Common Anime Features – Inclusion of Discriminatory Notions

30 comments

I’m talking about those kinds of notions.

(Spoilers in this post)

After Boku no Hero Academia episode 22, Uraraka became a fan favorite for displaying great tenacity against Bakugou’s fierce attacks. However, there was a moment during the match that could be considered distasteful.

Some members within the crowd began booing Bakugou’s for seemingly bullying “the poor girl.” However, these hecklers were incorrect since Bakugoku was actually being cautious during their battle. Because he respected Uraraka’s strength as an opponent, he did not dismiss her and took care to not overexert his ability in an attempt to blow her out-of-bounds (note that his hands were shaking after he countered Uraraka’s surprise attack).

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While these spectator’s comments were out of concern for Uraraka, the remarks came across as sounding sexist and dismissive towards her efforts. The audience also belittled Bakugou’s efforts as he was genuinely trying to win – it’s just that Uraraka was incredibly determined to withstand his attacks and aim for victory.

Eraserhead ends up stepping in and harshly rebukes the jeerers for their lackluster insight. Bakugou also compliments Uraraka’s courage and strength in his own way after their peers chimed in and implied that Uraraka is a “frail girl.” All’s well that ends well, right?

Some would say no.

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Although the sentiments expressed by the audience were proved to have no basis, the inclusion of said remarks could be considered unnecessary. Why are such sexist remarks included other than to strike an emotional chord with the audience?

The only sort of defense I can muster for its inclusion is realism. Despite the fact that the series features supernatural powers in the form of Quirks, the series has always been relatable due to how characters and events are depicted. Some people are bullied and pushed around like how Deku/Izuku was at the beginning of Boku no Hero Academia. And in Japan, such bullying is often not thwarted by the teacher, who may pretend to not notice. Koe no Katachi would be another, more depressing example of this sort of situation.

Realistically portraying uneducated, prejudiced reactions or comments also show up in yuri anime, as shown by Aoi Hana. For instance, Yasuko, one of the show’s main female characters, causes someone to fall into silent shock after revealing that she had dated Fumi, another female lead character. But that’s how a lot of people in real life react towards sudden revelations regarding sexuality. While we’re gradually becoming more open-minded as a whole, the world is still relatively heteronormative. And fiction is no different.

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Dramatic yuri media (manga and visual novels are better examples than anime in this regard) are often centered around a girl’s realization of her sexuality and preference towards other girls, for example. And if the girl in question gets around to confessing her feelings to the girl she loves, she often cries while apologizing for being “gross.” It’s a genuine fear that afflicts both characters and people, unfortunately, and it is a shame that some people are led to hold poor self-image of themselves due to their sexuality.

But is the realistic depiction of ugly yet common occurrences a strong enough reason to include such comments or reactions? Other series portray a more idealized world, such as Yuri!!! on ICE where there are no instances of homophobia or prejudice to be seen. Does such a romanticized setting undermine attempts at making people more cognizant and open-minded? Or is it fine for fiction to leave out sexist and homophobic content since the real world has enough of that to deal with already?

It really comes down to preferences and either side can probably make a compelling argument. But I also think that people should try to be open-minded about this and not see this issue as black-or-white.


What do you think about this? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

 

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30 comments on “Common Anime Features – Inclusion of Discriminatory Notions”

  1. Definitely agree with you!
    However, that is still a touchy subject in several countries. Including mine.
    All the claims of equality and other nonsense is just that. Nonsense.
    There’s still subtle streams of discrimination and many times it isn’t even subtle.

    I’ll give you another example- non anime.
    In most movies in my place, the female is objectified and played out in a way that I hate my own gender sometimes; they rarely fight, do anything spine worthy and are only used as the character that is head over heals for the actor.
    Sadly, even in reality its much the same. A lot of women I know put up with bullshit, saying that they deserve it because of their gender.

    Homosexuality is seen as a taunt and treated with disgust. If I’m found holding hands with my best friend (and nothing more, senpai, just a best friend) I’ll be faced with comments like, “Yech, are you lesbos?”
    If they are confronted, they’ll say its a joke.
    For me, this sort of thing doesn’t matter, because I hate physical contact, so its rare I hold hands and all.And honestly I don’t care what people think, but I can name twenty people I know who’d be offended and shocked at comments like that.
    They’d be genuinely disappointed.

    There are guys who play around with others feelings because they cant accept their own, they aren’t allowed to.
    Everyone cares about what others think, what people they know would feel, but they never once think about themselves and the ones closest to them.
    And I agree that’s the normal/ majority reaction.
    In this case, I am different, being the one who doesn’t care, who doesn’t think of society and I am called strange for it.
    And you know the damnest thing? I still don’t care. There are the five/six people who matter to me and they know exactly how I feel, and so I don’t care about the rest. There’s no point about them.

    I hate how it’s so difficult to accept that there are thing that don’t fit patterns and predictions; that making the frame before seeing the picture is THEIR fault and yet its the others who are harassed.
    And I hate how trying to tell them to not care wont work. “I’m not you Auri.” “No one can be like that other than you.”

    No, I think that it SHOULD be included. Should be shown strong and self satisfied. Just to start a fire.
    But at the same time, perhaps this would end up showcasing these sensitive topics in insensitive ways, causing more damage than intended.
    In that way, manga like Horimiya are jewels. They should be framed and displayed. (pun unapologetically intended)

    Nothing is black and white, is it senpai? Every time there’s an answer, I myself find myself contradicting my previous comment.
    But this time I shall not, this thing is long and ranty enough as is.

    Ouch. That’s practically a post by itself. I apologize for digressing. And things got a bit heated in the middle. I’m sorry for losing my composure. *bow*
    So much for staying under control *sweat drop*

    Hmm, recently I’ve been spamming people with big, long comments and forcing them to reply, whoops. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh, don’t apologize! It was a lovely, passionate comment and I’m glad you really let your voice be heard.

      The world’s a messed up place but I do hope more people would adopt your mindset. Would make things a lot more tolerable.

      Mmm you’re right. Nothing is black and white, unfortunately. We’re all shades of grey among shades of grey.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend to be of the opinion that we need a healthy mix of these things. I’ll focus on queer people her, but this applies to other examples as well. It would suck if all queer works focused on suffering due to oppression. That gives the idea that being queer centers around misery, which is bad. At the same time, focusing entirely on idealized scenarios ignores the world as it is, giving unrealistic expectations as well as making it harder to relate. I think a mixed approach is best, so it becomes clear how bad things can be while also showing how good things can be. That way people can have realistic expectations and ideas whole continuing to hope for a better world/situation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mmm that sounds very reasonable and well thought-out. A healthy mix would probably be ideal, but a fair amount of queer works (and other such examples) seem to lean either towards suffering or towards unrealistic and idealized settings with no compromises. Hopefully that changes since progress would thus have a chance to happen, as you said.

      Like

  3. I thought it was fairly well done with the crowd because I really hated what they were saying as it made me really consider both characters and the position they were in and how their efforts were being perceived or belittled by the crowd. I also like that the show didn’t let it stand with just the comments but actually had a character clearly correct their misconecptions about what was happening in the fight. Of course, Yuri on Ice was awesome as well without providing any such commentary so it isn’t like it is a necessity. I guess it really depends on what kind of show you are watching and what effect they are going for. Great post.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Mmm they did things right in that episode considering that the statements were included. Having someone debunk such statements was refreshing, too.

      You have a point about YOI. I would rather have it be a mix for most shows with such themes. But you’re probably right on the money about how it probably depends on the series. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s best to have a bit of a mix between the two. You can’t just have the media show this ideal world where everyone accepts gays, transgenders, queers, etc because then it’s pretty much nothing but fantasy and personally I think media should be somewhat realistic in the way it portrays certain groups and how they’re treated.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mmm that sounds like the most practical approach. It’s too overbearing if we are always seeing LGBTQ get prosecuted. But it’s also unrealistic if they never encounter any strife. Hopefully the idealized fictional setting is one day realized in reality – but that’s not happening for a long time. Baby steps?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Amusing that you’ve focused on the feminist aspect of this scene, which is also what I noticed, but I had a somewhat more positive idea as to why this happens. And much of it is quite consistent with the sort of reality we’re faced with. I hope to bring out my reaction post on it tomorrow, so yeah. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Reviewing my thoughts, I decided to revert back to my original stance on the heroic attitudes of MHA. It makes for a more satisfying dissection of the character of Uraraka, and the “necessity” of including these “discriminatory notions”. Damn, I really learned a lot from Uraraka.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Not much I can say here that wasn’t covered already, and better, by others. But you asked for comments and I don’t want to disappoint, so I’ll go a slightly different route.

    Not having seen this episode, I’ve absorbed a lot of what happened purely by the fan reaction to Uraraka.

    Really what I get from this scene is the difference between audience perception and reality. Are girls seen as weaker or more frail compared to men? Yes. Is that always the case? Definitely not. Still, there is a biological basis behind it. You can see the implicit acceptance of that in the fact that there are different competitions for men and women for the same sport.

    When you bring the notion of superpowers and quirks into the picture things can be a lot different. In a fantasy setting anything is possible, and so there’s no strong reason women cannot equal or exceed men in this regard. This should be a normal fact of life for the characters of My Hero Academia, but scenes like this seem to reinforce “reality” based conceptions to these comparisons.

    What was the end result here? Uraraka wasn’t frail at all, and Bakugou had to really fight hard against her. You have a deliberate repudiation of the sexist notion that Bakugou was just bullying her. Perhaps the whole purpose of that exchange was to make this very statement. I think this sort of content is just fine if such lessons are reinforced, but at the same time I wonder why such a thing was needed in the world of My Hero Academia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, you don’t have to feel forced to comment but I appreciate that you went the extra mile. Thank you.

      Great points about how audience perception and reality diverged during this scene. Sure, a lesson about biases occurred as a result, but it still feels unnecessary as a whole. Maybe this is culture clash happening once again.

      Thank you for your insightful comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t watched MHA but I’ve got a good gist of what happened and the general issues you’re discussing here are ones I have a lot of opinions (and feelings) about.

    But focusing on the question of whether sexism and homophobia should be given frank portrayal or idealized, my answer is that we need both. There’s also the middle ground of mixing both which is good too. Showing how shitty the real world can be and how people have to fight society for matters that should be personal goddammit is necessary because well, representation of the kind of shit that people have to go through is important.

    That said, if any and all fiction that focuses on a woman or PoC or queer person are all doom and gloom, it will result in a whole lot of stories where being different equates being miserable. And that’s depressing.

    That would be why some nice, idealized versions of the world are necessary as well. It gives hope that a world like that is possible or at least gives you a nice escapist fantasy. And honestly, as someone who’s queer as fuck and obvious about it, I need that escape. I get enough shit about the way I am in real life. And that’s taking into consideration the fact that I’m intimidating enough for most people to not say things to my face. I’ve had to sit my friends down and give them lectures about gender and sexuality and equality. It’s not fun. Reality is so not fun (sometimes). I’m luckier than a lot of people but I still get fed up with it. So yeah, the nice, pretty worlds where you can be whoever you want and love/screw whoever you want is desperately needed.

    Whew.

    Sorry about that long rant. I kinda get fired up about this. But I guess you know that. Sorry?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Don’t apologize! I’m glad you’re passionate about sensitive issues like this. We as a community and as people are obligated to talk more about such issues precisely because of their controversy!

      And mmm I can definitely see where you’re coming from. I have to deal with a few close-minded people on a daily basis, as well, so we’re in on this together, buddy. I think a healthy mix in these sort of shows would be key. Sorry to hear you had give friends the talk.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They were very receptive to it so it’s fine. They weren’t deliberately prejudiced, just ignorant because of the way our society is structured. It kinda terrifies me to think of how I might have been without the internet though.

        Like, I took a while to figure out that I ain’t straight but I had no trouble accepting it. My gender identity was more confusing and I did spend time in denial but once I figured it out, it was fine. Now imagine I’d known nothing about any of these things and ended up getting screwed over because I couldn’t understand my own nature. That’s a legit scary thought.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I have been rather sick the past few days (had a really nasty type of flu), so I am pretty behind on reading posts. Today is the first day, that I am feeling at least somewhat better so I am going to give it a go to catch up on a lot of reading.
    Pretty much everyone has already covered everything, so there is very little that has not been said yet. I have never ever had a single thought that would think of a girl as being weaker than men. I guess I just have never looked at it that way. My best friend is a girl, and I can tell you that she is a hell of a of a lot stronger as a person than me. It all comes down in the end how you as a person are open to things.
    I am straight myself, but I have no problems whatsoever with people who are not. Two of my friends are gay, and does that make them any less human or something like that? No way in hell it doesn’t. It’s a sad thing that we live in a society where not everyone is ready to accept it yet. Luckily there are more and more people that are getting more open minded, and a show like Yuri on Ice really helps with that as well. I am kind of one the last persons to jump on that bandwagon, but I am watching it now and am highly enjoying it. (I would have finished it, if not for this very annoying bug).
    All I can say is that I thought this has been a very well written and highly enjoyable post to read, and one you should definitely consider entering in Aria’s festival. Keep up the great work 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mmm I saw your post. Sorry to hear that you’ve been fighting sickness recently. Hang in there.

      I’m glad that you are not subject to such thoughts. Yay for open-mindedness!

      Hmm I used to enter in Arria’s blog festivals but I simply lack faith in my own blog posts right now. Thank you, though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well…then I say, get that faith back ASAP. This post is absolutely awesome, just look at the amount of positive feedback you are getting for this post. Truly, no need to have no faith in it. Your writing has always been very good, and I really liked your thoughts and powerful insights on this subject. And you are so rightL yay for open-mindedness. If everyone was like that, the works would be a much better place 😊 And as I said: keep believing in yourself and your writing: you are doing great! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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