Romance and Abuse in Shoujo Manga Part 4 – Conclusion

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

You only hurt the one you love…. (32)

Why does it matter? Why should we have these conversations? It’s not like a headstrong girl will go out and read a shoujo manga about a girl in a relationship with an abusive boy and instantly become a doormat. But it normalizes and romanticizes abusive behaviors and creates a culture of abuse. Once again, I want to emphasize, if a girl reads a manga and thinks that it’s okay to be treated like this and someone proceeds to, it’s not her fault. It is not her fault! This creates a culture of abuse that associates aggression and dominance with masculinity and sacrifice of the self for the sake of romance: “I love him, therefore I have to put up with this. He only treats me like this because he loves me.” These are very common cultural myths that need to be actively combatted and actively talked about and criticized, or else impressionable young readers – I started reading manga myself when I was about twelve years old, well before I had ever been in a relationship and while my personality was still forming. Luckily I was also reading things like Tamora Pierce, who writes about confident young women, though she has her own issues, like the age difference thing…

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Romance and Abuse in Shoujo Manga and Anime Part 3 – Signs of Abuse

Part 1
Part 2

You only hurt the one you love…. (19)

Now we’re getting more into the actual, physical forms of abuse that are not just tropes in fiction. This is physical abuse – pulling hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting, anything that brings harm to your body. Damaging your property out of anger. Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol was a really weird one in Hana Yori Dango because he kidnaps her, drugs her, and she wakes up to being given a makeover, and that’s like, “Oh, he just doesn’t understand how to be nice to her, that’s why he did that. He was just trying to be nice!” He drugged her. He drugged her. The property tends to involve phones, because that is an avenue of communication with other people. If they’re communicating with other people, the guy will destroy the phone in a temper tantrum.

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Romance and Abuse in Shoujo Manga and Anime Part 2 – Tropes

Part 1

You only hurt the one you love…. (11)

One of the things people brought up as something that made them uncomfortable was age differences. It’s a very common fantasy for young women, which is why it’s so common in shoujo manga. “Oh, this hot teacher… he’s so attractive… What if he fell in love with me?” And people generally mentioned Sailor Moon, because Mamoru is in college and Usagi is in middle school; and this particular couple in Cardcaptor Sakura, because she’s in elementary school and he’s her teacher. [audience groans]

It is a common fantasy, but there’s an inherent power imbalance here, and all the time you see stories about young women who end up sleeping with their teachers and it’s what they thought they wanted – and this is not victim blaming, it is 100% on the adults to not do it with them – but since they see these fantasies, and they find themselves in these situations, they don’t have the tools to get away. Once again, I want to emphasize, it is never the victim’s fault. I don’t want to come across like I’m victim-blaming, ever.

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Romance and Abuse in Shoujo Manga and Anime Part 1 – Introdution

At this year’s Sakura Con, I had the amazing opportunity to present a panel on Abuse in Shoujo Manga and Anime to a completely full room. Starting today, I will be posting a transcript of the panel in four parts. Because of the more spontaneous, imperfect nature of speech, the my thoughts and grammar will be messier than usual.

You only hurt the one you love….

Hi everyone, my name is Caitlin Moore. I write for the blog heroineproblem.com, and thank you so much for coming to “Romance and Abuse in Shoujo Manga and Anime”. I chose this panel because growing up, I read a lot of shoujo manga, and as I got older, I was reading and realized, a lot of these guys are just not good! They’re not good guys! I started thinking about exactly how relationships work and how people in relationships should treat each other. As I started getting older and getting into feminism, it only got more alarming to me.

You only hurt the one you love…. (1)

So, just a content warning: this panel will contain discussions of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, including sexual assault. If anyone thinks they need to leave for any reason, that’s fine, no judgment.

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