Part Five of this post got me thinking about why we’ve seen pushback from anime fans on any topic adjacent to fanservice or objectification. And it reminded me of a non-anime story.
I work part time at a retail company with a rebate program. We issue rebates on purchases as little chits and they expire (no discussion of whether the system is imperfect, please. ^_^). We cannot take the expired rebates. When we do, corporate docks the managers’ pay a dollar for each dollar of expired rebate we accept.
Generally, when someone asks me if I can take an expired rebate, I lie a little. I tell zie, “I can’t, really. They’ll take it out of my paycheck.” which isn’t true, since I’m not management. But it’s a small company, and the managers are my friends. And I’ve been a manager in the past. For the most part, customers are okay with the refusal and then complain about the fact that the rebates can expire.
One time, however, the guy on the other side of the counter looked right back at me and said, “I don’t care. It’s not my money. Take the rebate and give me my five dollars.” I was stunned. It was my first encounter with a complete lack of empathy.
What does this have to do with anime? The above post reminded me of this story because in many ways the increasingly loud voice of women and girl fans appears to threaten the boys and men who make up “mainstream anime’s” audience. I wonder if I put up last season’s chart and say, “can we be a little less sexxy and a little more considerate of the growing fanbase of women?” the guys in the audience who haven’t met an ecchi show they didn’t want to own ten copies of will cry foul.
“But I LIKE all those shows! But what if these new shows prevent the next Strike Witches or To Love-Ru?” I want to respond with, well, what about the women who wonder why you get Strike Witches, To Love-Ru, Negima?!, Ladies Versus Butlers, and Upotte!, and they get only Chihayafuru or Fruits Basket? But, I fear a response of “Fine. But only if they don’t take the slots of the five or six pandering shows I love every season.” What do I say to those people?