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.
Race and the Media: SNL
Saturday Night Live has hired a new member after a mid-season audition when they received heavy criticized about a “glaring omission” in their cast. I am glad to see we are all keeping each other in check when it comes to obvious situations such as this, but I also am not sure where we draw the line or why we are concern about one minority over the other. There are many “glaring omissions” from the SNL cast (as well as hundreds if not thousands) of other television programs. For example, SNL’s male cast members include 8 white men and 2 black men and there are no Asian cast members. This asks the question why do we insist on one demographic being represented over the others? The majority of SNL’s cast members are still white males.
It’s probably a safe bet to say neither you nor your children should take any cues from an entertainer, whether they’re a rapper or otherwise. And as absurd as a man in spandex leopard print women’s leggings is, the logic of avoiding being influenced by rappers applies to things much more important than wardrobe choices. There’s a lot of sexism, racism and homophobia at work when runway fashion and Hip Hop are mixed together. Frank Ocean’s open letter, Macklemore’s “Same Love”, and A$AP Rocky’s interview below are signs that Hip Hop is taking small steps to evolve.
“I kicked down the door for kids that’s my age…or older or younger to be able to wear Jeremy Scott sneakers, rips in their jeans, and not feel gay… That’s what society of the urban community tries to portray—that if you do certain things like snug fashion and high-end fashion, and other things that’s not really in the criteria of the small state of mind of the urban community, you’re ‘gay.’”
February 12, 2014
A very watered-down example somewhat similar to the hijab discussion we had and how it effects the individuality of those who wear them are school uniforms. Many students required to wear uniforms in either private or public schools feel that their individuality is hindered. Although on the other hand, other students believe they can express themselves in a way that has nothing to do with their appearance and in that way the uniform is freeing to the individual.
February 5, 2014
I really enjoyed the article by (and our discussion of) Joselit. I especially love that Joselit says that images do not have a gender. I wish members of our society would be as flexible when it comes to the genders of human beings. Whether we care to admit it or not, none of us are one hundred percent male or one hundred percent female and I don’t understand why we like to make a big to-do when an individual alters their own gender. I mostly identify with being a female, but I love oversized flannel shirts and combat boots, which are apparently dubbed as “boy clothes” and even though it’s very minor, I still get a lot of flack for it. Why are you concerned about where someone else identifies on the gender scale and why do you think it effects you? You shouldn’t be and it doesn’t.
“Why Girls Should Not Cut Their Hair Short”
January 29. 2014
During our conversations about stereotypes and “the tricksters’ attempts to point out these issues in class, I was reminded of a chat I had this summer with a co-worker. I had been on the fence about cutting my hair into a pixie-cut (very short and just above the ears) and had mentioned it in passing to him. Without missing a beat he replied, “You would look like such a lesbian.” I was appalled at this comment and even more so that this man had a very concrete image in his head of what apparently all homosexual females looks like. That comment from him actually gave me the push to go ahead and chop my hair off. I didn’t want him defining me or anyone based on what shape, length, or color our hair is.
A couple of months into loving my shorter locks, a friend of mine who is also a female and also has a pixie posted this article on Facebook with the caption “I want to shave my head on this guy’s lawn.” It takes my coworker’s insensitive comment to a whole new level. I am so thankful for the tricksters out there that can laugh off how blatantly cold and thoughtless these archaic views are.