Yaoi: Equalizing Gender – An Analysis of Gay Anime/Manga by a Gay™ (Marlon Robertson)

In all of the papers I’ve read on yaoi, I find three prevailing theories: Yaoi is simply a tool for women to experience sexual pleasure in the same vein of just watching gay pornography, yaoi is a way for women to subvert homoerotic (lesbian) desires by making the boys androgynous, and that yaoi is a way for women to explore new facets of gender and sexuality. Each has its merits and I don’t particularly believe that any should be ignored, I would like to posit my own theory. Yaoi functions as a way for women to be able to bring men down to the level that they themselves are perceived in society, namely as objects. Women in Japan (and indeed many areas of the world) are often seen as nothing more than eye candy or baby-making machines. Men feel entitled to have a wife someday and that that wife will be the perfect, submissive “good wife, wise mother” of their dreams. Women find that it is not so easy to elevate themselves out of this position; indeed, how does one change the entire mindset of a country in a relatively short span of time? However, what if men could be brought down to the level that women are perceived to be on? Continue reading

Gender Stereotypes of Harem and Reverse Harem Genre

Shounen and Shojo manga and anime cover a wide range of genres from action-based shounen to romantic slice of life Shojo. One subgenre of Shounen and Shojo is the harem and reverse harem genre. A harem genre focuses on a teenage male who becomes the romantic object of multiple females. Prominent examples of harem manga are Highschool DxD, Date a Live, and Rosario + Vampire. On the flip side, the reverse harem centers on a young female who is pursued by multiple male characters. Prominent examples of reverse harems include Ouran High School Host Club, Diabolik Lovers, and Boys over Flowers. Continue reading

Confidence through powers in Shojo

The common themes that appear to be an occurrence to the female protagonist character in shojo is they become independent and confident in themselves, usually through the development of their magical powers. We see that in Sailor Moon, Tsukino Usagi  has not fully developed her powers during her first fight and was only was able to win by distracting her enemy with her crying , Later on she allows her powers to expand to greater lengths, allowing her to be calm and composed during battle and truly transition into the Sailor Moon. As Tsukino Usagi, who was a normal middle school student, she did set herself apart from other girls, we see in the first episode she was not excelling in class as she performed poorly in class. Moreover, based upon her personality, she did not stand out among her classmates. But as Sailor Moon, she is tough, charismatic, powerful, successful and vital to her teammates. She becomes a leader, which is a position for someone who exhibits strong characteristics, characteristics one would argue she did not show before she acquired powers. Sailor moon also gives us a glimpse of what happens when someone looses their power.  Sailor Venus is unable to use her powers while undergoing a “power up” She is the last one to receive the power up and so she can not use her powers the longest. As a result, Venus begins to question her ability as a leader to her teammates and  eventually tells them she feels she is not a dependable leader. This can be contributed to her lose of confidence without her power, assuming that her case was the same as Sailor Moons, she built her esteem and confidence on her powers. Continue reading

It’s a Man’s World: The Precarious Situation of Women in Shounen Anime

Shounen Anime has been praised in recent years for slowly but surely integrating female characters into the main plotline, shifting them away from their firm position in the background of the classic shounen before them (each of the 2000s-era “Big Three” of Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach feature at least one prominent female character in their main lineup of characters—Sakura, Nami, and Orihime, respectively.) The next generation rising up to replace those anime is largely undefined, although Boku No Hero Academia is at the moment the clearest contender for this spot, and not accidentally has a very large female cast, most of whom are on a comparable power level with their male classmates (except for Midoriya and Bakugo, who as the main characters are naturally a cut above by necessity of the genre.) Compare this to the classical shounen epics of Dragon Ball and Inuyasha, where the female characters are, to be blunt, decoration. Bulma is introduced by crashing her car into and subsequently shooting a young Goku, all of which is utterly ineffectual, and the remainder of the series follows this pattern. Her other contributions to the series include: flashing an old man for material gain (she “very humorously” does not know that she isn’t wearing panties for this encounter,) flirting with a desert bandit, and generally throwing herself around like a piece of meat to solve any problem which Goku cannot punch. Continue reading

Salaryman – The “Ideal” Masculinity of Japanese Men

The term ” Salaryman” has its origin since the early 15th century. During this time, Japan obtained internal peace and the need for samurai was no more. The samurais then became white-collar workers for their clan administrator. However, it was not until the Second World War that the terms salaryman became popular, as the number of white-collar workers grew rapidly. After the Second World War, with the rise of white-collar workers and their work in stabilizing the Japanese economy after the war, the image of the salaryman became the ideal of masculinity for all Japanese men, the ideal of diligence and self-sacrifice that all men are striving to be. Continue reading

Masculinity, in The Context of Shōnen Manga and The Real Society

We’ve talked a lot about masculinity since our first class. My understanding of this word is the characteristices a male should have, ideally. There are variety of characteristices go in to the word masculinity depend on different culture backgrounds, different genders and different personal thinkings. The masculinity showed in manga is also ideal and is quite different from the societal definition. Continue reading

The Mirror

In Satoshi Kon’s movie Perfect Blue, he was trying to tell a story of Mima, who left the idol group and chose to become an actress. She went through anxiety, self-doubt and severe psychological torture, then finally grew up. In the movie, I found his usage of the mirror as well as the interpretation that a mirror reflect is controversial and rich in context. I want to share some of my understanding to enhance the movie interpretation and draw connection to social aspects related to Moe culture in contemporary Japan. Continue reading

Purity Culture and Idols – Bay Erickson

In my opinion, the way Japanese idol culture is being treated right now is dangerous, and relies on a long-standing history of fetishizing and commodifying women’s bodies. These ideas stand on a foundation of toxic masculinity, and in order to start to break down this caustic creation, we must analyze what the problems with current idol culture are. I believe the biggest problem with idol culture in Japan is the idea of “purity culture.” By explaining this mindset, I hope to shed some light on the toxic nature of Japan’s idol system, and possibly offer some insight on how to change it. Continue reading