Is This Feminist or Not? Ways of Talking about Women in Anime

These are the slides for the panel “Is This Feminist or Not? Ways of Talking about Women in Anime” as presented at Sakura Con 2017


































14 thoughts on “Is This Feminist or Not? Ways of Talking about Women in Anime

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  3. Liza Patterson

    Out of curiosity, why do you think that same face is a negative element of an anime? While it can be annoying, I don’t think it warrants anything bad in the long run.


    1. I should have covered this in the panel, but the problem isn’t just the sameface syndrome; it’s that only the women have it. The male characters, on the other hand, are largely based on real people and display enormous diversity in both face and body type. I go into it more in my post, “No Middle Sliders: Body Diversity in Anime”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think I understand the issues of same-face more now than I did a while back. There’s a concern that certain kinds of images get reciprocated for women, like passive, stimulating ‘sorori kao’ faces. That happens outside of anime, in Japan’s wider media; so when it happens in anime too, it feels like it fits the same mold. That we’re seeing a reciprocation of the resistance to female individuality, and alongside it, usually, an encouragement for male individuality.

      But there are certainly other dimensions to Shirobako’s same-face. For me the appeal was always a sense of ‘moe’ paired with solidarity that the girls have but the guys don’t. You know how the guys fight with each other, or with the girls, but the main five stay in harmony? The male characters may have more variety in how they look, but I’ve been taking the girls’ similar faces as a constant reminder that they’re united by a ‘moe’ spirit the guys, even those much more experienced than them, have to learn from.

      So I think there are both positive and negative dimensions to the ‘oneness’ Shirobako’s girls have, depending on what angle you approach it from.


  4. catt

    I want to know what do you think of female characters in Eyeshield 21. I personally find them interesting. Their roles vary from your typical club manager to actual player in the game. And I think for female characters in sport manga, where male domination is something to be expected, they still have distinctive personality. However, I still want to know your critical view on it. Are female characters in Eyeshield 21 still as useless as typical female characters in other sport manga? Or do they contribute enough to the plot? If you have time, please kindly share your thought.

    Thanks. I really enjoy each of your essay.


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  7. I really like this powerpoint you did on the Feminist Fallacy and hit on the problems of “[Name of anime] is feminist.” I agree with you that the Bechdel test isn’t the best, I think it’s better for movies than anime. But I think the Mako Mori Test might be a better alternative for female anime characters since the requirements are at least one female character, who gets her own narrative arc, that is not about supporting a man’s story. Although I’m sure there might be some nuances missed with this test.


  8. Tom

    Hi there. Is there anywhere to see the whole presentation please. Really interesting but I’d really like to see the whole thing 😦
    (brought here from AniFem)


    1. If you’re asking if there’s a transcript or if its been recorded on video, unfortunately there is not. I tend not to follow a script when I do panels, but rather use my slides as a basic outline of what I’m talking about. Because of that and the work that transcription involves, I’ve decided to just put up the slides for now.


      1. Tom

        Ok fair enough! If you ever fancy writing an article or having a podcast (maybe on AniFem) I would personally be very interested in reading it 🙂


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