Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Women and Anime

Here's an interesting interview about women and anime. I never thought it was such a big deal. Girls often dress up as insane anime characters at conventions. They look pretty hot!


Women and their portrayal in anime has been a hot topic on the mind of Deanna Jackson, a Ph.D. student in experimental psychology, who is currently teaching social psychology. She is currently researching gender identity in adults. As a feminist and an anime fan for over 13 years, I interviewed her to see what she thought about the anime of today and older anime, and how images of women in shows differed and their impact on society.

Examiner: What got you interested in Women and Anime?
D.J.: Really, it all started because of CLAMP. I was thinking about whether I thought their shows were more shoujo or shounen, and when I realized…they're shoujo, I started questioning why I didn't think they were for Girls. Especially X. Such a: "you'd think this would be a dude show" amount of violence and serious themes. It's only gotten worse as I've seen more and more anime and learned more and more about gender.

Examiner: How do you feel women are portrayed in Anime?
D.J.: Now that's a tough question. In general, I would say women are usually limited in how they're portrayed. I would say there are a variety of portrayals out there, but usually are very archetypal. Mostly, this is probably just because anime is usually targeting a male audience. Each different type of anime has its own stereotypical female characters, or lack thereof, and it depends on a lot of what market the anime is geared towards as to what portrayals it uses. Wouldn't say they portrayed negatively or positively, overall. I would say that they are often objectified.

Examiner: Is Anime a realistic look at how the creators see women in real life in your opinion?
D.J.: I seriously, seriously doubt it. It's a form of entertainment that needs viewers to make money. Marketability drives a lot of what gets portrayed, and the writers themselves are thinking about a story. And I doubt anyone's fantasy life is an accurate reflection of how they see the world they live in. for example, the objectification often happens because sex sells. A good story, now with ass shots and panties and fan service!


How do find the portrayal of women in anime?


Cliche said...

Depends on where you look. The other thing I find interesting is that those anime that are not explicitly fan service type also have a tendency of having interesting character/outfit designs. After all it's all about what you cover up that influences titillation.

Also some of the character designs are supposed to be not physically possible for a regular human being to duplicate as a costume. Which is all the more interesting in how they do accomplish that.

Beyond the shallow judgement of judging how a person a looks affecting how another person views them, finding out motivations for a characters actions is the other interesting part.

Actually the only other thing that was interesting of the anime that I 've watched was

Roger Williams said...

I read this article and had laughs galore. To wit:

D.J.: Sailor moon is kinda nice. It's empowering because the important people who are effective are ladies (bad and good), who can have interests and lives and be important people. It had the girly-girls of Usagi and Minako and the tom-boy Makoto and Haruka and even gender-bending in Sailor Stars. Gender bending is good because it loosens the divisions between girls and boys. But there are definitely some disempowering things about it. Why does the main character always crumble at the crucial moment, and why does her life revolve around her boyfriend and being a girlfriend. Mamoru just lurks around, jumping in at the last moment to save the girl; she rarely if ever saves him. And the life goals of the main characters are just "to be married."

Why, it's almost as if this cartoon is written by MEN IN JAPAN instead of progressive American women. Funny how that can affect the outcome of the finished product, eh honeybuns?