Here, I’m going to start to hash out some of the ideas and content I want to cover in my Otakon panel. Feedback is always appreciated and don’t assume that anything in any of these posts will make it into the final panel. This is more a way for me to organize my thinking and find precisely what I want to say.
This continues from part 1b
(or not 2b… lolololol… *facepalm*)
The problem with the gendering of anime and manga content is that it creates a platform for as many problems as it creates. First and most obvious, many popular shounen manga uphold some of the nastier gender role stereotypes present in western media.
[Slide of Erza versus Gray]
Fairy Tail is a pretty good example. Good, diverse shounen manga by Hiro Mashima features a dude who spends most of his time shucking his clothes. As the most naked character in the show/manga, it means that the partially clothed women are just an example of equality at work, right?
Wrong. While Gray is definitely the most naked by ANY measure in the course of the manga, he’s rarely an unabashed sex object. Erza on the other hand, gets roped into the stupid Ms. Fairy Tail contest, and TWO beach episodes. AND her ‘higher level’ armors (except one) show MORE clevage than her standard getup. Gray just takes off his clothes. And does ice magic. Mashima KNOWS that Erza’s appeal lies in part in her sexiness and comes up with ways to show it off. And it’s not like this treatment is limited to Erza. Mira Jane gets her own chance to strut for the audience during the most recent arc of the manga. And Lucy’s fetishistic ghost hunting filler chapter? Yuuuuup.
In each of these instances, women who prove to be powerful mages in their own right become eye candy. The beauty contests are particularly troubling because they reinforce that women of Fairy Tail compete both on magical power and prowess and looks. AND LOOKS.
But hey, that’s okay, right? It’s boys’ manga. So a little tits and ass is in order, amirite? And, OBVIOUSLY a mainstream shoujo manga should offer up the beefcake the same way, right?
[Cue Shoujo Counterexample in Next Post]