This is not related to anime DIRECTLY, but I am putting it up here as a reminder to myself. The whole point of this blog is to call out the background radiation of sexism and patriarchy that pervades anime, and in so doing understand it.
Melissa McEwan explains why this is important a million times better than I could.
Not good enough? How about Akuto Sai choosing Junko even after his ascension to Demon Lord? Or Minato’s continued refusal to remain celibate in the face of a growing personal army of women who throw themselves at him every day? Harem shows gravitate to the “harem ending” because of a tension between fan-wank and the desire morally to place the lead with the “childhood friend”. It’s only the newer shows like Amagami and Yosuga no Sora (I just threw up a little in my mouth. That’s how much I love you guys) that balance between routes and don’t offer up a “true” pair.
This is what I’m working on next for Altair and Vega. It’s… It’s getting out of hand.
“Being a feminist doesn’t mean suddenly no longer liking problematic things. If you stopped liking everything that was sexist in media and entertainment there would be no media or entertainment left. Being a feminist, to me, is being aware of what it is you’re liking, and of its problematic aspects.”—
YES! I still watch TV shows and read magazines and enjoy things that have problematic aspects, but that doesn’t make me any worse of a feminist. Feminism doesn’t require you to become an ascetic about all media. It just means acknowledging that things are wrong and could be changed.
Since one of my friends called me out on how I tend to strongly dislike “tough chicks” in Hollywood action films and animated family movies, I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that drives me nuts about these characters. Recent examples include: Dejah Thoris from John Carter, Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon, pretty much every woman in every action film made in the past decade, and Captain Amelia from Treasure planet. The last one, upon a recent rewatching of that movie, was the character that finally laid my problem out for me in a way I could put into words….blah blah etc etc, read my original post
5. think you’re fighting for femininity/women while you’re actually being absolutely disgusting (i.e. read the above points).
No doubt, there are problematic ways to have “tough female character” character arcs but none of your reasons hold up as valid critiques.
How ‘bout taking a step back from these sloppy, gross misinterpretations (especially HTTYD and Treasure Planet) and stop projecting your “ideal woman” crapola everywhere. Masculine women who decide to reproduce/get into relationships/have a tender side aren’t necessarily “submitting” to anything. And congrats on approving of feminine women’s character arcs! YAY. You’re really going against society’s norms there. (that was sarcasm.)
And a reminder, men with vaginas aren’t a punchline to your gross arguments. They’re people that you need to be aware of instead of trampling over with your humor.
Fair enough. Or is this supposed to be satirical? I honestly can’t tell. >_<
Oki doki. You were hurling some pretty over-the-top insults and buzzwords, so I couldn’t tell. Your point is noted though, and I shall give it some serious thought in the name of progress. Thanks for engaging me on this.
"Over-the-top insults and buzzwords" is not a good way to put it.
Descriptions of your actions/words, which show that you have internalized a lot of the crap in our society through osmosis, and still needs to be changed, is.
Defensiveness isn’t cute.
I am publishing this here because I want to walk into this effort aware that I’m going to fuck up. Posts like this cause in my crippling fear that I’m doing everything wrong and should pack it in (and also mild suicidal thoughts, but that’s for another day).
At the same time, I invite criticism like this. Tell me I’m wrong people. This blog isn’t to educate you, it’s to educate me.
Since one of my friends called me out on how I tend to strongly dislike “tough chicks” in Hollywood action films and animated family movies, I’ve been struggling with trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that drives me nuts about these characters. Recent examples include: Dejah Thoris from John Carter, Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon, pretty much every woman in every action film made in the past decade, and Captain Amelia from Treasure planet. The last one, upon a recent rewatching of that movie, was the character that finally laid my problem out for me in a way I could put into words.
In most of these kind of movies, you have your male protagonist who starts the story from a position of weakness and by the end of it is in a position of power and dominance (I’m sure you already see where I’m going with this), whereas these particular female supporting characters are the opposite, starting out from a position of strength but by the end are in a weaker, more submissive position. Dejah Thoris is a super-smart, resourceful princess who apparently is not too bad at sword fighting, but by the end she’s a political pawn, sacrificial lamb, and unwilling then totally willing bride . Astrid is a super smart AND super tough viking and ringleader of her fellow warriors, but by the end she’s submitting to Hiccup (and will no doubt be his blushing bride someday). And then you have Amelia, whom at the start of the movie is the snappy, hyper-clever, well-trained CAPTAIN OF A FREAKING STARSHIP, but one injury and some condescension from a weaker, awkward male supporting character (and her eventual husband btw), and she’s a useless, blubbering lovestruck simpleton who is pumping out babies by the end of the movie. It’s nothing new but now that I’ve become aware of it, it’s more grating to me every time it crops up.
I think the other thing that gets me is that all of these characters are “tough” on men’s terms, or they’re, personality-wise, just men with vaginas. It’s essentially the idea that being feminine is inherently weak (well, unless the character’s sole purpose is “OMGSEX!”, then feminine is A-OKAY). But if you look at Rapunzel from Tangled (who I adore), and pretty much every female protagonist in Studio Ghibli films, they are both feminine and possess great strength of character…or at least they develop it through the course of the story. And for the most part, they end up (emotionally, situation-wise, or whatever) in a better place at story’s end; a place that doesn’t hinge solely on whether or not they’ve bagged a boyfriend. I’ve also noticed that a lot female characters I DO like, adhere to these traits almost perfectly.
Again, this point is nothing even REMOTELY new and folks who are a lot smarter and more eloquent than me have written scores of articles (with fewer run-on sentences) about it over the years, but I just finally wrapped my head around it and wanted to share my discovery. Also, next time my friends tell me “Oh, you just hate tough female characters!”, I’ll have a quick and (hopefully) foolproof response. :D
This about covers it. I also think the subtext of “become more feminine, become happier” is also troubling. These “tough” women get ushered into gender performance and seem content with it despite their earlier personalities. It’s this second, subtle subversion that I’m planning to attack with my upcoming Ouran post on Altair and Vega.
It’s worth noting here that Deunan Knute, Makoto Kusanagi/Aramaki, and Leona Ozaki operate under a different model where they stow their feminine qualities when they head into “male” workforce spaces. Not that they shy from them, Deunan especially loves cute clothes and fawns all over Briareos when the opportunity presents itself, but is all business when on deployment with e-SWAT.