arccie: 12kingdoms break (chains)
[personal profile] arccie
So I'm that bored and in need of a job that I took up an advertisement for website content writers for TOKYOPOP, and I thought I'd post it here as it is my view, even if some of this got slightly exaggerated in the need to reach 1000 words. I've obviously forgotten what every good English student knows: how to babble (a.k.a. BS).
If only I wasn't so highly underqualified I might actually be able to apply for jobs I have a chance of getting.
*sigh*
Come rant with me or dispute my views.



Anime and Male Rights:
The Double Standard.

(18/6/06)

Anime is often enjoyed for its interesting portrayal of society, intriguing plot devices, the special effects that would be impossible in a live action show and a quirky sense of humour. Yet that sense of humour is not always what it should be. The anime subplot where men are subject to beatings by their female co-stars for the sake of humour is a double standard for our social values.

It’s the 21st Century, and women’s rights are better known now than ever. Equal rights for men and women is the goal that people hope society is progressively moving towards. However, with the focus on enlightening society to the true character of women, the male side of the story is often forgotten.

In most cases, female rights advocacy groups have brought about equal standing for men and women, such as equal pay for people doing the same job regardless of gender. A good thing for everyone. But in some ways female rights have come to overshadow the rights of men in the eyes of society.

Domestic violence against women is a problem throughout the world, with wives, girlfriends and mothers suffering at the hands of their loved ones. Not so commonly broadcast, domestic violence against men is a problem of similar proportions, with approximately 5% of men in the USA having suffered such abuse at some point in their lives. Yet this issue is not getting a lot of the consideration it deserves.

It is a taboo issue, with the idea of men being beaten up by “their women” a shameful thing. Many men are too embarrassed to speak out, as society enforces the idea that men have to be “strong”. A psychological conditioning that continues to exist despite the advances in social awareness in modern society.

The anime fan-base covers a large proportion of the world, with fans in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, Australia and the Pacific. Many of these countries have the strong social view condemning domestic violence against women. A view which is often translated into these societies’ values of entertainment.

Portraying men hitting women is viewed with distaste when the scenario is used for artistic license. In anime, it is rare for a woman to be hit, just for the sake of it. Few anime touch on the scenario of domestic violence, and they are generally historical portrayals of society or adding a touch of realism to modern life story. Yet in all these cases the violence against women is viewed as a severe act and regarded with the seriousness it deserves.

This is not the case for violence against men. In a number of anime, violence against men is used as a humorous plot device, a gag scene for laughs. In most cases, if the gender roles had been reversed in these scenes it wouldn’t have been a laughing matter at all.

This isn’t advocating a cease to all violence. Such a suggestion would be met with incredulity and scorn. Action and adventure stories are extremely popular, and the fight scenes where foes confront each other in sword fights, battles and wars of epic proportion are a large part of their appeal. Yet in general these are serious events considered with the respect they deserve.

It is the inappropriate use of violence that needs to be considered. Violence for the sake of humour, portraying scenarios that are offensive in the reverse, must be appropriately considered. Anime capitalising on the double standard that exists need consider both sides of the coin.

Anime like Full Metal Panic: FUMOFFU and Love Hina are prime examples of this sub-genre. Each involves the main male character being hit regularly by their female co-stars on the premise of humour.

Love Hina although it has its amusing moments, is based around the antics of a male manager in a women’s inn being constantly beaten up for his supposed trespasses on their privacy. Trespasses that are often as imagined as real, with little consideration given before the women resort to violence to deal with the problem

FMP: FUMOFFU follows a similar plot line, with Kaname Chidori punishing socially inept, military minded Sergeant Sagara Sousuke for his ignorance of acceptable behaviour by immediately resorting to violence. The violence doesn’t add anything to the plot, and can in fact, detract from the otherwise humorous events.

It is despite these moments of violence that these anime are amusing. In each of these cases any number of alternatives could have been used to portray female displeasure. Resorting to violence simply encourages a social acceptance of a situation that shouldn’t be in anyway acceptable.

It is admittedly an interesting plot device to have the role reversal of strong women and the not so strong men. However, the method used to portray the disparity in “strength” is outdated and somewhat inappropriate. It is implied that to be strong people need to be able to demonstrate their dominance over others. A view that people should be dissuaded from, especially in light of the wars that currently plague the world.

This is not to say strong women are a bad thing. Of course not. More truly strong women would be appreciated. Women in anime often take the role of cute but shy friend or girlfriend, supportive mother or troubled sister. Strong women in anime are somewhat rare creature that many would welcome seeing more often. Characters like Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell) demonstrating unique strength and excellent minds are few and far between. In effect they are a refreshing change, and their strength of character makes them all that much more popular.

Yet there is a balance that must be maintained. Men can be considered strong without beating up their prospective girlfriends. In fact, with modern society’s outlook on violence against women, men who hit their female counterparts are often considered truly weak. The same is true for women.

Male violence against women is considered offensive. A needless act of violence that isn’t funny. So considering female violence against men, really, where’s the joke?

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