October 22nd, 2012

Liking Problematic Stuff PT II – The Oppressor is YOU!

The first part of my post on Liking Problematic Stuff was from mostly the oppressed point of view. Liking something you know is actively oppressing you.

Now i want to focus on the “allies”, the oppressor (also known as the people with privilege) because I’ve heard a lot more shit from them. Namely “I like what I like!”.

First of all, why does YOUR comfort trump my right to be a human being. Yes, you as the oppressor are actively oppressing me if you say something similar to that as you consume the oppressive shit. Being a good ally is about changing your likes (and possibly your dislikes) in order to be less oppressing. Keeping the status quo does nothing. If you’ve ever said that, take your badge off now and burn your “I am a good ally” t-shirt.

Why? Because you are the target audience! If you buy that problematic show/game/book you are telling the companies “Hey I’m your target audience and I like this stuff!” They can ignore the parts where you said it was sexist as all hell or the racism was ramped up to 11. They made a sale to their target audience and they an count that on their marketing sheet as “It’s working!” It’s only when something ISN’T selling that they might actually look at the response and go “Oh! Our target audience doesn’t like this problematic shit :X!”

“But if I stop liking this stuff I won’t have anything to watch/play/read!” There are plenty of other things to watch/play/read. Saying this just means you want to be lazy and continue to be an oppressive douche. Remember what I said about changing your likes. Yes you have to change them! You have to actively go outside of that little box and find something new.

You like Dead or Alive? Try a different fighting game that isn’t a pile of misogynistic shit.
You like ecchi/harem? Try something that isn’t labeled as ecchi, dump anything ecchi from your likes and focus on the shows that want to tell a story over degrading women. They are out there.
You like Family Guy? Try one of the other less oppressive adult cartoons out there. Look into the ones that have come before. I hear “King of the Hill” is far better than Family Guy. (Not saying it’s the best mind you.)
You like Dresden Files? There is a ton more books out there in that genre that isn’t oppressive as all hell. Try looking for books from people not white, possibly not male, and possibly not straight too.

Being a complicit target audience is the worst thing you as an oppressor. You are telling the creators of these things that “YES! Keep making them and ignore the non-target audience. I’ll keep buying them!”

October 22nd, 2012

Liking Problematic Things Pt I

I’ve been analyzing the statement “As a feminist it’s OK to like problematic things” however then my brain runs aground on the paying companies to make problematic things. To me I think it should be, “It’s OK to like problematic things as long as those problems don’t (keep) get(ting) funded” :P I mean that’s where I have the problem. People paying full price for such problematic thing. I see it as dog training, you don’t give a treat to a dog before it does the trick, you give it to the dog after. So giving the full price to company is telling them “It’s OK to do this” VS buying it in the bargain bin, used, downloaded, etc whatever media it is. I guess that the part rubbing me the wrong way, the funding of problematic stuff. If your buying problematic thing at full price, you aren’t sending any kind of message, other than they can make problematic thing and get the hefty profit for it. If you tell the dog to sit and it’s not sitting, why are you rewarding it?
If it’s bargain binned or used, they aren’t quite going to get any more money from it as retailer won’t stock the thing, and in the case of used, they don’t see ANY more money.

You’d give them the full price when they release the media without the problematic things. Like after the dog has done the trick you reward it. So you tell company to “stop doing problematic things and you’ll get all of the money”. That’s fair IMO. ._.

October 20th, 2012

Why Sailor Moon is better than the other mahou shoujo

I want to like the new mahou shoujo anime but… watching Sailor Moon.. it’s VERY hard for me to like it…

A show from 1991 is still far more feminist and more progressive that shows here in 2012. First of all, Sailor Moon isn’t PIIIINK!

She’s red, white and blue. Overall her color is white and then we have blue, red, green and orange (with bluer, aqua, dark purple and black). The only pink one is Chibi Moon. Later she adds more yellow with the only pink bits being on the shoulders and only in the LAST season/series of the anime when it seems that the times are getting less progressive (1995).  The only other main mahou shoujo that doesn’t have pink on her outfit is Momoko (from Wedding Peach)…. BUUUUT her hair is pink, thus rendering her “The pink one”.

So here we have the good old “Girls are pink and boys are every other color under the rainbow, sometimes pink but never the main character”. Even the original Pretty Cure had pink on the outfits. It’s like they can’t escape pink hell.

Next after we’ve added even a dash of pink to the outfit if it isn’t completely pink, the transformation items and/or the communicators etc are going to be pink. It’s like if they sort of escape being completely in pink hell, well the cosmos has dictated that mahou shoujo items will be pink. Sailor Moon however, has all the senshi have same colored sticks (until the final series) where Sailor Moons weapons are usually white and reddish, with only some being pink in color. Other shows seem to have all the items as being pink save for a crystal or gem or such and since the main hero is always pink… her weapons are always pink.

Also Sailor Moon was dark, very dark when you think about it. Skipping the filler the enemies always seemed to be a threat. The now mahou shoujo… not so much. Always silly with a less serious tone to everything. If Sailor Moon lost the world would be lost, the newer series.. eh not so much. It’s about collecting “deco”, or musical notes, and it’s usually about conquering this OTHER world.

Another thing Sailor Moon had going for it than the rest is giving the enemy character. Instead of being this big faceless blob (sometimes literally), we got to see the enemy interactions and their lives. Sometimes we empathized with them. The new anime… we rarely see enemy interaction, it’s usually them searching for the next target or coming up with the next plan. The enemies seem to rarely look human anymore (unless they are female), where Sailor moon hardly had any fully inhuman enemies. Also when things are done and said, in Sailor Moon, collateral damage is permanent (unless the world gets a reboot via the silver crystal), this is even lampshaded in one episode where a note is placed next to a bent pole.
Newer anime? They either create a fighting space, or there doesn’t seem to be any collateral damage. If there is… it’s never really shown to be resolved. Sailor Moon had a whole episode about collateral damage where she had to fight in her own home. Even her outfit became detrimental.

Overall Sailor Moon seems to be about the relationship between the characters, while these other shows seem to be about “special character of the day!” with a few episodes of main character stories. They just don’t feel as dark and certainly don’t involve backstory about “Sailor Wars” where the mahou shoujo battle each other in the distant universe, with people even DYING. (I’m talking SHOUJO mahou shoujo, the seinen stuff doesn’t count because it’s for a male audience). The backstories seem to be less thought out and more We have X enemy doing Y thing with Z theme of the year.

A final note, Sailor Moon often had the senshi and other women doing jobs that are considered “men’s work” like the woman that was fixing up the car. Today’s mahou shoujo seems to avoid that like the plague and instead focuses on beauty, singing, and being good enough for marriage. Though the other senshi fretted about boys, it seemed they had bigger interests than fashion, pretty, “be an object!”. Ami Mizuno even wanted to be a doctor and didn’t care much about that stuff. Today’s anime.. yeah they’d drag her off all the time to be made up. Haruka anyone? The only time she wore a skirt was when she was Sailor Uranus. At NO time was she ever drug off and forced into a dress to “clean up nicely”. She dressed like a man and acted like a man and nobody ever tore her down for it. She didn’t have a secretly pink room either. (I don’t even think Michiru had a pink room.)

You can see the degression of even Sailor Moon in the US logo, it was a light yellow “Sailor Moon” with a yellow shiny crescent moon. Then it went to PIIINK! The original Japanese logo was a rainbow color. It seems even now we are trying to pinkify Sailor Moon when she doesn’t need to be pink.

August 13th, 2012

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July 24th, 2012

The degradation of the shoujo hero.

Something got me to thinking this morning when I started comparing anime.

In a typical shounen anime, you have the main hero who seems to be a bit of a screw off, but however has this power inside. That power gets unleashed and then this kid is many layers of awesome. In no way is the main hero ever degraded the same way a shoujo hero is. Even in the ecchi variety, it is the women who are truly degraded. Even so much that these harem women take on traits of the degraded shoujo hero. While the hero might get slapped or kicked, the knowing male viewer can wink and this and say “At least he violated her personal space without consent!” However never does this happen in a shoujo anime. The men in a shoujo anime will never be violated this way.

In a shoujo anime, we are taught to laugh at the hero getting degraded right from the start. Usually the shoujo hero will be late to school, be shown as clumsy, or do horrible at school. Sometimes this even expounded on by creating an in-between for the viewer. The little brother that will comment to the parents about the grades, or in the case of clumsyness, comment on the color of underwear she’s wearing. In a school setting, this comes to us in the form of the “Jealous Girl Posse”. Not only is the JGP there to remind us that “wimmin be crazy!” throughout the anime and that us women are so unfathomable to men and thus we should probably act like them and not the degraded hero, but they will also degrade the hero in some way. Spread false rumors, set up a situation where she has something fall on her, etc.
In some cases the shoujo hero will be contrasted to a male hero and she will ALWAYS be second. She will try to attempt to best this male hero and never make it. It will be set of as romantic that he is better than her, but still here we have her humiliation that we see her struggle so hard, yet she will never be able to make it. She will be second best. We are told to fawn over this as “well at least you’re getting A MAN!”, even though the story writer has written it that it’s a no win situation.

For a shounen hero, there will never be a “Jealous Boy Posse”, we will usually get some thugs who get beaten up and then either become sad reoccurring villain characters, or join the party having seen the error of their way so they can worship the awesome that is shounen hero! The shounen hero will always be number one and if there’s a female cahracter that gets the best of him, she will be the one that needs to be rescued later and thus fall to number two!

Back to the shoujo! Now that we’ve humiliated out shoujo hero, while our shounen one is either being a jerk or being oblivious. If it’s a combat mahou shoujo show (really that’s the only kind of combat shows girls will get to see), when given the mighty powers of HENSHIN! and SAY THIS ATTACK NAME GO! After a sexualized sequence showing our shoujo hero naked and spinning for our male viewers. What you thought that the anime was for the girls first? Nope, still have to please those (otaku) men who will be buying the Kotobukiya statues. She will falter and might even be crying. She will have no clue what to do and will usually just stand there as the enemy starts thrashing her. The shoujo hero will be themed in something feminine such as flowers (Pretty Cure Splash Star), cooking, cheerleading, art (Shugo Chara), and beauty (Pretty Cure Smile, Heartcatch). Did we mention the enemies are going to be non-threatening? The whole monster theme will revolve around music (Pretty Cure Suite), circuses (Sailor Moon SuperS), or storybooks (Pretty Cure Smile). The items will be records, cakes, and vaccuums. Our shounen hero will get dragons, sword monsters and even ghost-type enemies if not ROBOTS! Now that out shoujo hero has stopped being humiliated even in battle, we get to see the attack sequence! The attack will rarely ever be a physical attack and never with something deadly. It will probably have a name with hearts (Heart Lock-on, Open Heart), rainbows (Rainbow Therapy), or beauty (Moon Gorgeous Meditation) involved. It will also be some kind of beam attack or distant explosion. While shounen heroes get these two types AND MORE!
Also, in our shoujo series, we will usually be presented a male character that is to be the romantic love interest of the main shoujo hero (Wedding Peach, Sailor Moon, Pretear), usually the pink one because ALL girls love pink amirite, which she will fall in love by the seasons end.

If it’s a non-mahou show, then our shoujo hero will be doing something womanly such as trying to become an idol (Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream) or cook (Yumeiro Patissiere). Rarely will she be doing something considered manly.

All monster collection shows will have a male lead! (Digimon, Pokemon, MonColle Knights, Devil Children)
All online gaming shows will have a male lead! (Sword Art Online, Accel World, Net Ghost PIPOPA)
Shounen Hero will NEVER wear pink or ever be “The pink ranger!” Pink is for those other followers.

Our shounen hero however can make it alone. Their theme will be dragons (Mushrambo), robots (Gundam), cars (Initial D), ninja (Naruto), samurai (Samrai Troopers) and animals (Chouja Reideen). Their attack will usually involve weapons and some will even physically hit the enemy. If they are in a non-combat anime they will always be the best at whatever they do all the time until about the middle of a season arc where they will have to power up, much like their combat anime counterparts.

Shoujo heroes will never get the “itouto” anime. Shounen heroes have a ton to pick from. Shouo heroes will always be shown to be needing someone to get something done. Shoujo heroes will never be found groping or being shown to want sex. As a matter of fact they will run into men and be told they are stupid (baka!) and to watch where they are going. They will be the ones groped (Mitsu X Mitsu Drops). They will told that they are “marked” and thus property of the male interest and have thier behavior controlled (Kachou-wa Maid-sama). They will be told not to worry the male characters (Hiiro no Kakera), or to be more careful if they accidentally fall or are pushed DO TO NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. They will be treated like a pet! And this is in their OWN anime. It gets much worse in the shounen hero anime. The shoujo hero will have her beauty or lack there-of (another degradation technique) commented on, while the shounen hero’s appearance will be given a pass. If the shounen hero’s face is compared to a monkey’s, the shounen hero will give back in kind, while the shoujo hero will stand there and take it, or even worse, apologize for it!
The shounen hero will rarely say “I’m sorry”, the shoujo hero is expected to say it all the time.

In the end it is the shoujo hero that is routinely degraded in her anime, while the shounen hero will be lauded in his and even gets to degrade the women around him!