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Old 2009-06-06, 17:38   Link #21
Vexx
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Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
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:



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.
The funny thing is... I was given that game with that cover as a child and distinctly remember looking at the box one day and wondering why the women weren't playing as well.... small epiphanies at age 10 in 1967. Also the year Star Trek first aired and we encountered the idea of women astronauts. Also... apparently only "white folk" played games going by the covers of most games of the time.
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Old 2009-06-06, 18:15   Link #22
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Sexism is prevalent in anime. I cannot say much about Western animation in general because my experience relies mostly on works directed at young children and/or pure slapstick where gender relationships are hardly an issue. Japanese anime is certainly more sexist than Western movie/TV entertainment in general as I have experienced it. In fact, since I grew up in a sheltered progressive environment, it was anime that made me a bit less naive about how a repressive sexist climate really can look like.

On average, women in anime are depicted as less intelligent than men, sometimes plain retarded. They are depicted as emotionally unstable and irresponsible to a degree that you simply shouldn't give them any position of authority. In many cases, a female character's life rotates around a male (often for most the idiotic reasons), and any actions she takes roots in that relationship. Women characters are the most likely to commit adultery and abandon her family for selfish reasons (in stark contract to the astounding number or loving single fathers in anime). Almost all female characters fall into the three categories pure virgin, obedient wife, or slut.

Now for the "sex" in sexism. It is not surprising and condemnable that the heterosexual male is more interested in naked female flesh than naked male flesh. Hentai and ecchi aren't sexist per se and I give even the most degrading ones the benefit of the doubt because sexual fantasies are one thing and principles and ethics are another. On the other hand, I have no illusions that for many otaku degrading fantasies are just a facet of a consistent misogynistic world view. Let's just look at /a/.

As for the rape game discussion in particular this is a complicated issue. I'm against censorship here but I have the feeling that many who demonstrate their liberal stance on that issue might be on the other side of the fence if the game's message was for example a racist one. I think the public outcry would be much larger if amazon would sell, say, strategy games where the player has to manage a cotton farm in the "good" old days of the American south, with heavy emphasis of disciplining and breeding the human livestock. I'm trying to impartially look at degradation of any kind and that's why I'm still having second thoughts here.

Sexism influences my appreciation of an anime considerably and while I can't think of any anime I've dropped only due to sexism (but I'm sure they exist) I could name several where this factor alone would have been sufficient. Mariaholic's degrading treatment of the female lead is a recent example.

I can't think of many anime that deserve the term "feminist". There are quite a few that offer a positive female role model but they are typically set in some gender equal fantasy world. Surprisingly however, there are probably more useful role models among female than among male leads. Especially the manly male gar character archetypes would for the most part be absolutely useless in the real world.

The only anime I can think of at the moment with a female lead that actually somewhat dwells on her problems in a male dominated society is Hataraki Man.

EDIt: About the game above: Thirty years ago? That looks like straight from the 50s and I'm talking only about the style, not the message. 1979 wasn't the dark ages anymore.

In any case, the sexism of former times was a naive and unreflected one, things were just how they always had been. There is simply no coscious message behind this. The sexism in anime is mostly very conscious. Look at Tayutama, where the main girl character comes form the past and has "traditional values". Obviously the point is that there is something wrong with today's girls. Anime is often full with explicit morals "this is how a girl should behave and this is not how she should behave". That's not a sexism that rests in itself. It's more like sexism under siege. I just don't don't know if the otaku community feels besieged here or all of (male) Japan.
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Old 2009-06-06, 18:42   Link #23
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Originally Posted by Slice of Life View Post
On average, women in anime are depicted as less intelligent than men, sometimes plain retarded. They are depicted as emotionally unstable and irresponsible to a degree that you simply shouldn't give them any position of authority. In many cases, a female character's life rotates around a male (often for most the idiotic reasons), and any actions she takes roots in that relationship. Women characters are the most likely to commit adultery and abandon her family for selfish reasons (in stark contract to the astounding number or loving single fathers in anime). Almost all female characters fall into the three categories pure virgin, obedient wife, or slut.
Can you give a few examples of those in the last 10 years. I feel like you are commenting on shows of the Go Nagai super robot era or in general of a time when women were merely sidekicks.

Recent anime is all about women. It's the men who are grossly incompetent, useless or generally inferior to the women around them. Even if it's the man who is in a position of authority, it is his female "sidekick" who is usually the reasonable one to bring him down to reality.

Even in shows when the man is clearly superior in terms of fighting ability, he is regularly beaten up by his female "love interest". Apparently the anime designers are trying to hammer down on our heads the idea that physical violence is entirely acceptable form of punishment, while the act of UNINTENTIONALLY hurting a girl's feelings is a crime punishable by death.

Just to come back on topic, here are a few shows that I just couldn't finish, even though I tried several times. They are generally good shows with the only problem of the men in them being either useless and incompetent or being the girl's punching bag.

1.) Shana, Claymore, Mai-Hime/Otome - All male characters are completely useless

2.) Zero no Tsukaima, Love Hina - male character is the girl's punching bag

There are many other examples - those are just the ones I can think of right now.
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Old 2009-06-06, 18:50   Link #24
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The degradation issue Slice brings up is a concern of mine as well even as I defend the right for such games and anime to exist. There was a huge outcry a few years ago in some school districts because a Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer (author Mark Twain) depicted a society where blacks were a second class and routinely degraded by calling them "nigger". The "think of the children" parent faction demanded these repulsive stories be removed from the curriculum.

Not suggesting any of this stuff is equivalent to Mark Twain... but if you suppress rather than throw a spotlight, what does that solve?

side note: That version of Battleship with that cover was initially produced in 1967. Even when I was in high school in the late 70s, the school counselors were telling the women to major in business or cosmetology... "all that math and science stuff is really hard you know". Naturally, the teens (me and peers of both sexes) weren't hearing them but societal change tends to happen incrementally with each funeral more than minds being changed.


Anime is a very broad brush to intelligently discuss "sexism" (rather like "sexism on tv"; it varies depending on the subject matter and target audience).
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Old 2009-06-06, 19:32   Link #25
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Originally Posted by Darklord_bg View Post
snip
Punches as punishment to unintended gropes or peeks are to demonstrate the "pureness" or the girl character and what I called women being "emotionally unstable and irresponsible" to overreact in such a way. The question is not what happens to males or females in the anime but what message should be transmitted. And the message is clearly: the girl is in the wrong, the boy is in the right. Not because the girl is really evil, but worse, because of her very female inability to act maturely. I don't know Love hina but I'm sure it works like most harem in that regard.

Shana is obviously not perfect enough to identify the useless male as useless. Instead she clings at him (who is of course absolutely unresponsive) like every other chick in the anime. And the whole anime is of course about him stopping being useless and finally surpassing her, restoring the "rightful" order. Zero is all talk and that is clear from episode one. Again you shouldn't look at what happens to whom but at the message transmitted.

Claymore serves the fighting girl fetish. The Claymores have special powers but for reasons explained and they are still inferior to their male "counterparts". The anime's reason of existence is not to tell the male viewership that they are less worthy than girls. Claire is however one of the positive female role models I'm talking about.

Kaibutsu Oujo is one of the rare examples of an anime, a harem even, where the females act out of a position of real (not imagined by themselves) superiority and see the male "lead" more like a plaything. And guess what? They don't slap Hiro around, they tease him.
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Old 2009-06-06, 20:06   Link #26
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Originally Posted by Slice of Life View Post
Claymore serves the fighting girl fetish. The Claymores have special powers but for reasons explained and they are still inferior to their male "counterparts". The anime's reason of existence is not to tell the male viewership that they are less worthy than girls.
Actually, if you look at it differently, the males in that series were unable to take the change and turned into monsters
But the strongest of those monsters being a woman (in the rare occasion one couldn't handle her change)
shows that men are even inferior at that level

Ofcourse this anime shows the lead character having a very big weakness for a boy
but so did Schwarzenegger in "Commando" for his daughter
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Old 2009-06-06, 20:15   Link #27
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Originally Posted by Slice of Life View Post
Punches as punishment to unintended gropes or peeks are to demonstrate the "pureness" or the girl character and what I called women being "emotionally unstable and irresponsible" to overreact in such a way. The question is not what happens to males or females in the anime but what message should be transmitted. And the message is clearly: the girl is in the wrong, the boy is in the right. Not because the girl is really evil, but worse, because of her very female inability to act maturely. I don't know Love hina but I'm sure it works like most harem in that regard.
That may be your reception (and mine for that matter), but the majority sees this situation as the girl being completely right to slap the guy for seeing her naked, since she is strong and assertive enough to retain her purity as you mentioned and condemns the guy for being a pervert even though whatever he did was unintentional. Most of the comments regarding such situations condemn the guy for being a wuss and a pervert instead of the girl for being a violent bitch - "emotionally unstable and immature". Don't get me wrong - I agree with you here, but the majority does not.

Love Hina is basically the archetype for the harem comedy (if we don't count Ranma 1/2, who is slightly different).

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Originally Posted by Slice of Life View Post
Shana is obviously not perfect enough to identify the useless male as useless. Instead she clings at him (who is of course absolutely unresponsive) like every other chick in the anime. And the whole anime is of course about him stopping being useless and finally surpassing her, restoring the "rightful" order. Zero is all talk and that is clear from episode one. Again you shouldn't look at what happens to whom but at the message transmitted.
Shana is one of the most popular characters around, especially here at animesuki, despite clinging to Yuuji, who is useless, and Yuuji is generally hated, although not as much as other male leads in his situation. He is generally condemned for being indecisive about the whole Shana-Yoshida situation and about being a burden in a fight. Also, if the anime is about him stopping to be useless and eventually surpassing Shana - well, it's not doing a good job at it. It took Yuuji a season and 3/4 to stop being useless and after 2 seasons he is still a long way from surpassing Shana.

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Originally Posted by Slice of Life View Post
Claymore serves the fighting girl fetish. The Claymores have special powers but for reasons explained and they are still inferior to their male "counterparts". The anime's reason of existence is not to tell the male viewership that they are less worthy than girls. Claire is however one of the positive female role models I'm talking about.
In case you haven't read the manga and don't want to be spoiled:
Spoiler:

The male characters outside the organization are either useless (Raki) or inferior to the female ones (Easley, Rigaldo, Duff, etc.), so I think Claymore is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
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Old 2009-06-06, 20:56   Link #28
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I don't know. Anime and manga are simply loaded with prominent, dominant female characters.

Haruhi Suzumiya, Nanoha Takamachi, Shana, Maka (Soul Eater), Eclair and Lumiere (Kiddy Grade), Faye Valentine, Revy (Black Lagoon), Sir Integra Hellsing, Yomiko Readman, Shion and Mion (Higurashi Kai), much of the Elfen Lied cast, etc..., etc...

Anime also has a lot of male doormat characters (countless male harem leads immediately come to mind). Personally, when I see Naru losing her cool over the latest unintentionally compromising situation with Keitaro, and belting him for the 3000th time, my first thought isn't "Naru shows that women are emotionally unstable and can't be trusted", but rather "Keitaro is an utter spineless doormat for actually putting up with this". And when I see a lot of Keitaros in anime, I begin to wonder if there's sexism against males going on here.

All in all, there are your weak easily abused female characters (Mikuru Asahina) and there are your strong dominant female characters (Haruhi Suzumiya); there are your weak easily abused male characters (your typical harem anime lead), and there are your strong dominant male characters (your typical shonen anime lead).

It seems fairly balanced to me, over all.

The main difference from western fiction is that anime character types simply run a wider gamut, imo - the weak, submissive character is increasingly uncommon in western fiction, for either gender.
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Old 2009-06-06, 21:16   Link #29
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Originally Posted by Darklord_bg View Post
the majority sees this situation as the girl being completely right to slap the guy for seeing her naked.
I honestly don't see that majority. You can of course take the whole issue not so serious (it's ... just ... a .. cartoon) and find the reaction "cute". Or people stubbornly that the girl's side because of the gut feeling that the whole situation is unfair towards girls without really being able to distinguish the two levels (intention of the girl character - intention of the script author).

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Shana is one of the most popular characters around, .
Because she is a girl fullstop. The K-On girls are also very popular although I strongly doubt they were good at fighting monsters - or their way out of a paper bag.

And about the uselessness of shounen heroes. The typical shounen hero is honest, has a sense of justice, is courageous, mature beyond his age, etcetera. They might lack the speshul powers (at first) but that's simply not their fault. They fight to their best ability and are all in all less useless than you and me. They make the best out of their potential. What more can one want?
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Old 2009-06-06, 21:54   Link #30
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You could say the same for Lady Oscar and Nanoha.

I think it's quite to find an example for anything you want since the number of anime is huge.
Besides you have Slayers in your signature, I don't think there is even a need to compare Gourry and Lina. Well I think Lina is quite a good example of the most emancipated female characters in anime, alongside with Motoko Kusanagi and Integra Hellsing.

So you can find any kind of example, stupid/useless female characters, stupid/useless male characters, intelligent/competent female characters, intellingent/competent female characters. This kind of argument is deemed to go to a stall as long as you can't prove what's the major trend, and that can't be easily achieved. The kind of show you watch can inevitably change your perspective.
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Old 2009-06-06, 22:00   Link #31
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I don't know. Anime and manga are simply loaded with prominent, dominant female characters.

Haruhi Suzumiya, Nanoha Takamachi, Shana, Maka (Soul Eater), Eclair and Lumiere (Kiddy Grade), Faye Valentine, Revy (Black Lagoon), Sir Integra Hellsing, Yomiko Readman, Shion and Mion (Higurashi Kai), much of the Elfen Lied cast, etc..., etc...

Anime also has a lot of male doormat characters (countless male harem leads immediately come to mind). Personally, when I see Naru losing her cool over the latest unintentionally compromising situation with Keitaro, and belting him for the 3000th time, my first thought isn't "Naru shows that women are emotionally unstable and can't be trusted", but rather "Keitaro is an utter spineless doormat for actually putting up with this". And when I see a lot of Keitaros in anime, I begin to wonder if there's sexism against males going on here.
I agree with everything you said so far - that's pretty much my impression as well.

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All in all, there are your weak easily abused female characters (Mikuru Asahina) and there are your strong dominant female characters (Haruhi Suzumiya); there are your weak easily abused male characters (your typical harem anime lead), and there are your strong dominant male characters (your typical shonen anime lead).

It seems fairly balanced to me, over all.
There really aren't many Mikuru's around here anymore. I haven't seen an abused female character in a long time and if she is, she is abused by another female, as is the case here. Also about the shounen protagonists, they really aren't the perfect example of strong male characters, since they have many flaws, which irritate a large portion of the audience, and still they always get their asses kicked by their female partners (i.e. Sakura beats up Naruto, Rukia - Ichigo, Nami - Luffy, etc. etc.). In their case it's not so much that they are doormats, but it's done for comedy purposes, though I don't find it funny at all.

It's far from balanced, my friend, aside from few manly shows like TTGL, anime is all about girl power nowadays.

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I honestly don't see that majority. You can of course take the whole issue not so serious (it's ... just ... a .. cartoon) and find the reaction "cute". Or people stubbornly that the girl's side because of the gut feeling that the whole situation is unfair towards girls without really being able to distinguish the two levels (intention of the girl character - intention of the script author).
Well, I can't argue with that - if you don't see it, I can't convince you. I've gotten that impression from comments on blogs and forum boards (even here) and from character popularity polls - they are all dominated by female characters. Also Triple_R summarized pretty well the majority's view of doormat harem leads.

I understand that a lot of people see this sort of violence as a joke (slapstick comedy), but it's only funny if it's done a few times. If it happens every episode or pretty often, I cringe every time I see it.


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And about the uselessness of shounen heroes. The typical shounen hero is honest, has a sense of justice, is courageous, mature beyond his age, etcetera. They might lack the speshul powers (at first) but that's simply not their fault. They fight to their best ability and are all in all less useless than you and me. They make the best out of their potential. What more can one want?
He is also obnoxious, loud, stupid, very immature (how is he wise beyond his age ), he gets his ass kicked by his female companion on a general basis and generally has a tendency to get into trouble, until his mentor saves him out of it, or he pulls some random power out of his ass.

Come on, Naruto is one of the most hated anime characters on these forums, and I'd say he is a good representation of shounen heroes. Thus, I don't think the shounen protagonists are presenting the male gender in a very positive light. The side characters are actually doing a much better job at this, though they do not get as much screen time.
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Old 2009-06-06, 22:10   Link #32
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I don't know. Anime and manga are simply loaded with prominent, dominant female characters.

Haruhi Suzumiya, Nanoha Takamachi, Shana, Maka (Soul Eater), Eclair and Lumiere (Kiddy Grade), Faye Valentine, Revy (Black Lagoon), Sir Integra Hellsing, Yomiko Readman, Shion and Mion (Higurashi Kai), much of the Elfen Lied cast, etc..., etc...

Anime also has a lot of male doormat characters (countless male harem leads immediately come to mind). Personally, when I see Naru losing her cool over the latest unintentionally compromising situation with Keitaro, and belting him for the 3000th time, my first thought isn't "Naru shows that women are emotionally unstable and can't be trusted", but rather "Keitaro is an utter spineless doormat for actually putting up with this". And when I see a lot of Keitaros in anime, I begin to wonder if there's sexism against males going on here.

All in all, there are your weak easily abused female characters (Mikuru Asahina) and there are your strong dominant female characters (Haruhi Suzumiya); there are your weak easily abused male characters (your typical harem anime lead), and there are your strong dominant male characters (your typical shonen anime lead).

It seems fairly balanced to me, over all.

The main difference from western fiction is that anime character types simply run a wider gamut, imo - the weak, submissive character is increasingly uncommon in western fiction, for either gender.
I think you might be mistaking a fetish for feminism. Take another look at most of those characters you mentioned, look how they are drawn and how that style is probably meant to appeal to target viewers.
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Old 2009-06-06, 22:27   Link #33
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I think you might be mistaking a fetish for feminism. Take another look at most of those characters you mentioned, look how they are drawn and how that style is probably meant to appeal to target viewers.
Do you really think those characters he mentioned are popular because of their looks?

I'm sure there are those who just like their "character designs", but most anime females are extremely hot, so it's not like those he mentioned are any different. Their popularity is entirely based on their personalities and their actions and achievements.

Of course there are many dumb fanservice characters as well that cater to that audience that likes this fetish, but those he mentioned are not like that.
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Old 2009-06-06, 23:34   Link #34
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As far as character designs go, well, naturally, nearly all of them will be idealized. In general, it's not so much sexism and pandering as it is art efficiency (drawing an average or ugly-but-not-hideous character isn't easy, believe it or not, much less doing so consistently for thousands of frames) and marketability (well, that might count as pandering, but even viewers who don't blatantly sexualize the characters will prefer something easy on the eyes to watch).

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So you can find any kind of example, stupid/useless female characters, stupid/useless male characters, intelligent/competent female characters, intellingent/competent female characters. This kind of argument is deemed to go to a stall as long as you can't prove what's the major trend, and that can't be easily achieved. The kind of show you watch can inevitably change your perspective.
Pretty much my thoughts exactly. It'd probably be easier to argue if a thread for this was made for some particular series where it's perceived to be an issue, but there's just too much darned anime out there to make easy generalizations.
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Old 2009-06-06, 23:48   Link #35
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I was put off Shuffle! (it's a harem anime so of course it's sexist) partly because of a certain character named Kaide. Very rarely did you ever see her do anything aside from cooking or cleaning when she wasn't at school. That wouldn't be so bad, but it got rubbed in the viewers face so much it's as if the creators wanted you to take offence. Hell, I'm a guy, and I was offended by that. Very dissapointing from an anime that actually managed to break a few harem cliches.
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Old 2009-06-06, 23:54   Link #36
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I think its hard to say whether anime is definitvely sexist or not.

Some of the anime aimed at men certainly features stereotypical submissive female characters. And some of it features pathetic wimpy men instead. But in contrast, a lot of the series aimed at women have incredibly submissive female characters, and domineering men. They can also be just as shallow as the male-oriented series, just shallow in a different way.

With that said, one can draw parallels to sexism (intentional or not) in just about any anime. Lets take Death note as an example.

In Death Note every super genius in the series is male, the women are all largely or completely motivated by the men in their lives (while the men are broader thinking), and even the males with very open minds seem to offhandedly undermine the efforts and successes of the female characters.
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Old 2009-06-07, 00:42   Link #37
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In Death Note every super genius in the series is male, the women are all largely or completely motivated by the men in their lives (while the men are broader thinking), and even the males with very open minds seem to offhandedly undermine the efforts and successes of the female characters.
But in real life women are like that! :P
I don't think Death Note did it on purpose, and nor did it have the effect of promoting sexism.
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Old 2009-06-07, 00:48   Link #38
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^I don't know, Ohba seems just a little sexist to me. The women of Death Note live exclusively for their "man", and the recent women of Bakuman are a little...weird, to put it nicely.
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Old 2009-06-07, 00:53   Link #39
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I personally don't think particularly highly of viewing media trying to judge it on it's merits of gender equality.
Much of the time it basically leads to people comparing the male and female characters and seeing which ones are better. This firstly leads to a good deal of resentment towards the feminist movement. No one likes having there favourite shows condemned for such things as having a female hate sports or that a young male protagonist not having any female friends.

Secondly it leads to tokenism which in cases just hurts the natural progression of a story by forcing writers to care more about not stepping on toes rather than consistency, realism and just plain good writing. Not to mention that in many cases these token females usually come under intense scrutiny and often end up not measuring up to the standards placed upon them. And even after all that tokenism as a whole is generally considered sexist so you end up being forced to bloat the cast with female characters that the story didn't need in the first place.

Finally, it usually ends up casting a negative light upon the "traditional female roles" to the point which ends up forcing women from one set of acceptable roles to another set of acceptable roles. Feminism is at it's core meant to give women more freedoms and elevate them to be given equal chances as their male counterparts not to condemn individual women for not desiring to become CEOs.

Although admittedly a lot of my dislike of the subject is remembering arguments about whether characters were sexist which usually start because of things like shipping and which character someone likes.
E.G Shirley's existence is sexist because I like LelouchxC.C.
Misty is anti-feminist because May does stuff (but really because I like May more than Misty).
May is anti-feminist because she does girly things (but really because I'm bitter Misty left).

Also because it seems to create this sort of paradox:
What is worse a women creating a sexist work, or a women not being able to create sexist works?
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Old 2009-06-07, 02:26   Link #40
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Originally Posted by Killifish View Post
I was put off Shuffle! (it's a harem anime so of course it's sexist) partly because of a certain character named Kaide. Very rarely did you ever see her do anything aside from cooking or cleaning when she wasn't at school. That wouldn't be so bad, but it got rubbed in the viewers face so much it's as if the creators wanted you to take offence. Hell, I'm a guy, and I was offended by that. Very dissapointing from an anime that actually managed to break a few harem cliches.
And in the end it was the assertive one who 'won', not the spoiled rich girl, the big boobed genius or the submissive homemaker

I say +1 for feminism in that show
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