Research Question: How are Japanese animes sexually biased? Defining gender roles



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Research Question: How are Japanese animes sexually biased?




Defining gender roles (Masculine/feminant)

How do cultural differences affect our perception of “sexually biased?”

What makes Japanese anime sexist?

Popularity despite sexism

Jiang Bresnahan, Mary.
“Players and Whiners? Perceptions of Sex Stereotyping in Animé in Japan and the US.”

“Sex stereotypes are defined as the uncritical attribution to others of behavioral traits and characteristics typically associated with masculinity and femininity”
“These studies identified the stereotypical male character in animation as someone who is independent, active, noisy, muscular, tenacious, dominant, dynamic, competent, and concerned about control while the stereotypical female character is dependent, submissive, sexual, overly emotional, homebound, deferent, supportive, incompetent, and approval seeking”

“Although Japanese participants had lower scores on the WSRI, they showed more agreement with a description of characters stereotyped for sex. In addition, male and female participants in both countries showed more approval and liking for the lead male character.”




“DBZ was selected for inclusion in this study because this series has wide popularity in both countries and characters exhibit many sex stereotypes that have been identified in previous studies.”

Saito, Kumiko.
"Magic, Sho¯jo, and Metamorphosis: Magical Girl Anime and the Challenges of Changing Gender Identities in Japanese Society."

“Today, the prominence of fighting female characters, most visible in the relatively unrealistic side of Japanese media culture, such as anime, manga, and video games, generates a new stereotype of Japanese women—although they are “Japanese” only so far as their putative origin is Japan.”
“The difficulty of approaching these new venues of popular culture lies in their art of “misrepresentation,” that is, flat and exaggerated visual styles, fantastic storylines, and, most importantly, their general disjunction from real-life women in Japanese society.”

“Western concepts of “genre” may entice people to define the magical girl based on plots and settings, the most practical way to identify this category is primarily by means of its business structure. Many of Japan’s anime programs for children are founded on toy marketing that capitalizes on gender-divided sales of character merchandise and gadgets used by characters in television programs”

“The careful exploitation of feminine and masculine ideals in children’s television programs has established gender as perhaps the most powerful and conspicuous ideological tool.”

“The magical girl, a popular genre of Japanese television animation, has provided female ideals for young girls since the 1960s.”

Mie, Hiramoto.
"Hey, You’re a Girl? : Gendered Expressions in the Popular Anime, Cowboy Bebop."

“Hero and babe characters represent anime archetypes of heterosexual normativity, as, in Eckert & McConnell-Ginet’s words (2003: 35), they are modeled after universally quintessential man and woman: someone like Superman and Scarlett O’Hara. The heterosexual norms in CB are established through semiotic resources such as body image and language use.”

“This research discusses prototypical gendered expressions in Japanese popular anime and how their translations into American English convey ideological masculine and feminine speech styles from Japanese to English.”

“A number of recent studies in sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics recognize scripted speech as a site of stereotyping.“
“ When scripted, characters’ speech styles are often framed by their given ideological roles. That is, through their speech styles, characters in scripted speech are commonly made identifiable with subgroups to which they belong according to certain expectations based on linguistic ideology (e.g., age, gender, socioeconomic status, regional affiliation, etc.). Thus, the characters often carry out stereotypical linguistic variations in order to represent their given roles and traits.”




Ortega-Brena, Mariana.
"Peek-a-boo, I See You: Watching Japanese Hard-core Animation."




The Japanese instead use terms such as ‘H’ (or etchi), ero (erotic), 18-kin (“18-prohibited”) and seijin or adoruto (“adult”) to categorize manga (Japanese comic books) and animewith diverse types of sexual content. However, “in the context of western manga and anime fandom, [hentaiis] no longer a ‘Japanese’ word but has become a loanword with its own specific meaning and nuance” (McLelland 2006).
in the West hentai is often perceived as a deeply offensive genre characterized by preposterous graphic violence, both generally physical and specifically sexual”

“Hentai is frequently (but not necessarily) characterized by substandard animation, ample dwelling on unconventional erotic practices, a fixation on rape and nonconsensual sexual violence, and often preposterous scenarios.”




Grigsby, Mary.
"Sailormoon: Manga ( Comics ) and Anime ( Cartoon ) Superheroine Meets Barbie: Global Entertainment Commodity Comes to the United States." The Journal of Popular Culture 32.1 (1998): 59-80. Print.”

The manga addresses gender roles,

assigns them in ways that give value to those “modern” characteristics

that subordinate women and repudiates the traditional Japanese role of

mother while not directly addressing the role of wife.”





“The characters of Usagi and Sailormoon lend themselves to sexual objectification and reflect the values of consumer culture relative to female gender categories. There is also the added twist that both charac- ters are commodities themselves. They like jewelry, wear make-up to gain special powers and are not powerful as women. Their magic and their strength do not come from within. Their magic and their power do not come from fulfilling traditional social roles.”

“This form of popular culture is produced for profit and contains a cultural homogeneity that at times could be mistaken for a parody of the modernity and western look and feel it frames itself upon.” --referring to the shoujo genre.


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