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'ism/'obia and Entertainment: How much is too much?

OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
edited April 2011 in Debate and/or Discourse
This morning, as my wife was getting ready to head out to work, I was watching Robotech via Netflix Instant Streaming. For those of you unfamiliar with this program, it's an animated series from Japan, with the english dubbing and edition dated 1983. Basically, it's a series about an alien invasion and giant, transforming robots; pretty much par for the course as far as cartoons go.

I'm familiar with the setting and some of the characters via the old Robotech RPG (which I played extensively, and which is why I started watching this in the first place), but this is my first time viewing the actual series itself. I'm up through episode 10 or so now, and a pattern is starting to emerge. One which my wife is noticing as well, even with her extremely limited exposure to the show (maybe 15 minutes in total, most of it this morning).

This show is rather amazingly misogynistic. Not overtly "get back in the kitchen, bitch" misogynistic, but definitely male-centric and very regressive in its portrayal of female characters.

By way of example, one of the two female characters that actually gets face time is a ranking bridge officer on the primary space ship named Lisa Hayes. She's in a position of authority, she is treated by the show as an apparently positive portrayal of successful womanhood, etc. But practically every time she speaks, it's to say something that is forcefully corrected by a male subordinate 4 seconds later while she looks sheepish. And the only time we see her anywhere but standing on the bridge behind a desk (in the role of practically a space secretary for the captain of the ship) she's in danger for some reason related to weakness or incompetence and she has to be rescued by the boyish male lead of the series.

And don't even get me started on the other female "lead"; the 16 year old beauty queen with a hero-worship complex.

The reason I brought this to D&D is this; My wife and I had something of an argument this morning over whether or not this show was worthy of being watched due to its undercurrent of anti-female themes, one in which I took the pro-Robotech side mostly out of reflexive defensiveness when I was called out for it. But in taking stock of the series I've seen so far and where it seems to be headed, I'm just not able to stomach the idea of going forward and being met with more of this sort of thing.

So the topic for debate is; Where is that line? When does an otherwise interesting or enjoyable piece of media become unpalatable due to underlying themes (be they intentional or otherwise)? Is there artistic redeeming value to works that incorporate themes that are questionable or downright offensive? Is there a difference between exploring a mindset through storytelling and pushing that mindset on the consumer?

Think about the really, really terrible stuff that is out there. Birth of a Nation, The Turner Diaries, etc. Is there a legitimate reason to consume that sort of thing for the entertainment value? Are the works of H.P. Lovecraft rendered unworthy due to their author's xenophobic views? Does it matter if those views are only indirectly implied (or not broached directly at all) rather than incorporated into the core of the work?

OptimusZed on
We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

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Posts

  • SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I think anything can be watchable and have merit as long as you're able to recognize the themes present and where certain biases emerge. You aren't going to find media that has a 100% positive portrayal of every group, or any kind of production that doesn't have bias or perhaps even racist or sexist connotations.

    The problem comes in when people refuse to recognize those things. So, I say enjoy it since you seem to be able to do so objectively.

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  • Descendant XDescendant X Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Isn't it enough to say that sometimes a cartoon from the 80's is just a cartoon from the 80's and get on with it? Robotech was cool, but in the end it's a cartoon and nobody should really be putting that much stock into it. Certainly not enough to have an argument with your wife over.

    Do you have discussions like this regarding racist stereotyping and the effects of cartoon violence on impressionable young minds when you watch The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show?

    Anyway, Robotech gets better if you read the books.
    Spoiler:

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  • lazegamerlazegamer Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Think about the really, really terrible stuff that is out there. Birth of a Nation, The Turner Diaries, etc. Is there a legitimate reason to consume that sort of thing for the entertainment value?

    Do they entertain you? Then there's your answer. It's not as if the ideas are going to spring from the work and lodge themselves in your mind. You're a functioning human being capable of reason, there is nothing to be afraid of.

    Surprise.
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  • 21stCentury21stCentury *~ Have a Magical day ~* Purveyor of Pixelly PalsRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Isn't it enough to say that sometimes a cartoon from the 80's is just a cartoon from the 80's and get on with it? Robotech was cool, but in the end it's a cartoon and nobody should really be putting that much stock into it. Certainly not enough to have an argument with your wife over.

    Do you have discussions like this regarding racist stereotyping and the effects of cartoon violence on impressionable young minds when you watch The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show?

    Anyway, Robotech gets better if you read the books.
    Spoiler:

    it's pretty short-sighted to say that "it's just a cartoon" as if it doesn't leave an impression on kids. The media often has messages in them that aren't overt, but they're there. Sometimes, they're biases that the creators have and they don't realize they're there.

    Seriously, you have to be pretty dumb not to realize that yes, violence in cartoons have an effect on children. i'm not saying violent cartoons make children violent, but it's certainly true that people can be desensitized to it.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    When does an otherwise interesting or enjoyable piece of media become unpalatable due to underlying themes (be they intentional or otherwise)?

    This is the obvious answer I guess, but, "whenever it makes you not want to watch anymore"?

    I mean, you can recognize the objectionable writing in this cartoon, but still enjoy watching it. So, the fun of watching giant robots crash into each other outweighs your dislike of this vaguely misogynist writing.

    This is not a value judgment, it just seems obvious to me. Lots of the media of yesteryear is full of racist/sexist/whatever undertones (or overtones), but that doesn't mean it isn't worth watching/reading/whatever.

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  • Torso BoyTorso Boy Registered User
    edited March 2011
    I think it's a matter of taste and tolerance, really, and how deep you're willing to delve into a given work. Look hard enough, and you'll probably find a distasteful undercurrent. Most films and TV shows are guilty of it on a certain level.

    Political correctness and gender issues being an interest of mine, I've grown extremely sensitive to these kinds of things. It's forced me to be tolerant and exercise restraint when I'm discussing things. I have to put biases and prejudices in perspective.

    I don't think finding these little archaic nuggets takes away from the value of works so much as it adds another layer. The portrayal of Sam in Casablanca doesn't change what the movie was, but it augments the "framing" of how you think about it. The fact that such a portrayal was normal, acceptable and even realistic at the time is important in and of itself. I think it contributes more than it takes away.

    The Great Gatsby has a pretty clearly sexist undercurrent, according to one interpretation. That's a bit different in the sense that it pertains to the intent of the story, but similar in that it still constitutes a part of the work.

    Sometimes, the media you expose yourself to might be saying something you don't like. It might make you question the author or creator on an ethical level. But that's part of the art, I think. So it comes down to personal tolerance.

    Off the top of my head, I've been offended by Jeff Dunham and Transformers II. It's a pretty unclear line, but I feel that they crossed it by casually or unwittingly employing racial stereotypes, in attempts to be funny that ended up coming across as mean-spirited.

    These considerations are, of course, mitigated by how enjoyable a work is.

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  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Anyway, Robotech gets better if you read the books.
    Spoiler:

    It's been years since I read The End of the Circle, but I'm pretty sure the first statement is incorrect.

    I could swear
    Spoiler:

    The explanation as to where
    Spoiler:
    went made me really happy though.

    As to the topic at hand, even as a Robotech fan I would be hard pressed to argue that there aren't some backwards tendencies in the series... but that's not surprising for a show made a quarter century ago. I say this not to excuse it, merely to say that context should be kept in mind. I'm sure that in a few decades all the time and drama and fury spent over gay marriage will be seen as laughable and quaint, and the violence incurred by gays around the world to be yet another black mark on our history. (note: I'm not trying to draw equivelence here, just giving an example off the top of my head of something that I hope to see dealt with in my lifetime)

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  • Descendant XDescendant X Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Forar wrote: »
    Anyway, Robotech gets better if you read the books.
    Spoiler:

    It's been years since I read The End of the Circle, but I'm pretty sure the first statement is incorrect.

    I could swear
    Spoiler:

    Ach, you're right.

    It's
    Spoiler:
    that dies. I always hated that guy.

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  • AtomikaAtomika YOU ARE COMPLETELY DISREGARDING THE LABOR THEORY OF VALUE YOU ARE A BARNACLERegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm not sure how this fits in, but here I go:

    I love Doug TenNapel's work. I think his art is brilliant and his storytelling is exemplary. He's possibly the most under-rated name working in graphic art today, despite having a 20-year career and creating one of the most recognizable characters of the mid-1990s, Earthworm Jim. If you haven't checked out any of his work, do so, and start with gems like Creature Tech, Iron West, or Earthboy Jacobus. The balance of warmth and humanity he brings with edge and often grimness reads like the best work ever done in the heyday of Disney with a style remniscient of Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes. Suffice to say, I'm a big fan.

    That said, the guy is a total asshole. A far-right, soapboxing evangelical, his blogs ramble on with judgment after judgment against anything from single mothers to gays to pre-marital sex. And it's hard to reconcile that with his work, as his work really isn't all that preachy and rarely makes any effort to remark upon any aspect of traditional conservative values, other than a vague appreciation for loving, intact familial units.

    I feel bad when I put money in this guy's pocket. But I still do it.

  • override367override367 misogynist/MRA/socially irresponsible Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Isn't it enough to say that sometimes a cartoon from the 80's is just a cartoon from the 80's and get on with it? Robotech was cool, but in the end it's a cartoon and nobody should really be putting that much stock into it. Certainly not enough to have an argument with your wife over.

    Do you have discussions like this regarding racist stereotyping and the effects of cartoon violence on impressionable young minds when you watch The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show?

    Anyway, Robotech gets better if you read the books.
    Spoiler:

    it's pretty short-sighted to say that "it's just a cartoon" as if it doesn't leave an impression on kids. The media often has messages in them that aren't overt, but they're there. Sometimes, they're biases that the creators have and they don't realize they're there.

    Seriously, you have to be pretty dumb not to realize that yes, violence in cartoons have an effect on children. i'm not saying violent cartoons make children violent, but it's certainly true that people can be desensitized to it.

    It's from the 1980s, I'm not sure how many children today are watching it

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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    For me, it's less to do with the intensity of the negative messages and more to do with what the movie adds.

    In other words, in a movie, I'll swallow a lot of shit if you put a sugar coating on it. If there's enough interesting stuff going on - character and plot and execution - then the objectionable themes become just food for discussion.

    For example, I absolutely hate the way It's a Wonderful Life portrays suicide. I think the message of the movie is fundamentally unhealthy and deeply misandrist. But it's still a pleasure to watch. It's well-executed, and Jimmy Stewart is at his most charismatic.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm curious if you mean extending this to period works or just ones that are regressive. It should be obvious that period works, however racist or misogynistic they may be, have some value. Rudyard Kipling, for example, remains one of my favorite poets. His poems are definitely not politically correct by modern standards (consider "The White Man's Burden" or "The Female of the Species is More Deadly than the Male") but they were also written in the early 20th century.

    I think that, rather than prevent children from seeing anything that could be biased (good luck, by the way), it falls upon parents and the education system to teach the individuals to identify the bias so that it can be understood, examined, and studied, rather than passively accepted. As I'm not a parent, I don't feel comfortable answering whether I'd let one of my children watch that particular show.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    For me, it kind of breaks down like this;

    Can I withstand or rationalize the offensive material enough to enjoy the product?

    Is my consumption of this thing giving implicit legitimacy (however small) to the subject matter that I feel is inappropriate?

    Is my consumption of this material actively financially supporting something that I disagree with?

    For Robotech, the answer to the first seems to be "sometimes", the second seems to be a "no" since this isn't something that's going to find a foothold in a cultural zeitgeist three decades after release and the last seems to be a strong "no" as well, since it's not something I'm paying for directly and it's unlikely that the people who are making money off of this thing are going to take its time on my screen as a thumbs up for misogyny.

    That's not always the breakdown, though. Something like Twilight (which I have admittedly never read) could potentially answer "no" to the first, "yes" to the second and "yes/no/maybe" to the third depending on what the author did with the money. Same with something like Shadow Complex or, if we want to move into the realm of general consumerism, Chik-Fil-A or Whole Foods.

    The central question seems to be; is the value of this thing to me worth the potential downsides of consuming it?

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

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  • 21stCentury21stCentury *~ Have a Magical day ~* Purveyor of Pixelly PalsRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm not sure how this fits in, but here I go:

    I love Doug TenNapel's work. I think his art is brilliant and his storytelling is exemplary. He's possibly the most under-rated name working in graphic art today, despite having a 20-year career and creating one of the most recognizable characters of the mid-1990s, Earthworm Jim. If you haven't checked out any of his work, do so, and start with gems like Creature Tech, Iron West, or Earthboy Jacobus. The balance of warmth and humanity he brings with edge and often grimness reads like the best work ever done in the heyday of Disney with a style remniscient of Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes. Suffice to say, I'm a big fan.

    That said, the guy is a total asshole. A far-right, soapboxing evangelical, his blogs ramble on with judgment after judgment against anything from single mothers to gays to pre-marital sex. And it's hard to reconcile that with his work, as his work really isn't all that preachy and rarely makes any effort to remark upon any aspect of traditional conservative values, other than a vague appreciation for loving, intact familial units.

    I feel bad when I put money in this guy's pocket. But I still do it.

    That guy is kind of an enigma. i've been following his latest venture, the webcomic Ratfist. He updates daily and it's pretty good. He's said that he doesn't like to talk about the comics/video games he made. It's weird. He doesn't want to talk about what he does but also doesn't want to make comics about what he wants to talk about.

    That said, his ramblings kinda bleed through in Ratfist. Today, a character that's supposed to be Ricky (the main character's) tail and subconscious says "i don't even have a [brain]... uhm... Gravity made the universe". It's kind of a weird dig at scientists... In a comic about a scientist.

    i'm mostly thankful he makes comics about superheroes and not about how liberals are the worst thing ever.
    It's from the 1980s, I'm not sure how many children today are watching it
    My point isn't that Robotech is alone in influencing children. Look at basically any cartoon today and you'll see stuff like that. Biases and such. The media affects us a. a lot.

    MVZBm5i.pngzd1yxOn.png
  • AtomikaAtomika YOU ARE COMPLETELY DISREGARDING THE LABOR THEORY OF VALUE YOU ARE A BARNACLERegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    For me, it kind of breaks down like this;

    Can I withstand or rationalize the offensive material enough to enjoy the product?

    Is my consumption of this thing giving implicit legitimacy (however small) to the subject matter that I feel is inappropriate?

    Is my consumption of this material actively financially supporting something that I disagree with?

    It seems more like a binary algorithm than a checklist, friend. As in, "if yes, proceed to #2."

  • DracilDracil Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Why not just watch the latest rendition of the series and decide if they've adjusted with the times? (i.e. Macross Frontier)

    My understanding is that Robotech was a horrible butchering of several different Macross series' anyway, with some of their own weird additions.

  • DeebaserDeebaser Lead Frog Rammer Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Japanese culture today doesn't have all that much respect for women, I can only imagine what it must have been like in the early 80s.

    Still, this isn't so much a reason to not watch Robotech as it is to throw all weeaboos into the sea.

  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Japanese culture today doesn't have all that much respect for women, I can only imagine what it must have been like in the early 80s.

    Still, this isn't so much a reason to not watch Robotech as it is to throw all weeaboos into the sea.

    It's funny how this overlaps with nerd/geek marginalization thread in that of course nerds and geeks are fine with marginalizing women and some even go so far as to idealize a culture where marginalization of women isn't even looked at as a serious issue by almost anyone.

  • AtomikaAtomika YOU ARE COMPLETELY DISREGARDING THE LABOR THEORY OF VALUE YOU ARE A BARNACLERegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm probably not the ideal person to argue these point in this thread, as I think so much of anime is basically worthless. The mass objectification/subjugation of women within most of it just at the top of a very long list of crimes.

    But yeah, given its traditional representation of women, it's fairly shameful how much of geek culture subscribes to that particular genre.

  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm probably not the ideal person to argue these point in this thread, as I think so much of anime is basically worthless. The mass objectification/subjugation of women within most of it just at the top of a very long list of crimes.

    But yeah, given its traditional representation of women, it's fairly shameful how much of geek culture subscribes to that particular genre.
    I can see watching something like Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will for the important historical and cinematography aspects. We watched both of those works in film class in college for those reasons.

    But I agree with your position on anime. The opinions of Western fanboys notwithstanding, there's very little significant in anime to outweigh many of the troubling themes in that media. Yeah, I guess there might be some good animation and stories in Robotech anime, but it's not like you'll be missing anything significant if you decide not to watch it because its handling of women is shitty.

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  • DracilDracil Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Since the topic is on isms and obias and entertainment, what about sports (esp. football)? A traditionally non-geek culture thing.

    It would seem like the objectification of women there tends to be given a pass (see: cheerleaders and random ads shown during the games)

    To some extent, I'd think it's actually worse because *actual* women are being objectified, as opposed to some ink or digital bits, in the same lines as murdering people in a game isn't as bad as murdering people in life.

  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Modern Man wrote: »
    I'm probably not the ideal person to argue these point in this thread, as I think so much of anime is basically worthless. The mass objectification/subjugation of women within most of it just at the top of a very long list of crimes.

    But yeah, given its traditional representation of women, it's fairly shameful how much of geek culture subscribes to that particular genre.
    I can see watching something like Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will for the important historical and cinematography aspects. We watched both of those works in film class in college for those reasons.

    But I agree with your position on anime. The opinions of Western fanboys notwithstanding, there's very little significant in anime to outweigh many of the troubling themes in that media. Yeah, I guess there might be some good animation and stories in Robotech anime, but it's not like you'll be missing anything significant if you decide not to watch it because its handling of women is shitty.
    Spoiler:

    It's one of my favorites.

    BUT NOT TO DERAIL THE THREAD WITH HUMOR!

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    OptimusZed wrote: »
    This show is rather amazingly misogynistic.

    It's a show from the 80s. From Japan.

    And it is probably still better than Star Trek.


    Not overtly "get back in the kitchen, bitch" misogynistic, but definitely male-centric and very regressive in its portrayal of female characters.
    But practically every time she speaks, it's to say something that is forcefully corrected by a male subordinate 4 seconds later while she looks sheepish.

    I wouldn't consider this to be an accurate description. Generally she is playing the straight-laced by the book career military officer to Rick's rogue ace pilot who doesn't follow the rules.
    And don't even get me started on the other female "lead"; the 16 year old beauty queen with a hero-worship complex.

    Yeah Min-me is just a bitch.


    Frankly Claudia, Lisa's black friend, is more competent and mature than either of them.


    I guess to answer the more general question, if something is actively offensive in it's portrayal of whatever, no you shouldn't watch it.

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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm going to ask an admittedly racist question: how much does the misogyny in Robotech (or any other anime) reflect the sexual values of Japan in general?

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Feral wrote: »
    I'm going to ask an admittedly racist question: how much does the misogyny in Robotech (or any other anime) reflect the sexual values of Japan in general?

    A lot.

    Japan is pretty damn far behind the developed world on sexual equality issues.

    And Robotech (or rather Macross I guess) is leagues ahead of even a lot of shows coming out now.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • AtomikaAtomika YOU ARE COMPLETELY DISREGARDING THE LABOR THEORY OF VALUE YOU ARE A BARNACLERegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Is it weird to anyone else that highly secularized nations like Japan, Korea, and China are so backwards in regards to women's rights?

    It seems that most sexually-repressive nations have huge amount of religious motivation, and even what relative amount exists in Western nations is generally (at least these days) coming from a position of religious fundamentalism. The religious fear and subjugation generally does a decent job of preventing women from asking, "Hey, WTF dudes?"

  • ArchArch HELLO YES THIS IS BUG Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I'm going to ask an admittedly racist question: how much does the misogyny in Robotech (or any other anime) reflect the sexual values of Japan in general?

    A lot.

    Japan is pretty damn far behind the developed world on sexual equality issues.

    And Robotech (or rather Macross I guess) is leagues ahead of even a lot of shows coming out now.

    Goddamit I really hate to do this, and know that I am doing this with all respect

    Citations?

  • DeebaserDeebaser Lead Frog Rammer Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I don't think that's a racist question at all. Japanese Culture has a fucked up view of women in general and that probably seeps into their entertainment output.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I'm going to ask an admittedly racist question: how much does the misogyny in Robotech (or any other anime) reflect the sexual values of Japan in general?

    A lot.

    Japan is pretty damn far behind the developed world on sexual equality issues.

    And Robotech (or rather Macross I guess) is leagues ahead of even a lot of shows coming out now.

    See, that's what I thought, and I wasn't sure if I was unfairly stereotyping.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Feral wrote: »
    I'm going to ask an admittedly racist question: how much does the misogyny in Robotech (or any other anime) reflect the sexual values of Japan in general?

    This is something I've thought about a lot. Japanese culture is horribly, horribly misogynist. It's sad because I've been a big fan of a lot of anime, and especially their portrayal of strong female leads. But it can make it incredibly difficult for me to enjoy certain shows/manga/movies. A great example for me personally is Gantz. It's a gritty and realistic story and it has this great plot of redemption for the lead character, Kei Kurono. Problem is Gantz is also drawn with a horribly obvious theme of objectifying women. Ridiculous breasts and main characters all about getting laid. The only reason I really was able to like it at all is because Oku goes into full on gritty realism and the fact is, honestly, I believe that real people would probably act very similar to how he portrays considering Japanese culture. Or rather, he does such a good job with the world that it feels completely real and believable. Yes he objectifies women, but so do most Japanese and he's writing a story about Japanese characters in a realism based Japan. Although some of the ridiculous Gantz covers need to go.

    In general I tend to steer clear of any show that has too much overt misogyny in its characters. When Minmay said she wanted to be a "Bride" in Maccross that was when I just stopped the series, which was sad because I had heard it was really a classic.

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  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Arch wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I'm going to ask an admittedly racist question: how much does the misogyny in Robotech (or any other anime) reflect the sexual values of Japan in general?

    A lot.

    Japan is pretty damn far behind the developed world on sexual equality issues.

    And Robotech (or rather Macross I guess) is leagues ahead of even a lot of shows coming out now.

    Goddamit I really hate to do this, and know that I am doing this with all respect

    Citations?

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080224x1.html
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6788036.ece
    http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2010/10/12/japan-climbs-gender-equality-table-now-ranked-94th/

    WHERES YOUR MESSIAH NOW?

  • ArchArch HELLO YES THIS IS BUG Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I'm going to ask an admittedly racist question: how much does the misogyny in Robotech (or any other anime) reflect the sexual values of Japan in general?

    A lot.

    Japan is pretty damn far behind the developed world on sexual equality issues.

    And Robotech (or rather Macross I guess) is leagues ahead of even a lot of shows coming out now.

    Goddamit I really hate to do this, and know that I am doing this with all respect

    Citations?

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080224x1.html
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6788036.ece
    http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2010/10/12/japan-climbs-gender-equality-table-now-ranked-94th/

    WHERES YOUR MESSIAH NOW?

    Thank you- I wasn't trying to be snarky, I just didn't want to fall prey to easily accepted stereotypes without any sort of factual basis.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Arch wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I'm going to ask an admittedly racist question: how much does the misogyny in Robotech (or any other anime) reflect the sexual values of Japan in general?

    A lot.

    Japan is pretty damn far behind the developed world on sexual equality issues.

    And Robotech (or rather Macross I guess) is leagues ahead of even a lot of shows coming out now.

    Goddamit I really hate to do this, and know that I am doing this with all respect

    Citations?

    According to Wikipedia the wage gap is 33% in Japan which is higher than the US or any member of the EU. I'm sure it also lists references to actual papers and such.

    As for the cultural side of things... find any article on gender roles in Japan.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • Torso BoyTorso Boy Registered User
    edited March 2011
    Is it weird to anyone else that highly secularized nations like Japan, Korea, and China are so backwards in regards to women's rights?

    It seems that most sexually-repressive nations have huge amount of religious motivation, and even what relative amount exists in Western nations is generally (at least these days) coming from a position of religious fundamentalism. The religious fear and subjugation generally does a decent job of preventing women from asking, "Hey, WTF dudes?"

    Of course, I speak here in generalizations that vary in applicability across nations, regions and people:

    East Asian societies value order tremendously, which is a trait they share with authoritarianism and religion. It is the core of conservatism: if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

    The argument would go that gender roles are useful and therefore warrant preservation. This is partially based in bias, and a lot of awful biodeterminist ideas and blatant prejudice lurk behind there; but it's also a defensible philosophical and political stance. The liberal counter-argument, the one I would endorse, is that individual self-determination and a climate of equality are far, far more useful. But conservatism emphasizes that change is risk, and thus should be avoided unless unequivocally proven superior.

    Every society on the planet falls somewhere between these ideals, and Japan is known to be more conservative than other nations. Like most societies, they've made incredible progress; it's even more impressive given the fact that most of that progress has occurred in the post-war period, whereas the West has had strong women's rights movements dating back to the 19th century. East Asia is moving in the same direction as the rest of the developed world, which is what I think really matters.

    We still see strange artifacts of old ways popping up, but they're only artifacts.

    To put things in perspective, the Arab world and most of continental Asia is decades behind East Asia in terms of women's rights. Africa is all over the fucking map, where you've got a female President in Liberia, but in the Congo, gang rape is still a major cause of death. But again- the developed world is largely moving in the same direction, albeit at different speeds and with different levels of enthusiasm.

    As for citation, I'm not sure if that's warranted given the rather broad nature of our discussion. Wikigender.org is not a bad place to start, but a quick google can yield juicy evidence.

    EDIT: I guess I should point out that all of the above isn't to say anime is really that much worse than much of the Western media. The problems here are somewhat deeper, less salient, and less obvious...but there are still problems.

    Rent wrote: »
    So that's what having no idea what you are talking about looks like
  • DrukDruk Registered User
    edited March 2011
    Dracil wrote: »
    Since the topic is on isms and obias and entertainment, what about sports (esp. football)? A traditionally non-geek culture thing.

    It would seem like the objectification of women there tends to be given a pass (see: cheerleaders and random ads shown during the games)

    To some extent, I'd think it's actually worse because *actual* women are being objectified, as opposed to some ink or digital bits, in the same lines as murdering people in a game isn't as bad as murdering people in life.

    Yeah, and then the entire point of football is the objectification of actual men. Use those muscles; fight each other for our amusement! If our laws were a little less strict, we'd have you fighting to the death in your arenas, just like the good ole' days!

  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Arch wrote: »
    mrt144 wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    I'm going to ask an admittedly racist question: how much does the misogyny in Robotech (or any other anime) reflect the sexual values of Japan in general?

    A lot.

    Japan is pretty damn far behind the developed world on sexual equality issues.

    And Robotech (or rather Macross I guess) is leagues ahead of even a lot of shows coming out now.

    Goddamit I really hate to do this, and know that I am doing this with all respect

    Citations?

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20080224x1.html
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6788036.ece
    http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2010/10/12/japan-climbs-gender-equality-table-now-ranked-94th/

    WHERES YOUR MESSIAH NOW?

    Thank you- I wasn't trying to be snarky, I just didn't want to fall prey to easily accepted stereotypes without any sort of factual basis.

    The thing about Japan is that there are some wacky differences that apologists will cling to;

    Japan as a culture treat their women worse than the United States in several key metrics but the rape incidence rate is much lower in Japan than the United States. But if you dig deeper you see that it's only reported cases and it doesn't take different definitions of rape into account.

    I remember this coming up in a Rape Culture thread.

  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    But practically every time she speaks, it's to say something that is forcefully corrected by a male subordinate 4 seconds later while she looks sheepish.

    I wouldn't consider this to be an accurate description. Generally she is playing the straight-laced by the book career military officer to Rick's rogue ace pilot who doesn't follow the rules.
    This might be the case, but it really doesn't change that every time she's spoken up so far about anything, she's been wrong. And almost immediately corrected about it by a male character. If she's just supposed to be "by the book", then apparently the book was written by someone with a major brain injury.
    Is it weird to anyone else that highly secularized nations like Japan, Korea, and China are so backwards in regards to women's rights?
    Going purely on my personal impression here;

    These nations are also highly traditionalist, with very little social mobility compared to developed western nations. Between those two things, it's not hard to imagine that any sort of movement for the rights of a traditional underclass (like women) is going to have a lot stacked against it.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Druk wrote: »
    Dracil wrote: »
    Since the topic is on isms and obias and entertainment, what about sports (esp. football)? A traditionally non-geek culture thing.

    It would seem like the objectification of women there tends to be given a pass (see: cheerleaders and random ads shown during the games)

    To some extent, I'd think it's actually worse because *actual* women are being objectified, as opposed to some ink or digital bits, in the same lines as murdering people in a game isn't as bad as murdering people in life.

    Yeah, and then the entire point of football is the objectification of actual men. Use those muscles; fight each other for our amusement! If our laws were a little less strict, we'd have you fighting to the death in your arenas, just like the good ole' days!
    Of course, the counterpoint here is that those men are being objectified at least in some capacity for their skills and physical capabilities, and not simply how great their ass looks between those hip pads.

    Not all objectifications are equal.

    We're reading Rifts. You should too. You know you want to. On Hiatus!

    Any gamers in the Danville, PA area? PM me if you're interested in some tabletop gaming.
  • mrt144mrt144 King of the Numbernames Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Torso Boy wrote: »
    Is it weird to anyone else that highly secularized nations like Japan, Korea, and China are so backwards in regards to women's rights?

    It seems that most sexually-repressive nations have huge amount of religious motivation, and even what relative amount exists in Western nations is generally (at least these days) coming from a position of religious fundamentalism. The religious fear and subjugation generally does a decent job of preventing women from asking, "Hey, WTF dudes?"

    Of course, I speak here in generalizations that vary in applicability across nations, regions and people:

    East Asian societies value order tremendously, which is a trait they share with authoritarianism and religion. It is the core of conservatism: if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

    The argument would go that gender roles are useful and therefore warrant preservation. This is partially based in bias, and a lot of awful biodeterminist ideas and blatant prejudice lurk behind there; but it's also a defensible philosophical and political stance. The liberal counter-argument, the one I would endorse, is that individual self-determination and a climate of equality are far, far more useful. But conservatism emphasizes that change is risk, and thus should be avoided unless unequivocally proven superior.

    Every society on the planet falls somewhere between these ideals, and Japan is known to be more conservative than other nations. Like most societies, they've made incredible progress; it's even more impressive given the fact that most of that progress has occurred in the post-war period, whereas the West has had strong women's rights movements dating back to the 19th century. East Asia is moving in the same direction as the rest of the developed world, which is what I think really matters.

    We still see strange artifacts of old ways popping up, but they're only artifacts.

    To put things in perspective, the Arab world and most of continental Asia is decades behind East Asia in terms of women's rights. Africa is all over the fucking map, where you've got a female President in Liberia, but in the Congo, gang rape is still a major cause of death. But again- the developed world is largely moving in the same direction, albeit at different speeds and with different levels of enthusiasm.

    As for citation, I'm not sure if that's warranted given the rather broad nature of our discussion. Wikigender.org is not a bad place to start, but a quick google can yield juicy evidence.

    The thing that's most striking is that the whole attitude of "That's just the way it is" doesn't even allow for a feminist revolution culturally. In the cultural framework of the western world, the liberalization of man logically follows that the same liberalizations flow into every nook and cranny for everyone to enjoy.

  • DivideByZeroDivideByZero Social Justice Blackguard Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    In general I tend to steer clear of any show that has too much overt misogyny in its characters. When Minmay said she wanted to be a "Bride" in Maccross that was when I just stopped the series, which was sad because I had heard it was really a classic.

    Was that like the fourth or fifth episode in? When they're trapped in the bowels of the ship? You're probably better off. As "important" or "classic" as Robotech/Macross is to modern animation it hasn't really aged well. A lot of the characters seem more like caricatures, and yes, the female characters in particular suffer for it. I had to force myself through the entire series a few years back and a lot of it was pure torture (and I say this as a fan of the later Macross series' when these themes and characterizations were handled much more even-handedly).

    It's probably a function of its time. How many strong female characters were there in most early 80s animated shows, especially those marketed squarely towards boys? I'm struggling to come up with the names of five total female recurring characters in He-Man for instance. Thundercats had two? Three? But they were at least competant... The only women I can pick out of the original Macross cast who actually excelled at her job is Miriya, and she
    Spoiler:

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