So, is anime sexist? It´s a simple question that generates a guaranteed online war wherever and whenever it´s asked. I wasn´t going to write about this, but after getting blocked by McIntosh (a.k.a the male Anita Sarkeesian) on Twitter this morning for stating the obvious, I feel it´s my aniblogger´s duty to defend my opinion some more.
More than asking ourselves wheter anime is sexist or not, we should take a step back and ask ourselves wheter every other medium is sexist – because as much as we like to think anime is a precious flower that separates itself from every other mainstream medium ever, it´s not.
It´s not because just like in videogames and movies, anime has plenty of archytypes, clichés and generic stories – perhaps they aren´t the same as the afromentioned mediums, but they´re clichés regardless. Basically, not every anime is as distinctrive as Death Note and Fullmetal Alchemist as most casual anime fans like to preach, just look at any anime season chart and we´ll see that the list is dominated by recycled trash, kind of like the American movies with lots of explosions and beautiful women.
I´ll talk about the differences of anime and every other medium ever later, but let´s adress the actual question at hand.
So, is anime sexist?
More like, do you know what you´re asking? the definition of “sexism” is “attitude or behavior based on tradition stereotypes of gender roles.” and I think this adjective is a little too serious for fiction – but hey, Itazura na Kiss, by this definition is pretty damn sexist, and so are a lot of shoujo anime from a few decades a go, just like the Hollywood movies at the time, and fuck it, as sexist as hit films a lá 3 Metros Sobre El Suelo (I live in Spain and I only know of this atrocity thanks to the gazillion fangirls wanting their own knight in shining motorbike) or even 50 Shades of Grey.
I don´t think sexist is the word most of these anti-anime internet activists are looking for though, I´d say the question they´re looking for is “is anime sexualized?” or “is anime fetishized?”
To which I´d say yeah, it is sexualized – as sexualized as the latest greatest Marvel comic and badass macho Hollywood flick, as sexualized and fetishized as League of Legends and World of Warcraft. It doesn´t matter where you look, fiction is meant to interest, and women with big, bangin´ breasts fighting demons in skimpy outfits is one, unorginial way of going about it.
So where lies the difference? as much as some people would like to say that Japanese people are gross and anime fans are all perverts – it´s most definitely not something like that, or all Americans would be obese and cowboys.
The difference is, quite clearly, the animation.
Animation goes beyond live-action, it can do things no other medium can achieve and I´m pretty sure it´s the bouncing boobs and highschool skirts a lá Highschool of the Dead which annoys the anime Sarkeesians.
With this, we go back a notch.
Is anime sexist? as much as every other medium ever, you can´t slag off an entire medium because of a few shows. Ghilbi is not Highschool DxD and Naruto ain´t Serial Experiments Lain.
Is anime sexualized? most of it, I guess.
I´ve talked about this before, but I honestly think the harems and pantyshots do more harm to the image of men than women – think about it, they´re almost always portrayed as antisocial losers, right?
But that´s another topic for another time, now we´re going to talk about the good stuff.
When put on the same scale anime, manga and all that jazz has a lot more diversity than Hollywood – and I´m saying this as a supposed “victimized” woman.
This is all just my opinion of course, but hasn´t the Tumblr generation taught us to accept all body types rather than only embrace the unconventional beauties? generally the women in anime still kick ass, and if they don´t, there´s dozens of other anime that do have just that.
Every medium has its fair share of problems, but I feel like now´s the least “problematic” era of all – if we´re talking bodytypes, men are just as sexualized in Hollywood, if we´re talking hot lesbian action, that stuff is just as if not more fetishized in anime and manga, if we´re talking sexist fiction we´ll always have a 50 Shades Of Grey to our Sword Art Online.
The bottom line is that everything is relative, it´s silly to put an entire medium under one umbrella just because you feel like it, anime is a medium like every other and that should be respected: There´s everything, representing what you think is good or bad, but in the end, and really, maybe I´m just talking for myself, but I think anime is still the most diverse medium of all – crazy lolis, nasty clichés, yaoi undertones and moe yuri included.
P.S – If you´re reading this and still think anime is satan and whoever watches it should go to church, I recommend you watch Nana, Aku no Hana, Paradise Kiss and then come back with an opinion. Don´t talk about shit you don´t know about.