Manga and Female Objectification

Manga and Female Objectification

In the overwhelming majority of manga/anime series today, female characters are overly sexualized or fetishized. This sexualization manifests itself most common in the form of fanservice, or any provocative imagery, typically of a sexual nature, that does not contribute to the plot but merely enhances the viewer’s visual experience. The large amounts of fanservice included in tankōbon (series of manga) do not impact the actual storylines of the manga but function as part of the overall drawing style. And manga, being a visual medium, relies heavily on its aesthetic in order to pique the interest of readers. For example, in the shōnen (a genre targeting boys) series Air Gear, all female characters are exceedingly scantily clad and large-bosomed. During battle scenes when women are called to fight, their clothing is often unnecessarily torn to the point where they cease to function as clothes and become fluttering censor strips covering nipples and groins. And when women are not depicted as having big breasts, they are drawn in an overly cute (known as “kawaii/moe”) style that draws from Japan’s obsession with child-like outward appearances and behaviors. This manga and anime style is called moe and depicts female characters as submissive and ditzy. In categorizing them in such a way, they lack the depth their male counterparts possess and are composed by extreme gender labels.


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