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Examples Of Sexism In Anime? Should Sexism Bother You? What Makes Certain Kinds of Sexism Okay?
Posted 3/7/15
I heard someone called High School DxD sexist and it makes me wonder about sexism in the anime industry. Is there a sexist trend in anime nowadays? Is fanservice sexist? What is sexism, and how does it appear in anime? What are some examples of sexist anime?
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27 / M / USA
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Posted 3/7/15 , edited 3/8/15
My issue is when a show sets up gender stereotypes and punishes any characters outside of them.

For example if a show were to set up the expectation that women should be deferential, and there is a female character who is not, that character will not have an easy time of it in that show until she accepts her proper place within that identity Venn diagram. The basic formula is that the character has a troubled life while outside that space, but then finds peace and self-acceptance within it. But this has to be consistent across the entire gender cast, not just one character.

Fanservice alone doesn't bother me unless it disrupts something for me within the context of the show.

This reminds me I have a few episodes of DxD S2 left.
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31 / M / The Abyss of Time
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Posted 3/7/15 , edited 3/8/15
In some instances I'd say yes, but in some cases I think its unintentional. No real insult intended but Japan tends to have a pretty screwed up view/vision for females in its society that influences its mediums. I will say that I go with idea of 'it has sexist parts but can still be good', so I can still enjoy them.

I personally don't take issue with fanservice though I do prefer the type that makes sense (clothing damage during fights for instance).

Some points I take issue with myself:

-Female characters are rarely if ever shown equal/superior to the male protagonist in a lot of fields.
-If the female is the love interest then her highest trait (strength, intelligence, resolve etc) is going to either be dropped a few pegs or the male is going to be given a moment to surpass her in that field.
-Females are usually more emotionally vulnerable than their male counterparts, if they aren't then people accuse them of being 'void' or 'uninteresting' though that's more the audience than the writer/medium.
-Making a strong/intelligent female character go towards a moe direction instead of playing up their intelligence or strength.
-Chickification as a whole
-Making a female character more feminine (stereotypical), when she'd be fine as is.
-Females are shown to always be looking for romance or to be open to it a lot, as opposed to being unaffected by it and focusing on their goals.
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28 / M / NY
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Posted 3/7/15
Lots of wimpy male MCs who have no spine.
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Posted 3/7/15

Insomnist wrote:

My issue is when a show sets up gender stereotypes and punishes any characters outside of them.

For example if a show were to set up the expectation that women should be deferential, and there is a female character who is not, that character will not have an easy time of it in that show until she accepts her proper place within that identity Venn diagram. The basic formula is that the character has a troubled life while outside that space, but then finds peace and self-acceptance within it. But this has to be consistent across the entire gender cast, not just one character.

Fanservice alone doesn't bother me unless it disrupts something for me within the context of the show.

This reminds me I have a few episodes of DxD S2 left.


This.

Plus I'd like to add that fanservice, nudity, and even who is catered to recently in advertising and such, have kinda reversed what sexism is in the US. More ads these days are to target women rather than men, and I am seeing a lot more male nudity pop up in certain places. (like my FB feed.... ffs, some women can't keep it in their pants. Since I use fb for work, the last thing I need on my feed is some naked male asses....my male friends don't even post naked female pics on there)

honestly, i don't see fanservice to be the issue as much as I do holding traditional gender roles, but even that is a bit iffy because most people do still hold to gendered roles out of choice, and to try to avoid it, kinda makes it overt that you're "OMFG!!! SO NOT SEXIST!!!" and does as much harm... (kinda like fanservice. if it's natural or a part of the plot it's ok. tossing in fanservice for its own sake, NOT OK).
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Posted 3/7/15
Its kinda tough to judge anime for sexism because it comes from a culture that has very different views on sexuality than the US. That being said I did kinda find Kaji from evangelion really creepy when I re watched the show.
xxJing 
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30 / M / Duckburg
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Posted 3/7/15
It is impossible to get rid of sexism as long as people want to have sex. We were made to want to fornicate and reproduce. It is one of our primary driving forces in life. Sex and food are probably the two biggest hooks anyone can use.
mnmike 
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Posted 3/7/15 , edited 3/8/15
Hmmm... it's a little hard to talk about sexism cross-culturally; there are clearly behaviors that are acceptable in Japan that are unacceptable in the United States.

That being said, there are three trends in anime/manga that disturb me from a gender equality perspective--and please note, I actually like many of the anime I'm criticizing here:

1) Women having primary responsibilities in the domestic sphere
Too many take it for granted that women ought to be good cooks, and that they ought to be primarily responsible for cleaning, laundry, and childcare. It reminds me a little of US television in the 80s: it's okay for women to work and have successful careers, as long as they also do the chores at home; meanwhile it is very notable if a man is capable of doing any domestic chore at all (cooking, cleaning, etc.). Certainly there are exceptions to this rule (see: Toradora) and much of it is subtle, but the trend is certainly there. Shuffle is the absolute worst I've seen in this regard, but it's in so many anime, including ef: Tale of Memories, Clannad, Ai Yori Aoshi, and others. Any anime where a girl bemoans the fact that she can't cook well for her man, or a girl is complemented with "you'd make a good wife", or where it is assumed that the girl will take care of her man (by cooking, cleaning, waking him up, etc.).

2) Sexual assault/sexual harassment is acceptable if the woman really wants it anyway.
I hate the line "if it's you, I don't mind". I've been married for 12 years, and if I suddenly groped her in public, I could expect to get yelled at. The accidental pervert thing is overplayed anyway, but for it to be played as "well, I don't mind so much" is just establishing unrealistic expectations. The same goes with peeping at women in the bath; in real life, this is not something to be celebrated or played for laughs, but somehow in anime it is. But the worst (non-hentai) offender has to be Josei manga, where sexual assault is often played down--to the point that I've see manga where the girl falls in love with her rapist, or where all guys are portrayed as being rapists in waiting so "you might as well find a good one!" Sexual assault and rape do not fall under the "boys will be boys" category. As for examples: pick your favorite ecchi harem series; I'm sure that at some point the line "if it's you, then I don't mind" is uttered or where the main characters groping is played off as no big deal.

3) General objectification of women as sex objects.
This is my general problem with all of those up-skirt and boob shots in so many anime (even relatively clean ones). It's just flat-out not okay to treat every woman you meet as masturbation material, but way too many anime seem to think that this is perfectly reasonable. I don't mind showing women who want to be sexy at certain times and places--but when the fan-service becomes ubiquitous and non-stop, and especially when it is mixed with violence (see; Freezing), it bothers me.

Anyway, I like anime a lot, and think that it does a lot of things right--and actually believe that there are a lot of values promoted in anime that would be good to spread here. For instance, I really like that women are often shown as being at the top of their class, that they are portrayed as being good at math and science, and that romance is often portrayed as something that builds over time and grown out of mutual respect and not simply "love at first sight". But the sexism parts of it do make me very nervous.
Posted 3/7/15
speaking of dxd, s3 to come, imma party.
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Posted 3/7/15
I think it is in a few shows, however I don't think they should start changing anything because of it. If it's sexist or racist etc to a point it starts to bother people, the show usually doesn't pick up in popularity much.
Posted 3/7/15 , edited 3/8/15
this might be entirely subjective...

but for a lot of shounen and/or action/adventure anime such as AoT/SAO/Parasyte etc... i feel like... males are always the driving force behind the story/anime. but that's what shounen is supposed to be... but like... i don't feel the females have any influence in impacting the story...

that's why i respect KLK, it's a shounen, but females are clearly the front seat drivers, instead of being backseat drivers.

____________

Rape. Again rape tends to be for females only, SAO being the prime example with the tentacle scene and even that one scene in Berserk. This could be seen as sexism against men actually... lol. not against females... they're portraying men as these horny bastards who can't control themselves...

It's why i respect Flowers of Evil for showing the opposite, females can sexually violate males as well... (Nakamura stripping Kasuga's clothes... forcing him to wear female's bathing suit)
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Posted 3/7/15 , edited 1/25/16
Oh look another one of these threads... nothing against you and everyone else on these forums but these topic are about as common as the request for ranks on MCC on Waypoint.
xxJing 
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Posted 3/7/15 , edited 3/8/15
I actually think this is a non-issue. For the simple reason that everything is pretty equal opportunity in anime.

In fact the anime/manga that probably do the most damage to feminist ideals aren't those like shonen and seinen written by primarily men and for men. It's shojo and josei ones written primarily by women.

Shojo shows tend to have either prince charming type characters who are perfect in every way or abusive rapists as male characters, and an inadequate weak female as a female protagonist.

Shonen/Seinen shows on the other hand tend to have smart and capable female characters and male characters who are attractive but have a lot of growing to do. The one thing that may be sexist about them is that the women are scantly clad, however the men are usually just as equally scantly clad. There are just as many six packs as there are D-cups.

If you want an example, take Infinite Stratos. It's a harem anime, all the girls are in love with the main character. However, each of the girls are actually stronger and more capable when it comes to battle or learning than the main character is. On the other hand, the main character is probably the best cook and house keeper out of all of them. Also the reason they all love him is because aside from being handsome, he is a really nice and supportive guy. I hardly think this is sexist. And even if it is, reverse harems tend to treat their female protagonists with less respect than harems treat their female harem cast.

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Posted 3/7/15 , edited 3/8/15

xxJing wrote:


I will agree on the shoujo note since that also annoys me on the other side of the fence.

The issue with shounen/seinen is that half the time those 'smart and capable' female characters have to be one upped by the male lead character. Especially if she's the love interest. Not to mention the fact that female characters are shown following the male lead around and becoming enamored with the male lead in some cases becoming a 'blushing schoolgirl' instead of how she should be. Just to demonstrate the point and isn't from anywhere in particular: An ace female pilot should not all of a sudden start dropping in performance because the male lead shows up and she's got/develops a crush on him.

The manga that breaks this dynamic for me is Tokyo Ghoul where the females aren't hampered or really affected much at all by the males. Ghost in the Shell: SAC is an anime where a) the main lead is a female (a rarity in itself); b) is a genuinely strong female that defies most if not all female tropes/cliches; c) she's not affected by anyone and is never truly trumped by the other males in the team.
xxJing 
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Posted 3/7/15 , edited 3/9/15

xCrimsonEX wrote:


xxJing wrote:


I will agree on the shoujo note since that also annoys me on the other side of the fence.

The issue with shounen/seinen is that half the time those 'smart and capable' female characters have to be one upped by the male lead character. Especially if she's the love interest. Not to mention the fact that female characters are shown following the male lead around and becoming enamored with the male lead in some cases becoming a 'blushing schoolgirl' instead of how she should be. Just to demonstrate the point and isn't from anywhere in particular: An ace female pilot should not all of a sudden start dropping in performance because the male lead shows up and she's got/develops a crush on him.

The manga that breaks this dynamic for me is Tokyo Ghoul where the females aren't hampered or really affected much at all by the males. Ghost in the Shell: SAC is an anime where a) the main lead is a female (a rarity in itself); b) is a genuinely strong female that defies most if not all female tropes/cliches; c) she's not affected by anyone and is never truly trumped by the other males in the team.



Well the other half they are not. so I don't see the problem. And actually not only them, the other characters need to be one upped by the male lead character as well. You need to reinforce the fact that the male lead is the lead otherwise people start to hate him. Take Eren from Attack on Titan, he is probably the least popular of the main characters. On the other hand people highly revere Mikasa, Annie, and Historia. Eren is usually the damsel in distress.

Think of it this way, you tell the audience "This is main character, sympathize with him." and then you make the main character irrelevant. That puts those in the audience who started seeing the world through that main characters eyes in a very uncomfortable position.

It's less an issue of "this is a man's job, move aside woman folk" and more of an issue of "main character needs to show off so the audience can feel happy." As proof of that, usually other secondary male characters are weaker than the strong female characters.

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