You want to enjoy yourself? But you are an idiotic woman! You shouldn’t have rights in the first place! You greedy woman, you want to steal us from everything?
Recently there have been some quite unpleasant incidents that show blatantly that misogynism is on the rise again- or was it always there and I was lucky not to notice it before? What makes me wanna talk and rant about this mess is its scale. That’s the one thing I’ll touch upon on this post. The other is to present some market-related facts, insert my own remarks and ask questions about it.
I’m pretty sure you’ve come across it or at least heard about it. It gained fame rapidly and if you type ‘swimming anime’ in tumblr, you’ll be faced with a respectable amount of posts filled with speculations, fanarts, fanfiction and even cosplay – wait, now there’s a dating sim game, too! Without knowing any names. A fandom surged that its main interest is what naughty things will do these bishies with one another. A fandom which demonstrated such an excitement that what began as a simple CV, the typical ones Kyoto Animation always likes to create, might turn into an anime series- there’s a crunchyroll petition on change.org about it.
The ‘issue’ here is that
a. this CV that run just 30′ had only male characters in it, who were topless and were doing some…wet exercise *cough cough*, showing off their abs, and
b. Kyoto Animation, whose big success is K-On, catered mostly to male otaku, until this past year, that is.
As a result,
a. homophobia is triggered,
b. these male otaku fans feel ‘betrayed’ that ‘their space’ full of cute (stupid/clumsy) girls will turn into a BL paradise. But even if we suppose that the romantic undertones in such an anime would be handled decently like in Hyouka and Tamako Market, these guys are so full of themselves that they actually think they are entitled to be the only ones fanserviced…
Undigged from sankaku- don’t ask why I was there. Also, I know, not the best place, but it does shed light on the bad aspects of otakudom:
Please don’t become some creepy rotten homo anime studio!
No homo stuff please. At least put one girl in there!
They’re even shaving their armpits…
Tamako was pretty awful too, so now they’re aiming at women?
Cathryn at Contemporary Japanese Literature has made a thorough research I might say on… anime boobs, in order to pinpoint how unjust and absurd the complaints about ‘reverse sexism’ are that were brought up; namely, if the characters were women, the latter would bemoan about how men drool when tits and pantsu appear on-screen. I need to add that although this is a good argument, it’s not sufficient.
Straight men objectify women, straight women objectify men, lesbians objectify other women and sometimes gays, gays objectify other men etc. Objectification isn’t something abnormal. Yes, it does make some people uncomfortable, so what? Everyone has his/her turn ons, fetishes and kinks. As long as fantasy is separated from reality and respect is shown towards real people in real situations, it’s fine. So it doesn’t matter, if women get pleasure acquired through objectification, too. What matters is that everyone has the same right to, because we are (flawed if you want) humans. And of course, humans aren’t only straight cis white males…
If you are not in the mood of listening to 10′ minutes of video, I’ll sum it up for you. This incident doesn’t have to do with anime otaku but with video game otaku. Especially the male gamers. The latter thought it funny or perhaps even insulting that a woman, in this case Anita Sarkeesian, talks about the sexist tropes in video games. The outcome of this ‘annoyance’ was massive and horrifying: not only did they attack her with rape and death threats in every social media site she owned, but altered her Wikipedia entry to appear pornographic and an online interactive game was created where by clicking on the photo of her face, you could batter her up.
The fact that female gamers face discrimination, even more the lady-like ones, by being interrogated, judged, ridiculed as ‘fake’ and shunned, has been lying around for some time now, but never before was a single person targeted that heavily. Sarkeesian calls it ‘cyber mob’ and underlines how the whole assault was staged as a ‘game’ where the internet was the battlefield, the players were male gamers not only teens but men in their 30s as well, and they casted her as a villain.
But the thing is…Its not a game. It’s an overt display of angry misogyny on massive scale.
Its not “just boys being boys”.
It’s not “just how the internet works”.
And it’s not just going to go away if we ignore it.
Some might say that she makes a fuss over nothing, that things are the way they are, that what she says about women characters in video games is ridiculous, and that she just ruins the fun. Feminism is not only about abortion and body shaming; it’s about every little thing which influences the lives of women. The gaming experience is one of these. Don’t take it too lightly and dismiss it. She voices concerns of other women, too. You don’t know how much her effort can influence the industry or pop culture in general – there’s always a chance (btw after the last episode of Tropes vs Women she’ll make available a teaching plan on video games for free). And by aiming higher, you manage to get the average.
And it’s honestly of less significance, if you disagree with her, rather than not recognising that the bullying she was faced with is unacceptable and that the fact that she’s a strong woman, the gamers are ‘just idiotic virgins’ or that the threats couldn’t possibly be realized doesn’t cancel the gravity of this offense.
The anime & manga market
From the two cases before, we understand that, as a rule, women are attacked when they enter what was considered initially a ‘male space’. Atop of that there are very few products that cater to the needs of female nerds. The situation is more clear-cut when we talk about video games, comics and western forms of entertainment, but what about Japan, manga and anime?
In the case of anime the scales tip toward males – you can see how the industry has been moefied the last decade and by that I mean both the cute designs and female characters that are clumsy and dumb and therefore ‘cute’. That’s definitely the influence of men. But in manga we have a whole demographic directed at girls and another smaller one targeting women, namely shoujo and josei. According to information over at Manga Therapy, women are a big spending power in the manga industry. Even outside Japan you just have to take a look at the number of english translated yaoi titles compared to the yuri ones to understand the statement above.
I’d be unfair though, if I didn’t mention that even in anime there are gradually more shounen-ai series like Kuroko no Basket- and to be exact shounen with such vibes (correction is a courtesy of Mira). And yet my dissatisfaction remains. Mainly because whenever I search for yuri hentai I have no problem finding plenty in quantity and a lot I haven’t seen before, too; when I search explicit yaoi, things don’t look the same at all. Men may have their boobs with nipples and their uncensored c*nt thrusting, but we aren’t allowed to revel in a detailed scene of anal sex…
Here come the questions:
- Is the reality of the anime & manga market and of its erotic section to be blamed upon phallocracy only or are other limitations and factors I am unaware of? What could be done?
- Is there a particular reason behind anime being a more male-dominated area than manga? How could this be changed?
- What will the market look like in a few years? Will it be related to gender dynamics and will it be a positive change?