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Sexism in the Anime Fandom: A Case Study of a Tumblr User

A "stereotypical" female anime fan

A “stereotypical” female otaku

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my last post, I discussed my stance on sexism in male otaku fandom. I described my ambivalence about my own fan activities and how I have always felt complicit in sexist attitudes despite my desire for gender equality. It is certainly easy to point out that anime fanservice objectifies women (among other things) and in doing so turn your critical eye away from yourself.

This time, I want to focus on the female anime fan’s perspective. In doing so, I hope to show that sexism in the anime fandom lies far beyond what is shown in anime itself. The sharp division between anime communities “for boys” (i.e. Reddit and 4chan) and anime communities “for girls” (i.e. tumblr and fanfiction sites) does not help. There is a distinct lack of open communication between both genders online. This enforces gender stereotyping on both ends.

This post is a collaboration with my friend AquaJet. She is an insider of both female otaku culture and tumblr culture. I decided to feature her writing on my blog because I feel this is a perspective that needs to be shared to a wider audience.

PART ONE: TUMBLR 

Froggy: First off, could you tell us why you use tumblr? What drew you to the website?

Aqua: tumblr attracts a specific kind of person. It’s safe to say that people who stay on the site are people who have been discriminated against, victims of abuse/bullying/mental disorders, or come from bad families/communities. When I first started, I didn’t engage on a day-to-day basis like I do now. I thought my friends who introduced me to tumblr were crazy for liking a site that didn’t offer much other than porn and pretty pictures. Then there was one point where I just started reblogging a lot of stuff because I was indulging in all my fandoms and agreeing to various opinions of other individual bloggers that hit home with me (this is really where I started to enjoy anime and social justice and they’re both part of the reason why my blog predominately has both of them in it).

I was having fun and it was the only place that made me feel like I belonged there. Because you see, I don’t have any other friends who I can talk to about anime with. I literally only have one friend that likes anime and she doesn’t have the same tastes as I do (The only genre we both really like is sports anime and even though I do like shojo, she likes it much more than I do). Then there’s also the fact that I do deal with gender discrimination on almost a constant day to day basis and it may not be as severe as what other women/men deal with but it’s enough to lead me into becoming very unstable with my emotions/thoughts/behaviors. After a day of feeling very unimportant and actually feeling sick to my stomach (even though there may not be anything physically wrong with me), tumblr made me feel like I am important and that it’s okay to have felt the way that I do.

Now the “honeymoon” phase is over. I’ve been on the site for over 2 years (soon to be 3, actually. holy shit!) and sometimes, you’re just tired of the hyper-criticism and over-sensitivity tumblr comes up with but looking over at it now, I’ve come to an understanding that we’re all just different people with messed up backgrounds. Some of the things tumblr preaches is morally wrong, but there’s also a group of people who will call them out on it. The users are never as bad or as good and anyone makes them out to be and it makes sense. Let’s say for example that tumblr is from a group of kids that grew up in bad neighborhoods where fights break out and people get hurt everyday. They all come together to talk and enjoy certain things together. Some people will connect, but others won’t and conflict will arise. However, these won’t be people who don’t know how to fight. These people will do everything in their power to knock you out because they know exactly how to destroy and tear people apart. They grew up with that sort of behavior, after all.

And now by this point, I guess you wonder why I would stay in such a hostile community but it’s not that simple. One of the things that’s very important to me is for me to “safely” express my opinion without interruption. This is because sometimes the opinions I’ve expressed at home have either 1) caused my family members to inflict emotion/physical pain on me or 2) they often shut me off completely mid-sentence and not listen to the rest then proceed to go off topic or attack my character. And yeah, tumblr users can criticize you for almost anything you say anyway, but they actually read everything you said and come up with counter arguments for each one (which is much better than having a person shut you off without listening to what you have to say). Plus, they also have positive messages circulating around that make you feel like maybe the world isn’t worth burning to the ground.

But you know, I sound much more positive about tumblr than some of the other tumblr users (Some of them sound like they really hate the site so much that they would want to murder everyone on it) but it’s really all about how you want to experience it. With the exception of social justice/feminism blogs, my dash is just filled with a mixture of cutefunny, or silly things. So it’s not like there’s social justice warriors constantly attacking issues or breathing down anyone’s neck all the time.

A typical tumblr image (click for source)

A typical tumblr image (click for source)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Froggy: Do you ever find yourself thinking critically about the arguments other tumblr users present? My understanding is that many tumblr posts appeal strongly to emotions with images and inclusive language and so on. How would you compare this to the effect that academic writing and other more formal types of writing have over you?

Aqua: I always do. Usually by the time certain posts get to me, people have already given two sides to the argument (and I spent a little while scrolling through my blog and then I realized I don’t reblog those kind of posts because when I see them on my dash, I’m like “nah, this argument is not something I want on my blog because I feel conflicted or understand both sides”) the type of continuous string of comments I reblog are either silly or informative.

I think for me, whenever I see any argument, I’m always like “well you’re not wrong for pointing something problematic and trying to defend a certain group of oppressed people, but you’re not right either when you become an oppressor yourself and become the evil you wanted to fight against.”

Formal writing certainly has a different effect than how tumblr presents itself. But after thinking about it, it’s only because formal writing stresses the writer to keep it objective and keep your emotions in check while tumblr posts can be very personal and emotional. However, if done right, tumblr is more effective than academic writing (even if it was “passionately” written). Yes, their judgement may be slightly clouded by their strong emotions, but they’ve always made good points and they know what they are talking about (and I’ve actually used some of the information/facts from tumblr in some of my presentations and essays after going to the direct source because tumblr does link back to the original sources). My teachers have commented that my sources were very interesting.

PART TWO: FEMALE OTAKU

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Froggy: Have you experienced any sexism/stereotyping as a girl who likes anime?

Aqua: I personally haven’t experienced sexism towards me because tumblr users are, usually by default, assumed to be female and most of my anime buddies are female. It quite possibly has to do with male and female otaku not engaging in their interests with each other because of negative stereotypes/assumptions about each other.

Froggy: Do you personally know any female fans who like ecchi/moe/harem/yuri and all the other styles or genres typically associated with the tastes of male anime fans? How do you personally engage with these genres? Are you turned off by sexual fanservice?

Aqua: I don’t personally know any female anime fans who are into ecchi/moe/harem/yuri. I think it mainly has to do with how men and women deal with with these animes differently. At lot of them have seen those types of shows, and there’s a tumblr community of female fans trying to push for more yuri because fujoshi culture can be very sexist towards female characters. It teaches us that BL (Boys Love) is better than GL (Girls Love) because only straight boys want yuri and in yaoi, all women are perceived as threats needing to be removed to make way for their true OTP (One True Pairing). You can’t even make a solid platonic relationship between the girl x boy. She needs to be killed, moved away, or somehow a selfish bitch, undeserving of the male’s affection. And while fujoshi can easily ship two male characters who have a good, solid friendship going on as an automatic gay couple, they will defend two female characters who have a good, solid friendship going on as strictly friends and not yuri or just not care all together.

As for me, I typically don’t like those genres. I think fanservice aimed at males is more toxic than fanservice aimed at females.

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Froggy: Do you consider yourself a yaoi fan?

Aqua: I am not a hardcore/casual fujoshi. I started off as a shojo fan because I liked romance and the protagonist was more often than not, female. Now I’m more of a person who doesn’t typically follow a certain type of genre. If I feel like it’s interesting, I’ll watch it.

But when I was in high school, there was this one small, cute asian girl who first talked to my friend because she was reading a manga but then my friend directed the girl to me because I knew about Hetalia. As I talked to this girl, it became quickly obvious that she was a yaoi fangirl because she started talking about which Hetalia characters she shipped hard. And I was internally struggling with myself because I didn’t want to lie, but I also didn’t want to crush her hopes and dreams. She seemed to be enjoying herself a lot so on that day, I was another yaoi shipper.

Froggy: Is there anything in particular that turns you off about yaoi?

Aqua:  I was reading the “official” or “professional” manga and I began to realize that yaoi has flaws/problems in its stories, especially in regards to how it pretty much follows heteronormative storytelling/relationships. One of the males is the “submissive girl”/uke in the relationship while the other is the “dominate boy”/seme. I was also reading yaoi fanfiction. Since I wasn’t reading the actual good stuff (meaning the ones that actually follow the characters’ canon personalities and good plot) and going through a lot of the bad ones, my impression of yaoi wasn’t very good for the longest time.

So I stopped reading it and then delved into shounen. Turns out I really love sports anime and so did fujoshi (because, you know, they are just like any other anime fan). I had wrote a story a long time ago with female OCs that I paired with the male cast (There was a lack of girl characters so I filled it myself!). My first anonymous hate reviews from a yaoi fangirl came from that fanfic. They had said something along the lines of, “This story sucks. How dare you make female OC characters get in the way of *insert yaoi ship*! They belong with each other!” At this point, I was still a young, narrow-minded teenager so I had assumed that all yaoi fangirls had this attitude so I grew to hate fujoshi and anything associated with them.

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Froggy: Do you believe all yaoi fangirls are this way?

Aqua: No! We were all immature at some point in our lives, but to assume a specific group of people are all like that is immature thinking. We all grow up and become mature over time. As time passed, I find that fujoshi aren’t the terrible people I once thought they were. In fact, they’re all just regular otaku who simply have a gender-specific criteria for ships. Some yaoi fangirls will be the very definition of the negative stereotype, but most of them have good taste in anime and come up with some pretty good headcanons/fanfictions for their ships.

Froggy: You mentioned that female anime fans have a hatred of female characters. Why do you think that is?

Aqua: We can actually go back in history to one of the most well respected fujoshi of all time. The Greek philosopher Plato.

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Maybe that’s a little bit of a stretch, BUT it is true that Plato endorsed homosexual love as the highest form of love as well as the ideal. This isn’t bullshit:

“Indeed, Plato considers love between people solely as a homosexual phenomenon, whereas his discussion of sex includes both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. The sociological setting of Platonism explains it: in 5th century Athens, apart from some outstanding exceptions, like Pericles’ legendary love for Aspasia, men were married for reproductive ends, yet reserved the term ‘love’ and the passionate activity of sexual love for homosexual relationships.” (source)

He even thought of the Seme/Uke relationship before anyone else:

“Like many Greeks of his era and social position, Plato is most interested in the same-sex desire that can exist between an older and a younger man” (source)

However, even though I agree that love can be found between two people of any gender and sexuality, both fujoshi and greek philosophers had the same problematic thinking and it’s that neither believe women are equal to men and thus undeserving of even obtaining “true love”.

Froggy: So female fans themselves are guilty of discrimination against other women?

Aqua: I’d like to point out that girl hate happens long before any girl became a fujoshi or showed interest in anime. (I do agree that anime itself constantly reminds females of what sort of actions they should take as well as encourage critical behaviors against girls).

In anime, how often do you see two female characters, both alike in attractiveness and shallow-mindedness, fighting over male affection? Pretty much, two female characters are most of the time “rivals in love” rather than rivals in sports, academics, competitions, etc. They don’t even hate each other because they have different beliefs/philosophies. They just hate each other for liking the same guy and are jealous of each other for superficial reasons.

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Even when they have a sad excuse of a relationship that’s loosely labeled as “friendship”, they show big competitive spirit…when it comes to getting their mutual male crush to notice them over the other. All female otaku are tired of it, but fujoshi eliminated the problem all together by getting rid of the female characters.

I was surprised that girls decided to write slash fanfics instead of creating their own female OCs and maybe give a hint to the anime industry that they should, you know, put more complex and relatable female characters in their cast.

Of course, at the end of the day, we’re all just otaku having pointless arguments about fictional characters whose sexualities are left to interpretation and your shipping choices are only hypothetical possibilities regardless of how canon they actually are.

Froggy: Any final words?

Aqua: All of us are real people having fun and we shouldn’t be attacking people based on their ships. After all, you might be missing out on an awesome friendship with someone who has the same taste in anime as you.

(To readers: AquaJet will be reading the comments on this post, so if you have any questions for her, please feel free to ask in the comments.)


A few words from me (Froggy) to finish off.

Fujoshi is a terrible word with terrible connotations. It literally means “rotten girl”, and it is used to imply that female anime fans who like yaoi are incapable of thinking straight. That, if nothing else, is a sign of how far the anime fandom has to go when it comes to respecting women.

Sexism is an extremely thorny issue, and it’s easy to use the word “sexist” to dismiss a person’s entire worldview. Men and women are not going to reach any understanding by arguing about privileges. What we need is sincere, open dialogue about how gender expectations have shaped who we are, because it is only by acknowledging the disparities that we can move past them. We need to listen – actually listen – to the experiences of female anime fans, because their voices still don’t have much reach beyond their own communities.

I also want to take this moment to thank everyone who commented on my last post. I was really nervous about being attacked for my opinions. I’m grateful that I can use the “f-word” on my blog and not be accused of being a misandrist or someone who hates fun. The kind words I received through that post have given me strength. Confronting my own struggles with sexism head on has been a very cathartic experience. I’ll continue to keep these lessons in mind as I write about the anime I love.

Back to the currently airing anime for the next post!

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Posted on July 26, 2014, in Editorials and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. You write about the most interesting things. I really enjoyed this article, thanks for writing it.

    I can completely understand AquaJet’s dilemma regarding the yaoi fangirl she met, I’ve been in the same position where I’ve met a fangirl obsessed with Kingdom Hearts, and when I mentioned I enjoyed the games, she started telling me all about her OTPs and roleplays, I nodded along and pretended because I didn’t want to disappoint her, she was really excited to find another fan.

    I never really understood a lot of the talk of sexism, I stayed away from it for so long because I didn’t want to acknowledge it existed, I was scared to learn and voice my opinion for fear of being shot down and hated. Now that the ball has been rolling and this discussion has been started not only in the anime fandom, but in many other places, I’m not afraid to learn anymore and try to discuss these things with others.

    A lot of people who reject the idea that anime is sexist always bring up the argument that there are objectified guys as well in fujoshi works, yet the objectification not comparable in degree or frequency to that of women. And even then, female otaku are looked down upon by other fans for liking what they do. A lot of KyoAni fanboys were extremely upset at the studio for airing Free, something that doesn’t pander to their demographic.

    I didn’t even think about the internal gender issues within the yaoi fanbase. It’s a very complex subject..

    A part 1 implies there will be a part 2, I’ll be looking forward to it.

    • I know what you mean! I never like to disappoint fans especially when they’re female (because real life people are often nicer than the extremists/trolls on the internet) However, I have had fun talking about Yaoi to some fangirls, but it’s usually whenever that yaoi is canon (for example, I like talking about DMMD with another friend of mine, but I don’t generally ship two male characters together. I prefer bromances to be kept bromances, but I won’t tear down anyone’s ship over it)

      And it’s good that you bring up fanservice, I talked about it in length on one of my blog posts. (just scroll up and click on the link where my line is “I think fanservice aimed at males is more toxic than fanservice aimed at females.”) I talk a lot about free!’s fanservice as well as mention some of the problematic aspects of general male fanservice.

  2. I was called a lolicon just because I happen to like Non Non Biyori (which has young girls as characters) by my elder sister, which to me is very sexist because it assumes that any men who like works which contain underaged girls as main characters are sexually interested with them. This is despite I like if for the idyllic atmosphere and the good usage of its OST, not the characters (which I considered the weaker aspect of it).

    At least female fans of works which contains little boys won’t be called as shotacons. Then again, I dislike the very existence of fujoshi as a term since that it assumes a stereotype that female fans of BL are into actual gay sex. Let’s just say that this is certainly not a case.

    Anyway, this post certainly brought some insights on how the deeper circles of the anime fandom work.

    • “At least female fans of works which contains little boys won’t be called as shotacons.”

      No, that does happen. I personally haven’t seen it happen outside of Tumblr, but some female fans do get called that. I’ve mostly seen it directed towards Black Butler fans, and more recently against people who ship Levi and Eren from Attack on Titan. There was also a big ship war regarding the latter a while back where those fans were also accused of being pedophiles and rape apologists solely based on the percieved age gap between the characters.

      I guess my point is that all sections of fandom have people who accuse other people of being horrible things while simultaneously forgetting that what people enjoy in fiction does not necessarily match up to how they are in real life.

    • I think this really has to do with ideals of what is and isn’t masculine. Back when Non Non Biyori was airing, I was watching an episode of it with my elder sister when my mom walked in the room. My mom’s reaction was “I can’t believe Faulty is watching this”. She wasn’t surprised that my sister was right there with me (and my sister was the one who basically got me into the series – she’s quite the moe fan), but she was surprised that I was.

      Now, I don’t think my mother thinks that I’m a lolicon. Rather, I think she briefly saw a bit of the show and assumed “hey, its cute girls drawing pictures, this is obviously meant for kids.” She wasn’t surprised that my sister was enjoying it because it is commonly assumed that girls, even as they grow older, still enjoy cutesy things. Of course, the reality is that Non Non Biyori is actually made more for people like me than for my sister. The manga’s seinen, after all.

      For people who aren’t really used to that, though, that’s weird. How can a show with a bunch of cute girls be seinen? Surely guys don’t just like watching cute things for the sake of enjoying the innocent, nostalgic atmosphere. Surely it isn’t for the healing factor or whatever. No, it is often assumed that the only reason why guys watch Non Non Biyori or K-On or Hidamari Sketch or whatever is because they are lolicons.

      Of course, it doesn’t help that there are actual lolicons out there. That’s definitely a thing in the anime community, as countless K-On dakimakuras can attest to. And it certainly doesn’t help that there are some anime that clearly sexualize young girls. I’m looking at you, Nisemonogatari. But lots of these moe SoL shows have far less fanservice than the average anime, and just because some fans enjoy might those shows for fetishistic reasons doesn’t mean that all or even most fans do, and it can be a bit hurtful when people assume that I, as a guy, am somehow only capable of enjoying moe shows from a purely groinal perspective, whilst my sister, a girl, can enjoy it for purely innocent reasons.

      In general, though, this annoyance definitely does pale in comparison to what a lot of female anime fans have to put up with – that is to say, rampant sexism in most major online anime discussion forums and whatnot.

  3. nosohryuforyou

    > “All female otaku are tired of it, but fujoshi eliminated the problem all together by getting rid of the female characters.

    I was surprised that girls decided to write slash fanfics instead of creating their own female OCs and maybe give a hint to the anime industry that they should, you know, put more complex and relatable female characters in their cast.”

    I think this is probably a big part of the problem.

    If the anime industry presents female characters in an unsatisfactory way, and the female audience’s response through fanfiction is to create the kinds of female characters they want to see, then the message being sent to the industry is “Female audiences think our female characters are weak, flawed, and stereotyped, and they have strong opinions on what they’d like to see instead. We’re not doing enough to cater to this demographic.”

    If the anime industry presents female characters in an unsatisfactory way, and the female audience’s response through fanfiction is to ignore them and focus on the male characters, the message being sent to the industry is “Female audiences aren’t interested in our weak, flawed, stereotyped female characters, plus they have distorted views of our male characters. They’re a freaky fringe demographic that we can safely continue ignoring.”

    Of course you can’t necessarily control another person’s – much less an industry’s – reaction to or interpretation of your actions, but you can still try to avoid sending the wrong message, or one that could easily be misinterpreted.

    I’m not familiar with the fanfiction-writing community at all. Would you say “slash” fics are more common than fics/rewrites featuring original or existing female MCs? If so, do you think it’s because the authors are simply “making do”, finding it easier to build upon male characters and relationships that were probably better-developed to begin with? Or are they writing the kinds of stories they genuinely want to read? Is the message being sent consistent with the fans’ desires?

    • Arbitrary_greay

      Here’s years’ worth of insight, although it’s mostly from the perspective of western media fandoms.

      One of the interesting things I find is that in the short decade since those articles, places like tumblr have moved away from that attitude of writing slash because the female characters suck, and towards celebrating most, if not all, female characters, further developing them into good characters if they weren’t in the source material, and pushing for femmeslash (which I differentiate from yuri due to audience intent) as another form of celebrating female characters. I was struck by one particular tumblr (girlsbydaylight) which is incredibly popular, and how in their older fanfiction-recommendation site, they had focussed on heterosexual ships, but has since become a lot more happy about pushing female-female friendships and pairings, even while they still also happily support their old f/m and m/m ships.

      I can’t say that there are less or more slash fics, since I don’t read them, and usually filter them out, (my instinct is no, because of recent western blockbuster fandoms) but I can definitely say more writers are getting into femmeslash. AO3 definitely has a higher ratio of femmeslash fic than fanfiction.net, or the forums I’m aware of, like SpaceBattles.

      Just consider the Negima fandom. Look at the RandomC comments for the post about the manga ending it’s aaaaalllllll about who’s getting with Negi, harem discussion, and maybe a little KonoSetsu, but the latter was very minor.
      Looking at who’s posting about Negima now? Screw Negi, let’s ship the ladies of 3A with each other!

    • “Would you say “slash” fics are more common than fics/rewrites featuring original or existing female MCs?”

      I haven’t been in the fanfiction community in a couple of years but every time I go to check if there are any of my favorite male characters paired up with female OCs or canon female characters, I mostly find slash fics before I find what I’m looking for (and most of the time, it doesn’t exist…yet at least)
      However, I think it’s because some of my favorite male characters aren’t as popular as others. Let’s take Diamond no Ace for example. I absolutely love the character Isashiki Jun and I think he gets overshadowed by Miyuki in terms of popularity by themselves (not in any pairings cause some character’s popularity goes up when they are paired with the other male character who is popular on his own). I type in a general filter (just that the character I want is Isashiki) and I get 5 results. two are slash fics, two are friendship fics and only 1 has Isashiki + OC and that OC is male. it seems that I have to write what I want to see.

      “do you think it’s because the authors are simply “making do”, finding it easier to build upon male characters and relationships that were probably better-developed to begin with?”

      And I think it’s generally easier to write about characters who are already developed rather than creating your own (since you have a lot of build up, characterization, and explaining to do) Then you also have to consider that existing female characters don’t usually have as strong of a friendship (or any sort of relationship) with the other male characters. Their roles are often passive and submissive (and even if they weren’t there, it’s not like it would effect the plot that much either)

      “are they writing the kinds of stories they genuinely want to read? Is the message being sent consistent with the fans’ desires?”

      And I think you have to remember that the writers of fanfiction are all individuals with their own preferences and tastes. They do write the stories they want to read and if there are other fans who agree and support that writing, it can inspire them to write more and other fans to do the same.

      Also, big thank you to Arbitrary_greay for contributing! I would like to backup what you’re saying about femslash. It’s true that specifically in tumblr, I’ve seen more people start to push for more love to female characters and not in a yuri sort of way because that audience consists of straight males. the femslash I’m seeing is from lesbians/bi/pan/possibly straight FEMALES for other females. I get the feeling that they’re saying “if you aren’t treating these female characters right then we’ll treat them even better!”

  4. As another female anime fan who spends too much time on Tumblr, I agree with a lot of what Aqua said. I had a lot of negative feelings about the yaoi side of the fandom for a long time for similar reasons (apparently liking straight ships makes you homophobic? wtf). Now I have a lot more yaoi ships from sports anime and other series, but I hesitate to call myself a “yaoi fangirl” because of the toxic connotations that carries throughout the wider fanbase and because outside of shipping, I’m not very interested in yaoi as a genre. Aside from still adhering to the gender stereotype roles, I also have a big problem with the frequent sexual assault that occurs in yaoi works. It’s become a problematic trope, and is largely unnecessary. I recently dropped Love Stage for that exact reason, despite the fact that I found the first two episodes really enjoyable. And then Twitter informed me that it got worse from there…

    Anyway, I do have to say that fans in their older teens and twenties definitely behave better and don’t try to force their preferences on people. However, as this side of the fanbase is coming more into the light with more adaptations and merch being made specifically for female fans, I think that we need to start being more discerning as well instead of blindly accepting whatever’s thrown at us.

    • Wow, we’ve had similar experiences! I didn’t really like how some of the yaoi fangirls acted as if their ship was superior to mine just because they both happen to be males (and even go so far as to call us homophobic… I know some fangirls have commented that their ships were “sinful” and all but my problem wasn’t that they were gay. My problem was that it was terribly written or didn’t make sense). Of course, now I have a few yaoi ships but I wouldn’t call myself a yaoi fangirl either because I feel like I would need to have more homo ships than hetero ones to be able to identify as one.

      And I get what you mean about sexual assaults in yaoi works. I think one of the reasons I wasn’t a yaoi fangirl was because of that reason as well. I didn’t like stories where female characters go through sexual harassment/assault/rape and changing it into a “weaker” man doesn’t make it better. (the worst part is that it’s romanticized. Male otaku get a lot of crap for getting off to rape doujinshi with female characters, but if you’ve read the works, you can tell that the guy is a scumbag and genuinely feel bad for the girl. It’s not the same in yaoi where the pain and discomfort they feel is “natural” but it’s for the one they love so it’s okay.)

      • Trust me, I’ve had the misfortune of reading too many straight doujinshi that involve rape wherein the guy isn’t a scumbag. A common set-up, for example, is a guy who has had feelings for his slightly older neighbor (your onee-san type character) that he has repressed until he reaches the point where he basically forces himself on the girl (because hey, that’s normal, right?) and the doujinshi ends with the girl being fine about that and sympathizing with the guy. These stories are quite disgusting. I also have the misfortune of being into femdom – and I say misfortune, because shit tons of straight femdom doujinshi are basically the same rape situation I described but reversed.

        However, I do agree with the idea that rape in yaoi doujinshi seems to be much more romanticized than rape in straight doujinshi. Most straight doujinshi that I’ve encountered that involve rape are basically just straight-up hentai. They’re porn, and that’s about it. They generally don’t pretend to be anything else. A lot of yaoi doujinshi – and not just doujinshi, actual manga series as well, involve rape that is romanticized in a way that makes it seem like more than just porn.

        Even mainstream BL works pull this sort of stuff. Take Love Stage, for example, a rather popular manga and a currently airing anime. In episode 3 of Love Stage, the guy who the protagonist is quite clearly going to end up with (based on the OP and all the promotional materials) sexually assaults the protagonist. The only thing that stops it from being rape is that the protagonist’s brother interferes in time. I really wanted to enjoy Love Stage – I like the protagonist, the show is well directed, and I think that it is quite funny. But that scene will forever taint the show for me. I’m having trouble thinking of a mainstream hetero romcom that has a guy almost rape the girl that the series is obviously going to pair him with. Hentai, yes. Weird ecchi OVAs from the 90s, yes. But an actual mainstream anime that aired recently? I can’t think of any.

  5. ERWIN, HOW DARE YOU GET IN THE ETERNAL LOVE THAT IS ERERI?!

    On a more serious note, thanks for this post. It’s much needed discussion in the aniblogosphere. Though I’m not a Tumblr user, many of Aquajet’s comments were very relevant and applicable to fanfiction.

    I can’t decide whether shipping is the best thing or the best thing that’s come to fandom. It certainly makes for passionate fans. As a fanfiction writer, I’ve had to grapple with the issue of dealing with readers who want to me to ship a certain pairing. And they can be QUITE demanding. Which can get pretty annoying because while I definitely welcome reader feedback, I also draw a line between constructive feedback and “You must ship ThisGuy x ThatGuy for this to be any good.”

    A question for Aquajet- you brought up the issue that fujoshi often habitually tend to hate on pairings of OFC (original female characters) that interfere w/ their own OTPs. While I agree with this, from a heavy fanfiction reader’s standpoint, do you think this resistance might also be augmented by the fact that most OFC’s created are shallow, Mary Sue self-inserts that are just too OP? Perhaps more realistically portrayed and nuanced female characters might might reverse this trend.

    As I mentioned to frog-kun a while ago via Twitter, what’s troubling is that while Mary Sues are typically hated (ideal female self-inserts), Gary Stus (ideal male self-inserts) seem to be received much more favorably, despite their shallowness. Thoughts of this?

    • Thank you for the interesting question! You’ve brought up a good point. I do agree that most OFC aren’t exactly well written (and hate for interfering with other ships is not necessarily always yaoi ship against Canon/OC. Sometimes it’s a fight between other yaoi ships, like the famous Eren x Levi or Erwin x Levi battle that has gone on for CENTURIES). I think that even though we praise fanfiction for having such great writers, we often forget that these are individuals with their own personal tastes and often times, not every amateur writer starts off in fanfiction as a “good” writer.

      You also have to consider the fact that it’s really difficult to write an OC in the first place. You have to think about the OC’s relationships with the other characters and flesh out their personality/backstory (not to mention, if you make them a transfer student or something like that, you have to build up a relationship from scratch–something that’s already difficult to write well enough). Slash fics have it a bit easier because the characters they write about are already defined for them. (of course, I also self-inserted myself and my friends into my OFCs because I don’t think its a bad thing to draw inspiration for female characters from actual, real life women, but then again, the troublesome part is the Mary-Sue aspect of it. No one wants to write about a character, who is supposed to be them, suffer anything. Fanfiction can be self-indulgent to a certain extent but people are more quick to call it out for OCs rather than Canon characters.

      But putting off OFC for a moment, what about canon females? Would it be out of character for us to write them as better and more awesome characters? At first glance, you might say no but then you run into a difficult writing problem. How do you change an originally shallow, one-dimensional character into a realistic, well defined character without people saying that they’re ironically “out of character”. You run into the same problem with OFC in the sense that you must define and build-up to that character change (which isn’t something that decent writers can pull off well.)

      But ultimately, I think you’re right, the trend might change if both fanfiction writers and anime industry decides to change the way they portray female characters :3

      • Unfortunately it will be hard to change society’s views on women, after a couple hundred years, and a solution for this problem will not be easy. Personally I don’t think leaving the situation as is would work, nor those hardcore feminists that want men off this planet. Society is already working on this, I’ve even seen men support it. At the rate it is going, i know change will happen. Sadly, I’m not sure if it will happen in my lifetime, or anyone alive today’s for that matter.

  6. It’s funny… most people would consider Tumblr animefandom and the /a/-type male dominated otaku growd to be polar opposites. But I think they are fundamentally very similar.

    Most importantly, both suffer from the “geek victim complex”. In 4chan and reddit the otaku guys blame women and the wider society for not appreciating them (for their niceness , intelligence etc) and thus forcing them to become outcasts. In Tumblr otaku girls blame men and the wider society for oppressing them and thus forcing them to become outcasts.

    To some degree they are right. Both groups are indeed treated badly by the society for not fitting in. Many otaku (and any type of geek, really – everything I’m saying applies to all of the geek culture) guys seem to struggle with not fitting the masculine alpha male image. And many otaku/geek girls don’t fit the traditional feminine box.

    Anime fandom seems to offer acceptance. But I think it’s a twisted type of acceptance based on shared self hatred and victimhood. Saying things like “oh yeah, I’m such an otaku, I’ll probably die virgin!” and turning it into a joke, sort of looking at yourself with cold, ironic detachment, this seems to be the typical way otaku view themselves. Yet it’s also obvious by looking at these communities that there is a lot of genuine pain there. But no attempt to get better, instead it seems to be almost the opposite. Being a loser and being messed up becomes something to be proud of. And it’s all ok, because it’s not your fault, it’s the world around you, you are just a helpless victim.

    Tumblr does the exact same thing. It draws in people with issues and then offers acceptance, but again, there is no real attempt to make things better. It’s just slacktivism, at best they’ll sign some petition online. The more oppressed you are, the better, which is why people will come up with new labels like demisexual just to be able to say they are oppressed. The worse your life is the better, the more sympathy you get and the more seriously you are taken. Just like in /a/ by telling that you don’t have any friends, just anime, gets you points.

    Geek media encourages these attitudes. Think about all those movies about some nice smart geek boy getting bullied by evil dumb jocks. And in the end he gets the hot girl without having to change himself – because he was already perfect and the rest of the world was the one with a problem for not seeing it, the girl just needed to stop being a shallow slut and realize it too. These stories make geek guys think they really can have the hot popular girl just by being “a nice guy”.

    Anime is probably even worse. It’s filled with self-insert male MCs that are openly losers, perverts, have no personality, no skills, basically nothing positive, yet are complete chick magnets. So many shows display being otaku as positive thing, completely ignoring the darker aspects of the culture. Even things like being a hikikomori are viewed as cool, even though in reality most of them have serious mental illnesses.
    I think BL often has similar appeal for female otaku because it allows you not to think about the icky issues with gender roles and consent in sex etc but doesn’t actually remove those things. It’s just easy to ignore it because they are both guys.

    Personally, although I’m a woman, the /a/-culture is much more familiar to me and I think I have more in common with them than the Tumblr crowd. I’ve exaggerated how NEET and hikikomori and pathetic I am and acted like it’s somehow cool. I understand why people do it and I think it’s ok to do it sometimes. But when it becomes a regular thing, when it completely shapes the anime fandom and when it becomes how real people view themselves, I just can’t see it as positive.

    Sorry for rambling. I’ve enjoyed reading the discussion on this blog. Keep it up!

    • arbitrary_greay

      So, basically, it’s Watamote where they celebrate Tomoko’s ideals instead of mocking them. (Someone once noted that Mahouka sounds a lot like if Tomoko was writing an anime)

      I think it would be interesting to hear the various ways people grew out of toxic attitudes, as it might show what sort of things aren’t happening for the ones still supportive of them.
      Even without fandom I was a pretty complete shit in my youth. I was somewhat aware of how much of a shit I had been in elementary school, (to bullying extents) but I hadn’t really changed my behavior, besides being a little less forward. Still, I wonder nowadays exactly how badly I unknowingly treated my friends back then.
      For me, the game changer was getting into idol fandom. First, I stopped being judgmental of other people being fans of things, such as Ke$ha, Bieber, Miley, or One Direction, because how were they any different from me? Second, I stopped being judgmental of the artists themselves, because how were they any different from the idols I loved, and what parts of their history and motivations did I not know about? Thirdly, I got a real close look again and again at how toxic fandom attitudes can hurt real people through zealous fans attacking other fans and the idols. And fourth, the friends I made through idol fandom introduced me to websites looking at general media through a queer sexuality and/or feminist lens.

      (For most, the key seems to be getting to know and like real people who fall under the categories of their previous disdain. In the very first episode of Oregairu, Hachiman’s hatred of the “haves” gains cracks through his conversation with Yukino.)

  7. I have to say that I feel kinda bad for the female portion of the anime fandom. They’re a marginalized demographic that is itself part of ostracized group; otakus. Due to this, they are subject a huge amount of animosity, often in the form of crude stereotyping. When I look at the way female fans are viewed, I just wonder where along the line the anime fandom went wrong.

    As a male, my experience in the anime fandom has been fairly positive. But the condescending attitudes of other males fans towards the female fandom was something I always found somewhat aggravating. I have always been an advocate for gender equality. Many female friends therefore consider me to be a feminist, whilst my male companions endowed me with the slightly less endearing name of “faggot” (I’m straight, by the way). I was never much of a fan of shounen series, and found shoujo ones to be more sincere and engaging. This elevated my status among fellow male anime fans as a fag to an even greater degree. It never really bothered me, but I couldn’t help but think that female fans have to contend with this all the time, simply for liking a certain genre, shipping some characters, or even for the simple fact that they are females in the first place. Becuase of this, I share froggykun’s sentiment regarding this subject. Whilst I don’t particularly like the caricature of a fujoshi, it’s certainly nicer than the male counterpart.

    I enjoyed most of the shoujo shows I watched, but after a while, something started to grate on me. I had abandoned shounen because of the shallow characterisation of its characters and the myopic direction of their narrative. But shoujo series had glaring flaws too. The main one being that female characters are so poorly written in comparison to their male companions. I have gotten over this blatant sexism now, but the disparity still bugs me. The plots of Yaoi series tend to be of much higher quality than their yuri counterparts. Why are girls in anime so one-dimensional? It isn’t just male oriented anime that is to blame, because anime aimed at females is also complicit in the crime of making female characters so darn terrible. I gleam when an anime is released with a decent female character at the center, but that is incredibly rare. Great male characters, on the the other hand, are relatively common. I was recently reading about a poll listing the most intelligent anime characters as voted by anime fans (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2014-06-29/men-and-women-vote-on-the-brainiest-anime-characters/.76003) I was glad to see at least a few female characters on the list, but they were never the main protagonist and occasionally their most memorable moments in their series were the gratuitous fanservice that they were featured for (notably Tsubasa Hanekawa from the Monogatari series). What was even more disconcerting was that when the list was filtered to only display female votes, it was devoid of females! I still wait for those rare gems where some writer creates an intelligent, independent female character who isn’t chasing some dude and places them in the spotlight that they deserve. Anime needs some great girls, and until the media balances out a bit, I can’t feel proud to call myself an otaku.

  8. Well, first of all… Levi is the only one for Erwin-sama, mmk? Kidding. I’m not fond of shipping wars and their flames. (Although I do ship Eruri <3 Of the few times my fujoshi heart almost got an attack).

    *cough cough* So, I want for starters to make 3 general comments:
    1. The fact that tumblr is a female-dominated space is like what happens in law universities. Where women start occupying space, men retreat, because their masculinity gets vulnerable. I remember reading it in a newspaper some years ago in Greek, thus I can't provide you with a link. It's a shame some spaces end up highly gendered reinforcing "men from Mars, women from Venus", but it's not like there are rules about it. It's also the hobbies -which are influenced from sexist child rearing.
    2. Social media are tools. As such it's what people make them be. There are also many options of limiting certain unpleasant content reaching you.
    3. Fujoshi as a term might appear to be worse than the term otaku, but I wonder if that's us talking outside of the society which created and uses these words. We, Westerners, might have reclaimed them, but for someone Japanese probably are equally bad, considering the fact that (male) otaku are equated to NEETS and hikikomori and to a work-obsessed society such traits are seen like an illness. Of course, sexism is there in much the same way there is in the word 'whore'. Then again, I've encountered the word fudanshi, but I'm not that knowledgeable about Japanese language, so take my words with a grain of salt.

    Now, onto miscellaneous specific comments on Aquajet's text:
    "[…] it’s enough to lead me into becoming very unstable with my emotions/thoughts
    /behaviors. After a day of feeling very unimportant and actually feeling sick to my stomach (even though there may not be anything physically wrong with me)"
    -I totally feel you. That's called psychosomatic symptoms. I have them, too. They are a pain in the ass when you're forced to live with people who don't understand you and they spit hatred all day long *hugs*

    "Now the “honeymoon” phase is over. I’ve been on the site for over 2 years (soon to be 3, actually. holy shit!) and sometimes, you’re just tired of the hyper-criticism and over-sensitivity tumblr comes up with but looking over at it now, I’ve come to an understanding that we’re all just different people with messed up backgrounds."
    – Oh, yes, the honeymoon is over for me as well and I've come to the same conclusion as you, but I also got kinda distanced from it as a result. I just go on tumblr for fanarts and make specific searches. I got so contaminated by certain social justicing that when I saw long posts on my dashboard I started scrolling past them. Because at the end of the day I was equally sick in my stomach as with my parents. I can't say that I won't get involved at all nowadays, but I certainly try avoiding causing myself to plunge deeper in depression and my low self-esteem.

    "Yes, their judgement may be slightly clouded by their strong emotions, but they’ve always made good points and they know what they are talking about"
    – I have to admit that before tumblr I wasn't that informed about social issues and I guess I have to thank it for raising my awareness. I'd question the "slightly" and "always" part of the sentence, though.

    "I don’t personally know any female anime fans who are into ecchi/moe/harem/yuri."
    -Here I am! A yuri lover here! I can say I actually read more yuri the last 1-2 years than yaoi. I don't dislike moe per se, either. As long as it is restricted to the character design, I like it. What I don't like is when it expands on behaviors like clutsiness.

    "Maybe that’s a little bit of a stretch, BUT it is true that Plato endorsed homosexual love as the highest form of love as well as the ideal.[…] it’s that neither believe women are equal to men and thus undeserving of even obtaining “true love”"
    – I'm Greek and a queer person, therefore I feel the need to talk a bit about this. I'll begin from the last part: although the comparison isn't false, it's unfair in that there were different social contextes then and now. And it wasn't Plato specifically that endorsed love between men, it was ancient Greeks at certain periods in different places across Greek-speaking regions. It's important to acknowledge two things: a. that labels like 'homosexual' are identities invented after 19th century, thus we talk anachronistically when we use these terms for the past and for societies we weren't part of, and b. such activities between people of the same sex have been witnessed throughout history in a variety of cultures (see http://eshto.deviantart.com/gallery/24266478/Feature and http://eshto.deviantart.com/art/CALENDAR-Fairy-Tales-146720837) and having such sexual acts and perhaps romances documented doesn't necessarily mean they were accepted the same way we talk about acceptance today. Plato offers us just the chance to see such a topic discussed in Symposium. He doesn't take part as himself in this work rather puts Socrates talk with other prominent figures of the era. In the creation myth mentioned in Symposium it's worth-mentioning that women attracted to women are part of the story as well, even if it's a small part (http://www.connellodonovan.com/hen.html). It's just duh, patriarchy, so paiderastia and lesbianism weren't equally highly regarded.

    • Thanks for the contribution!

      miscellaneous comment replies:
      1. I have seen that term floating around tumblr but I couldn’t remember it because I only saw it once or twice. I had read in an article that this is more common in women than in men (and it’s not just that slightly more woman have it. It’s actually more common in women and kind of rare in men). And thanks for being understanding and supportive *hugs*

      2. Even though my honeymoon phase is over, I still regularly go on tumblr and reblog things from my dash rather than just look through specific searches. I think it’s because the people I follow are generally similar to me in the way that they often reblog more positive than negative things. But social justice posts are another matter entirely since you have to look through all of the content and then determine if they’re also being hypocritical/unfair (and sometimes, they just have backwards thinking that’s as equally wrong as the side they’re going against). It’s a lot more work to go through than reblogging a cute picture of a cat.

      3. I guess my word choice is kind of off here. I sent emails to Froggy as a way to answer his questions, I wasn’t exactly sure if he was going to paraphrase me or pull direct quotes from them. But for this point I was mostly thinking about the moderate social justice bloggers rather than the extremists (because, just in general, hate from a small group of people distort the image of the group as a whole. Not to mention, just because something you don’t agree with is reblogged by other users, doesn’t mean that they particularly agree with what was posted. After all, they may have written some opposing comments in the tags rather than the post itself.)
      And I got to agree with you on being more informed. Sometimes it’s weird to me that I see so much WOC and Feminism being showed in such cool and positive ways and then hear my parents/friends/other people say something racist or sexist when I’m offline

      4. Well I did say I don’t personally know any but I do acknowledge that they’re definitely there (and thanks for being proof of that!) and I don’t particularly like moe either but I mostly like KyoAni’s take on it because I like the animes that the studio creates in general. I tried watching other moe-oriented shows but it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t meant to connect to a female audience (despite the fact that girls do like cute things/people).

      5. Thanks for bringing this point up. I wouldn’t want there to be misunderstandings based on misinformation. That being said, I didn’t include other cultures/timeframes and I didn’t want to get too into talking about the details of what was being discussed in Symposium because neither were the main point of what I was getting at.
      a) while it’s true that homosexuality as a label may not be something we should use to talk about the past (since we have certain connotations associated with it that may not reflect the same meaning as they did then) and we can’t really speak for societies we aren’t apart of very lightly, I still think it’s important to address them. For example, in the slavery era of America, we look back on it now as something inherently racist and yes, a person may argue that the term “racist” was invented later on to describe them even though at the time, it was considered perfectly normal to enslave another human being of a certain race. But it’s no excuse to say that “well at the time, it was considered a part of their society so you can’t say that they were racist”. The term was created to describe a concept and it doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t acknowledge that “that’s how it was in that time”
      b) all that being said, thanks for contributing and showing more examples of homosexuality in different times and cultures. (I knew about some accounts of homosexuality in Japan but I merely chose Plato because my Philosophy professor mentioned him during lecture about this very topic)
      But back to the point I was trying to make by mentioning Plato in the first place. The key point was that their society didn’t treat men and women as equals therefore, homosexuality (whether it be towards gay men or lesbians) made sense to them because women were equal to other women and men were equal to other men and this is why the “Ideal” love could foster between them. I’ll also note that I’ve read some articles about coworkers being in relationships with their boss and having a much harder time maintaining it in comparison to couples who were of equal status in the workplace. Again, the point isn’t so much about sexual identity, but more on power dynamics and equality in the relationship that determines the “love” fostered between them.

  9. Okay, flat out, I do have one big problem about Aqua’s post. Kyoani has written about interesting characters regardless of whom their audience is. Their moe-shows, coming from Maeda Jun, are also personality/background driven (as it’s the girls’ tragic circumstances that’s to jerk tears). Using Free! as the representative of comparison is too high for the “female-oriented” medium.
    (this reminds me why I dislike Tumblr as a medium of blogging: no open comments)

    Because honestly, after many years of loving shoujo as a genre, I’ve read a LOT of bad shoujo series. While it’s certainly true that in any female-targetted series, the heroine [admires] the males rather than [objectify], both sides shares the tendency to demote characters into raw, simple archetypes to attract a larger spread of the audience. That’s not a biproduct of gender-bias, it’s just lazy writing -_-”

    I once heard a male friend rant after watching part of [Kaichou wa Maid-sama] with us, complaining why all the female-oriented shows reinforce the superiority of hypermasculine jerks (who all doubtlessly have sad backstories that only the special snowflake heroine can fix — comparable to the useless harem lead) while belittling the average dude as “idiots” and the nice guys as “feminine” (and thus ripe for taking advantage of). Thinking back to the massive log of shoujo I’ve read, I actually couldn’t prove him wrong. Is this as harmful as sexualizing the other side? Certainly not the same way, but it can bother the other gender and shed their confidence just as much : the only way for women to succeed is to stay skinny, shed clothing, but be both pure yet vulnerable; and the only way for men to succeed is to pump muscles, gain inhuman perfection, and be a superior asshole (because that’s the alpha male way!)…

    (We won’t go into slashfics. Having been shown so many by my fanfiction reading friends, some of the contents involved are just… frightening. I highly doubt male-oriented fanfiction is much worse)

    So, while it’s true sexism can be pretty bad, especially in nerd culture where both sides fail to listen and communicate (based on stories I’ve heard, comicbook fans are ever worse than otaku), I very rarely see anyone post something that truly attempt to be non-biased. People only seem to bash on the other side while never examining the flaws of their own medium.

    This is not to say that eechi/harem anime or objectification of women are okay — because the overabundance of that is just as disturbing. I just needed to point out that hypocrisy is an easy bandwagon that leads to a very slippery slope…

    ,,,Btw, it’s not just Plato who is “fujoshi”. The Greeks had an issue with their homosexuality fetish. They actually, seriously believed that while a maturing boy might lust after girls, the true partner for any adult man in their prime (30/35esque) was a young boy ^^” (I wish I was kidding). There’s a reason the introduction of Christianity brought such a backlash towards male homosexuality (but didn’t say anything about female homosexuality, initially…)

    • arbitrary_greay

      Your commentary’s not wrong, but I’m not sure that it applies to Aquajet’s post. I think she was responding to the comparisons of physical fanservice, that is, fanservice that operates by sexually objectifying the subject’s body.

      Your examples of toxic shoujo tropes fall under emotional fanservice. Aquajet touches on how female-targetted things tend to appeal through emotional fanservice rather than physical fanservice, but the main argument of her post was to reject the claim that physical fanservice aimed at each gender is equivalent. (“Look males are sexually objectified too now let me have my panty shots!”)

      The reason this is so are the ideals you’ve pointed out: the only way for women to succeed is to stay skinny, shed clothing, but be both pure yet vulnerable; and the only way for men to succeed is to pump muscles, gain inhuman perfection, and be a superior asshole (because that’s the alpha male way!)…

      To force people into these ideals is bad, regardless of gender, but look at the power structures reinforced: the ideal male gains more power, and the ideal female sheds it. Again, it’s not right that males should have the burden of seeking power, but that’s a far less self-destructive ideal on a societal level. To seek to oppress others might suck, but it sure sucks less than to seek being oppressed. (Does this make sense? I’m not sure if I’m wording this right.)

    • I generally like KyoAni over other moe-oreiented shows and I do get what you mean about their higher quality storytelling of their character’s personalities/backgrounds. That being said, I chose Free! because it was specifically targeted for females to be a “fanservice” anime. I was about to include Kill la Kill in the discussion but it’s meant to be a sort of satire/parody of blatant fanservice found in male-oriented animes rather than actual fanservice meant to be indulged in by a specific gender. (I would also argue that Kill la Kill isn’t solely meant for females either. Sure the main/important protags and antags are female, but the show itself can be enjoyed by both genders especially if you already liked Gurren Langan)
      Of course, this boils down to the fact that there isn’t that much female fanservice shows in general. There are female-oriented shows (which are typically shojo and BL/Yaoi) but it’s not exactly the same thing.

      Also, you discussion just focused more on shojo rather than what I was originally focusing on about. Of course, I did acknowledge shojo had flaws, I just didn’t go into depth about it because it wasn’t the focus of this discussion or my fanservice post. (You do bring up some good points about the shojo manga genre’s flaws so I applaud you for that)

      and btw, Foxy Lady Ayame already pointed out that homosexuality isn’t just a “Greek-exclusive fetish”. Other cultures and timeframes praise love between males (but you are correct in saying that false Christianity teachings about homosexuality is one of the causes of such backlash against it)

      And big thank you to arbitrary_greay for clarifying my point in better words than how I would describe it. *hugs* (actually, I agree with everything you wrote especially in regards to enforcing ideals between genders. I mean both are bad, but one can have a more positive impact on their gender than the other which you put it so eloquently.)

  10. Froggy-kun sorry if you were nervous. Yes. Whenever this issue of sexism and fujoshi pops up people are quick to get bothered easily.

    “Of course, at the end of the day, we’re all just otaku having pointless arguments about fictional characters whose sexualities are left to interpretation and your shipping choices are only hypothetical possibilities regardless of how canon they actually are.”

    At this interval I seriously couldn’t contain my laughter. Fair enough.

  11. Interesting post! :)

    I would say that this kind of discussions don’t really lead to anywhere, sometimes even leading to nasty arguments, but I still feel like adding something. I don’t mean to offend anyone, and I think that everyone is entitled to have their own interests.

    I agree that fujoshi love to kick female characters away, etc etc (insert all the negative connotations associated with fujoshi), but honestly, sometimes I find it really hard to be a fujoshi in the anime fandom, because people have really bad impressions of them. Like how fanfiction authors get flamed for adding female OCs, those who include male x male relationships also receive negative comments often, and the only reason was because there were yaoi pairings. Thus, we can conclude that there are flames everywhere, and what I just said wasn’t really the point.

    I have seen people insulting fujoshis, saying that they ruin the anime and manga fandom because the companies want to cater to them and provide fanservice. Like wow, okay, I’m not sure how to reply to that. Well, I agree that’s true, because fanservice is appearing everywhere nowadays, but that’s an extreme way of putting it. Wait, just search ‘hate fujoshi’ on Google and all the nasty comments will come out. So it’s not easy to be one. Then again, type in ‘hate female OCs’ and horrible things will come out too. Once again, I don’t know what I’m saying anymore.

    I think this part: “All of us are real people having fun and we shouldn’t be attacking people based on their ships. After all, you might be missing out on an awesome friendship with someone who has the same taste in anime as you.” is extremely true, and probably one of the main points I’m trying to highlight. Some of my friends in real life judge me for liking male x male relationships, but they’re still my friends now, so I guess they’re pretty understanding (haha). The most important thing should be how people should respect other people, whether online or in reality, but I guess that’s pretty much an impossible thing to hope for?

    Personally, I like watching males, I read fanfictions with yaoi relationships, and I enjoy them very much. I never understood why though. It’s a very curious thing, how I was able to enjoy heterosexual plots in the past, but I am unable to do that now. It’s pretty bad. I don’t like romance, I’m more a friendship kind of person, and I find friendships between males/bromance soooo much better than other kinds. They are so intense, and males are generally more tsundere, show less emotions, so when they show affection it’s really touching and awesome. Sometimes, more often than not, they are categorized as romance already, because they are just so intense that the relationship doesn’t feel like pure friendship anymore.

    For example, Makoto and Haru from Free!. My gay glasses are probably on, but doesn’t it feel like Makato view Haru as someone really really important, perhaps more important than his life. It’s been a while since I last watched it, so the details are a bit fuzzy. However, the feeling the 2nd season gave me was, Makoto loves Haru way too much, whether in a ‘friends’ way, ‘boyfriends’ way, ‘brothers’ way, or any way for that matter. Do this kind of relationships even exist in real life? If it does, I’ll be super upset because I never had friends/boyfriends like that. Anyway, I think it’s pretty reasonable if they do end up together, but like I had said, I prefer friendships more. They make really great friends, but I guess there are more things to write about when they are in a relationship.

    Then there is Kurogane and Fay from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, by CLAMP. They are officially a couple, although it never did show in the manga or the anime. I love them though, I love the snippets that show how much they care for each other. They don’t even have much screen time, not as much as Sakura or Syaoran, but wow, so apparently Kurogane sacrificed his arm for Fay, then let Fay turn into a vampire and drink his blood so that he could live, even though Fay didn’t want to live. In return, Fay sacrificed his magic to get Kurogane an artificial arm. If that isn’t love, I really don’t know what is. Kurogane seems to dislike Fay, hated it when Fay calls him nicknames like Kuro-tan, Kuro-woof, Kuro-pu etc, but somehow Fay can get away from it, and when Fay did call Kurogane by his full name (after Kurogane make him change into a vampire even though Fay refused to), Kurogane seems a little (probably a lot, but the manga didn’t show much) upset. They are really cute together, for the fact the Kurogane doesn’t show much affection for Fay, but we can see all the subtext and it makes all the fangirls go crazy. Relationship-wise, I’m more of a subtext kind of person, which is probably why I don’t like heterosexual relationships in fiction because they are blatantly obvious, and I get sick of them after a while. They don’t go around professing their love for each other but you can see from the things they do for each other and those are my favourites.

    I don’t know why, maybe because it’s hotter for two hot males to be together (shallow, I know), maybe because I just don’t want him to be with another female character (which also explains why people don’t prefer female OCs). I think people have been trying to figure out why fujoshis are fujoshis for a long time now, and I still haven’t found a good reason. Do we have to? Do we need a reason to like something?

    In conclusion, I don’t really like discussions like this because I feel like we’re going in circles. (As a random side-note, I find the comments about Tumblr very true, although I do hope that some people there are still normal.) I still think it’s hard to be a fujoshi (I’m biased, I know, but who isn’t? I’m not a professional journalist or anything, I can’t write perfectly objective comments, and even professionals cannot be 100% objective.), like honestly, we just want to fangirl over the relationships and people just disapprove. Well, it ain’t easy being a human.

    • Crap, why did I follow your suggestion and google “hate fujoshi”. Some of that hate is really hardcore… yuck…

      But on a happier note, thanks for sharing your experiences and your perceptions! It’s true that it’s hard to get anywhere with these conversations, but it’s important to keep having them.

      P.S. I like your taste in ships!

    • [COMMENT CENSORED FOR EXTREME MISOGYNY]

  12. You are highly Mistaken on Plato, he was a Homophobe of the highest order and the architect of all modern Homophbia, especially “Christian” homophobia, every Gay man or Woman who’s been murdered for their Sexuality’s blood is on Plato’s hands.

    http://solascripturachristianliberty.blogspot.com/2015/03/plato-augustine-and-traditional.html

    • Thank you for bringing in new information about this! Foxy Lady Ayame did touch upon this a little, but this is much more in depth so for anyone reading the comments, I will copy/paste direct quotes and paraphrase from mithrandirolorin’s source to clarify their statement (If you’d like to look more into the source then click the link and read for yourself!):

      “Although the character ‘Socrates’ concedes the supreme status of chaste love between males, any positive statements about homosexual sex all come from the less wise characters, never from ‘Socrates’ himself. On the contrary, the wise character is confronted with a society in which same-sex sexuality is prevalent, and wishes to find ways to discredit it with an aim to abolishing it altogether. If Plato’s work has a lot of seemingly positive ancient characterizations of homosexuality, that is only because those positive characterizations were current in his world. They are the starting point from which Plato wishes to lead his followers and his society into exclusive heterosexuality in marriage.

      tl;dr – Plato was trying to get rid of homosexuality by trying to lead LGBT+ positive people into accepting heterosexuality as the inevitable norm.

      “The original definition of ‘Platonic Love’ was not how it’s commonly used today, love that isn’t romantic or sexual. It was originally Plato’s ideal of Love that was Romantic and maybe even Erotic to a certain extent but ultimately Chaste, no sex or at least no orgasm, and certainly no penetration.”

      tl;dr – A majority of religions push for chaste kinds of love and demonize sex for any other reason besides reproduction (because its a “necessary evil/sin”). Plato advocates for chaste love with no sexual pleasure involved as his ideal.

      “The primary work taken to label Plato as approving of Same-Sex love is Symposium. Symposium is one of his early works while Republic, Timaeus, Critias and Laws are much later works. Some have suggested that Plato’s view of Homosexuality changed at some point, perhaps as a result of encountering Pathagorens in Italy, like Robert H. Allen.

      “But I also think Symposium is being a bit satirical, the drunk pretentious partiers wax poetical about male-male love (and it even includes the only positive statement about female same-sex love from a male Greek writer) when it’s an abstract. But at the end once someone starts actually trying o get laid it shows it’s trues color (in Plato’s eyes) as being embarrassing and demeaning.”

      tl;dr – I’d like to remind the dear reader that people like Plato are called fuckbois. They are the type of person that will pretend to support gays by watching lesbian porn or saying that their friend is gay, then turn around and say gay people should just change their sexual orientation to the “normal, natural way”

      While this part only relates to one facet of my post. I do appreciate informative opinions and facts, especially when it comes to exposing problematic or misinformed details about history.

  1. Pingback: The Barrier Between Reality and Fiction | Standing On My Neck

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