be as profitable as possible, and that is very hard to apply my ideas in a practical sense, but why aren't we able to question a bit the stereotypes of society, specially regarding something we don't really choose, like gender? I feel you're only describing me the situation (which I already know in full detail) and not really making a personal judgment on it.
I'm not quite sure who you're complaining about here. Is it the fans, the Japanese companies, or the overseas licensors. Most of the time, only fans really categorize by shounen, shoujo, etc. As far as I know, the companies tend to be a little more specific in an attempt to attract a larger audience.

And as far as I'm concerned, I'll refer to shows however I please, without regard as to anyone else's opinion on the matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight
No. Stating that there's something most girls will like and another which most guys will like is sexist.
"Sexist" is a bit of a loaded term, so there's always going to be some disagreement on how it's defined. I think that it's more useful if it were confined only to cases of saying one cannot or should not do something because of gender. It's sort of silly to claim that most girls or boys will like anything in particular, but there's nothing wrong with saying that girls are more inclined to liking a certain work more than boys are.
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Old 2007-04-14, 02:12   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4Tran
And as far as I'm concerned, I'll refer to shows however I please, without regard as to anyone else's opinion on the matter.
Wow, nicely said. I can agree with you on this.
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Old 2008-08-30, 05:10   Link #13
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After watching many anime such as Ranma 1/2, Dragon Ball, Rurouni Kenshin, Moon Phase, etc, it is rare to see a 80-year old man who isn't a lecherous pervert.

juvenile delinquets such as Harima Kenji, Onizuka Eikichi and the main guy from Midori no Hibi are portrayed as unbelievably strong but dumb morons.
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Old 2008-08-30, 14:32   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Well, I understand the point, labels are necessary. But why don't we stick to labels which have no gender connotation whatsoever, like Romance, Mecha, Action, Horror...? There is no need to resort to a gender discrimination when putting up a label for an anime/manga.

Yeah, I'm against gender discrimination in all its forms
The cold hard fact is, getting bunch of young men and tying them up to chairs, and forcing them to watch "10 Things I Hate about You" won't be nearly as enjoyable as doing the same to an audience composed entirely of ladies.

Opposite could be said about forcing ladies to watch "Iron Man".

No one wants to fail making money. You may insist that you are an unique individual that doesn't fit the mold all you want, but the fact is, there IS such thing as market tendencies based on age, sex, culture, etc. They're not just making money with YOU, they are making money with the whole market.


I really have hard time understanding where you stand on stereotyping, wk.
In a diffrent thread, you vigorously defended the Spanish Basketball team's racial stereotyping of physical attributes of Chinese people, as something that's not offensive and should be shrugged off. Yet, you seem to be very upset over gender stereotyping and generation stereotyping, over market categorization. (And very vocal about it everytime it comes up) What gives? The latter at least makes sense in marketing standpoint, and therefore logical.

It almost seems... that you only care about stereotype that concerns you personally. (considering your age and nationality)
Forgive me if I'm wrong there. If that's the case, it's understandable since we are all humans, and we all react to something that we ourselves are involved in more than others. But we should also consider if those thoughts and reactions we have contradicts with other views we may have expressed.
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Old 2008-08-30, 15:00   Link #15
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90% of anime seems to have a teenage lead, it gets a little old after a while

They should make an anime with a funky old man lead character
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Old 2008-08-30, 22:58   Link #16
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There's a very old HK comic/cartoon with a funky old man as lead character

Look up Old Master Q if you dont believe me
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Old 2008-08-31, 04:22   Link #17
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In a diffrent thread, you vigorously defended the Spanish Basketball team's racial stereotyping of physical attributes of Chinese people, as something that's not offensive and should be shrugged off.
That was the first thing that popped to my head when I read sexist. In my opinion, whatever marketing sells more, that's what the business should stick to. As much as I find the term hentai improper--I admit, I sometimes lash out against its use--I know it's going to sell more porn.

If you want to campaign against political correctness, it's best to be consistent about it.
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Old 2008-08-31, 10:23   Link #18
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Oh, shucks. I made this thread what, a year and a half ago? :blushes:

Quote:
I really have hard time understanding where you stand on stereotyping, wk.
In the first line of my post you'd find the answer to that question.

Quote:
If you want to campaign against political correctness, it's best to be consistent about it.
I really don't feel like reading a post I made a long, long time ago and feeling like an idiot, but anyways, I want to clear up something: There's a difference between getting riled up by the media and going batshit insane with "I'LL SUE YOU!" at anyone who makes any kind of non-"politically correct" remark (like what people were doing in the Spanish basketball scandal thread, extending the "RACISTS!!!" yelling to the whole of the country) and criticizing society for actually giving a shit about it. From specific demographic-targeted stereotypes you can somewhat infer that people find age and gender quite relevant to one's own tastes. I really don't know what was going through my mind a year and a half ago when I made this post, but I'm fairly sure I didn't mean "LET'S SUE THE HELL OUT OF THESE GUYS!". I believe I was trying to make more of a general social critique regarding the importance given to certain stereotypes.

Thank you, guys. Now I feel like an idiot.

PS: Plus, there's a difference between the two stereotypes. These ones cover behavior, while the other ones cover an undeniable physical trait. As I said before in that thread, being racist means attaching some sort of value to any given physical trait and having a differentiated behavior towards another person because of it. The stereotypes I was talking about here cover behavior directly, and behavior makes you who you are, not a physical trait. A society that expects a certain behavior because of your age/race/whatever is applying a stupid needless stereotype (of course, that is all societies--I'm not saying there's actually one that doesn't. But it could be a nice thing to look forward to in a "perfect" society).
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Old 2008-08-31, 12:48   Link #19
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The reason why Shojo, Shonen, and similar genres have stuck around is that they are more useful in describing specifically what sort of content will be presented in that anime/manga, far beyond simple genres like action, romance, comedy. A shonen comedy is more likely to use the sort of bathroom humor that is typical of younger boys. A shojo comedy deals more with situational humor, like people misunderstanding eachother. A shonen romance tends to be harem, with little to no development of the relationship, a shojo romance may still have aspects that might fit with harem, but still focuses more on the individual relationships. The same is true for Shojo action verses Shonen action. In one you have more importance on one figure being stronger than the other, and in the other you tend to have less competition and more conflict resolution. And yes, it is sexist. Japan is still a rather sexist country, and like it or not, those terms have been put into place, and will likely remain in place regardless.

But without these main genres you would not be able to determine right away what forms that the comedy, action, or drama would take within a series. In this way, it is not some sort of limiter on who can and cannot watch a series, but is more about just having an adjective which describes the series in a different way, a way which would end up being sexist no matter what because that's how we classify those things.
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Old 2009-08-03, 15:17   Link #20
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A male fan who really digs shoujo anime?

Hello everybody.

I just wanted to know your thoughts on how you view a male anime fan who is into girly shows?

When it comes to my everyday personality, I consider myself to be quite masculine, but for some reason I really dig shows like Sailor Moon and Pretear. On the flipside, I'm not really into stuff like mecha or any of the ultraviolent anime that's out there.

It's odd that I would take a magical girl show like Cardcaptor Sakura or Ultra Maniac, over something as "edgy" as Afro Samurai or Ghost in the Shell. But somehow the shoujo bug has bitten me over the years.

Do you think there something strange about this, or are there any other male fans that can relate?
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